Organic relationships are difficult to consolidate in the competitive world of influencer marketing. Pairing spokespeople with brands they actually care about is no mean feat, and neither is creating impactful content which connects with users. Both sides of the social media spectrum need to cultivate trust - and this is tough to establish over direct messages.
As the influencer space only grows, with market estimates reaching $15 billion by 2022, events which connect brands and influencers away from the keyboard are gaining importance. Why? Well, because real connections between brand and spokesperson always make for better content and higher engagement.
It is in this context our team put together the inaugural Souler Symposium: An event which took the social media relationship offline for five days this October against the unforgettable backdrop of The Ranch at Rock Creek, a five-star luxury Relais & Châteaux ranch in Montana’s Big Sky country.
Over nightly cocktail hours, group dinners, live music and entertainment, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to meet some of the most influential people in the world and discuss issues pertinent to the influencer space.
This is something our industry just does not get the chance to do. Deals and discussion in the world of influencer media happen in private (message) - so to have the opportunity to speak in person with the industry’s movers and shakers was something which both sides of the influencer sphere relished.
Shannon Vaughn of Pursoma hosted a panel discussion on digital wellness and anxiety in the influencer space on night two, telling the story of how her personal story led to its founding.
Vaughn said the event offered the unique opportunity to network directly with potential spokespeople.
“I’ve always had a hard time finding people who would authentically be involved in the process and who used the products as part of their lifestyle … the opportunity to connect directly with influencers in a non-sales-y environment, that was appealing to me because then we could have face to face conversations, and for a company that promotes digital wellness, this was the perfect opportunity for us to connect in a non-technology environment,” she said.
“This week at the ranch gave the brands and tastemakers who attended the time to explore our interest together in a beautiful and natural setting.”
Noted digital entrepreneur and keynote speaker Jeff Bullas agreed, noting the importance of connecting makers, creators and influencers. “The online world is one thing but the offline world is where the real magic happens,” he said. “Many relationships and ideas were started and nourished in one of the most stunning places on the planet."
The Souler Symposium foregrounded the need for an ecommerce community that encourages meaningful in-person connections between brands and influencers. Rest assured, it is something which Souler will continue to encourage in the years to come.