Engaging the Influencer Community by Offering Something Extra

Markus gives us a snapshot of Switzerland's tourism industry, with approximately every 6th guest being influenced by a wide array of social campaigns.

Markus gives us a snapshot of Switzerland's tourism industry, including 104 million bed nights, with approximately every 6th guest being influenced by a wide array of social media campaigns. With a focus on sharing the beauty of the country, Switzerland Tourism markets a selection of fun and interesting events that work to further display this, involving many social media influencers in order to attain the desired reach from these campaigns.

Markus gives us a snapshot of Switzerland's tourism industry, including 104 million bed nights, with approximately every 6th guest being influenced by a wide array of social media campaigns. With a focus on sharing the beauty of the country, Switzerland Tourism markets a selection of fun and interesting events that work to further display this, involving many social media influencers in order to attain the desired reach from these campaigns.

Switzerland Tourism's influencer management works towards optimisation of all sorts of social media platforms, with 20% of the focus on innovative platforms such as LinkedIn or TikTok, a majority of the focus retained on current low-risk platforms such as Twitter or Instagram, and then experimenting with high-risk platforms such as Steller or Twitch.

Markus outlines a basic framework that his team abides by for customer satisfaction.

Awareness - to know

Attraction - to like

Confidence - to convince

Commitment - to act

Advocacy - to recommend

These are put in place in order to make sure that guests are motivated and inspired whilst being shown the full range of the destination in cooperation with the relevant communities, and of course, the best selection of influencers available. Communicating with these people can lead visitors away from busy hubs thus avoiding over-tourism.

When looking for appropriate influencers that fit the brand, Switzerland Tourism ensures they undergo an application process that meets standard quality checks. This involves clarity in objectives being well communicated and aligned, their particular style in storytelling and content tone, the rate of engagement that they reach, and their own community size.

In 2018 Switzerland Tourism launched their Influencer Summit. They approached this with three goals in mind:

  1. Bringing a strong presence and visibility on social media, focusing on KPIs, but also agenda-setting, and shifting attention.
  2. Establishing, enlarging and strengthening influencer networks. with the objective of facilitating influencer management and reducing workload.
  3. Upholding the branding and positioning of Switzerland Tourism, an early adopter with digital excellence and high standards.

The influencer summit was designed as a social space in which Switzerland Tourism is winning over influencers in an environment that trains them for the perspective of marketing the country better as well as giving them a platform in order to grow their own individual brand as well: overall, an incentive that is exclusive to the experience.

The summit is an invitation-only event of 30 people 2 times a year, toted as a "must attend"-event. The influencers are then split into themed clusters that work into campaign goals. This cultivates a positive environment where there is less competitiveness for them.

The event is upheld by two pillars, the conference itself and a post-conference destination matching the cluster in order to produce the relevant content for the influencer's various platforms.

Some key findings from previous summits were:

  1. KPIs were achieved and always outgone.
  2. Close support to influencers pays off, as they over-performed all contractual agreements.
  3. The high engagement rate proves that produced content was very relevant for the specific communities.
  4. The competence of Switzerland Tourism for this kind of event is acknowledged and appreciated by the tourism industry as well as by influencers.

The direct feedback from influencers is that there was no sense of competitiveness, as everyone felt welcomed into a friendly environment where creativity was encouraged, instead of business jargon and know-how. People liked the internationality of the event, learning from one another about their approaches towards content creation. Finally, someone felt there was a true effort in showing specific influencers what exactly they'd be interested in with a high-quality approach in professionalism.

Now of course, the summits were hit by the pandemic, however, Switzerland Tourism has not once faltered in their approach to influencer management during this time.

Recovering in 2020 involves considering influencers to "travel" first, curating social media campaigns and hashtags that engage and utilise people's memories of Switzerland in order to circulate content for travel influencers during a time in which content has taken a hit just as much.

Moving into 2021, Switzerland Tourism will be working towards building a strong network, creating more content projects that engage with influencers, as well as specialising with specific tools, channels and topics. The next summit is scheduled for June 2021.

Key Takeaways

1. A strong marketing campaign can involve people out of industry, allowing for a diverse, creative environment to work towards goals.

2. Taking on and accepting direct feedback from influencers to ensure you're providing a satisfactory experience aligning with your goals allows for a more streamlined approach to larger scale projects.

3. An optimistic outlook on recovery and creativity during the pandemic has allowed for freedom despite constraints. Working with creators opens up these kinds of opportunities.

Published on:
December 2020
About the contributor

Markus Berger

Markus Berger (55) has been Head of Corporate Communications of Switzerland Tourism for four years now. Before he held the same position for an international tourism development project, and previously he was the head of the Swiss Public Relations Institute.