This week marks the ExpoNext Conference and E.X.C.I.T.E awards. It also honors the Expo Elite, 50 remarkable exhibition professionals—in other words influencers in our industry.

How do you utilize the influencers in your industry?

Have you invited them to your show to speak? If you haven’t, why not? Afraid of controversy? Attendees are way more motivated to attend and share those sessions that have an impact. When you attend an event, would you prefer to see the same four or five talking heads blathering on about the state of the industry, or someone who’s a game changer talk about disruptions to the present industry model?

Are you picking up the tab or expecting influencers to pay their own way? If you really want someone important to come to the event, pay his or her own way. Don’t expect them—whether they are part of a large organization or are a solopreneur—to have to pay to attend your event. Is it really worth being pennywise and pound foolish or will your event be enhanced by having some of those key people there?

Are you sending influencers targeted snippits of information they would be interested in, or bombarding them with “all news all the time”?

Are you asking influencers to help promote your expo on his or her social media channels? Think about inviting them to be a guest on a tweetchat, writing a guest blog, or sending in a short video to post to your website and include in newsletters.

Are you asking the influencers what they see as the “next big thing” or “disruptor” in your industry, then program and promote to new segments accordingly?

What other ways can we influence the influencers in our industries? For more on this topic, visit the ExpoChat archives from June 19, 2013.

Stephanie S. Selesnick is president of International Trade Information, a longtime global exhibition industry specialist helping U.S show organizers increase international participation in their exhibitions and a well-known speaker and trainer. Follow her on Twitter at @stephselesnick.