Influencer marketing is a 6.5 billion dollar industry and the best marketing tool for businesses today.
As this online marketing strategy evolves, businesses are foregoing celebrity endorsements in favor of collaborating with local influencers in their community. Here’s why.
Increases brand awareness
First and foremost, local influencers bring the names of businesses to the attention of people who were previously unaware of their existence.
Obviously, all types of influencers do this, but local influencers are more effective and successful for businesses in specific geographic areas.
Plus local businesses can turn their favorite customers into their own personal influencers for fairly low cost by offering small incentives, like food & drink or merchandise.
Local influencers tend to have a deeper, more genuine connection with their followers than macro and celebrity influencers. They are more likely to know and connect with their followers on a more personal level.
Influencers with 100k or fewer followers tend to make time for thoughtful responses and engagement.
According to research, influencers with 1,000 followers have the highest engagement ratio so don’t count them out because the ratio of engagement to followers is more important than the number of followers!
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri is considering removing ‘likes’ from the social media platform entirely.
“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about.”
This potential evolution will make engagement an even more potent tool in the world of influencers.
Contrary to what you may think, local influencers do not need to be paid thousands of dollars to endorse your business. Many people are willing to be influencers in exchange for smaller incentives.
“When I post a photo for taco Tuesday, I get free queso? Please sign me up!” Giving people the opportunity to try your product and share it with their friends and family is a great way to generate repeat business. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.
Influencers gain credibility for their recommendation, businesses gain new customers, and both gain exposure.
Gives You Access to New Followers
Local influencers are ideal for small businesses because the majority of their followers will live in the same area who have never heard of your brand.
This means an influencer collaboration will allow you to reach a larger market of people who are close to your business but have never heard of our brand!
No matter how fantastic a local pizza joint is, it’s unlikely that someone will fly across the country to try it unless they’re already in town.
Maybe, unless they really love pizza, have a lot of spare cash, and are dying to go on a world’s best pizza tour. I mean come on… Never, ever say never, right?
However, if someone local is scrolling through Instagram and sees a friend raving about it, they may decide to check it out on their next date night or if visitors from out of town see rave reviews about how delicious your pizza is while searching for food on Google, they are likely to want to see for themselves.
Marketing professionals have long recognized that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective form of marketing. Local influencers do this without making it appear as if the company is bragging about itself.
It’s not salesy or gimmicky; it’s just a person sharing something they enjoy with the people in their network. As a result, people are much more likely to respond to a sponsored post from a business page or influencer with a million followers.
Generates Fresh Content
Giving up some control and allowing an influencer to create their own content promoting your business accomplishes two important things.
#1: It reduces the workload on marketing campaigns. The business can provide guidelines (such as their unique hashtag) or suggestions, but it is up to the influencer to figure out how to communicate with their target audience. After all, they are the ones who are most familiar with them.
#2: Allowing local influencers to create their own content provides the business with new insight into the voice of the target audience.
Paying attention to what influencers say and how their followers respond is an excellent way to learn about your target audience.
Followers Can Trust You
When it comes to influencer marketing, savvy consumers are wary of celebrity endorsements.
Have you ever seen a celebrity in a skincare commercial claim that their secret to looking young is some miraculous anti-aging eye cream? I’m sure I’m not the only one who laughs at these commercials and immediately dismisses them.
But if a friend recommends a new restaurant that just opened up in my town, I am much more likely to try it than if a celebrity I don’t know recommends it or I see a TV commercial about it.
Local influencers’ human aspect is the future of internet marketing. Consider the importance of quality above quantity. Even if they don’t have a large number of followers, they have a significantly better chance of reaching your target demographic.
Where Can I find a Local Influencer
Some of the most effective methods include:
Look at your current social media following.
Whether or not your business has a strong social presence, you may be shocked to find that some local or micro-influencers are already following you on social media sites like Instagram and Twitter. If they match your brand and are relevant to your product or service, they may be someone with whom you should explore forming a connection.
Research Local Hashtags for Your Area
A local hashtag search on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms is a wonderful approach to locate relevant local or micro-influencers. Of course, you can use Google to perform a local hashtag search and see what results it returns. You may also utilize the hashtag to see popular posts that include it, which may lead you to trending material generated by the local influencers you’re looking for.
Find Out Who’s Talking About Your Business – both favorable and negative mentions.
It’s far easier to locate and work with influencers if they already know about your business – and are likely delighted with your product or service since they’re already talking about it. The rationale is simple: they’re more inclined to promote your brand with enthusiasm.
Or use online tools like: Local Influence or Insense
What does it cost?
Prices and fees vary widely, from the micro-est of micro local influencers who are happy to trade a post for products & merchandise from more established influencers depending on their followers you can expect to pay $.01 to $.025 per follower or more. If you use tools or an agency that cost can go up even more.
No matter how many followers they have, local influencers can help you grow your business’s social reach, improve your brand image, engage your audience, and attract new consumers. So, what do you have to lose? Now you’re armed with the information you need to pick the right local influencer for your business!
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Linda Musselwhite is an author, speaker and co-owner of Musselwhite Marketing (est 2009). Linda’s previous positions as Human Resources Administrator. Combined with extraordinary customer service makes her the obvious choice of day to day operations for Musselwhite Marketing.
Connect with Linda on LinkedIn.