A decade or two ago, there might have been some doubt surrounding the longevity of social media. But now, we can clearly see that sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok have a tight hold on our society – and our marketing approach.
Nearly half of all consumers rely on social media influencers for recommendations for products and services. What’s more, 40% of people bought something after seeing it on Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter. So, it makes sense that influencer marketing campaigns can deliver upwards of $5.78 in return for every dollar invested.
Using influencer marketing can help you acquire more customers, specifically customers that are an ideal match for your brand. No matter what industry you’re in, or the size of your business, the time to start planning for marketing with influencers is now.
But unless you’re running a mega-corporation like Amazon or Nike, you might not be able to budget for an influencer campaign with an online celebrity. And for most small businesses, a “macro-influencer” isn’t the right fit for their goals anyway. Instead, one of the best ways for small and medium-sized businesses to employ influencer marketing is by connecting with local (micro) influencers.
What is a Local Influencer?
Exactly what are local influencers, and why do they matter for your business?
Essentially, a local influencer (also called a micro-influencer) is one with 1,000 to 10,000 followers, who lives in your neighborhood, city, state, or even country. They tend to post content specifically relevant to their regions, such as favorite local restaurants, community events, etc.
A local influencer can be an excellent marketing connection for a small business because they are a direct link to their local customer base.
But how do you find local influencers for marketing your business? That’s the question we will be answering in this handy resource.
How to Find Local Influencers
Figuring out how to find influencers in your area can feel like a monumental task – and even when you do find them, how do you approach and engage with them?
Luckily, there are a few easy methods that can help you locate nearby micro-influencers to figure out who might be a good fit for your brand.
Take a closer look at your own followers.
You might be surprised to discover that you don’t actually have to find influencers because they may have already found you. Scan through your following on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter and look for accounts that appear to belong to influencers. Follower numbers, as well as brand partnerships, can be a dead giveaway.
After you’ve compiled a list of potential influencers, learn more about each to see which might be aligned with your brand and businesses. Who creates content relevant to your niche, and who could serve as a connection between your brand and your target audience?
For example, if you run a local baby clothing boutique, a local “mom” influencer could be the perfect match – whereas a 20-something fitness influencer might not be quite as linked to your target market.
Do some research on local hashtags.
Hashtags are worth their virtual weight in gold for influencer marketing, especially if you’re searching for local influencers near you. Search specific, relevant hashtags to find popular posts tagged with it, and then scan through the various profiles sharing those posts.
For example, a restaurant in Chandler, AZ, might use “#chandlerfoodbloggers” to find micro-influencers in their area.
Hashtag research makes it easier to locate influencers, but it can also help you assess which ones are successfully creating relevant, high-performing content. Using this research method can also set you up for a domino effect, opening up new ideas for hashtags to look into.
Make use of influencer marketing platforms.
Influencing has become a full-time career path, and it’s a serious business. So, it’s not too surprising that many professional platforms are designed to support influencers in their business pursuits. Influencer marketing platforms such as Reelio and BuzzSteam are fantastic for locating relevant micro-influencers in your industry and area.
In addition to streamlining your search, these platforms are also helpful for obtaining a wealth of data on potential marketing partners. You can see performance data, audience information, and other metrics, making it possible to hone in on the influencers to help you achieve your goals.
How to Approach Local Influencers
So, you’ve found a handful of local influencers that seem like a great fit for your business – now what? It’s time to formulate your approach. Don’t underestimate the importance of strategically approaching an influencer, and remember, this is a business deal that should ideally benefit both of you.
Here are some quick tips for preparing to approach a local influencer:
Make sure you’re on their radar.
First, click the “Follow” button for any influencers you’re interested in working with. This is an easy way to make them aware of your brand, an effort you can continue by engaging with their content via likes, comments, and shares. Of course, you should do this authentically – whatever you do, don’t be spammy.
Come up with a win-win proposal.
As we mentioned, your relationship with an influencer should provide advantages to both of you. You already know that you’re interested in working with a given influencer; now, you have to show them why they should want to work with you.
Your proposal should clearly explain goals and expected outcomes and an offer that appeals to the influencer. The proposed content should clearly match their existing style, and it should be easy for them to see why it makes sense to work with your brand. Talk about how your business is relevant to their follower niche.
Close out the proposal with a request to chat further about the opportunity, and set up a clear call-to-action to promptly motivate them to move forward.
Don’t forget to follow up.
Even micro-influencers can have a very busy digital workday, so it’s normal to not hear back for a few days. They might not return your message immediately, but don’t assume that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested – it could have simply been buried in their inbox.
After a few days, send a follow-up message if you haven’t received a reply. This can be a gentle prompt for them to return your message or alert them to an email they may have missed.
How to Engage with Local Influencers
You’re in the home stretch: you’ve found a great local influencer relevant to your target niche, and they’ve expressed interest in partnering with you. Now, all you need to do is determine precisely what the partnership will look like.
Here are just a few possible strategies for engaging with micro-influencers for marketing purposes.
Ask for a product or service review.
Honest reviews are among the most valuable assets available for your marketing strategy, mainly because they hold considerable weight with consumers. If a local influencer reviews your product, it can spread awareness and help local customers make purchasing decisions.
Of course, you want to be clear in asking for an honest review – paying for a biased review isn’t exactly in line with business ethics. It’s not unusual for a brand to provide an influencer with free products or services, then ask for a review if they were satisfied. That way, you can avoid negative publicity while remaining 100% authentic.
Invite them to be a brand advocate.
Working as a brand advocate is a natural extension of providing a review, especially on a micro-influencer level. Consumers can tell when an influencer truly loves the product or service they’re advertising. The authenticity is reflected in their content, usually providing even more motivation for consumers to make purchasing decisions.
A brand advocate usually works with a brand for an extended period of time and might contribute content in ways that include:
- Posting a product review
- Including a product in a how-to or unboxing video
- Sharing branded posts, including images and/or video
- Base a tutorial video on a specific product
- Share their detailed experience using your services
Ramp Up Your Marketing Efforts with Influencers in Your Area
Now that you know more about how to find micro-influencers, you’re hopefully feeling motivated to embark on a new marketing journey. With the right approach, working with local influencers can be an exceptional addition to your existing marketing strategy – and V Digital Services is here to help you pull it off.
V Digital Services is a full-service digital marketing agency and a trusted provider of various marketing services. We’re constantly adapting our approach to keep up with the latest consumer trends and expectations, including supporting our clients with influencer marketing. Our talented team can help you find, connect with, and partner with influencers in your area for maximum success on a local level.
Get more information about how to get the most out of your social media strategy when you reach out to V Digital Services today!
Photo credits: metamorworks, VGstockstudio, Monkey Business Images, View Apart, stockfour