In a world wearying of celebrity pitches, you might think that social media influencer marketing has gone the way of the Fyre Festival. Think again. Research shows that in 2019, 42% of daily Instagram users in the U.S. bought something because a blogger or influencer recommended it. At the same time, only 10% said that they had made a purchase because a celebrity had recommended it. So, what is an influencer if not a celebrity? Meet the local influencer. They may be more powerful – and more accessible – than you think.
Word of Mouth Marketing for the Digital Age
Social media is an undisputed powerhouse in today’s marketing toolkit, and it’s no wonder why. 97% of digital consumers report using social media regularly. On average in 2019, users spent 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media every day. Meanwhile, you don’t need research to tell you that people give far more credence to recommendations from family, friends and trusted members of their own community than to even the most cleverly constructed advertisement.
Local influencer marketing has the potential to combine the two: the powerful reach of social media plus the credibility of a trusted, third-party source.
What Is a Local Influencer?
While the original social media influencers were the same faces we’ve watched on commercials, print ads and cereal boxes for many years, today’s cast of influencers is diverse and varied. On Instagram (the influencer platform of choice), local or “micro” influencers are generally considered to be those with 5,000 to 25,000 followers. There’s even an emerging category of so-called “nano” influencers that may have as few as 1,000 followers.
Without audiences in the millions for brands to reach, what is it that local influencers bring to the table? The answer is primarily engagement and authenticity. And collaboration opportunities that may be more accessible and attractive for a much broader range of brands, businesses and budgets.
Are Local Influencers Effective in Marketing?
The three foundations of influencer marketing are generally summed up as relevance, reach and resonance. So how do local influencers measure up?
Relevance: Local influencers can be a great way to reach new audiences that are relevant to your brand. They tend to cultivate followings that are in the same geographic area and share similar interests, making finding a good fit for your brand much more achievable.
Reach: While local influencers’ audiences may be smaller than their celebrity or “macro” counterparts, they are highly targeted based on geography and relevance. And their smaller reach comes with a smaller price tag making them a highly cost-effective option for even local businesses to get a lot of bang for the buck.
Resonance: This is where local influencers really shine. These so-called “micro” influencers are actually the most likely to have a highly engaged audience. They are relatable and more likely to cultivate a deeper, personal connection with their followers which makes them highly effective brand advocates.
Local influencers offer a great opportunity to humanize and personalize your brand by showing how it connects in real life with someone with whom the audience identifies strongly. Last but not least, by allowing an influencer to bring their own voice and creativity to a collaboration, you can present a fresh new perspective on your brand.
Finding the Right Fit
If a local influencer collaboration is something you are considering, it’s important to find an influencer that is a good fit for your brand. That means someone with an audience that aligns with the people that you want to reach. It also means someone who is a creative fit as it relates to the aesthetic of the content that they produce. When you have a look at their feed, you’ll also want to pay attention to how saturated they are in terms of sponsorship (ideally only 10 to no more than 20% of their content should be sponsored). And of course, you’ll want to make sure that their sponsored content in presented ethically and in keeping with truth in advertising principles.
You’ll also want to craft a clear agreement up front to manage expectations, deliverables and tracking data. And in doing so, think carefully and specifically about the return on investment that you want and how you will track it. Don’t be blinded by likes alone but evaluate the real impact of any effort based on those meaningful goals and metrics, whether that means new followers, visits to your website or even tracking a unique discount code.
A strong local influencer collaboration can be powerful and mutually beneficial – all on a very budget-friendly spend. Interested in digging deeper local influencer marketing on social media?
Then connect with Clementine – our team would love to help you explore the possibilities for your brand that may be waiting right around the corner.