The importance of the authentic voice in marketing has grown significantly in the past few years, with influencers of all shapes and sizes sharing authentic messaging with their legions of fans. But it’s trickier for local businesses to find and engage with the right people to share their brand message. Here, contributor Gaurav Sharma shares some guidance on discovering the right local and micro-influencers to support your business goals.
Social media has become a very important part of local business marketing strategies, which is why businesses of different sizes collaborate with influencers to promote their products.
But many small businesses cannot afford macro-influencers because of budget constraints. So the best way for small businesses to promote themselves in this way is to collaborate with local or micro-influencers, who generate higher engagement on average.
What is a Local Influencer?
Put simply, a local influencer is an influencer who lives in the same neighborhood, city, or country as you do. They have around 1K-10K followers and they post content that is highly relevant in their region.
A study conducted by Markerly found that micro or local influencers can generate a much higher engagement rate. This encourages small businesses to invest in local influencers to promote their brand, which helps them gain visibility and increase engagement.
Image source: Markerly
But many local businesses find it difficult to find relevant local influencers, and approach and engage with them. Read on for effective strategies to help you with this, starting with how you can find local influencers on social media and beyond.
How Can You Find Local or Micro-Influencers?
1. Scan your own social media followers
If you have a significant social media presence (and even if you don’t), start to scan social platforms like Instagram and Twitter to find local influencers near you. You might be surprised to see that some local or micro-influencers are already following you. Look for relevance to your product or service and location, and of course, those precious follower numbers.
Once you make a list of potential micro-influencers, you need to scan through their profiles to ensure that the content they create is related to your niche. And if it is, you can approach them with your offer.
This is one of the best ways to find micro-influencers and local influencers who are relevant to your business. And since they’re already following you, it will be easy for you to convince them to join the campaign.
2. Perform local hashtag research
As well as Instagram and Twitter, you can use Google to do local hashtag research to find relevant local or micro-influencers. You can search a specific and relevant keyword from your niche and you’ll be able to discover popular posts using the hashtag.
For example, if you own a food business in Chicago, you can use the hashtag #chicagofoodbloggers on Instagram to search for relevant local or micro-influencers near by.
Image source: Instagram
Using hashtags like this, you can see the most popular posts and start to identify who’s putting out the most popular relevant content, and perhaps people already working with businesses like yours. This search type can also help you find some relevant local hashtags related to your industry to expand your search even further, as you can see below.
Image source: Instagram
However, it can be a little difficult to collect all relevant hashtags manually. Tools like Seek Metrics, Display Purposes, or Webstagram can generate a list of relevant hashtags for you. And guess what? These are available for free.
You can also use Google to find micro-influencers, by searching ‘food bloggers in chicago’, for example. You can then evaluate them based on the kind of content they create, their audiences, and more to decide if they might be a good fit for your brand.
Image source: Google
3. Use influencer marketing platforms
Finding micro-influencers relevant to your niche can be very difficult. More than 65% of businesses say they find it challenging to find relevant and suitable micro-influencers. If you want to find local influencers manually, it can be a very time-consuming and taxing process.
You can use influencer marketing platforms to find relevant and authentic micro-influencers. Some of the most popular influencer marketing platforms are Reelio, BuzzSumo, and BuzzStream.
Reelio enables brands to efficiently find relevant micro-influencers from their industries. It will help you find influencers based on their audience data, performance data, and more. This ensures that you get the most accurate results without taking too much time.
Effective Ways to Approach Local or Micro-Influencers
Once you have your list of potential micro-influencers ready, it’s time to approach them. Before you talk to them, it’s best to know and understand their work. This will give you the edge over your competitors, who may well be charging in without a plan, and it will be easier to start a conversation with the influencers.
1. Get yourself on their radar
Follow your potential influencers on social media to make them aware of you. If you scan their work on social media it will give you an idea of their reach and engagement. Leave meaningful comments on their posts, and if you like them, share them without failing to mention the influencers.
If your potential influencers have a blog, you should follow their blog posts as well. Don’t comment just for the sake of it, though, because it will look spammy. Your comment needs to have some value. These practices will lead to long-lasting and strong relationships with micro-influencers.
2. Draft a win-win proposal
You need to develop a win-win proposal if the local influencers show interest in collaborating with you. At the beginning of the proposal, make sure to introduce yourself, then refer to some of the recent work of the influencer and show your appreciation of it.
The proposal also needs to have a clear description of goals and expected outcomes from the collaboration. This will help the micro-influencer understand their role and responsibilities in your marketing campaign.
The next section of the proposal needs to give the micro-influencer a reason to get back to you. It means that the offer should be intriguing and exciting for them. Also, you need to talk about how the opportunity is relevant to their niche.
Finally, end the proposal with a call-to-action and ask them for a good time to talk about the opportunity in detail.
3. Follow up
The chances are high that your potential micro-influencers might not get back to you immediately, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to collaborate with you. It’s important to understand that micro-influencers will get many emails from other businesses as well, and it’s difficult for them to reply to each and every email.
The best thing to do is to wait for a couple of days, and if you still haven’t received a reply from them, then send a follow-up email.
Strategies to Engage With Local or Micro-Influencers
1. Ask them for honest product or service reviews
Honest product reviews are a valuable form of social proof, which potential customers can refer to before they make purchasing decisions. These recommendations are honest, unbiased, and real. Research suggests that recommendations made by micro-influencers influence the purchasing decisions of 82% of consumers.
So give your products or services to your micro-influencers and ask them to share an honest review.
Caitlyn Kreklewich is a YouTuber with more than 33K followers on her account. She loves to create and share different types of looks and outfits through her videos. She also shares reviews of makeup and beauty products.
For example, in the following video, she shared a review of Suva Beauty Hydra Liner collection. The video has received more than 22K views. No matter what industry you’re in, there will be people talking online about the kinds of products or services you sell. Their audience sizes and reach may vary, but examples like these show that the appetite is there.
Image Source: YouTube
2. Get them to be brand advocates
When micro-influencers love brands and their products, the authenticity reflects in their content. This enables micro-influencers to create their best work because the content reflects the passion they have for the brand. This can motivate their followers even more to purchase the product.
Koa Organic Beverages, for example, has used this tactic very successfully. They partnered with micro-influencers to promote and increase awareness of their product.
The organic beverage brand gave a sample product to their micro-influencers, who then shared Instagram posts and talked about the benefits of the product. The campaign was successful, and the brand reached almost 500K individuals.
Image source: Instagram
3. Get them to create product tutorial videos
Tutorial videos are a great way to educate your followers about your products and services. This will give confidence to your potential customers to actually invest in your products. According to a study by Experticity, micro or local influencers are the best at explaining the functionality of a product.
For example, Omar is a freelance photographer with 11.5K subscribers on his YouTube channel. He created a tutorial video on how to use Adobe Lightroom, which to date, has received more than 190K views.
Image source: YouTube
If you work with local or micro-influencers, it will help you to build close relationships with your potential customers. But it’s a challenge to find relevant and authentic voices. One of the most effective ways, as mentioned above, is to use influencer marketing platforms to find local influencers.
Develop a win-win proposal and show how it can benefit the micro-influencer. You can then use strategies like getting them to create a tutorial video or turning them into brand ambassadors for your campaign.
If you have worked with micro or local influencers, feel free to share your experiences, or if you know any other ways to engage with them, please comment below.