The no B.S. guide to influencers and how local businesses can benefit from big players in their own backyard.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of collaboration. A business collaborates with an influential person to promote something. It could be a product, service, or campaign. Celebrity endorsements were the original form of influencer marketing. But in today’s digital world, social content creators with niche audiences can often offer more value to brands. These people have dedicated and engaged groups of followers on social media. They are known simply as “social media influencers.”
Influencer marketing is said to reach $6.5 billion [spent] in 2019 and brands all over the US are jumping on board. Not only are big brands like Joss and Main participating, but smaller eCommerce brands like Collected are too. Many brands now have a dedicated budget within their digital strategy to include influencer marketing as they now rely on it as a huge traffic driver and many are seeing a great return on their investment.
Digital marketers are spending at least 10% of their marketing communication budget on influencer marketing. So if a company spends $30,000 a month on digital marketing then $3,000+ of that could be dedicated to partnering with influencers.
What about the other $27,000? Those dollars are going towards other forms of digital marketing that include Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram ads, YouTube preroll, and email marketing.
E-A-T it Up
These days in digital media, companies have to “pay to play.” Sure, you can still get lucky with a viral post every now and then, but the rules of engagement have changed. Even Google’s Organic Search engine has spent time and resources updating their algorithms to reward sites that have more E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trust).
What does this mean? It means that Google, now more than ever is cluing in on what is most important to searchers… TRUST!
It’s human nature. You want to buy something, create a recipe, try a DIY, or take advice, from someone you trust. This is why REVIEWS have become such a large ranking factor for businesses.
If you are a local business and you hear one thing from this post it’s that REVIEWS MATTER!
How do you get reviews? You get people talking! Online and in person.
Can Influencer Marketing Work for a Smaller, Local Business?
YES! As a local business, your big players are right in your own backyard.
Heather Brown of MyLifeWellLoved.com is what I would consider one of the OG bloggers in Birmingham. She started blogging in 2012 and has grown an impressive community online via her website, Facebook, and Instagram (@MyLifeWellLoved). Her bubbly and positive personality keep readers and I coming back for more each day. When Heather talks, her community listens. This is a real thing to brag about, especially in such a saturated market. Many can claim to be an influencer, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if these bloggers have any real influence.
When online influencers like Heather talk about your product or business it can make a huge impact. Which I think many local businesses are starting to catch on to, but are still confused on the best way to reach out and partner with influencers.
Want to know where to start and what questions to ask to find the best ambassadors for your business? We’re diving deep inside local influencer marketing in this post.
Think Globally, Partner Locally
Ever feel like the bigger bloggers that live in your area are only doing national partnerships? It’s true! It’s because these bloggers know what value they hold and are likely running their blog as a business and need to make money to stay afloat.
While local businesses are slowly starting to figure out the power of influencer marketing, some are still not completely bought into paying cash like you would for any other marketing services such as print, radio, billboards, etc.
Instead, many local businesses are interested in exchanging goods for premium influencer marketing services.
After speaking with a few Alabama bloggers that have well over 100,000 followers about this topic, they said, in fact, they want to work with more local businesses, but unfortunately the businesses want so much exposure in return for a few gifted items of clothing or meals that is just doesn’t make for a mutually beneficial partnership.
Partnering with a blogger/influencer is no different than buying other forms of advertising. I would even go as far as to say that influencer marketing can be even more effective than some traditional forms depending on what your goals are. Instead of stabbing at air as you would doing radio, print, or even some digital marketing; partnering with an influencer is super targeted because of the niche audiences they hold.
Great ROI from influencer marketing doesn’t just come from big players with 100K + followers. Today, national and local brands are partnering with bloggers and influencers of all size! Take a look at the impact influencer marketing made on this brand new small biz in their first year.
Real Birmingham, AL Case Study
1 year timeframe – Influencer brought in 10-12 referrals
Average Customer Bill: $160
Number of times that customer returns in one year: 4-6 times
Estimated Revenue Generated Off Referrals: $11,040.00 +
Services Given by Influencer:
2 Blog Posts
Instagram & Facebook Posts
20-30 Story Mentions
Multiple DMs/Questions Answered about business
Would you believe me if I told you that the main source of this case study was a micro-influencer – a mere beginner? How can great success like this happen?
The influencer (in this case study) started organically mentioning the business, wrote a few blog posts and genuinely shared her love for this new business. The best partnerships are the ones that stem from true compatibility.
The Cost of Good Marketing
Cost and time break down of content creation by the influencer:
1 Hour: Shooting Content
1 Hour: Curating Story / Editing Photos
3-4 Hours: Writing, Editing and Publishing Post
Priceless: the amount of time collectively spent growing their online presence, building like/know/trust with their audience.
THAT, piece of pricelessness is what you are paying for when you partner with an influencer or blogger.
It takes years to build a loyal and trusting audience. Tap into your ideal audience through local influencer marketing!
Moving Forward and Forging Relationships
What Do Successful Partnerships Look Like?
Successful partnerships come when both parties are excited to share a story. Good stories take time to develop and tell. This means that the best partnerships are made over time.
How to Find a Good Partner for My Business?
Start by following all local influencers and bloggers you come across online. Even if at first glance they might not seem like your ideal ambassador, I encourage you to stay for a while. Watch their stories, read their posts and see if their aesthetic and voice aligns well with your business.
How to Set Your Marketing Goals?
- If you are looking to test the market with a certain influencer, and have a lower budget to start out, I would suggest trying InstaStories.
- If you have a comparable or greater following than the influencer, an Instagram takeover could be mutually beneficial.
- If you are looking to gain permanent exposure, I would suggest going for a blog post and social promotion package. In this case, the blogger/influencer would write a blog post about your business and promote it to their readers through the Instagram feed, Facebook feed, and possibly an email list. The addition of a blog post is great because readers know the exact place where they can go to get ALL the information about your business from this influencer. Static blog posts also serve as valuable SEO content for your business which can do wonders for your website traffic.
What’s the Investment?
When reaching out to a potential partner, be sure to ask for a media kit and rate card. Their media kit will give you a one-pager about their brand, blog, and social stats, etc. The rate card will give you a good idea of what they charge for the services I have suggested above (InstaStories, Social Posts, Blog Content).
All bloggers and influencers operate independently, so content, prices, and results vary. This space can be hard to navigate and there’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all which is why I wanted to write this article. Don’t be intimidated by the unknown! Reach out and start interacting with your local influencers today. Need consulting? Drop us a line!
Let's Chat! Leave your comments, questions or requests