Marketing for small and local businesses can include anything from flyers to social media, or radio ads to email newsletters. But what about influencer marketing? Is this something reserved for big brands, or can local businesses actually profit from working with influencers too?

Influencers are this generation’s version of a celebrity endorsement, so in short – yes! Any business, big or small, can benefit from influencer marketing.

According to Tribe, Influencer Marketing is the fastest growing customer acquisition model, with 40% of businesses dedicating budget to it and 80% of those using it finding success.

Influencers can help your business do two main things:

  • Build brand awareness among a local audience
  • Attract new customers to your business
Think of your audience first

The key to a successful campaign? It’s all in the influencer.

Audiences on social media look to and follow influencers that they trust and admire – the same as people do celebrities. Most teenage girls for example are more likely to buy something used and recommended by Selena Gomez than they are Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

It’s important therefore that you have a really good understanding of who your target audience and ideal customer are. You’ll then need to use that information to work with an influencer who has a similar audience.

Of course, in today’s age, celebrities and influencers walk a fine line that could easily get blurred. Take the Kardashian’s for example. Love them or hate them, they’re celebrities in their own right and have also become influencers, charging more than a million dollars for a single Instagram post.

But the problem with these massive influencers for small businesses (aside from the budget) is that they actually have a disconnect with their audiences. This is where micro influencers come into the picture.

What is a micro-influencer?

Unlike the celebrity influencer, micro-influencers are those folks with roughly 10K-20K followers (some will say up to 100,000). They have a highly targeted, very niche audience that feels like they know the person on the other side of the screen. Engagement is usually higher, and trust levels are through the roof.

Typically, these are local people who really focus on local products, brands, and businesses. Because they’re “just like us,” their followers value their opinion.

And, bonus: their rates usually aren’t $1 million per post, either. 

Check out these Canadian micro-influencers for some examples:

How do you get started with influencer marketing?

There’s a bit of work to do before you start approaching local influencers offering a partnership. Here are five key steps to get you started:

  1. Get really clear on who your target audience is
  2. Start searching Instagram for local micro-influencers with similar audiences (or your preferred platform, but remember that Instagram has the highest engagement rate among social networks, which is important when trying to connect with an audience)
  3. Decide on your budget and what product or service you would like to promote.
  4. Decide what kind of campaign you are looking for. Remember that most influencers will have certain ways of working with brands that are on-brand for them, and you’ll have to work within those parameters. For example, if the influencer never posts reels, they likely won’t want to start now.
  5. Reach out via the appropriate channels – many influencers will have an agency manage their requests for them and will include this info in their Instagram bio. 

Influencer marketing might sound like something reserved only for big brands with deep pockets, but by tapping into the local micro-influencer market you can set yourself and your business up for success. To discover more unique ways to grow your local business, check out our blog or book a free consultation.