Influencer marketing isn’t new. In fact the industry has grown so much that it’s now being parceled out into varying categories.
Let’s break them down: Mega influencers have over 1 million followers. Macro have 500k to 1 million. Mid-tier have 50k to 500k and micro have 10k-50k followers. Nano or local influencers can have anywhere from 1-10k followers.
That last area is our sweet spot at the Hummingbirds and also an underutilized group. Many brands are enamored with the large or even mid-sized follower counts of popular influencers but miss the vast potential and deep trust they can borrow from individuals with smaller audience sizes.
If you’re looking to spread through a city like wildfire, a hummingbird or nano influencer is your best bet. Larger scale influencers typically have audiences composed of followers all across the country and sometimes, the world. So even if you think you’re finding a “local” person with 20,000 followers, most of those followers aren’t based in the city where the influencer lives.
Your goal of blowing up that geographic area with your brand will fall flat because a post with that influencer is only going to hit 2% of the locals and likely to get lost among the influencer’s other sponsored content.
However, if you tapped a couple dozen hummingbirds from one specific city and got them to share a post to their 2,500 followers, you’re going to more deeply and quickly integrate into the web of the community.
Because those local influencers don’t consider themselves influencers and that’s a good thing.
They are bloggers with a few hundred viewers a month, local business owners, passionate nonprofit fundraisers, people who review pizza joints regularly or hunt around for the best coffee shop. When they find new brands, events or products they like, they share about it, for fun. They have met the majority of their followers in real life or have had conversations in the DM’s. They have strong connections and a level of trust that any brand would be lucky to borrow.
One post with a local influencer translates to more ROI than just social media reach. It’s a conversation about your brand in the school pick up line. A referral to you while walking out the door of a meeting or links to your website passed between friends.
This collection of people all talking about a brand experience within a specific geographic area builds momentum very quickly.
And before you know it, your brand is the talk of the town.
Convinced in the power of nano influencers yet? Let’s leverage them for your brand.
1. Send Them Your Product to Review
The first and probably most popular way to work with local influencers is by sending them your product directly. By getting your items in their hands, you’re boosting the authenticity of the content they create because they’ve actually gotten a chance to try your brand’s offering IRL.
You can send out the product via snail mail or if you’ve got a local location, you can ask your influencers to stop by and pick it up in person. Don’t overlook the delivery of the product. Every step on the journey is an opportunity to wow with your customer service and brand experience. This might mean an extra handwritten note in the initial package about how excited you are to work together or maybe it’s a simple effort to introduce yourself to each and every influencer who stops by to pick up their package.
These little moments are what increase your brand equity and increase the likelihood that the influencer will create engaging, favorable content promoting your brand.
In the past, we’ve worked with many different types of brands, and all have offered widely different perks to our birds. One custom gift brand offered free pot holders customized with a bird’s family recipe. A sustainable e-commerce brand allowed each bird to pick out an item of their choice on her website. The product doesn’t even have to be physical. One local photographer worked with the Hummingbirds to increase awareness around the launch of her new presets.
No matter what kind of offering you have, working with nano, local influencers is an effective way to deeply penetrate specific communities.
2. Gift Your Service
We’ve dove into products, but what about services? What if your offering can’t be wrapped up and shipped in a box? You can still work with influencers. In fact, it’s increasingly becoming more imperative that you do.
Before we book a service, we often ask friends and family for advice or we go online and peruse Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews. We’re looking for external validation that the brand experience will match what the brand portrays.
One way to create more chances to showcase your service in action is by working with local influencers who can try out your services and share their experiences with their followers. Sarah is much more likely to trust her coworker Angela’s recommendation for the interior designer on Main Street than she is a radio ad for the same brand.
You can offer a gift card or complimentary service that you’re hoping to generate more buzz around, whether that’s a customer favorite or new launch. To ensure a successful campaign, you’ll want to tighten up every aspect of the process for your service from start to finish so that when influencers go through it, they can accurately showcase to their followers what it’s like to work with you.
Brands with service-based businesses have gifted hummingbirds cycling classes, tickets to a race track, haunted house, gardening classes and musicals. Just because influencers dominate the DTC and product-based worlds doesn’t mean they can’t be extremely successful for the service, event-based industries as well.
3. Make It An Experience
Brand activations and influencer events are incredibly effective ways to make a splash. When paired with local influencers, it can also be a smart way to saturate a community’s feed with content about your brand.
An event with 25 birds, all with their own social followings that partially overlap, means that your event is likely to show up in the feeds of a city’s residents two or three times if not more than that.
Suddenly, Sam is seeing post after post about Pizza on the Prairie, a new event hosted by the Wallace Centers, and he decides to visit their profile to see what all the buzz is about. Maybe Sam decides to buy a ticket to the next event or maybe he doesn’t. But the point is that he is one step closer to becoming a buyer AND Wallace Centers is now top of mind, meaning he could mention it to a friend who is looking for something to do when her parents come to town or he’s filing it away to remember for next month.
Research shows that it can take, on average, anywhere from 5-20 touch points before a consumer is converted into a buyer. Every post someone sees in their feed is another opportunity to engage with you and deepen their familiarity and trust with your brand.
Besides Pizza on the Prairie, the Hummingbirds have also participated in experiences like a farm to table dinner, a gathering at an event space, a local winery’s live music event, a charcuterie board picnic, an upcoming year calendar reveal with an event venue and more.
Experiences don’t have to be grand but putting in extra effort to make sure each detail is reflective of and consistent with your brand’s values will only go further in building your brand awareness and increasing revenue.
4. Engage With Them
One piece we see brands missing the mark on all the time is what happens right after a local influencer posts content. It’s getting engagement from their followers and generating buzz but the brand itself is dark. No engagement, no response, nada.
Don’t let that be you!
Followers of local influencers like the hummingbirds aren’t just watching the content the creator posts, they are also watching for the response from the brand, or lack thereof. They may not consciously realize it but they’re judging the strength of a brand’s commitment to their customers by whether or not you’re showing up and actively engaging with the content you’re mentioned in.
Typically, you’ll know in advance when influencers will be posting content for your brand. So mark it on the calendar and watch for it. Then you can like it, comment, and potentially re-post to your own stories or feeds. Comments can be as simple as a “thanks for stopping by” or a more detailed, personalized response tailored to the creator. The more specific you can get, the more genuine you’ll appear but any response is better than no response.
Taking it to the next level and reposting not only builds goodwill with the creator because you’re introducing their audience to yours but it also builds social proof. Social proof is the idea that we look to one another for confirmation or rejection of behaviors or actions. Reviews, testimonials, and social content created by influencers are all great examples of social proof.
Reposting content created by someone else talking about your brand will have more credibility in the eyes of your audience than anything you ever post yourself.
5. Repurpose The Content They Produce
That leads us to number five, getting the most mileage out of the user-generated content created for you by local influencers. Once you’ve got the posts, it’s time to make the most of them.
The first way to repurpose content has already been mentioned: re-posting to your Instagram stories. When you share to Stories, make sure to add your own context or commentary and then go the extra mile by saving it in a Highlight on your Instagram account. You could call it “Customer Reviews,” “XYZ Brand in the Wild,” or something else that taps into the language you regularly use in your brand.
When new followers are coming to your account they’re scrolling through your profile just like they would a website, so make sure you have a place for them to see real customers and experiences with your brand from that external POV.
Another way to repurpose content is to ask the creator for the image they posted and then re-use it on your website, in social media or other places you publish content. A photo created by someone else will further your brand’s social proof.
Always ask permission from the influencer before you screenshot their photo or use their image. It can come back to bite you if you do not because you do not own the rights to the image.
There’s nothing more effective than word of mouth marketing. Now, the Hummingbirds have made it strategic and intentional. When real people in your local community spread positive opinions in a genuine way, the influence runs deep and lasts a lifetime.
Partnering with the birds looks like:
- We help you set up an experience for hummingbirds to try
- Hummingbirds opt in to the experience
- Hummingbirds try out your brand
- Hummingbirds share it on social media
It’s that easy. And you can get started for a cost as low as $100/bird
If you’re ready to see if the Hummingbirds are right for your brand expansion, get this form filled out right here.