Influencer — it seems to be every marketer’s favorite word. We now live in a world of influencers. Kylie Jenner is on her way to being the youngest self-made billionaire and how has she achieved that? Is she a captain of industry? Is she a leading tech innovator? No, she’s an influencer. The rise of social media influencers has changed the marketing landscape for large and small businesses alike. Consumers trust the recommendations of other people first, especially when it comes to purchase decisions. 92% of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth… above all other forms of advertising! Social media influencers have built their following from a mix of passion, trust, and knowledge. This gives them a powerful platform for highlighting their local communities and inspiring action from their followers.
While you might not have the resources to get a celebrity to endorse your product or service, there is an even more powerful tool you can tap into — micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are a great resource for small businesses looking to make a bigger impact (at a much lower cost). Micro-influencers generally have between 1,000 – 10,000 followers on social platforms. They have a direct, personal connection with their audience and often see higher engagement than influencers with more followers. Because they are part of your local community, they have “street cred” when it comes to knowing the best your city has to offer. Micro-influencers are local experts–and they are usually excited to work with brands and businesses they love!
Tips for Building Buzz with Micro-Influencers
Influencers have the ability to create compelling, authentic content that can reach a niche they cater to–fitness, travel, foodies, fashion, and more. How can you use them to help spread the word about your business? As a thought leader in her field thanks to her social savviness, we asked Jacqueline Perry, owner of Permanent Appeal in Bellevue, WA to share her experience and insights:
Why did you decide to use micro-influencers for your business?
I had zero beauty industry experience so I didn’t have any clientele and needed to find a creative way of marketing my brand. I decided to use influencers because I knew that it would help build trust with their followers and eventually lead them in my direction for the service. I also knew if I found local influencers that their following would likely all be local for me as well.
How did you find the right people to partner with?
Initially, I had no clue! I started with some intense Instagram stalking of local influencers. I knew that if I found women who focus on beauty/fashion they could potentially help me by posting about my service. I also knew that these women would be happy to help another local woman-owned business.
What did the process of reaching out and working with them entail?
I honestly drafted a simple message and started sending mass amounts of Instagram DM’s. I figured “what’s the worst that can happen?” and wasn’t even sure if anyone would respond. I was pleasantly surprised to get many responses! It reaffirmed my passion for women helping women. I was amazed at how many like-minded people were out there willing to support me. Some of these influencers had no clue what services I was offering, but were still 100% willing to help.
How has partnering with micro-influencers benefited your business?
These influencers helped me build my brand tremendously. I created a spreadsheet to track where my clients found me. It was very insightful to see who ended up bringing me clients from their posts and if the trade for service was worth it. It was worth every DM I sent! Some more than others, but mostly I was able to build a network of strong, kind, fascinating women.
I’m now two years in with my business and I’ve grown twice as fast as anyone who is new in this industry. This wasn’t solely based on my partnership with them, but it was beneficial for me being new to the industry. Micro-influencers can impact the way people buy or shop for many things and when you find the right people to partner with it’s a win-win.
Resources for Engaging Micro-Influencers
A great resource to help you get started with influencer marketing is Sprout Social’s guide to identifying social media influencers. You can also check out influence.co as a one-stop-shop for finding local influencers. While using influencers can be a great marketing tool, there are rules and guidelines set by the FTC when it comes to these relationships. Be sure to review the FTC’s Endorsement Guides before moving forward with a social media influencer campaign.
We’ve had a long history of building a community of engaged locals ourselves! Yelp’s community managers host regular events for their Yelp Elite Squads, the most active and influential local Yelpers. This crew of influencers and uber consumers are the source for where to go and what to do in their cities. To learn more about the Yelp Elite Squad and how your business get can involved with the Yelp community, visit https://www.yelp.com/elite/.