When visiting a new country or city, who do you turn to first for the best tips? A local. The same can be said for brands entering new regions. Local influencers provide the best insights and access to local audiences.

You can compare local influencers to local tour guides—they know all the ins and outs of your target audience and people trust their recommendations. Keep reading for six reasons why you should consider local influencer marketing and how to find the right people to partner with your brand.

But first, let’s get clear on what a local influencer is. 

What is local influencer marketing?

A local influencer taking pictures to promote a global brand at an event

A local influencer has a loyal audience in their specific region. They don’t necessarily have a large following—usually between 1,000 to 10,000 followers—but their audience is highly engaged.

Local influencer marketing leverages these individuals to increase brand awareness among target markets. Many influencers also focus on a specific niche, such as lifestyle, travel, parenting, fitness, beauty, and many more!

Nano-influencers vs. micro-influencers vs. macro-influencers

With influencer marketing growing substantially, marketers have started classifying influencers according to their follower count and what benefit they bring to your local influencer strategy.

  • Nano-influencers have less than 1,000 followers
  • Micro-influencers have 1,000 to 100,000 followers
  • Macro-influencers have 100,000 to 1 million followers
  • Mega-influencers have over a million followers

Most local social media influencers are likely to fall within the nano-influencer and micro-influencer categories. Local micro-influencers, in particular, offer a sweet spot for local marketers as they’re still sizable in scale, but tend to have a more engaged audience.

Choosing who you work with depends on the goals and KPIs of your local influencer marketing campaign:

“Macro-influencers are used to drive brand or product awareness, so you can look at the number of views. Micro-influencers have a stronger connection to their audience, so KPIs might include clicks or sales conversions.” – David Robson, global community and influencer manager at Deep Silver

It also depends on your budget:

“Micro-influencers are great for brands without a large budget. While you won’t get the reach you’ll get with a macro-influencer, micro-influencers get higher engagement rates. So it’s really a strategic decision for your brand and depends on your goals and budget for the campaign.” – Rudy Dupuis, global social media strategist at Clarins

See also: How to optimize your global social media strategy

Niki Albon, head of creative at Cherry Pick Talent, talks about a new terminology in the field of influencers: key opinion leaders:

“These creators are experts in their field but they have the influence of a traditional influencer. I think of them as the cool kid in the group of friends, where their network is quite small but they hold a lot of sway over them with their influence.”

Watch our full interview with Niki Albon and VeraContent CEO Shaheen Samavati, as they share expert advice for getting results from influencer marketing.

6 reasons to incorporate local influencer marketing into your global marketing strategy

If you’re unsure about what local influencer marketing can do for your business, here are six benefits of working with local influencers.

1. Local influencers are relatable

The right local social media influencers will faithfully represent your target audience, as they live in the same place and share similar interests and perspectives. After all, they’re ordinary people who are simply sharing content about things they like in an authentic and genuine way. All of this makes them more easily relatable.

“If you want your brand to communicate and get close to your audience, it’s really, really important to regionalize your content. You need to understand who you’re talking to. That’s why influencer campaigns are so effective, because they’re speaking to their own, very local audience.” – Livia Gonçalves, senior account manager at Media.Monks

See also: How to write engaging copy for social media and why it’s important

2. Their content drives an emotional response

Compared to Facebook ads, influencer marketing is 64% more emotionally intense and 182% more memorable. This is because their content isn’t perceived as interrupting the user’s “scroll time.” Followers are actively choosing to watch, view and enjoy the content—they’re not forced to do so via paid ads.

See below an example of a more personal post by South African-based local influencer @_mishalevin on her thoughts surrounding Mother’s Day. Her caption hit a soft-spot for many mothers who felt the same way and inspired highly emotive responses, proving the above point that local social influencers are more relatable. 

While this particular post wasn’t in collaboration with any brand, it helps build trust among her followers, who then continue to engage with her branded content.

Local influencer, Misha Levin, sharing an emotional post with her followers
Instagram post by @_mishalevin

“[Micro-influencers] interact with consumers and customers—often people they’ve met in real life—who are very interested in listening to what they have to say. We don’t want our influencers to be too branded; we want them to be authentic.” – Piera Valentina Toniolo, social media pro at Estée Lauder

See also: Social media localization: Go global without fresh content

3. Local influencers have a more targeted audience

Most local social influencers focus on a specific niche. And the more targeted their focus is, the more engaged their followers are. They’re following them for a reason: to engage with content focused on what they’re interested in—whether it’s DIY house tips, food inspiration, beauty products or neighborhood events.

A great example of a local influencer with a highly targeted audience is UK-based @thegardensofgaia. Georgette’s account focuses on plants and attracts other plant-loving people.

See below an example of a brand collaboration she did with a UK-based online plant shop and a few of the engaging comments from her social media followers on the post.

4. They’re cost-effective 

The cost of working with more popular influencers is increasing each year, with reports of macro-influencers charging between $20,000–$45,000 per Instagram post. Meanwhile, local influencers charge a lot less— around $500 – $2,000 per Instagram post.

In many cases, local nano- and micro-influencers will support your brand for free with an incentive—either a freebie, discount or affiliate code where they get a commission. However, if you want the influencer to create a full local social media campaign, make sure to have some budget to pay them—that way you’ll get higher quality content. It takes a lot of effort to create content, so naturally, you’ll build a better relationship with influencers who feel like they’re not getting taking advantage of.

“The quality of an influencer’s content and their relationship with the audience is imperative to develop an effective campaign.” – Alessia Coletta, global brand manager at Trainline

5. They drive more meaningful engagement 

According to impact.com’s research with WARC, micro-influencers have the best engagement rates even if their number of followers is smaller.

Engaging with a local influencer feels more like entering a conversation. Your comment is far more likely to be noticed and responded to on a local influencer social account versus an account with a massive following. And that’s why consumers are more likely to engage with local influencer content in a meaningful way.

We’re not talking about likes and “bot-like” comments. Micro-influencers have 22.2 times more conversations weekly about purchasing recommendations compared to an average consumer.

See below an example from UK-based beauty influencer @tzonetara. This particular post—in collaboration with a local brand—has over 20 comments, including “Ok girl sold because I’m an eyeliner girl too, even if it’s the only thing I put on as well. I can’t live without it.” and “Need to try this!!”

Example of a local business and influencer collaboration
Instagram post by @tzonetara

6. The algorithms like highly engaging content

Social media algorithms are constantly evolving. But one thing that tends to stay the same is prioritizing engagement. And as we mentioned earlier, local influencers tend to have higher engagement rates. 

As social platforms evolve, follower accounts aren’t necessarily the only way to reach a wide audience. For example, local TikTok influencers can easily reach broader audiences without a large following as the algorithm serves up content to match the interests of each individual user. 

See also: 9 influencer marketing strategies used by the pros

How to find local influencers on Instagram

A person holding up a phone in the city with a local Instagram account on the screen

While you can connect with influencers across all social media platforms, Instagram is one of the most commonly used platforms for influencer collaborations.

So, here’s how to find local Instagram influencers:

Start with your customers and current Instagram followers. Your customers provide the most authentic word-of-mouth promotions on social media—and authentic, organic engagement always wins over paid influencer marketing campaigns.

Anyone who loves your brand can be an influencer for you. If someone tags you in a post, continue the conversation and engage back.

Like, comment and share the post. Perhaps even send them a freebie to encourage them to keep on promoting your brand. Building a relationship with local influencers starts with a simple conversation.

Often, local Instagram influencers will approach your brand account, asking to collaborate. Keep a lookout for any DM requests—just make sure to vet all possible local influencers to ensure they are, in fact, a good fit for your brand.

Working with local community managers to manage your localized social media accounts is a great way to stay on top of all requests and ensure that you’re collaborating with relevant influencers—locals always know best!

See also: How to build successful relationships with local community managers

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At VeraContent, we manage several local social media accounts for brands and have had local influencers approach the brand accounts looking to connect. One example was when a Netherlands-based local “catinfluencer”—@russianblueforyou—approached our client Sanicat to discuss a collaboration. With the help of our local community manager, we partnered with the influencer on a giveaway for their followers.

Within a couple of days of the giveaway, the post reached over 40,000 accounts, which represented a 70% increase at the time. Engagement on the Sanicat profile increased by over 480% and their follower count doubled within a few days. Since then, other “catfluencers” have reached out to the local community manager expressing interest in collaborating with the brand.

“We saw this opportunity as a chance to increase the brand’s followers in this specific market, as well as gain trust and confidence in their products thanks to the opinion of a trusted influencer among the cat-lovers community.” – Aurélie Berson, project manager at VeraContent.

Sanicat collaboration with local Netherlands influencer, Russianblues

Here are a few other ways to find local Instagram influencers:

  • Do local hashtag research, for example #barcelonafoodblogger
  • Use Google to search for relevant micro local influencers, for example “plant influencers in the UK”
  • Use influencer marketing platforms like Grin and Insense to search for locally relevant influencers 
  • Work with locally-based influencer agencies

Company size can also affect the methods used to find influencers:

“Big brands should always work with influencer agencies. Smaller brands should use trends or discovery features on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram to find effective micro-influencers.” – Alessia Coletta, global brand manager at Trainline

See also: Global influencer marketing strategy: 3 key insights

It all starts with high-quality local social media content

If you want to connect with local influencers, you need to start with having a local social media presence. Create local social media accounts for the regions you want to prioritize and start sharing high-quality content that engages your local audience. As these platforms start to grow, you’ll start attracting more local influencers.

At VeraContent, we specialize in social media localization that specifically targets localized audiences. We also work with local community managers who are native-speakers and based in the country you’re targeting, so you can be assured that your localized content will be aimed directly at your target audience. Get in touch to find out more!