Nowadays, for most businesses around the world, maintaining a good relationship with local influencers is a very important aspect of the entire strategy of local SEO.
In this article, we will going to shed some light on what exactly are local influencers and how they influence the local SEO, as well as practical insights on how you can find and maintain a good relationship with them, among other useful information.
We hope that, at the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea of why local influencers are so important for your business and for your local SEO strategy’s success.
What Is A Local Influencer?
To determine who is a local influencer in your industry, you must first set up your KPI and establish what qualities a person must have to make those KPI happen.
First of all, a strong local influencer must have a blog or a website with a decent amount of traffic, a large number of followers on their Google+ profile or on any other relevant social network and, overall, an increased level of exposure that will enable your message to be heard loud and clear by the right crowd. His or her willingness to help you in your endeavor is, of course, another key element, which makes your approach strategy very important.
How Local Influencers Impact The Local SEO
The true value of local influencers is their ability to have a huge impact on your business’s local visibility with minimal effort, using the Pareto principle: get 80% of the results with 20% effort, because, unlike many top influencers, local influencers are more willing to be approached by you.
As Google is getting smarter every day, a tweet from a local influencer in your town can not only bring real customers to your door, but will also send local signals which a more authoritative influencer, from another town, would not be able to do. In other words, a tweet from a local influencer from your town, with 50 followers on Twitter, can have more impact than one from a top influencer in your industry, with 5000 followers spread all across the country.
How To Find Local Influencers?
Depending on your industry specifics, the best way to find your local influencers is focus on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Pinterest. Narrow down your list to middle level influencers (500 to 2000 followers), as A-list influencers will most likely be uninterested in leveraging your business in the early stages and, as everyone’s golden goose, the chances are they will also be harder to get in touch with.
To help you discover your local influencers, we’ve put together a compact list of tools that are efficient and easy to work with:
- Followerwonk.com: use Twitter Analytics to find, analyze and optimize your strategy for social growth
- Buzzsumo.com:- to analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor and find the key influencers to promote your content
- Klout: to estimate the influence of different local influencers to proper prioritize the outreach campaign
- For Google+ local influencers, just query Google for site:plus.google.com “your keyword” “lives in your town”
Even though there are other tools out there which could show you the main influencers on each social network, statistically speaking, an influencer with a blog is an influencer on Facebook too, for example, because he is also directly involved in increasing his blog popularity in social media.
After extracting the top local ranking blogs in your industry using a tool like my own GeoRanker (it also has API capabilities), you should then use MOZ API to sort them by DA –domain authority, since DA is a good estimation of the blogger’s influence, as SEO and social presence go hand in hand these days. Keep in mind that for link building outreach campaigns, you should also take into consideration the PA (page authority) of the article that ranks.
When it comes to forging and improving your relationship with local influencers, bear in mind that social media is a powerful tool. Therefore, we created a list with the four most used social networks, explaining how each of them can help you give your business a visibility boost:
- Google+ is a great way of gaining more visibility in Google. By joining related communities on Google+ or by creating your own, you can discover and be discovered by new audiences and local influencers.
- Facebook continues to be the main social playground for many businesses, so your influencers are probably here, too. Join related groups, follow targeted pages, listen to what the audiences linger for, and produce high quality content that’s compelling and easy to share. The more active you’ll be, the more influencers will notice you and see you as one of their own.
- Twitter is all about getting to the point in only 140 characters. Keep it simple and informative. Don’t forget about using proper hashtags and don’t overdo it: 2-3 hashtags per tweet will be more than enough.
- LinkedIn is more of a B2B platform, still, you can leverage it by using its new blogging feature to increase your visibility within the network. Yet, this doesn’t beat having a personal blog, where you have full control over the content and the ways it can be displayed even years from now.
How To Engage With Local Influencers
The rule of the thumb is, in order to be promoted by a local influencer you should be worth that promotion.
Start a blog and make each post easily shareable. Create social profiles on all of these social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIN and Pinterest. Even if you don’t use all of them on a daily basis, the chances are you’ll meet a local influencer who does, so it’s best to be prepared. Don’t forget to complete your profile on every of these social networks and even interlink them, so people that prefer to contact you on Facebook but find your profile on LinkedIn can easily get in touch with you.
Make a professional email like email@example.com and use an email signature with links both to your site/blog and your most used social networks.
Excel is your friend. Use it to note local influencers name, blog/site, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest profiles. You can also make note of their followers, likes, average reshares, retweets and repins.
Create a tailored outreach message for each social network that complies with each network’s specifics. When drafting the outreach message, using the person’s name can go a long way, especially if you have already interacted with that person before asking for a favor, in the form of likes, shares or direct messages on generic topics.
At the start of your outreach campaign, make sure you do not overwhelm the influencer by contacting them on all channels available at the same time, as this will most likely make you look as a spammer and prevent you from getting a reply. Instead, start with one social network and move onto the next one in a couple of days, if you don’t get a response in a timely manner. To help you prioritize the communication channels and choose the right social platform to initiate a conversation, you can use the last time a post was published as a benchmark, since different people prefer different social platforms depending on how much spare time they have or how much details are they willing to provide (140 characters on Twitter or a full blog post on their blog).
How To Maintain The Relationships With The Local Influencers
You will be amazed to see how responsive local influencers can be if you’re also willing to help them with something they need. Some of them will need time to aggregate content, some of them will need something to offer to their audience – this is a great opportunity to sponsor their blog and have new people find out about your products or services. Sponsorship is also a great way to make yourself noticed by other local influencers.
To harness the power of your chosen local influencers, you can:
- invite them as speakers at your events, to increase your awareness;
- offer privileged access ‘behind the scenes’ so you can connect with them on a more personal level;
- invite them to test to new products or ideas and ask for their feedback, which will not only help your product development process but also make them feel valued.
Don’t forget that keeping in touch with your local influencers can be challenging: a good relationship needs years to forge and can be lost in a second. Just make their life easier and they will do the same for you. Instead of trying to gain their trust you should simply ask how you can help them. Be courteous in your approach and always make sure to appreciate and compensate their efforts. This is the best strategy for creating long lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.
How To Keep Track Of The Local Influencers
Once you’ve found your industry’s local influencers and established a connection, it’s time to get neat and organized. Here are the tools we recommend for keeping up with every single one of your influencers so you won’t miss out on important updates and information:
- DiggReader is one of the most useful tools to keep track of all the local influencers. You can use it to quickly read their new blog posts and interact with them if you consider it necessary.
- Use Facebook’s function “get notifications” – you can find it by clicking on the down arrow on the “friend” button.
- Use Google Alerts for the local influencers names (don’t forget to put their names in quotes) to keep up with their work.
Successful Examples of Business and Local Influencers Partnerships
Getting the right influencer to support and talk about your business has enormous benefits, ranging from increased visibility to more customers and sales.
When online retailer Revolve Clothing opened a temporary store in Grove Mall, L.A., they recruited Chriselle Lim, 29, of Manhattan Beach to help them promote the new storefront. She accepted and Revolve paid for her Uber ride to the store and gave her credit to buy a light-pink leather jacket and a camel-colored coat which she noticed online. This was a productive deal for both parties: Lim posted two photos of her Revolve visit onto Instagram, drawing more than 12,000 “likes” combined.
Another successful example is that of NatureBox. They worked closely with blogger Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo who, at that time, had over 50,000 Instagram followers, and posted three photos of Joanna’s children enjoying the snacks described in their monthly roundup post. This resulted in 1,200 likes, and gave NatureBox a boost of awareness and credibility.
How To Become A Local Influencer
Becoming a local influencer in your industry can be a time consuming process but the fruits of your work will surely be more than satisfying as a growing authority will also increase your ability to sell.
First step in becoming a local influencer is to think like one: take a look at what top influencers in your industry do then replicate and even try to come up with something new.
Establishing connections with the relevant local influencers is the first step of being accepted and seen as part of the community. Still, you have to provide real value by writing great content that covers your business topics and shows off your expertise.
Share local influencers’ content and they will surely be more eager to return the favour and share yours.
Don’t forget: people who only talk about themselves in social media often fail to captivate their audience. Talk about the industry in general, talk about others (you can focus on those that talk about you and also on the most authoritative influencers in your market that everybody already talks about) and then pitch your products or services, especially if they can provide real value for the targeted consumers.
What is your favorite and most lucrative way to interact with the local influencers in your industry?