Hyperlocal Actors & The Future of Influencer Marketing

2020-01-02 by Ronn Torossian

The meteoric rise of Instagram is undeniable. The social media platform has more users than ever before, with 111 million account holders now dedicating their spare minutes and hours of the day to the consumption of a range of media. At the same time, influencer marketing has evolved from a tactical marketing opportunity into a legitimate channel to reach online consumers.

the future of influencer marketing

However, one question that continues to hover over the world of social media advertising and influencer marketing is that of return on investment. The world of Instagram influencers is ever-changing, and countless brands have been fooled into putting their eggs into the wrong baskets.

Indeed, there seems to be an endless list of influencers that a brand could work with, from nano-influencers (3,000 to 10,000 followers), micro (10,001 to 100,000 followers), macro (100,001 to 1 million followers) to mega-influencers (more than 1 million followers). For brands unsure of where to start, the emergence of a new category, hyperlocal influencers, is excellent news.

Hyperlocal influencers are a form of micro-influencer that draws their audience not just from a shared interest and niche, but by geographical locations. Hyperlocal influencers tend to have earned their notoriety through being a voice in their local community, be they artists, campaigners, volunteers, or other fields. Follower counts of hyperlocal influencers obviously vary, but tend to be in the ballpark of 800 to 5,000 followers.

Hyperlocal influencers speak local, live local, and act local, making them uniquely placed to connect to the local consumer on a more personal level than their counterparts. This kind of intimacy gives brands the chance to tell their stories in the right places with a greater impact. Doing so regularly can help drive sales from target locales.

At the same time, hyperlocal influencers – who often work with influencer marketing agencies such as mine, 5WPR –  are often located away from major capital cities already densely populated with influencers. They can be more easily overlooked by major brand marketing teams, and instead typically work with small local businesses. As a result, hyperlocal influencer rates are typically lower than their city-based counterparts, and they may more readily deliver beyond the required scope of work for a partnered brand. 

One of the main reasons why influencer marketing has proven so successful is the relatability of this form of outreach. This is just as true for hyperlocal influencers.  For example, a new mother in Hawaii will tend to believe the recommendation of a mother-influencer based in her state rather than one in Mississippi, regardless of how many followers the latter mother has garnered. Hyperlocal influencers serve far more effectively than other influencers as extended word of mouth. 

Then, the challenge every brand needs to address is the question of whether hyperlocal influencers will serve as the final piece of the puzzle for digital media strategies. No two firms are the same, but with the rising costs associated with digital media campaigns and expanding groups of consumers looking to get away from the noise of non-stop advertisements, the authenticity of hyperlocal influencers shouldn’t be overlooked.

Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 200 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities