Are hyperlocals part of your engagement strategy?

Hyperlocal channels including blogs, twitter accounts, Facebook pages and groups, vary in size, scale and value. Finding the right ones to engage with could make a real difference to the success of your organisation’s communications strategy.

For press teams used to dealing with more traditional media, the usefulness of hyperlocals can sometimes be overlooked.

We’ve just finished a fascinating piece of work for a Essex County Council evaluating their existing social media channels and seeking out influencers and hyperlocals for them to engage with.

Thanks to an enjoyable half day of research we found well written community websites, passionate local bloggers, niche Twitter accounts, and thriving Facebook pages. All potentially of value for the council to work with, either because of their geographical coverage or interest area. Interestingly some of the older websites were now being updated less and less often with more regular posts and sharing of local news on the linked Facebook page. But one site we found had 31.5 million hits in its  8 years of operation. Many of the channels we found weren’t ones the council were aware of, let alone working with.

Finding the accounts is only half of the work, engagement is key. But it needn’t be scary. Just like working with traditional media, research and relevancy are all important. Being careful to only get in touch with stories that are directly of interest through geography or subject matter is key. Spend some time reading through recent posts so you can make a good pitch.

We were delighted to receive feedback from Essex County Council who had successfully contacted one of the bloggers we’d identified, received a very positive response and had quickly had an article published on the blog. One of the accounts they engaged with was traditionally quite anti-Council, but a well researched and personal approach paid off.

With local papers and radio stations working with reduced budgets and staffing levels and often reaching less people as a result, hyperlocals in their various forms are an increasingly important way to make sure your organisation reaches key audiences.

We loved working on this project and hope the positive results keep coming in.