Community Leaders as IRL Influencers?

We all have trusted local sources we lean on for information, resources, activities, and other essentials. These individuals and organizations have proven themselves to be reliable. They have a solid reputation. We see eye-to-eye with them on important topics and consider them a thought leader.

Did someone spring to mind as you read through that description? There’s a good chance it’s not the same person your neighbor or coworker would picture. And in all reality, that’s a good thing. These are the connections we trust, carrying extra weight because they feel very personal.

Brands can leverage these relationships
As consumers, we trust the opinions of people we know and respect over any marketing a brand can put out there. In fact, word of mouth marketing impressions result in 5x more sales than a paid media impression, and people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.

People are more and more likely to take branded social media accounts and paid advertising with a grain of salt. But a single comment from a peer or community leader can change our opinion in an instant.

With that in mind, connecting with key opinion leaders in specific communities allows brands to disseminate information via trusted personal sources at scale. The social influencers we see with every swipe on networks like Instagram or Facebook carry some of the same weight when it comes to decision making. But even these individuals are one layer removed. It’s rare to personally interact with them in a meaningful way. While there is an element of relatability, you don’t expect to run into them at the store or walking your dog down the street.

However, amplifying your message via trusted community influencers creates exactly that kind of opportunity. Instead of an online personality sharing your message en masse via a screen, you’re able to leverage the personal relationships these individuals have in the real world.

Who is a community influencer?
This depends greatly on what your brand offers and who you offer it to. For one company, it could be an entire community center known for having great resources and staff members. For another, it could be a single grassroots activist who is renowned for championing a specific cause.

While it’s great to find these individuals and connect with them, doing it at scale is the best way to maximize your investment in a tactic like this. It gives you many opportunities to build on those localized relationships in strategic markets across the country. Not one town at a time.

How can they amplify your message?
This is why we’re really here. By giving community leaders truly helpful, meaningful resources—that happen to feature your brand—you can turn them into advocates for your company. Again, these resources will largely depend on your brand and what you offer.

For example, it could be materials for a planned community activity or event. Giving them a playbook, materials, and support offers local leaders a turn-key opportunity to engage their community while making a positive impact.

If your brand champions a specific cause, this can also be a great way to further that mission. For example, let’s say your CPG company aims to improve everyday nutrition and educate people about the food they eat. Providing a community leader with information around that cause and better-for-you samples can help people change their habits in a meaningful way. All while positively tying that change for the better to your brand.

Bringing it all together
As you can see, building a cause marketing campaign that leverages the reputations of local community members requires a few key things. From a national network of trusted individuals and organizations to a strong message and clear plan to get materials in their hands.

We’re here to help. The team at ITK Collective has decades of experience working with these key opinion leaders. We’ll help you execute a cause marketing campaign from start to finish, building brand awareness and loyalty along the way.

Contact us by emailing [email protected] to get started today.



ITK Collective            Charleston, SC 29403 
[email protected]