What does an influencer do?
Influencers are storytellers, trendsetters, and, sometimes, even a brand’s best friend. But what exactly do they do?
Instagram influencers create content. Their content generally makes people stop scrolling and is engaging. Successful influencers post stunning photos, heartfelt videos, and witty captions. They know the art of storytelling that aligns with their personality and the brands they represent.
Influencers also engage with their wide audience. Social media influencers chat, respond, and connect with their followers. They build communities around shared interests, which is crucial for brands that want to create a loyal customer base. As a result, whenever they post, they get thousands if not millions of Instagram likes and comments.
Check out this single post made by Chiara Ferragni, one of the highest-earning Instagram influencers. It generated over 300,000 likes.
Lastly, influencers drive action. Followers can do everything from checking out a new product, visiting a website, or booking a slot based on an influencer’s recommendation like the one below:
Why? Because influencers have earned their followers’ trust. They exude a level of authenticity that prompts their social network followers to do what they’re told.
Overall, influencer marketing is a powerful strategy brands can leverage to get ahead of the competition. Combined with a comprehensive social media marketing platform like Flick that gives actionable insights into their campaigns, brands can generate up to $6.50 for every dollar invested in influencer marketing. That’s 11 times the ROI of banner ads! Sixty percent of marketers also say influencer marketing has a higher ROI than traditional marketing. All this isn’t to say you should rely solely on influencer marketing as a brand. You should also take advantage of other strategies to complement your influencer marketing campaigns. Why not engage the PR services of a reputable agency or leverage email marketing as well? With this holistic approach to brand promotion, you can expect even better results.
6 best ways to find Instagram influencers for your brand
Now that you understand the true power of Instagram influencers, the real challenge begins: how to find Instagram influencers who are the perfect match for your brand?
Let’s clarify that the ‘right’ influencer is not just about massive follower counts or celebrity status. You need to find someone whose style, values, and audience align with your brand’s identity. The right partner speaks your brand’s language and can engage with your target audience.
Luckily, we have several strategies you can use.
1. Conduct a Google Search
For many, the Google search engine is the obvious place to look for the right influencer for your brand. When conducting your research, start with simple keywords related to your industry plus “Instagram influencer.” For example, “fashion Instagram influencer” could lead you to articles listing top fashion influencers.
But don’t just skim the surface. Dive deeper into blog posts, interviews, and even news articles about relevant influencers making waves in your niche.
Try including terms like “up-and-coming” or “rising star” in your search. This way, you might stumble upon fresh faces who are eager to collaborate and grow with your brand. The best finds are sometimes hidden a few pages deep in Google’s search results, so don’t be afraid to explore.
Alongside traditional search methods, consider leveraging the power of generative AI. These AI tools can help you sift through vast amounts of online data to find influencers who are popular and truly relevant to your brand’s ethos and audience.
For example, you might use AI-driven tools to analyze blog posts, forum discussions, and even news articles about rising stars in your industry. Generative AI can process this information, identifying content patterns and audience connections you might miss with a standard search. As a result, you can uncover potential influencer campaign partnerships that are tailored to your brand’s specific needs, beyond just surface-level metrics.
Hashtags can effectively lead you to your perfect influencer.
Start by picking hashtags that relate closely to your brand or product. For instance, if you’re a fitness brand, good hashtags could be #FitnessMotivation or #HealthAndWellness. Think coming up with relevant hashtags on your own is a time-consuming process? Don’t worry. There are powerful tools you can use for this like Flick AI Assistant.
Once you have a list of these relevant hashtags, it’s time to use Instagram as an influencer discovery tool.
Perform a search of the hashtags on your list. Look at who is posting using them. From this list of Instagram users, identify who the influencers are. For this, just focus on these key indicators:
Engagement rate. Look at the likes and comments in proportion to the user’s follower count. A high Instagram engagement rate could mean the user is an influencer.
Quality content. Influencers typically post high-quality, well-curated, and authentic content, like photos, videos, lives, reels, and stories, that stands out.
Follower count. A substantial number of followers can be a sign a person is an influencer.
Bio and presence. Influencers often mention their collaboration info or contact details in their bio. See below:
They may also be verified with a blue checkmark.
3. Check out Instagram’s Explore page
To make the most of Instagram’s Explore page when looking for influencers, spend some time interacting with posts related to your brand’s niche first. Like, comment, and explore content that aligns with your brand’s image and values.
You’ll need to do this before you conduct your research so the Instagram algorithm eventually shows the types of content you’re looking for on your Explore page.
Once you have that relevant content, zero in on the posts that grab your attention.
Then examine the feed of each person who made the post to see if their content style, tone, and aesthetics match your brand. Look for consistency in quality and messaging that resonates with your brand’s image.
It’s also important to check the engagement rate. You can estimate the engagement rate by looking at the number of likes and comments relative to the influencer’s follower count. A high figure often indicates that the influencer has a strong connection with their audience.
Let’s say an influencer has 20,000 followers and one of their posts receives 800 likes, 150 comments, 100 shares, and 50 saves. To calculate their engagement rate, you would add these interactions together and then divide by the total number of followers, multiplying by 100 to get a percentage. So, the calculation would be:
(800 + 150 + 100 + 50) / 20,000 x 100 = 5.5%
You’ll also need to ensure the influencer’s audience demographic aligns with that of your target audience. You can ask suitable influencers directly for this information or investigate on your own by spot-checking the accounts that engage with them.
4. Look at competitors’ followers
Sometimes, the ideal influencers for your brand are already interacting with your competition. So, to find potential collaborators for your brand, you can check out the accounts of companies whose brand image and audience closely align with yours. Then explore their followers’ list for standout users. These standout users are often active in creating content for your competitors. They might be influencers you haven’t discovered yet.
The good thing about following this strategy is that you can be assured the influencers you find already have a deep understanding of your target market. Their audience is also already likely to be interested in your products. There’s a reason your competitors reached out to them to promote their own brands in the first place.
Don’t use this strategy too frequently, though. If you always approach influencers who currently represent your competitors, you might be perceived as an unethical brand. As a result, your influencer marketing campaigns might not be well-received by potential customers.
5. Use influencer marketing platforms
Influencer marketing platforms are invaluable tools for connecting brands with influencers. Platforms such as Grin, Creator.co, or Upfluence offer comprehensive influencer databases, equipped with detailed metrics like follower count, engagement rate, and their specific areas of expertise.
Let’s assume you’re launching a new fitness app designed to offer personalized workout and nutrition plans. Using an influencer platform, you can tailor your search to identify influencers who are passionate about fitness, health, and wellness. These influencers might have an audience that includes fitness enthusiasts, personal trainers, and individuals seeking a healthier lifestyle–the perfect demographic for your app.
Using an influencer marketing platform saves you time and ensures you’re connecting with professionals who are open to brand collaborations. It’s also popular among influencers, as they get to partner with businesses and campaigns that resonate with their personal brand.
To ensure your influencer marketing campaigns are a success, you can give your chosen influencers access to tools and resources that can help improve the content they create for your brand. For instance, give them access to Unbounce or ClickFunnels alternatives so they can easily create beautiful landing pages. You can also give them relevant marketing collateral that showcases your brand. These can serve as their inspiration when creating social media content.
6. Ask for recommendations
When figuring out how to find Instagram influencers that are a great fit for your brand, don’t overlook the power of simply asking for recommendations.
Start with your professional network—reach out to colleagues, friends in the industry, current partners, contacts, or your employees. These personal connections often know your brand and can suggest influencers who might be the perfect fit.
Next time you’re at a networking event, keep an ear out for conversations about influencer marketing. A simple question about how they found their influencers might just lead you to an influencer who’s an ideal match for your brand. But what if they can’t refer you to anyone at that moment and would like to get back if they have some referrals later? Don’t worry. Just share with your new connections your virtual business card so they can easily get in touch with you even after the event. That way, if they do meet an influencer they think is a good fit for your business in the future, they can easily reach out to you. Get their contact details as well, of course. You’ll need those to return the favor. But don’t stop there. Engage with your existing audience, too. Sometimes your followers are your best resource, as they understand your brand and might follow influencers who align with your values. Run a poll or a Q&A session on your Instagram stories asking for suggestions.