It’s hard to believe Instagram started in 2010. It has turned into a marketing powerhouse due to features like Instagram Stories and the power of Instagram influencers.
There are 1 billion monthly active Instagram users, and more than half of them use the platform every day. US businesses also love the social channel, and about 71% use it to connect with their market.
There’s just no denying the power of Instagram in this social media age.
As the site continues to grow exponentially, businesses and brands everywhere are also leveraging the social network by working with Instagram influencers.
So, how do you go about finding the best Instagram influencers for your marketing campaigns?
Why You Need Instagram Influencers
To appreciate how powerful Instagram is, you first need to understand what engagement rates are and what they mean for your Instagram marketing campaigns.
Engagement rates refer to the number of likes, comments, and shares an influencer gets when posting content online. It turns out Instagram has the highest engagement rates of any social network.
Higher engagement rates mean that when you work with influencers on Instagram, their followers will notice more content than on Facebook.
People Learn About New Brands From Instagram
Another eye-opening statistic is how influential the platform is in helping people learn about new brands.
For instance, 60% of Instagram users say they learn about new products on the social network.
This is excellent news for startups and small businesses.
While digital marketing has opened the door to businesses of all sizes to connect with their markets in a more affordable way than traditional marketing, the reality is, the playing field isn’t level.
Big companies and organizations have bigger budgets. They can generally put larger teams behind their Instagram marketing campaigns and quickly raise awareness about their new products as a result.
On Instagram, users frequently notice new brands and products—sometimes even those without all the bells and whistles of a full-blown marketing campaign.
Many Users on Instagram Have Disposable Incomes
It’s great that there are high engagement rates and people can learn about your products from Instagram. But the perhaps most important data is that a good number of Instagram users have money—and they’re willing to spend it.
A study from Snowmad found Instagram is used by:
- 31% of people who garner more than $75k annually
- 32% of people who earn $50k to $74k annually
- 32% of people who make $30k to $49k per year
Additionally, 70% of Instagram users browse products on the site, and 80% follow at least one brand.
All these numbers are great for brands that want to raise brand awareness and make sales.
But one thing isn’t so clear – how do you begin to find the right influencers who will make sense for your brand and bring in great ROI?
How to Find Instagram Influencers For Marketing Campaigns
Did you know there are 500,000 active influencers on Instagram?
Although there are many influencers to choose from, they’re not all created equal. In addition to varying amounts of reach, many are probably not right for your brand.
This step-by-step guide is here to help you connect with influencers who are followed by your target audience.
Outline Your Instagram Influencer Campaign Goals and Metrics
First, you need to decide what this Instagram influencer campaign is all about.
- Are you trying to drive sales?
- Is it about raising brand awareness?
- Are you about to launch a new product?
Your goals form the core of your campaign, and these goals should guide every decision you make.
In addition to understanding your goals, you also need to define your metrics clearly. How will you measure the success of your Instagram marketing campaign?
Let’s say you’re working for a youthful beauty brand that is releasing a new selection of lipsticks.
Here’s an example of what your goals can look like:
- For the campaign, we’ll work with young beauty influencers on Instagram.
- These beauty influencers will review the product range for their followers.
- In addition to product reviews, we want Influencers to speak about the product through their Instagram stories since these are powerful marketing tools.
- We aim to exceed the sales of our last lipstick line by 30% within the first month.
The more detailed and specific plan is, the easier it may be to monitor your campaign to see how successful you are and what you may need to tweak.
Define the Right Instagram Influencer For Your Brand
Your brand voice is essential to all your digital marketing campaigns. Yet, many marketers and brands struggle to define theirs.
Your “brand voice” is the way you talk to your customers. It includes language style, brand values, and personality.
The more defined and consistent your brand voice is, the more trustworthy your audience may perceive you. Who trusts a brand with a constantly-shifting message?
Defining a solid brand voice can take time. To help get you started, you can use a free online brand quiz.
An insightful one is Kaye Putnam’s brand personality quiz.
All you have to do is answer 16 questions, like:
This quiz is not just fun—it’s effective. When you’re done, you’ll get a detailed report about your top brand archetypes. This information could give you valuable insights into better positioning your brand to communicate with your market.
You don’t have to use all the pointers from the guidelines of these free tools. However, having a detailed analysis of a possible brand style, look, and feel is a great way to find inspiration.
Once you understand your brand, you now need to figure out who your market is.
- Who are they, and what do they do for a living?
- Who do they follow and engage with on their social networks?
Performing thorough target market research can help you understand your market better, including finding influencers they follow.
Along with creating influencer campaigns, if you want to learn how to grow your personal or company’s Instagram account, check out my Instagram Unlocked course on Youtube:
Try Google To Find Instagram Influencers First
Now that you know your goals, brand, and target market, a Google search could help you get a good pool of Instagram influencers to choose from.
Let’s use the beauty brand example from earlier.
To get started, do a general search for something like “top Instagram beauty influencers.”
After searching, make sure you have the most relevant search results. A beauty influencer who was great six months ago may not be so relevant today.
Start by navigating to the Advanced Search Section. You’ll find this in your settings.
From there, you can change the last update section. I changed mine to the past month. This will give you the latest results on the topic.
In the Advanced Search section, you can also narrow your search results by region. This little tool is perfect if your product will only be available in certain areas.
What’s the point of getting search results of top European or Asian influencers if your product is only available in the States?
When you get the SERPs, use the first couple of pages to see if any influencers who spark your interest.
Take a Look at Famous Blogs in Your Niche
Famous blogs in your niche have been around for a while and chances are the bloggers get a ton of traffic and comments. While they might not be influencers in the traditional sense, many of the likely have highly followed Instagram accounts.
You don’t need to get too complicated here. Keep it simple.
Go to Google and search for your post topic and the name of the blog. For example, “write viral headlines copyblogger.” This will lead you to some pretty famous posts on writing killer headlines. \
Then, go check out the writer’s Instagram account and see if they’re a good fit for your brand. (Don’t forget to verify they are still active on the platform!)
Search on an Instagram Influencer Platform
There are many influencer platforms on the market, each with pros and cons.
The best part about an influencer platform is that, unlike doing a Google search and sifting through hundreds or even thousands of influencers, an influencer platform does the hard work for you.
You also get more details about your potential influencer.
For example, here’s a profile on an influencer from HYPR, an influencer platform.
You get information on your influencer, their demographics, their niche industries, and more.
Here’s another example from Brand Ambassador, which shows influencer applications along with their followers and location.
You’ll get information on your influencer, their demographics, their niche industries, and more.
Influencer platforms also give you details on audience psychographics and locations, as well as influencers’ engagement rates.
A few other influencer platforms to try include:
As you look through influencers and start compiling a list of potential people to work with, remember to:
Analyze the Content They Create
You wouldn’t hire a new team member with out interviewing them, right? You shouldn’t consider working with an influencer without making sure they are a good fit for your brand.
Take a look at the content they share and ask:
- Does this connect with your brand voice?
- Do their followers engage with their content?
- Does their voice seem authentic when they share content from other brands?
- Look at content on other social channels to ensure the influencer can be a true representative of your brand.
Measure Their Engagement Rates
As highlighted earlier, a good engagement rate means when the influencer posts content about your brand, their audience takes notice.
There are multiple ways to calculate this. You can check out this post about it on Hootsuite to discover different methods. Depending on the influencer platform you use, they may provide this data as well.
Appreciate the Value of Micro-Influencers
A study from Markerly, an influencer marketing platform, found Instagram influencers with more followers see less engagement.
This proves micro-influencers—those with good followings, but not overwhelming ones—can be more effective in your social media campaigns than macro-influencers or celebrities.
Micro-influencers have gained followers who respect their expertise and opinions on specific topics. They often create content they’re knowledgeable about and care about. Their social following is more of a community than an audience.
Therefore, working with a few relevant micro-influencers may help you get your content in front of the right audience.
Get Influencers to Share Your Post
This is the fun part. Once you’ve found your influencers, you want them to share your content.
Once way to do this is to build a killer influencer marketing campaign.
But, you also might get some traction just by reaching out.
Gregory Ciotti wrote about a case study he did with Moz, where he reached out to popular bloggers to get them to share his infographic.
He started by reaching out to people he had some contact with.
This doesn’t mean a deep friendship. He just took a look at people he got a reply from once on a tweet or a comment.
Then he reached out and asked them to share his infographic. The response rate of people he had no contact with to the response rate of people he had minimal contact with was 18% to 64% — a huge difference.
So, be sure to get in touch with people before you email them.
The easiest way to do this is to leave a comment on their blog. Most of them will reply.
Next, reach out to influencers and bloggers who wrote or share content about topics similar to your post, and send them an email.
Keep these emails as short as possible, and give them a reason to share your post or content.
The reason should be simple, such as it answers a question they asked in a post, it makes the same argument as their post, it adds something they might’ve missed, or their followers would find it valuable.
It should look a little like this:
Make sure to keep your emails short. You’ll save time and get better results.
Using Instagram influencers can often be a fantastic way to get people to notice—and purchase—your products.
But it is a double-edged sword. While you have many options, it’s challenging to know who will be the right fit for your target audience.
Don’t forget to outline your goals, voice, and brand story. Then, consider influencers’ engagement rates.
Who is the right influencer for your brand?