Brent Barnhart
January 26, 2020

How to Find Influencers on Instagram

Find out how to find influencers on Instagram and connect with top industry talent. We cover some simple tips to check the true power behind their punch.

Like it or not, social media influencers have taken over Instagram. In fact, the influencer marketing industry is set to grow to approximately $16.4 billion in 2022.

And, it’s no surprise why.

From brand authenticity to introducing your business to totally new audiences, the list of reasons to invest in influencer marketing goes on and on.

Meanwhile, the growth and evolution of influencer relationships are poised to be among the most notable social media marketing trends of the last two years.

All the buzz over Instagram influencer marketing doesn’t address the biggest challenge of how to get started. That is, finding relevant social media influencers to work with.

Where are they hanging out? How do you differentiate a proven influencer from an imitator?

These are great questions! That’s exactly why we put together this guide on how to find social media influencers on Instagram.

Before we do that, we’re going to take a closer look at what influencer marketing is and why all brands should be considering it.

What Is Influencer Marketing, Anyway?

An influencer is someone who has built a large social media following through online content creation.

Businesses will work closely with these social media users to boost their sales and brand awareness amongst a specific target audience.

In exchange for the influencer endorsing a product or service to help the brand generate more leads, the company will sponsor the online content in return.

Because influencers are seen as experts by their followers, they can play a huge role in their audience’s buying habits.

If you don’t believe us, one study found that nearly 40% of Twitter users made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer.

The same study revealed that 86% of women use social media for purchasing advice, because an influencer’s perspective is seen as relatable and trustworthy.

These numbers are hard to ignore.

The key to driving similar results is finding the right influencer who can boost engagement across your brand’s social media platforms.

In the next section, we take a closer look at how this works.

5 Ways to Find Instagram Influencers ASAP

With approximately 37 million influencers across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube today—businesses are spoiled for choice.

This makes finding relevant influencers overwhelming for brands and marketers alike.

To help simplify the process, consider these five time-efficient ways to spot influencers on Instagram.

#1. Hunt for Potential Influencers via Hashtags

Starting your search for Instagram influencers on the platform itself is a no-brainer, right?

The channel’s native search function may seem limited by only allowing users to look up accounts based on names and hashtags.

However, hashtags on Instagram represent a brilliant way to find users for your influencer marketing campaign.

After all, hashtags are essential to any sort of promotional or branded content. Brainstorm hashtags relevant to your industry or location, and begin there.

For example, a fashion brand might look up users promoting their content via #festivalfashion.

Meanwhile, a fashion company in Australia might narrow their search to #sydneyfashion or even #sydneyfashionblogger.

The more niche your hashtag, the less digging you’ll have to do for relevant accounts.

It’s also important to note that there is no universal hashtag that signals that somebody is (or considers themselves to be) an influencer.

However, someone who uses the #ad or #collab tag as part of their captions is almost certainly working on other brands’ marketing campaigns.

The fact that the usage and engagement of the #ad tag increased in 2019 not only signals the popularity of social selling, but also serves as a subtle way to find influencers on Instagram.

#2. Conduct a Quick Google Search

Beyond Instagram itself, Google is also a good starting point to explore potential influencer relationships.

Rather than simply searching for influencers in general, make a point to specify a location (“Melbourne”) and industry (“beauty”) to narrow down your results.

This will likely lead you to a list of larger, big-name influencers aggregated by bloggers.

You can also couple your search with terms like “micro-influencers” if you’re looking for someone with a smaller, relevant audience.

Note that anyone who pops up in a Google search is probably notable within their respective industry regardless of their follower count (hint: that’s why they’re getting blog coverage).

Still, you’ll obviously want to research and vet any influencers before you hire them (but more on that later).

You can also use YouTube to find influencers there who likely have a cross-over audience on Instagram.

Think about the types of video content relevant to your audience (makeup tutorials for beauty, workouts for fitness, and so on) and start your search there.

#3. Look at Your Own Social Media Followers

Arguably one of the best places to find social media influencers on Instagram is right under your nose. That is, amongst your existing followers, fans, and customers.

For example, consider followers who regularly engage with your company on Instagram.

Maybe they consistently give you shout-outs or perhaps they publish user-generated content (think: customer photos).

Keep a close eye on your tags and brand mentions to ensure that you’re not missing out on working with influencers who already know you.

Building relationships with existing brand advocates is a smart move.

This is because these influencers will be familiar with your brand voice already and might be willing to work together without much of a price tag.

#4. Meet Influencers Through an Agency

If the idea of tracking down and reaching out to influencers seems like a drag, don’t panic—experienced social media agencies can do the legwork for you.

For example, Hello Social has a track record of connecting brands and influencers to run quality campaigns that benefit both parties.

Working with an agency makes sense if you’re in a time crunch or want to scale your influencer campaigns quickly.

#5. Use a Dedicated Influencer Marketing Platform

The boom of influencer marketing has resulted in a variety of services that allow brands to connect with influencers directly.

Consider influencer marketing platforms such as TapInfluencePixlee, or Heepsy.

These websites allow businesses to look at price ranges, relevant metrics, and other important data for influencers throughout just about any industry.

Of course, these types of tools are better suited for people who are already familiar with running influencer marketing campaigns or have a sizable budget to dedicate to it on Instagram.

How to Figure Out If an Instagram Influencer Is the Right Fit

Now, let’s say you have some potential influencer candidates lined up. Nice!

Your next step is narrowing down your list by double-checking who’s legit and also who’s a good fit for your business.

Below are some tips and pointers for determining whether or not you should reach out to any given Instagram influencer.

Analyse Their Bio

Spoiler alert: most influencers aren’t going to outright refer to themselves as “influencers” on Instagram.

Instead, they’ll typically post details on their Instagram bio to signal that they’re open to working with brands.

For example, some influencers might highlight brand relationships in their bios. They’ll likewise have a dedicated bio link (or Linktree) to make it easier to get in touch beyond DMs.

And if someone includes “collab” in their bio, they’re definitely interested in hearing from brands.

These small details let you know that your influencer in question knows what they’re doing and has likely worked with a business before.

Assess Their Numbers (Engagement Rate, Followers)

Just as there are tons of legitimate users out there, the phenomenon of fake followers and boosted metrics is a huge problem for brands trying to find influencers on Instagram.

But follower count isn’t the be-all and end-all of what an influencer is worth. For example, micro-influencers and nano-influencers have a smaller yet highly engaged audience.

However, most influencers do have a large disparity between how many followers they have and how many accounts they follow themselves.

For example, an account with 10,000 followers might only follow 1,000 social media accounts.

If someone’s followers-to-followed ratio is too close, this might signal that they are part of follow-for-follow chains with an audience that isn’t actually engaging with their content.

Speaking of which, engagement rate is a huge indicator of what an influencer and their audience are worth.

Engagement rate represents the ratio of likes/comments to follower count.

There is no “right” number to strive for, but anything in the ballpark of 10% is considered excellent engagement.

For example, an influencer with 5,000 followers who receives 500 combined likes and comments.

For reference, the Phlanx calculator notes that the average engagement rate for accounts between 1,000 and 5,000 followers, is 5.6%.

Instead of eyeballing engagement rates yourself, tools like Hype Auditor can further clue you in on someone’s metrics.

Dig Into Their Content and Captions

As you research Instagram influencers, you need to understand whether their social media posts are a good match for your brand.

Specifically, ask yourself the following questions as you look through someone’s content and captions:

💡 Does their brand voice and tone match yours? For example, do their captions emulate your own tone of voice and personality?

💡Are they posting the right types of content? Do the photos and videos they post match your brand aesthetic?

💡Do they put effort into their branded content? Ideally, promotional posts should still feel organic and authentic.

For example, are their captions thoughtful and engaging? If an influencer ticks all of these boxes, that’s a good sign.

Comb Through Their Comments

This is a small detail but definitely one worth mentioning. Authenticity matters for influencers, plain and simple.

Someone who takes the time to reply to their comments obviously cares about engagement with their audience.

Look for influencers who regularly go back-and-forth with their followers rather than “setting and forgetting” their promos.

Finally, Check Out Their Non-branded Content

Don’t forget about the flesh-and-blood person that’s behind any given influencer persona.

Although you might be most worried about engagement and promotion, take the time to also acknowledge an influencer’s non-branded content.

This can help give you a better sense of who they are and what they might be like to work with. As noted in our social media trends breakdown, influencers are under more scrutiny than ever.

If you want to work with someone who seems “real” to your audience, they should ideally post more than just promotions.

And with that, we wrap up our guide to uncovering influencers on the ‘gram!

Ready to Find Relevant Influencers on Instagram?

We get it—Instagram might seem like the wild, wild west when it comes to finding influencers.

That’s why anything you can do to speed up your search is a plus.

With these tips in mind, you can quickly discover and evaluate relevant influencers that make perfect sense for your business.

And if you need any help along the way, don’t hesitate to contact Hello Social today. We’ve been involved with tons of successful influencer campaigns and hey, yours could be next.

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