Are you a creator on Instagram? Do you aspire to reach influencer status on the platform? As an influencer, you have an audience of thousands of dedicated followers interested in your account. With a large audience, you can monetize your content strategy and earn a living by posting content to the site. Sounds great, right?
Getting your account to influencer status is easier said than done. To grow your following, you need a strategy to boost organic engagement. Implementing tactics like asking your audience to leave likes and comments is a great way to catch the attention of the IG algorithm, landing you on the Explore page.
While these tactics and strategies are effective at growing your following, nothing will offer the same results as teaming up with an established influencer in your niche. When you work with an influencer, you leverage their audience, attracting them to your account and content strategy.
This post unpacks how to reach out to influencers and get them to endorse your content and account. We’ll look at practical ways to leverage their audience and help you achieve your goal of reaching superstar status on Instagram. This post applies to companies, brands, and independent content creators.
Why Do You Need Instagram Influencers?
Engagement is the pillar of any content strategy on any social media platform. Instagram, like Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter, experiences millions of gigabytes of content uploaded to their platforms every day. The IG team can’t monitor and categorize all the content on the site, so they rely on algorithms to assist them with the task.
The algorithm is what decides if you live or die on the platform. It looks at the engagement rate of your content, using these calculations to determine if your content adds value to the community. If the algorithm sees users leaving likes and comments on your posts and sharing your content with their network, it assumes you’re adding value to the platform users want to see.
Why does that matter? Because the algorithm will promote content driving high engagement rates to the Instagram Explore page. More than 400 million users scroll the Explore page every day. It contains content from people they follow and accounts they don’t mind, curating the content to each specific user’s interests.
If you land on the Explore page, you’re almost guaranteed a surge in new followers, but that’s no easy task. Working with influencers is a great way to increase engagement on your account and posts, giving you the opportunity of landing on the Explore page and generate more followers for your account.
How Do You Find Instagram Influencers for Digital Marketing Campaigns?
Did you know there are half a million influencer accounts on Instagram? The influencers are spread across all categories, from entertainment to beauty tips and sports. Regardless of your niche, you can be sure there are influencers in your niche. You just need to find them.
You’ll find a huge variation in influencers within your niche. For several reasons, many of them won’t be the right fit for your brand. Influencers come in different shapes and sizes. They have other follower counts ranging from tens of thousands to millions. They also have individual brand voices and content styles; some might clash with your strategy.
You need to work with the right influencer, or you will damage your brand and your image with your audience, causing the opposite effect you’re trying to create. Let’s look at choosing the right influencer for your content strategy and campaign.
Understanding Instagram Influencer Goals and Metrics
The first step in finding the right influencer is to identify what you want from them when you work together on your campaign. What do you want to achieve with your influencer? Are you trying to increase sales of products you sell online? Do you want to raise brand awareness of your account? (influencers can think of themselves as brands, but more on that in a minute).
Your goals determine what you want from the influencer. If you reach out to them, they’ll want to know why you’re working with them. Clearly explaining your requirements to the influencer gives them an idea of what you want, allowing them to add input to your campaign and helping you achieve your goals.
How are you going to measure the success of your influencer campaign? Your metrics let you know if the money and time you spend on working with your influencer pays off or fails. Your metrics can include generated engagement, product conversion rate, and more. Decide what you want from the exercise and create solid parameters to measure your success.
Which Influencers Suit Your Brand Voice?
This part of the process is critical to the success of your influencer campaign. As an influencer, you need to think of yourself as a brand. So, you need to understand your brand voice and how the prospective influencer fits into that framework. Hiring an influencer that’s off-brand will damage your reputation with your audience.
Your “brand voice” defines how you talk to your audience in your posts. Examine your brand values, language style, and personality or image in the eyes of your audience. The more consistent you are with your brand voice, the more it makes your content strategy seem authentic to your followers. That’s important because authenticity sells.
If you constantly shift your brand voice in your content strategy, your audience will fade away due to your lack of consistency. Continually changing your brand voice gives your audience the impression you don’t know what you’re doing, and they don’t know what to expect from your content strategy.
To understand your brand voice, look at your past posts. Do they offer a consistent theme? Are you promoting or discussing items, concepts, or events in a consistent manner? This exercise also helps you understand your target audience. What are their demographics? How old are they, and what gender are they? What are their interests?
Performing market research on your target audience helps you understand your market and the type of influencers they follow on Instagram. When you know your brand voice, goals, and target market, you’re ready to start researching the best influencers to reach out to for your campaign.
Use Google to Locate Instagram Influencers
After creating the framework for your campaign, it’s time to start reaching out to influencer accounts. So, how do you start? Visit Google and let the world’s largest search engine do the heavy lifting for you. Let’s assume that for this post, you’re in the camping market and post content on IG surrounding camping in the Canadian wilderness.
Type in “Canadian camping influencers Instagram” into the search bar. Sort the results by relevance. An influencer from a year ago might not be relevant today, so consider that when assessing the search results. In your settings, navigate to the “Advanced Search” section on Google. You can change the last update section to “last month” for the latest results on your search request.
The Advanced Search section narrows search results by region, so you can choose Canada to drill down on the top Canadian influencers in your category. When Google serves you the SERPs, look through the first two or three pages to see who sparks your interest.
Do Hashtag Searches
Hashtags are an important component of any social media marketing strategy. Hashtags come in different flavors, allowing you to refine your search regarding brands, marketing slogans, and industry-specific technical terms.
Use a hashtag tool to assist you with searching for the top trending hashtags in your niche. SEM rush and Influencer Marketing Hub Instagram Hashtag Generator are great examples of tools that can help you with this task.
After you have the hashtags most closely related to your niche, enter them on Instagram and analyze your results. You’ll find various content producers in the search results, from causal camping hobbyists to brands and independent influencers.
Avoid brands; you’re looking for independent creators with 10K followers to 200k followers. Make a list of the top five influencers in the following categories.
- Influencers with 10k to 25K followers.
- Influencers with 25k to 50K followers.
- Influencers with 50k to 75K followers.
- Influencers with 75k to 100K followers.
- Influencers with 100k to 125K followers.
- Influencers with 125k to 150K followers.
- Influencers with 175k to 200K followers.
This gives you a list of 35 influencers in your category. You don’t need this exact amount. If you only come across two or three in each category. It’s a starting point.
Reach Out to Micro-Influencers, Not Celebrities
So, why not look for influencers with millions of followers? It’s simple. An influencer like Kanye West will not be interested in what you have to say. They won’t return anything in your outreach campaign, and you’re wasting your time. Look at their engagement rate. It’s usually low because they don’t need to try with their followers to retain them to their personal brand.
Even if you connect with them, they will want to charge you a fortune for the collaboration. Top influencers like Kylie Jenner charge up to $100,000 for a promotional post. As a small account, you probably don’t have that budget to spend on your influencer marketing.
Reaching out to “Micro-influencers” gives you a better bang for your marketing buck. Accounts with 10k to 75k followers are the most affordable to work with, and they have the highest engagement rates with their followers. These accounts are actively managed by the user, who is as interested in growing their following and making money as you.
Depending on their following and engagement rates, you can get a sponsored post for anything from $25 to $200. Many of them will have a rate card available showing you the kind of engagement you can expect from using them in your campaign.
Search Top-Performing Blogs in Your Niche
Another great way to find influencers in your niche is to use Google to identify top bloggers. Bloggers may or may not have an Instagram account, but most top-rated bloggers will use the Instagram platform to promote their blogs.
Search for “Top Canadian camping bloggers” and check the results. Use the strategy outlined previously to drill down into the results and pick the top ten results. Make sure they have Instagram accounts and fit with your brand voice.
Search on Influencer Platforms
The first two methods will give you a decent start to finding the top influencers in your niche. The next stage of your research involves visiting influencer platforms. An influencer search platform gives you access to tools to find the accounts you need for your campaigns.
These platforms allow you to filter, search, and measure your niche, locating the influencers you need for your campaign. Some of them also allow you to launch an outreach campaign from within the platform, bringing credibility to your outreach strategy.
Here are some of the top-rated influencer search platforms.
This tool shows you data and metrics about your brand and relevant influencer data. You get a full list of Instagram influencers in your niche, rated by following.
You can connect directly with influencers on Heepsy. Create an account and search for influencers by category, location, and the number of followers. The Heepsy database has 7 million influencers. They also ensure you don’t get accounts with fake followers included in your results.
Shout has a large database. Create an account as an independent agency or brand. Sort your results using on-site tools to search influencers’ profiles and find those that fit your goals and brand voice.
Klear offers advanced filters to find data based on follower count, audience demographics, niche topics, and more.
How to Pick the Right Influencer
When you finish your research, it’s time to drill down into the results to find the right influencer for your campaign.
Analyze Influencer Content
Start with analyzing the content posted by your prospective influencer. Think of it as welcoming a new member to your team. You need to give them a pre-employment interview to see if they’re the right fit. Review the content on their Instagram account and ask yourself the following questions.
- Does the content fall in line with your brand voice and message?
- Does the influencer receive good engagement with their posts? (Likes, comments, and replies).
- Does their brand voice appear authentic when sharing content from other accounts and brands?
After selecting your top choices, take the time to review their content on other social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. If they don’t use those channels, that’s okay, but checking before you start your outreach campaign is important.
Measure The Prospective Influencers Engagement Rate
Engagement is everything on Instagram and all special media platforms. The account could have millions of followers, but if they receive minimal engagement, there’s no point in reaching out to them. You’re looking for accounts with exceptional engagement.
Engagement shows the influencer has an active audience. There’s a good chance they’ll move over to your account to see what you offer at the influencer’s suggestion. Look at the likes and comments they receive on their posts. Does the influencer reply to comments and keep the conversation rolling? How does their engagement compare to the other accounts on your list of prospects?
Reach Out to the Influencer
If you’re not using a platform that handles the outreach for you or gives you a system where you can connect with them, you’ll need to do it yourself. Send the influencer a DM on Instagram and ask them if they offer collaborative opportunities. The influencer will ask you what you’re interested in doing with them, or they’ll have a rate card of options available.
How to Find Instagram Influencers – FAQs
Q: Who Qualifies for Influencer Status?
A: An influencer on Instagram is any account with 5,000 or more followers. They engage with their following and have a vested interest in working with other influencers.
Q: What Influencer Campaigns can I use in My Content Strategy?
A: There are several strategies to use with your influencer campaign. You can ask for rates on giveaway contests, sponsored reviews, product mentions, or shoutouts.
Q: How Do I Avoid Fake Accounts?
A: You might see accounts with thousands of followers and think they’re a good choice as a partner in your influencer campaigns. Before you reach out, check the likes and comments on their posts. Fake accounts have low engagement. You’ll notice they have similar comments that look like they’re templates, and they connect with other fake accounts.
Q: How Do I Pitch My Campaign to an Influencer?
A: Be short and sweet when pitching prospective influencers. Get to the point and be straightforward with your request. Ask for their rates if they’re not available publicly.
How to Find Instagram Influencers – Key Takeaways
Teaming up with the right influencer can boost the results of your digital marketing strategy for Instagram. It might seem intimidating to reach out to someone with more status than you on the platform, but feel the fear and do it anyway.
The strategies in this post give you a practical and effective method for finding the right influencer in your niche. You get tips and tricks for your outreach strategy and the best chance of finding the best options for influencers to help you gain followers and improve conversion.
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