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 Oz 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.
Note that there is no universal hashtag that signals that somebody is (or considers themselves) an influencer.
However, someone who uses the #ad or #collab tag as part of their captions is almost certainly working with brands.
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 a subtle way to find influencers on Instagram.
Conduct a Quick Google Search
Beyond Instagram itself, Google is also a good starting point to explore potential influencer relationships.
Rather than simply search for influencers in general, make a point to specify 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 likewise couple your search with terms like “micro-influencers” if you’re looking for someone with a smaller 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).
Adjacent to Google, 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 (make-up tutorials for beauty, workouts for fitness and so on) and start your search there.
Look at Your Own Followers
Arguably one of the best places to find influencers on Instagram is right under your nose.
That is, 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 @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. Such influencers are already familiar with your brand voice and likewise might be willing to work together without much of a price tag.
Hook Up with 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 on a time-crunch or want to scale your influence campaigns quickly.
Use a Dedicated Influencer Marketing Platform
The boom of influencer marketing has resulted in a variety of influencer marketing platforms that enable brands to connect with influencers directly.
Services such as TapInlfuence, Pixlee or Heepsy 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 campaigns or have a sizeable budget to dedicate to influencer marketing 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.
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.
Peek their Bio Details
Spoiler alert: most influencers aren’t going to outright refer to themselves as “influencers” on Instagram.
Instead, they’ll typically post details in 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 business before.
Assess Their Numbers (Engagement Rate, Followers)
Just as there are tons of legitimate ‘grammers 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, end-all of what an influencer is worth. Consider the popularity of micro-influencers and nano-influencers with 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 10k followers might only follow 1k accounts.
If someone’s followers-to-followed ratio is too close, it signals that they might be 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 5k followers receiving 500 combined likes and comments.
For reference, the Phlanx calculator notes that the average engagement rate for accounts between 1k and 5k followers is 5.6%.
Beyond eyeballing engagement rate yourself, tools like Hype Auditor can further clue you in on someone’s metrics.
Dig Into Their Content and Captions
As you research influencers on Instagram, you need to understand whether their posts are a good match for your brand.
Specifically, ask yourself the following questions as you look through smoeone’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
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 2020 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 Influencers on Instagram?
Instagram might seem like the wild, wild west when it comes to finding influencers.
Trust us. We get it.
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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