5 Steps to Identifying the Best Instagram Influencers for Your Brand

If you’re interested in working with Instagram influencers to promote your brand or your client’s brand, you may be wondering how to get started. For starters, how do you identify the best Instagram influencers for the brand you’ve been entrusted with marketing? The following is a 5-step strategy you can use for finding the ideal influencers to work with:


1. Identify Influential Instagrammers in Your Niche

The first thing to do is identify a bunch of possible candidates to consider working with. From there, you can narrow it down to find your perfect candidates.

Give some thought to which niches would be ideal for targeting. Instagrammers are posting photos related to every imaginable niche. They’re easily found by searching the hashtags your company would be likeliest to use in your marketing campaigns.

This step of the process can be time consuming. To speed things up, you may wish to use an influencer platform rather than searching Instagram directly.


2. Decide on a Target Reach and Audience Size

Social media influencers are classified by the follower numbers:

  • A mega influencer has attracted an impressive 1,000,000+ followers.
  • A macro influencer has between 100,000 and 1,000,000 followers.
  • A micro influencer has between 1,000 – 100,000 followers.
  • A nano influencer has fewer than 1,000 followers.


Decide whether you want to work with mega influencers, nano influencers, or some level in between — but before you decide, consider engagement, too.


3. Compare Engagement Levels

It is challenging to predict the outcome of a social media influencer campaign based on follower numbers alone, because they are inconclusive. It is possible for a mega influencer to have 1,000,000 disengaged, apathetic followers who don’t invest significant time or attention in keeping up with her posts. It would be a mistake to trust your campaigns to such an influencer.


It is also important to be aware that social media influencers can have fake followers. There are ‘bot accounts. People can pay to gain real, living followers – but those followers won’t typically be ones that engage with that influencer’s content.

If you’re targeting an audience in the USA, the UK or Australia, beware influencers who have large followings in countries outside of your target market. This type of influencer is unlikely to provide you with the leads or sales you are seeking for your business or your client’s business.

On the other hand, it is also possible to have mega influencers whose followers are highly engaged and care deeply about what the influencer is posting. But, typically, the larger an influencer’s following is, the less likely s/he is to be able to engage individually with each follower. A Takumi study reveals that engagement levels tend to drop as following size increases.

So, finding the right influencers usually results in a tradeoff between reach and engagement. Many social media marketing experts agree that engagement is more important than reach – so, in the end, it may be more effective to work with nano and micro influencers whose followers really care what they have to say.

Nano-influencers typically have personal relationships with the majority of their followers. This translates to greater levels of actual trust. The downside is that their relatively small reach means you will probably have to work with greater numbers of them to achieve your marketing goals.


4. Look for Influencers Who Are Already Tagging You

There may be influencers who are already posting about your products on social media and tagging you. Determine whether their aesthetic and follower demographics are actually a good fit for your brand. If so, these are people you should consider working with in your campaigns.


5. Rule Out the Risky Prospects

Every marketing method has risks, and influencer marketing certainly does, too. In this case, one of the greatest risks is that your influencers will do something unexpected that taints your brand’s image.

You definitely want to research the influencers you plan to work with before you entrust them with your branding efforts. Make sure they do not have a known history of exhibiting racism, sexism or other such undesirable behaviors. The nuances of this research, and potential problems to look out for, will depend a great deal on your market niche.

For example, if the brand you’re promoting specializes in selling soy food products, and their ideal customer is vegan, it might be a smart business move to avoid employing omnivorous food bloggers as brand ambassadors. Even if they are really popular and highly engaging, you have to consider whether these relationships would have the potential to damage your brand. The odds are significantly high that omnivorous foodies might inadvertently do something to offend your brand’s vegan customers. On the other hand, it would also be important to work with vegans who are sensitive to omnivores’ point of view if you hope to sell your products to omnivores.

These are some of the top considerations you need to think about when you start working with Instagram influencers. This list can help you narrow the field and hone in on the influencers who would be the best match for working with in your Instagram campaigns.

However, there are many other important details beyond these that can affect the outcome of your influencer marketing campaigns. Brief articles such as this one can only be of limited help. If you want to truly excel at influencer marketing, it would be beneficial to take a social media marketing course from an instructor who has significant experience working in the space. You will gain many important insights from interacting with another marketer who has already figured out strategies for dealing with the risks and problems inherent in influencer marketing.

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