Finding social media influencers – where to start?

Finding social media influencers for your brand is not an easy task. In 2021, there are 1.074 billion Instagram users worldwide. How do you find the ones for your brand?

In this post, we’ll give you an overview of where to find suitable influencers, how to make sure they fit for your brand, what to keep in mind when choosing them, and what you should never do!

1. How to find social media influencers?

a) Among your existing customers and social media followers

You probably want to find influencers who really want to work with your brand – ideally those who already use your brand’s products and are ready to recommend them to their followers.

Therefore, you should start by looking at your own customer base – are there any influencers? You can also check your social media accounts: who are the people who tag you in their posts or stories and already recommend your brand to their followers?

If you find influencers who are your fans, keep them! If they mention your brand somewhere, it’d be good to respond with ♡ or with a comment to build your relationship. You can also send them a box of your products or some other pleasant surprise – chances are they’ll be happy to share it on their social media, too!

Linda Ling x Vallila campaign photo
Linda Ling x Vallila campaign photo

Linda Ling (@itslindaling) x Vallila campaign photos

b) Finding influencers from Instagram

On Instagram, you can also search for suitable influencers manually. For example, you can check different hashtags and locations related to your brand. If you want to reach content creators in a particular country, look for posts made in towns in that specific country and hashtags #advertising, #influencer, etc. in the local language. For example, if you’d like to find influencers from London, go for hashtags like #influencerslondon, #londonbeautybloggerts, etc.

You can also find suitable content creators on Instagram’s explore page or from competitor accounts. It is not worth stealing influencers from another brand – but you can seek inspiration, find new hashtags, or people interested in the field to start a conversation with!

When you’ve found someone who matches your influencer profile, you can also use the “show similar accounts” button on their profile.

c) Using an influencer marketing platform

Finding the right influencers manually is relatively time-consuming – for example, when creating Promoty, it took us more than 40 hours to find 100 suitable content creators. This is also one of the reasons why we created Promoty. However, by using an influencer marketing platform, you can:

• filter influencers based on their age, gender, number of followers, engagement rate, and other criteria;
• see their followers’ demographics (age, gender, location, etc.) and therefore, make sure their audience matches with your target group;
• find influencers who want to work with you – so that the collaboration will be genuine and bring results;
• manage all the collaborations, campaigns, and content in one place;
• don’t have to deal with contracts or payouts manually as everything is automated.

👉🏼 Get in touch with us to learn more!

d) Influenceres contact your brand themselves

Of course, sometimes influencers reach out to your brand with a collaboration offer. It might mean that they really like your brand which can lead to a good collaboration – but it might also mean that they sent the same email to several brands. Therefore, make sure that the email is personal and specifically crafted for you! Also, check out the influencer’s current posts and audience demographics before you confirm the collaboration to make sure it’s compatible with your brand.

2. How to choose social media influencers?

2.1. Influencer’s story and values

One thing is sure: finding social media influencers won’t be successful if you only focus on the numbers. To start with, you have to open the influencer’s profile and decide if the influencer fits the brand or not based on their content.

Since most influencers talk about different aspects of their lives on social media, it cannot be said that only product-specific influencers should be chosen for a product campaign. Meaning, if you have a fitness product, you don’t have to choose only fitness influencers for your collaboration. Some fashion influencer who values health might bring you even better results! Rather, it is worthwhile delving into existing posts. For example, if an influencer has previously emphasized the importance of clean food or has shared eco-friendly lifestyle tips, they likely fit nicely into an eco-product campaign.

Here are some questions you may ask yourself:

• Has the influencer previously talked about topics that are important to the brand?
• What kind of lifestyle do they promote?
• What values are they representing?
• Would you like to have that person represent your brand?

At Promoty, influencers also include a short cover letter when applying for your campaign, explaining why they want to participate in the campaign – that often helps the brand decide how well the influencer fits with the brand.

2.2. The quality of the influencer’s visuals

The importance of the photo quality depends primarily on whether the brand wants the influencer to post on their personal account only or whether they also want to use the created visuals in their social media channel.

Most influencers have a well-established visual style. For example, suppose all the content influencer’s previous photos taken with the phone are dark and slightly grainy. In that case, you shouldn’t expect your collaborative post to come in light colours and high quality. Also, if the brand expects certain style photos, it should be said in the campaign brief.

Viktroija Malasauskaite's Instagram profile on Promoty

Viktorija Malašauskaitė’s (@vike.mal) Instagram profile on Promoty

2.3. Influencer’s previous collabs

You should also check their previous collaboration post: are they personal, authentic and informative enough? Are comments under collaborative posts supportive and interested or rather negative?

The fewer branded posts on an influencer’s profile, the more carefully they are likely to choose their partners and the more authentic content you can expect.

Another thing you should make sure of is whether the influencer has previously worked with competing brands. In this case, the influencer may not be a good choice as alternating between two competing brands gives the impression of being dishonest and may indicate that the influencers are doing collaborations for money only.

2.4. Influencer’s Instagram statistics

When choosing the perfect influencers, the number of followers is definitely not the most important metric. For example, the number of followers does not show how many people see the influencer’s posts – that’s what reach is for. To know the influencer’s reach, you need to know to use an influencer marketing platform or ask the influencer to send screenshots of statistics from previous posts.

One of the most important metrics to determine the quality of an influencer is the engagement rate: the percentage of influencer’s followers who are liking, commenting or saving their posts. A high engagement rate means that the influencer’s followers are sincerely interested in them and communicate with them actively.

At the same time, you should keep in mind that the higher the number of influencers’ followers, the lower the engagement rate – for large influencers, 3-5% engagement is quite normal. That’s why we always encourage brands to work with micro-influencers!

One good way to evaluate the price of the influencer (also, the campaign success) is CPE (Cost Per Engagement). For most campaigns on the Estonian market, it is between 0.05 and 0.10 €. For giveaways and very attractive campaigns, it can be even less.

👉🏼 Read also: Micro-influencer case study: Lumene

Liisi Väli and Vallila giveaway post

Liisi Väli (@liisivali) x Vallila campaign post

2.5. Quality of the influencer’s followers

How to know if the influencer’s followers are real? The easiest thing to do is open the influencer’s followers list: if there are hundreds of empty profiles with foreign names, it’s suspicious. It’s also worth looking at the comments: are these authentic comments or rather bot comments like “Cool post, check out my profile”.

Identifying purchased followers is one issue that we pay great attention to at Promoty. Currently, the Promoty algorithm can detect fake followers to some extent by marking them with a red exclamation mark on the platform. Soon, we’ll also launch tools that can detect fake followers, bots, engagement groups and other suspicious activities.

Another thing to check is the followers’ demographics: location, age and gender. For a local business, it’s important to check how many influencers’ followers are from a country or a city of interest. For example, for a Swedish brand, it’s important to make sure that a large number of influencers’ followers are from Sweden.

One way to get an overview of the followers’ demographics would be to ask the influencer to send a screenshot of their account from the Audience tab. Another way is to use an influencer marketing platform that shows you the correct data, pulled straight from Instagram.

Swedish influencers followers demographics comparison

Comparison of two different Swedish influencers’ audience demographics

3. Choosing influencers based on their content

The content can generally be judged based on three aspects: post visual, caption, and statistics.

3.1. Influencer’s visuals

What is a good visual? Again, there are no absolute rules. Many marketers prefer pictures where the product is in use or in the natural environment to pose “me and the product” photos. Another aspect to keep in mind is that photographs with a human face tend to evoke more emotion and thus produce better results.

The advantage of influencer marketing platforms is that often (at least in Promoty), influencers can be given feedback before posting. If the campaign brief included specific requirements to the visual (for example, the product should be in the photo, the influencer should be in the photo, the photo should be in light tones, etc.), the created content must match it. If not, the brand representative has the right to request changes.

3.2. Influencer’s posts’ captions

It is even more challenging to provide more specific rules for captions – in most cases, we recommend adding as much personality and storytelling as possible, but sometimes specific marketing messages work well. The key here is for the brand to know what they want to say about the campaign (be it a particular association of brand they want to create or a specific campaign message) and be able to communicate this to the influencer in your brief.

 itsjusttix and hair lust campaign photo

@itsjusttix x HairLust campaign photo

3.3. Influencer’s post statistics

Once the post has been approved and posted to social media, it can already be evaluated based on its results: the number of likes and comments, reach and cost per engagement. If the influencer has a large number of following, it doesn’t neccessarily mean the numbers of their posts are big as well. So, make sure to check how well their posts are doing before selecting the influencer to your campaign.

To collect statistics, you can ask influencers to send you screenshots, use an influencer marketing platform, or use Paid Partnership on Instagram.

👉🏼 Read also: How to measure influencer marketing?

content statistics view on Promoty

Posted content statistics on Promoty

4. Choosing influencers for content-only campaigns 

In content-only campaigns, you can get photos or videos to use on your brand’s social media channels and the influencers don’t have to post the created content on their social media.

But what to keep in mind when choosing content creators for this type of a campaign?

4.1. Don’t be strict with targeting, anyone could take cool photos!

If you need to send out products, you should only set filters for the influencer’s location. Set filters for the influencers’ language depending on the language of your brief (write it in english if it’s an international campaign and local language if the campaign is run in a specific country).

4.2. Look at the influencer’s feed, not the numbers

If you want photos to use for your brand’s social media channels, the number of the influencer’s followers or likes doesn’t really matter. What matters is the style of their content: does the tonality match with your brand? Does the quality look decent?

Let’ compare two completely different Instagram feeds for an example:
katriinm instagram feed

@katriinm has a subtle style with light tones, her style could be great for accessory or skincare brands.

that.anioma.expat Instagram feed

@that.anioma.expat has a very positive style, she uses bright colors and lots of contrast which works nicely for food brands, for example.

4.3.When reviewing applicants, you see their price per one photo or video

If they submit more than one photo once you’ve accepted them, you’ll have to pay the price they asked in the first place multiplied by the number of content that you approve. You can also see the content’s price when approving it.

As the post showed, using a Promoty-like platform makes finding the right influencers for your brand much easier. If you’d like to discuss how to leverage influencer marketing for your brand, get in touch with us – we’d. be happy to help! 👇🏼

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