How to find Instagram influencers that can really influence?
Updated: May 26
Do any of these sound familiar?
You’re unsure which influencers will give you the best ROI.
You have no idea how to find niche influencers.
You don’t know how to find small local influencers.
You struggle to pick the ones to work with as it’s unclear which are the best fit.
If so - you’re in luck. I’ll let you in on the process we use at Caption to find Instagram influencers for our campaigns. Influencers that are the right fit and can deliver the results you’re looking for.
The rule of thumb for picking your influencers
Have you ever been disappointed by the results from an influencer campaign and sworn that it is a waste of time and money?
How else could one explain it? Thousands of people saw and liked the posts with your product, but none converted. Some of the influencer’s followers should have made a purchase, followed you or converted in the way you intended. Is influencer marketing ineffective, then?
Influencer size determines more than just the reach.
Let’s say you have €3000 to spend hiring influencers for your campaign. Do you spend it working with multiple smaller (micro) influencers or a few larger names? Depends on your goals.
If you want immediate ROI - spend the money by picking 15 smaller (micro) influencers for €200 each.
Their audiences are small and more engaged, not worn out by the constant promotions like on the bigger profiles. The influencers themselves are genuine and believable. You will be promoting to an audience that is receptive, likely to trust the recommendation and buy.
Micro-influencers = ROI
If you desire brand image, impressions, content with a celebrity that you can use in your ads later on - pick 2 influencers for €1500 each instead.
Their followers will be less engaged and less likely to buy straight away - they’re used to seeing ads in this influencer’s feed.
Larger influencers = brand awareness
This doesn’t mean that it’s ineffective to spend on the big names. You are paying for the name and face being attached to your product. For recognition on the supermarket shelf. For quality content that you can later use in your ads.
Now that you know how to pick the type of influencer that will deliver you the results you want, let’s get to finding the best of them.
Where do you find quality influencers?
There are lists and rankings you can google, right? Right, and the people on them are usually the least effective and the most expensive. Basic supply and demand here - you’re not the first one to look for the list online and to reach out. That’s not what we’re looking for.
We’re looking for quality influencers to work with. This means no public lists. Here are the 3 best sources of influencers:
The best source - your followers
2nd best source - people who engaged with your content or account
3rd best source - the first two groups, but for your competitor
The process stays the same regardless of the influencer size you’re looking for.
For the 1st group - go through your followers one by one noting their handle and follower count in a spreadsheet. Then select the ones that suit your needs and contact them about your campaign.
Before you say it, yes, it’s tedious work to record followers and their numbers one by one. That’s why I’ll introduce you a few ways to make the process easier in the last chapter.
The 2nd best source is those who liked your posts or posted a picture tagging your brand. These people might not be your followers, but they liked what you did at least once and it’s worth a try. It’s also nice to know that they’re active on the platform and are engaging with others.
The 3rd best source is to check your competitor’s followers and engagers. If you have no following - it might even be your best choice. There’s a higher chance those folks are already working with your competitor, but it’s still worth writing them to ask.
Bonus advice: see if your competitor had a contest running where participants had to use a specific hashtag. Check the posts out and see if there are influencers among those who posted.
In all of these cases, you’re getting a list of Instagram influencers who are at the very least aware of the category your business is in. Thus, it’s a lot easier to find common ground. In the ideal scenario - the person you write to is already an avid user of your product.
Our results using this process
The ideal scenario I mentioned above can lead to great results.
We have had multiple times when influencers with over 50K followers agreed to post in their feed for a €20 coupon. Even at a modest 5% engagement rate that’s €0.008 per engagement. And we’re not even counting the extra social proof an influencer gives you.
We’ve also experienced people with thousands of followers take part in branded contests without asking for anything in return. All with a message asking to do so from a brand they already follow and love. They even had to buy the product themselves to participate.
What options are there to do it faster?
To start you can cut some time by excluding the profiles without a profile picture or something wrong with it without checking the numbers. You can also try and outsource this via Upwork. Or have your assistant clicking all day (or week, depending on your follower count).
There’s one more, even better way to do it. Unfortunately, it includes proprietary tools we can’t upload online. But here’s the next best thing - a real example of the output.
It is a list of influencers with over 3K followers following one of the leading Latvian FMCG brands. You can poke around in the full list in excel format here.
If you want a list for your own use - for a limited time we’re offering the service to others outside of our agency clients.