How To Find the Best Instagram Influencers For Your Campaigns

How To Find the Best Instagram Influencers For Your Campaigns

Bonus: Download free template for finding Instagram influencers. Includes 2 checklists, a spreadsheet and an outreach template. Click the below button to download.

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If you’re looking for a tactic that will not only get you quick results on Instagram, but is also affordable, you should give Instagram influencer marketing a try. Influencer marketing returns $6.5 for every $1 spend, comparatively digital ads only generate $2.5 for every $1 spend.

influencer marketing spend

The top 13% earn $20 for every $1 spend on influencer marketing.

The ROI you generate from your Instagram influencer marketing campaign will chiefly depend on the influencers you work with.

You need to be very meticulous to only pick influencers who drive genuine engagement and are highly relevant to the campaign you want to run. Otherwise you will end up with horror stories like these.

So, here is my step by step guide to find the best Instagram influencers for your campaigns. Use it along with the the template to find Instagram influencers (you can download it by clicking on the orange button at the top of the post), and you will generate a positive ROI…

Set clear campaign goals:

What do you want to get out of this campaign? Do you want to get more people to sign up to your email list or do you want to get more people to buy something or do you just want brand impressions?

When most businesses run influencer marketing campaigns, they don’t have a clear plan for the goal they want to achieve. They have a superficial idea on some goals they want to achieve and they hope that paying an influencer with a ton of Instagram followers will automatically get them there.

You could get lucky with an unplanned campaign and gain some decent results. But most of the time you will fail.  Like this one where an influencer with over 2.6 million followers failed to make 36 shirt sales.

set goals that you can achieve

Image credit: twitter

Failures like these happen when companies and influencers don’t set strong goals and work towards them with a unique promotion plan.

This is why you should have a look at your company’s goals, your product goals and then come up with a campaign goal that is parallel to them. And then build an influencer marketing campaign around this goal.

If your company’s goal is to get more sales, you need to set this as the apex goal of your influencer marketing strategy, while if you just want to build your brand you can have a goal like impressions.

There’s no use obsessing over vanity metrics like engagement and followers and setting them as your primary goals. As placing an emphasis on them can cannibalise your main goals. You should only consider these metrics if they can catalyse your primary goals.

For example, getting more likes on Instagram will increase the reach of the posts (influencers publish) which can get you more sales. Therefore, gaining likes can be a secondary goal of a campaign where the primary goal is getting sales.

So, have a good think about the strategy your company is currently following and then set corresponding goals to your influencer marketing campaign.

For some inspiration on how clear goal setting can get you better results, checkout this case study from Shane Barker.

influencer marketing works

Here he helped Zoe Rodriguez, an influencer in the fitness industry, get a 3.5X ROI with influencer marketing. As stated in the post, Shane had the clear goal to increase sales and maximize ROI. He built an entire campaign around it and generated $1.6 million in revenue.

Decide on your budget:

The next step is to decide on your campaign’s budget as it can play a crucial role on the influencers you pick.

If you have a small budget, but plenty of time to organise the campaign, it will be better to work with micro-influencers.

As a study found that Instagram accounts with fewer followers get more engagement than those with more followers.

fewer Instagram followers more engagement

Therefore, if you have a tight budget, it would be better to work with several influencers who have a following of less than 25,000 because as you can see in the above graph, they get an engagement of 3.1% or more.

These influencers will charge less than someone with 50,000+ followers. But you have to keep in mind that you will need to make up for the less number of followers by working with several influencers. Therefore, you should only opt for working with micro-influencers if you have the time.

If you don’t have the time, it is best to just work with a handful of influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers.

While deciding on the budget you should also decide on how you plan to pay the influencers. The options are…

Free: 78% of influencers have published sponsored posts for free.

several influencers will post for free

There are several out there who would be happy to publish your posts for free. Of course, to get them to promote your products, you might need to send them samples so that they can try them out. It isn’t exactly free, but it will work out a lot cheaper than paying them.

If you want a detailed guide on how to execute this, please read my post how to get free shoutouts on Instagram. It is great guide for companies on a tight budget.

To get the most out of this post also download the free tool kit for getting free Instagram shoutouts. It contains a checklist, a script and a spreadsheet that simplify the process. Click the below button to get it.

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Affiliate marketing: Another option for businesses who are on a tight budget, especially while starting out is affiliate marketing.

Here, instead of paying the influencer up front, you provide them with a special URL to your product. They can share this in the Instagram post’s caption or add it to their profile URL. When their followers click on this special link, visit your website and make a purchase, the influencers get a percentage of the sale.

There are several tools like Linktrust and Afftrack and that can help you create and manage your affiliate marketing campaigns.

find an affiliate marketing tool

Affiliate marketing is also a great way to test the waters. If some of the influencers bring in great results, you can team up with them for a more long term promotion.

Paid:Then there of course is the paid option. The above two methods will mainly attract micro-influencers. So, if you want to work with more experienced influencers with lots of followers you will need to pay up front.

If you’re looking for a tool that can help you find several affordable influencers quickly, you should checkout ShoutCart. Campaigns can be set up for as little as $10. Our Packages feature lets you work with several influencers with very little effort.

Find influencers with shoutcart

Research influencers and make a list:

After you decide on your goal, budget and how you plan to pay your influencers you can begin researching influencers and making a list of all the ones you could potentially work with.

To find Instagram influencers you can use Instagram itself. Start off by finding out what the most popular hashtags on Instagram in your niche are by using a hashtag research tool like

find the top hashtags on Instagram

Then type in these hashtags in the search field on the Instagram explore page of your app. This will show you the top performing posts with those hashtags.

instagram explore page

Browse through them and the extra relevant hashtags suggested by Instagram and find posts promoting products similar to yours. Then visit the accounts that published the posts and take a look at the posts they regularly publish and if the engagement they generate is good enough.

Alternatively, you can use a tool like Socialert to find influencers with hashtags.

To calculate their engagement rate accurately, you can use several social media tools.

One of them is Kicksta’s Free Instagram Engagement Calculator.

kicksta engagement calculator

It will show you the average engagement the account generates. 

Add this engagement rate along with all the other details of the account to a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet should include the name of the account, the niche/category, the number of followers, the average engagement rate, their response (i.e. do they want to work with you or not), their preferred payment option (free, affiliate or paid) and the quote (if they want to be paid).

spreadsheet to find instagram influencers

If you work with them you can later add details like the URL to the post they shared and the results it generated. This should include number of sales, engagement, impressions, followers, etc the post generated. This will help you decide if you should work with them in the future or not.

If you want the above spreadsheet, click on the below button to download it. I will send you the entire template to find Instagram influencers. This includes 2 checklists, this spreadsheet and an outreach script.

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Contact Instagram influencers:

After you create the above spreadsheet and have a list of at least 20 influencers you can begin contacting them. Start this process slowly instead of messaging them immediately like everybody else.

Influencers are drowning in requests from people they have never heard of before. Most of these requests end up getting ignored. Therefore, if you want to make sure that they check yours you need to make an impression. So, a week before you message them, start liking their posts and write genuine comments that compliment them on their hard work. Do this on every post they publish.

Set an hour or two daily for this. Then a week later message them and let me know that you are interested in working with them. If they have a website listed on their account, you can email them instead, by figuring out what their address is by using a tool like Voila Norbert.

use voilanorbert to find instagram influencers emails

Very few people will be emailing them for teaming up for an Instagram influencer marketing campaign. So, it will help you stand out.

Here’s a template you can use for the initial introductory message…

Hi ______,

I really like your Instagram account. You share a lot of interesting posts. I regularly like them and comment on them. I think you will like my posts too. I publish on the same topic of _____.

Could you please take a look at my work? Would you be interested in teaming up with me for a sponsored post? I am currently trying to promote my product _________. My followers love it and I am sure yours will too.

Please let me know.

Thank you


Just fill in the blanks and send it.

If they recognise you from the comments, their response rate will be high, and you can negotiate a price/payment plan with them. If you have done the hard work of building a strong relationship with them, this step will be extremely easy. They might even give you a good discount. For best results negotiate a deal where they publish several posts and stories over a period of weeks or months.

Now use the above tips to find Instagram influencers for your business…

These are the 4 steps you need to follow to find Instagram influencers for your campaigns. Start out by setting a clear goal that contributes to your bottom line. Next, workout a budget and research potential influencers. Finally, when you have a list with at least 50 influencers you can begin contacting them.

What steps do you follow for finding Instagram influencers? Which techniques have worked best for you? Please leave your comments below.

If you found the above post on how to find Instagram influencers useful and feel your followers will too, please share it with them by using the share buttons below.

How To Find the Best Instagram Influencers For Your Campaigns

Also make sure you download the template to finding Instagram influencers which consists of two checklists, a spreadsheet and an outreach script. It will make the above process simpler. Click the below button to download it.

Click here to subscribe

If you don’t have the time to go through the above steps, then you must checkout ShoutCart. Here you will find hundreds of Instagram influencers who are ready to work with you for as little as $10. The accounts’ engagement scores and success rates are displayed on the profiles itself to make it easy for you to find genuine influencers.

Use Shoutcart to find Instagram influencers