There are over 500,000 active influencers on Instagram. So it’s safe to say that it’s not easy for marketers to search through millions of influencers to find one to represent your brand. Especially when you’re doing it on a tight marketing budget. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Today we’ll talk about how to find Instagram influencers for free and show you how to streamline the process by creating a checklist for the perfect influencer before you start your search.
Create a Checklist for Finding Your Ideal Influencer
It’s easy to get swept away by an influencer you like but how do you decide if you want them to represent your brand? Not every influencer aligns with your brand messaging and style.
The trick here is to determine key characteristics and metrics based on what you expect from your collaborations. This guides your search and helps you find influencers for free that are the best-fit influencer for your brand.
The more specific you are with what you want from your ideal influencer, the easier it is to spot them amongst the ocean of influencers on Instagram. So, just as you would while creating an ICP, create an Ideal Influencer Profile based on how they should align with your brand values, content, and relevance.
To create an Ideal Influencer Profile, ensure the following elements:
- The influencer’s primary audience matches your target demographic in terms of age, interests, location, gender and behavior.
- Their geographic reach matches the locations where your target market is situated.
- The content they’re creating aligns with the interests and preferences of your target market and their values and image are in sync with your brand’s ethos and messaging.
- They’re actively engaged and hold a position of authority in your industry.
- Their engagement rate is high.
Now that you have a checklist to measure your choices against, let’s explore some ways you can find Instagram influencers for free.
Here Are the 7 Best Ways to Find Instagram Influencers for Free
1. Look through Your Own Followers
Start your search closer to home. You might discover hidden gems among your own follower base.
Brands attract followers who share a common interest, are intrigued by their products, or have already used and appreciated the product. Perhaps some of them have even posted about their experience. Look for followers who have mentioned your brand or featured it in their posts.
Focus on those with a notable following, impressive engagement, and Brand fit. Make sure they meet the key criteria outlined in your Ideal Influencer Profile checklist.
Another way is to focus on your top fans—who consistently like and comment on your posts. See if they have an engaged following. You may discover potential micro-influencers with a smaller but rapidly growing and highly engaged follower base.
For example, imagine you’re a small skincare brand and you find that some of your Instagram followers are beauty bloggers and skincare enthusiasts. Among them is a follower who regularly posts about natural skincare, has a growing audience, and actively engages with their followers. This person often features your brand, aligns with your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), and despite a smaller audience, has a high engagement rate. This makes them an ideal micro-influencer for a potential collaboration.
2. Conduct a Competitor Follower Analysis to Find Instagram Influencers
Sometimes you can find micro-influencers and influencers using unconventional methods.
Just as your followers might include potential influencers, the same is true for your competitors’ followers and those of related companies in your industry. When searching for potential influencers, apply the same approach to your competitor’s followers as you would with your own.
Identify potential partnerships and reach out to these potential influencers with an offer to try your product or service for free. This is an excellent way to introduce them to what you offer and gauge their interest in a collaboration.
For example, a company in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector, identified micro-influencers within their existing audience on a “recipe” website. They used identity management software to find users who, though not traditionally considered influencers, were generating significant referrals to the website. This helped the company identify new influencers at an individual level. Similarly, you can use free tools for your influencer search and analysis, replicating this strategy to identify potential influencers within your own audience.
3. Search Using Hashtags
Another efficient and popular method is to search using hashtags. To begin, identify relevant hashtags specific to your industry and niche. Think about the common terms, products, or services associated with your field.
You can also use hashtag research tools. There are free platforms that help you find trending hashtags in your industry. These are the tags your ideal influencers are likely using.
Another useful strategy is to monitor branded and marketing hashtags. Keep a close eye on branded hashtags, industry-specific technical terms, and marketing slogans relevant to your sector.
Incorporate the use of your own branded hashtags into this strategy. Create and promote unique branded hashtags as part of your marketing efforts and keep a regular check on who’s using these hashtags. You’ll find influencers who are already engaging with your brand or showing interest in your niche.
When you search for a hashtag on Instagram, the ‘Top Posts’ section also features influencer content. Check the posts for potential influencers and look for accounts with a high follower count and strong engagement rates.
Identify influencers who are open to brand collaborations by looking for those with sponsored posts. Also, go for influencers who are thought leaders in their industry. They bring with them a higher level of authority and credibility.
4. Use the Explore Page to Find Instagram Influencers
You’ve probably come across the “Explore page” on your Instagram. It’s an invaluable Instagram feature as it collects posts and videos that match your preferences and interests. The content on this page is sourced from accounts that you don’t follow but it closely aligns with your past behavior, preferences, and viewing habits. This makes the “Explore page” a useful resource for brands.
The page’s algorithm-driven content highlights influencers who are engaging with similar topics, styles, or audiences as your brand. This allows you to identify new, relevant influencers who may not yet be on your radar.
5. Lists of Top Influencers
Various websites regularly publish lists categorized by location, industry niches, and popularity levels. Search on Google using keywords related to your niche and industry. You’ll come across many pages that list influencers in your niche.
Go to the lists and sift through the profiles of potential influencers listed in these resources to find those who are a suitable match for your brand.
6. Use Social Listening Tools
Social listening tools monitor and analyze social media and online conversations. They track specific keywords, topics, or brands and provide you with valuable insights into audience sentiment and trends. There are paid and free social listening tools available that can identify trending topics and influential voices in your niche.
All you need to do is identify the keywords relevant to your niche and set up alerts for these keywords on the tool. This way, every time these specific keywords are mentioned on social media platforms, you’ll get instant alerts. Keep on the lookout for recurring themes that are gaining traction and identify the accounts that frequently appear and or have posts with high engagement.
Jack in the Box leveraged social tools to analyze social media data, including engagement rates and influencer impact. This analysis helped them identify key audiences and influencers. This allowed Jack in the Box to refine its influencer marketing strategy and target relevant influencers and micro-influencers more effectively. Although they used paid tools, you can adopt a similar approach with free social listening tools. These free tools, despite having limited features compared to paid versions, can still be valuable for discovering influencers.
7. Use Glewee
Glewee offers a free starter tier, allowing you to publish unlimited campaigns for free and work with influencers who are pre-vetted. Glewee offers an all-in-one influencer marketing platform where Brands can connect with 8000+ pre-vetted influencers. By joining Glewee for free, you can launch customizable campaigns, collaborate with Creators and influencers, and get content that drives awareness and conversions.
In addition to facilitating the discovery and management of influencer relationships, Glewee provides tools for campaign building, content approval, payment processing, and performance tracking. This simplifies the process of finding and working with influencers and makes it accessible for Brands of all sizes.
Finding Instagram influencers for free requires a strategic and creative approach. The methods mentioned above are a great starting point for marketing teams with limited budgets or those trying out influencer marketing. Remember, consistency and thorough analysis are key to successfully identifying the right content creator for your brand.
Glewee can help you with that. Sign up for free to get started. With our pre-vetted list of over 8000 Creators, we’re sure we can find a great match for your Brand.