What’s holding you back from making the leap into influencer marketing? If you’re not sure how to get started or are unsure about how to get buy-in for an influencer budget, you’re not alone. But, if you’re not leveraging content creators as part of your digital marketing strategy, you could be missing out — big time.
We created this guide to show you how to connect with Instagram content creators who have built strong connections with their audience — which could be your audience, too. Below, you’ll also find some helpful tools and examples that can help you leverage a creator’s social influence to build your brand.
What Is an Instagram Content Creator and Why Are They Valuable to Your Brand?
An Instagram content creator is someone who develops content within a particular niche specifically for posting via Instagram. For example, an Instagram user who consistently posts content related to their acoustic guitar (videos, images etc.) would be considered an Instagram content creator who appeals to guitar lovers. This acoustic guitarist can also be described as an Instagram influencer (depending on the number of Instagram followers he has).
Instagram content creators can provide tremendous awareness and revenue opportunities for your brand through influencer marketing. Tapping into this powerful marketing channel gives your marketing efforts a boost. You’ll also be in good company — Statista reports that a whopping 93% of marketers and agency professionals in the U.S. plan to use Instagram for influencer marketing. Further, 83% of the survey respondents specify that they plan to focus on Instagram Stories and 36% say they plan to focus on Instagram Reels.
We’re not suggesting that you should jump on the Instagram influencer bandwagon because it’s a current trend. What we’re saying is that Instagram is a strong social media platform for a lucrative influencer marketing strategy. Research finds that businesses earn between $5.78 and $18 for every dollar spent on influencers — that’s a significant return on investment!
Want more proof? Here’s an example from Daniel Wellington, a Swedish-based online retailer. Their marketing team invested $15,000 in influencer marketing in 2011 and focused specifically on micro-influencers. They continued their investment over the years, which was a smart move since their revenue is now $200 million.
Micro-influencers helped Daniel Wellington massively increase sales because they had a deeper, more authentic connection with their audiences and also had higher engagement rates than macro-influencers. Daniel Wellington used influencer marketing to gain a competitive edge that led to a massive increase in revenue and social media presence.
How To Find the Right Content Creators for Your Brand
Finding the right Instagram content creators is the key to helping you achieve influencer marketing success that’s similar to (or even greater than) Daniel Wellington’s. Here are five steps you should follow to ensure you get the best ROI from the influencer partnerships you develop.
1. Determine Your Budget
Tying your budget exclusively to follower count gives you a false sense of what you can afford. But having a clear budget helps you determine the types of influencers you can collaborate with and the types of posts you can sponsor. Consider whether you want:
- Exclusive rights to any content the influencer creates for your brand for use in your own promotional materials
- One Instagram post or several posts
- Content that requires heavy editing, videos, or IGTV moments
It’s also a good idea to consider whether you want the influencer to work exclusively for your brand, and if you want them to attend events. The cost will increase based on your requirements.
On the flip side, your brand may not be at the place where spending money on Instagrammers is an option. Maybe you’re testing the waters to see if influencer marketing should really be part of your marketing strategy.
If you’re in this boat, the best thing for you to do is to try product seeding. Product seeding is when you provide a free product or experience in exchange for being featured on an Instagrammer’s profile. Micro-influencers are the best group to approach with this type of arrangement.
2. Decide Whether You Want To Use Micro-Influencers, Macro-Influencers, or a Mixture of Both
A micro-influencer on Instagram has between 1,000 and 100,000 Instagram followers, consistently creates strong visual content, and has an average engagement rate of at least 7%. A macro influencer on Instagram has between 100,000 and 1 million Instagram followers, has an engagement rate of at least 3%, and consistently creates strong visual content.
Aside from a higher engagement rate, micro-influencers also tend to be more deeply invested in their marketing strategies because they want to grow their following. Therefore, they’re more likely to commit to your Instagram marketing campaign than macro-influencers (who are more comfortable with where they’re at).
Also, micro-influencers cost less than macro-influencers because they have fewer followers. Macro-influencers typically have a degree of celebrity status that gives them some additional social media popularity. That’s why it’s easier for them to attract followers — but that also means they come with a higher price tag.
3. Set Specific Criteria That You’ll Use to Vet Each Social Media Influencer
Choosing the wrong Instagram influencer could seriously affect your social media marketing strategy and your brand’s reputation. That’s why it’s important to clearly outline the criteria you’re looking for. Here are some questions you can ask when vetting these social media influencers:
- Does this influencer’s brand voice match ours? The best influencer partnerships occur when both brands speak about the same things in the industry and share similar perspectives.
- Are the sponsored posts on this page similar to how we want our brand to be portrayed?
- What’s the average engagement rate for this influencer’s profile? The table below from Klipfolio explains how you should interpret engagement rates.
- Does this Instagrammer already show love for our brand? It feels more authentic if influencers have already shown interest in your brand on their profiles.
- Does this influencer have fake followers? You can use a tool to check whether the Instagram account’s follower list is genuine or if it’s full of fake profiles. Popular Pays has an authenticity tool of our own authenticity tool to determine fake followers.
- Is this Instagrammer’s audience really an ideal match for the audience we’re targeting?
Discuss this checklist openly with your team, get their feedback, and make adjustments to suit the unique needs of your brand. This is how you create a checklist that helps you build partnerships with the right influencers.
4. Find Influencers Who Have Experience in Your Industry
We touched on this briefly in the checklist above, but now we want to explain exactly how you can find Instagram influencers. There are several options, but let’s take a closer look at three of the most popular methods.
Let’s say you own a company that sells guitar strings and picks. You want to find Instagram content creators who love all things related to the guitar. Some of the best hashtags to explore include: #guitarplayer, #guitarist, and #guitarcover.
Here are the steps for searching by industry hashtags if you’re using the Instagram app.
- Step #1: Tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the app.
- Step #2: Type one of the hashtags into the search bar. Let’s use #guitarplayer. When you do this, other hashtag suggestions will pop up. We’re using the first suggestion from the list for this example.
- Step #3: Click on a post that interests you and view the creator’s profile.
- Step #4: If the person fits the criteria on your checklist, reach out and have a discussion (we’ll cover reaching out to influencers in more detail later).
Repeat these steps until you have the target number of influencers you want as part of your social media marketing strategy.
The Carrot Method
This method works specifically with the Instagram desktop app. Start by visiting the Instagram profiles of brands you love and identify the influencers that those brands work with. Then, visit those influencers’ profiles and narrow down your picks based on those that stand out to you.
Next, click the drop down menu beside the Follow button and look at the profiles in the Suggested list. Keep repeating the process until you narrow your choices down to your favorite influencers.
Influencer Marketing Platform (Like Popular Pays)
This is the most time-efficient way to find the right influencers for your influencer marketing campaigns. An influencer marketing platform, such as Popular Pays, can help you easily find content creators within your niche. Our platform makes it easier to find Instagram influencers, vet them using your chosen criteria, and manage relationships with creators more efficiently.
Finding Instagram influencers on Popular Pays:
- Search our opt-in network of over 90,000 creators by content capabilities, interests, location, and more.
- Save and organize creators based on your preferences to custom lists for easy discoverability
5. Reach Out to Influencers on Your Shortlist
There are several templates that you can use to help structure your DMs to the influencers you want to partner with. Carro has some great examples of influencer messaging templates to help you craft the perfect message.
Our biggest tip for success when reaching out to influencers? Personalize your message.
Even if you use a template, it’s important to establish a human connection. Show the influencer that you’ve looked through their profile and tell them exactly what makes them the right fit for your brand.
5 Content Creators Worth Following
Instagram has over a billion active users and some truly amazing accounts, so it would be impossible to list all the content creators worth following. Below, we’ll highlight just a few excellent travel, health, and wellness micro-influencers who deserve a closer look!
1. Chloé Tryhane
Chloé is an online fitness and wellness coach who shares workout routines, body-conscious meals, and inspiring photos of her progress with her community. Her personal account currently has 9,707 followers, and she recently featured a giveaway from SmartSweets.ca on her profile.
2. Bianca Dedicatoria
Bianca, aka “La Petite Fashionista,” is an Instagrammer who wears many hats. She’s a travel enthusiast who loves fitness and fashion. She has 12,000 followers and recently partnered with Shoe Dazzle.
3. Björn Müller
Björn has an amazing engagement rate on many of his posts. The posts are short, sweet, and include emojis his 22,400 followers can relate to. Many of his posts feature him in countries across Europe including Spain, England, and Germany. While he hasn’t broadcast any paid partnerships on his profile, he does pose in brand-name gear — which could be his way of subtly showcasing the brands he works with.
4. Danielle Rivoli
Danielle is a certified personal trainer who posts about healthy eating, fitness routines, and life with young kids. She has 81,000 followers and has partnered with major brands such as Fabletics, Sweaty Betty, and 1st Phorm.
5. J Elissa Marshall
J Elissa is a yoga instructor with 44,400 followers who posts some stunning pictures in various yoga poses. She has partnered with Neou Fitness.
Looking for other talented creators? Check out our list of the top fitness influencers and fashion influencers to watch.
Helpful Content Creation Tools for Running Your Instagram Account
You can also be a content creator — for your brand’s Instagram business account. This is most likely the account you’ll use to contact these content creators, so you want to be sure your profile is appealing and professional. With the right tools in your arsenal it’s easy to create attractive, valuable content that your audience will love. There are plenty of content creation tools on the market, but here are our top five:
Not to toot our own horn, but did you know that we offer more than just influencer marketing management? The Popular Pays platform is an all in one platform for you to connect, collaborate, and track your work with influencers and content creators across media channels and content types. Whether it’s content for your website, app, social channels, or even TV, our platform streamlines the work of partnering with creators to build breakthrough advertising.
- Mobile-first content at studio quality
- Expert content creation help in one place
- Authentic content that resonates with your audience
Canva has over 60 million active users so it’s safe to say that you’ve probably heard of the brand before. It’s a graphic design tool that allows even the most unskilled designers to create beautiful images, social media posts, and videos.
- Easy to learn and use
- Graphic design skills not required
- Basic photo editing and video creation features that work well for social media posts
Infltr is the perfect app for adding a wide range of filters to your photos for Instagram. Filters are an excellent way to make social media images pop, so Infltr is a great tool to add to your content creator toolkit.
- Works only on iOS devices
- Features 7 million filter options
- Allows you to apply filters before or after taking a photo
- Includes editing features for videos, GIFs, and live photos
Adobe Premiere Rush
If you’ve ever used Adobe Premiere Pro, you know it can be quite complicated for the average video editing app. Adobe Premiere Rush is Adobe Premiere Pro’s less-complicated cousin that allows you to create high-quality videos from your mobile device.
- Access built-in templates for motion graphics
- Film directly from the app and start editing instantly
- Add thumbnails and schedule posts directly from the app
Easily Find and Manage Instagram Content Creators From One Platform
There’s no need to pull your hair out in frustration as you try to figure out how to find the best Instagram content creators for your brand to partner with. Popular Pays is an all-in-one platform that allows you to create and scale your influencer marketing and your content creation processes.
Schedule a demo to learn more about what we do and how our platform can help you.