When running influencer marketing campaigns, one of the most important steps, and sometimes one of the trickiest, is to find Instagram influencers that correctly align with your brand. And once you find them, the work doesn’t end there. Keep reading to learn how to find Instagram influencers in a breeze, and to get some handy tips about how to manage your brand collaborations with them.

How to find Instagram influencers

If searching directly on Instagram, start by looking for influencers who are already fans of your brand. Check out:

  • Your followers
  • Mentions directed at your brand
  • Branded hashtags used by your brand
  • Hashtags related to your industry or niche

If you can find influencers who are already interested in your brand, it’s more likely they’ll respond positively to what you have to offer them. 

The above strategy works fine if you want to find a few influencers. But if you need to find various influencers for a big campaign, or perhaps influencers for multiple campaigns, there’s a better way: an influencer marketing platform. One such example of this is Heepsy.

A screenshot showing an influencer profile on Heepsy, a platform that helps you find Instagram influencers.

An influencer profile, as seen on Heepsy.

Heepsy lets you search for Instagram or Youtube influencers with a variety of filters. Search by category, location, number of followers, engagement rate, and more. Then, when you get your results, you get detailed analytics about the influencer’s profile, as well as a visual feed and biography information.

Heepsy also lets you organize your influencer search results in lists by campaign, location, or however else you need to organize yourself. Then, you can easily compare influencers against each other, as well as add statuses, ratings and comments about each. You can also download your lists as spreadsheets to help automate your outreach or manage your information that way.

A screenshot of the lists panel on Heepsy, a platform that helps you find Instagram influencers.

An example of a list on Heepsy. The interface shows you aggregate and influencer-specific metrics.

When you find Instagram influencers, evaluate these metrics

Before you select influencers for your campaign, make sure you thoroughly evaluate their metrics. You want to make sure that any influencer you collaborate with will help you achieve your campaign goals. And follower count isn’t everything. These are a few other metrics to look into.

Engagement rate

Engagement rate shows the level of interaction between an influencer and their followers. High engagement shows that the audience is genuinely interested in the influencer’s content. And that means they’ll more likely be interested in your brand when promoted by that influencer.

An engagement rate metric as seen on Heepsy, a tool to find Instagram influencers.

Heepsy shows you engagement rate compared to an influencer’s peers, as engagement averages vary depending on how many followers an influencer has. Beware very low engagement, which shows either lack of interest or fake followers, and high engagement, which could be a sign of fake likes and/or comments. 

Follower growth

Looking at how an Instagram influencer has gained their followers can reveal if the influencer may have bought fake followers. If you see sudden spikes, and the absence of a giveaway or viral content, the influencer may have fake followers. Followers aren’t usually gained overnight; it takes time and commitment.

Follower growth rate chart showing growth over time, taken from Heepsy, which lets you find Instagram influencers and analyze their profiles.

Audience authenticity & demographics

Finally, take a look at the influencer’s audience makeup to make sure it matches your campaign’s target audience. First, check into demographics like age, gender and so on. While you can assume influencers will have something in common with their audience, you’d be surprised sometimes at what these metrics reveal.

A chart showing audience location demographics for an influencer's profile, taken from Heepsy, an influencer marketing platform that lets you find instagram influencers.

Next, you want to check the audience’s authenticity, to make sure you don’t end up campaigning to bots. When you work with an influencer, you’re investing in them in a way. So double check that you’re investing wisely.

Tips for working with Instagram influencers

Once you’ve found the perfect influencers for your campaign, it’s time to get collaborating! But, there are some things to keep in mind as you develop your relationship with influencers. Here are some of the top tips.

Discuss guidelines, but give influencers creative freedom

Before anything is published, negotiate how many posts and stories the influencer will produce and lay out any publishing guidelines you have. And ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want to emphasize about your product(s)?
  • When do you want the influencer to publish?
  • Do you want them to mention your brand or use certain hashtags?
  • Do you have any aesthetic or thematic requirements, like for example, you want your swimwear collection photographed at the beach and not the pool?
  • Does the influencer need any special information, such as details to login to your brand’s account for a takeover?
A screenshot of an Instagram post from Anastasia Beverly Hills that shows the use of a branded hashtag.

#anastasiabrows is an example of a branded hashtag used on Instagram by beauty brand @anastasiabeverlyhills.

Be clear with what you want, but don’t micromanage. Give influencers creative freedom to produce their content. They know their audience best, and they’ve earned their audience’s trust producing content that’s true to them.

Know what you can offer in incentive and plan for logistics

You can pay influencers monetarily or non-monetarily, like with products or services offered by your brand. When working with nano and micro influencers, who have fewer than 50K followers, you can often close collaborations for products alone. However, with influencers in the higher tiers, be prepared to pay a fee, too.

When sending products to influencers, account for shipping and handling in both your budget and schedule. If you want an influencer to review your brand’s products as part of their collaboration content, they’ll need some time to do so. That means you should leave leeway so even if there are shipping delays, the campaign can carry on as planned.

Adhere to disclosure guidelines

Instagram recently cracked down in the UK with respect to hidden advertisements, as a consequence of investigations by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA is just one government agency that regulates how advertisements are portrayed to consumers. And influencers work into that mix.

A screenshot from Instagram showing how influencer @thekitchenista specified that her content was part of a paid promotion with BJ's Wholesale.

A paid partnership between foodie influencer @thekitchenista and @BJswholesale. Notice how the partnership is disclosed at the top of the post.

Make sure you brush up on guidelines from the CMA, the American Federal Trade Commission, or any other agency that may have jurisdiction. Both influencers and brands are responsible for proper collaboration disclosure. So when in doubt, ask a lawyer or advertising expert to see which rules apply to your campaign.


With an influencer marketing platform like Heepsy, it’s easy to find influencers to contribute to your brand’s campaigns. 

If you’d like to learn more about Heepsy and how it works, we invite you to book a free demo. Our Sales reps will give you a personalized tour of the platform and answer any questions you may have.