How to Grow Your Instagram Influencer Network?
Growing your Instagram influencer network is easy, in theory. After all, these are people who want to be found. But with over a billion active Instagram accounts, finding the perfect influencers for your brand is often easier said than done.
That’s why today we’ve got a few tips to help you get started. With these recommendations, you’ll be able to discover promising new influencers for your future campaigns with no trouble at all.
The first step to expanding your influencer network is to have a clear idea of what you need from them. Each influencer’s appeal varies across demographics, so before you get started, you need to know what to look for.
In broad terms, these are the main factors you need to consider when searching for a fresh batch of influencers:
Content and Brand Identity
Not all influencers are a good fit for all companies. Look at both the sponsored and unsponsored content your prospective influencer frequently posts to their account.
This will help you determine whether they will be compatible with your brand’s voice. You’ll also be able to sample the kind of sponsored content they’ve handled, and the brands they have previously partnered with.
Generally, reach is considered to be the total number of people that follow an account. However, the vast majority of followers never see 100% of the content an influencer posts.
For this reason, it’s also important to consider the average exposure or impressions per post. Using this metric is much more accurate when trying to gauge how your sponsored content is likely to perform.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the engagement rate. This is the percentage of how many people took further action after viewing your sponsored influencer content. What counts as a “good” engagement rate varies between platforms, but generally, engagement rates drop off significantly as follower numbers increase.
You can use the Instagram Engagement Calculator to calculate how much engagement an influencer is able to drive. From there, you can get a better idea of which influencers can drive engagement for your brand.
1. Use an Influencer Search Tool
Expanding your influencer network can be a long and labor-intensive process. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. A good influencer management tool can do much more than just help you run campaigns.
It can also help you find the influencers that best suit your needs. Tools like Grin, for example, let you use filters to quickly narrow your search based on platform, reach, geographic area, etc. Influencer search tools help you find the influencers you need and the fresh audiences you want to reach.
Image Source: Grin
Using a specialized tool to find influencers isn’t always free. However, it is the fastest, most effective approach. And it will definitely save quite a few man-hours of work. Hours that would have otherwise been spent on manually identifying and vetting potential influencers.
2. Explore Other Accounts Who Often Use Your Preferred Hashtags
One of the best ways to discover influencers is to look for accounts that regularly use the same hashtags that you target. Filtering through them will be time-consuming, but since they are working with the same target audience, there’s a lot of potential.
With some luck, you’ll be able to identify new influencers whose voice and content are just what you’re looking for.
If you have any dedicated brand hashtags of your own, don’t forget to check those as well. It’s a long-shot but an influencer using your branded hashtags may be quite receptive to a possible partnership.
3. Look at the Networks of Your Existing Influencers
This point is pretty much self-explanatory, but it is too often overlooked. Many Instagram influencers follow and network with each other.
Simply look at who the influencers in your network follow. Then use those connections to identify prospective partners to add to your influencer network.
4. Don’t Forget about Micro-Influencers
Previously an often overlooked group, micro-influencers are currently getting a lot of attention. Typically, this refers to accounts that have more than 1,000 followers but fewer than 100,000.
If you’ve avoided partnering with micro-influencers in favor of maximizing your reach, it may be time to rethink your strategy.
You could try using a micro-influencer campaign to specifically target smaller market segments that your larger campaigns have been unsuccessful with.
Since micro-influencer accounts don’t have the reach of their more popular peers, they’re not usually heavy-hitters when it comes to brand building.
But that is counterbalanced by the significantly higher follower engagement rate they often have. That fact, combined with their lower sponsorship costs, makes micro-influencer campaigns an almost-perfect tool for boosting sales
Image Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
5. Ask Your Fans for Input
While you get to work on other options, you could also try crowdsourcing a solution. You can ask your own followers and fans on social media to help you out.
This could be in the form of a poll or simply asking them which influencers they trust for purchasing advice.
Their suggestions could help you generate a few good leads to potentially add to your influencer network. You’ll also gain insights into the influencers that the people who like your brand also follow.
6. Send Reps to Conventions and Meet-Ups
This solution is low tech, but can still yield useful results. If influencer conventions such as VidCon are held in your city or nearby, consider sending an informal representative. Attending these gatherings can help you identify both established and emerging influencers that you may want to partner with.
Setting up a meeting at the convention isn’t necessary, this step is just about discovering who you could consider working with. Then you can look up their profiles and vet them at your leisure before adding them to your influencer network.
7. Look at Your Competitors’ Partners
Keeping track of influencers that your competitors are working with can also be a useful strategy to grow your influencer network. These influencers will almost certainly be unable to help your efforts while they are working with your competitors.
However, you could consider approaching them with an offer once they are at the end of their current sponsorship deal. It’s best to contact them beforehand to prevent them from renewing a contract with your competitor without hearing your pitch.
Naturally, this approach is best employed when partnering with major influencers. For anyone except top-tier talent that you absolutely must have on your team, this approach is probably not worth it. Primarily due to the long lead time and the fact that a positive result is still not guaranteed.
8. Consider Expanding into Untapped Demographics and Markets
Our final recommendation certainly requires the most effort, but the potential payoff makes it worth considering. Many marketing executives have been running campaigns and growing their influencer networks for years.
If you count yourself among them, it’s possible you’ve already reached out to the best influencers that cover your target market. Markets at their saturation point can be challenging to navigate successfully. But it may be possible to move past this problem with a little lateral thinking.
Rather than trying to find new influencers for your current target market, it may be time to start targeting new audiences. Partnering with influencers who speak different languages or who live in different countries can help you develop and expand into new markets.
But if radical expansion plans aren’t on the table, this approach can still be used domestically. Partnering with influencers whose audiences traditionally lie outside your core target market helps to broaden the appeal of your brand. This shift could enable you to leverage untapped market segments.
Now you know some of the best ways to grow your network of Instagram influencers. With these techniques, you’ll have no trouble discovering new influencers to help you expand your reach and make your next campaign a huge success.
But now we want to hear your ideas. Do you have any suggestions that worked for you and think we should add to this list? Let us know in the comments.