Working with social influencers is the fastest route to successfully marketing your business and brand in today’s online world filled with white noise and repetitive ad blasts.  Consumers are shopping online more than ever, they research where to shop and what to buy, yet they are more immune and perturbed by online ads than ever before.  This is why partnering with an influencer, or a community of influencers, to share your goods, is the perfect solution to cut through the noise.

Consumers want and are willing to be guided, and the people they listen to most are the ones they look up to and trust; aka influencers.  Let’s face it, most social influencers “hang out” on multiple social platforms, though often they choose one particular platform on which to pour their focus.  Since your brand stands to be the best in the business (let’s assume for now, anyways), it makes sense to target the best of the best influencers on the most highly rated social media platform.

Why Hire Instagram Influencers?

At the moment Instagram is a contender for the #1 social platform.  Instagram rivaled Google+ for the fastest growing, with 200 million active users in three and a half years, surpassing Facebook which took 5 years and Twitter at six and a half years to reach that many users.  The platform also boasts highest rate of engagement over any other site, and higher quality traffic.

Given Instagram’s fast growing popularity and highest engagement rate of any other site, it makes sense to go after the best influencers on the best platform.

Finding Instagram Influencers

What does it take to find influencers hanging out on Instagram?  How to find top influencers on Instagram that are fit and right for your brand? The background research is not as difficult as one might think, though the follow up, networking, engagement and collaboration can take an entire team, if not an influencer marketing agency.

Tips to Uncover Instagram Influencers

1. Narrow Search by Niche

The single most important thing to know about influencers is the they specialize in particular verticals.  Not only do they specialize in a vertical, whether fashion/ beauty, health/fitness, business, and so on, but they tend to specialize even further by focusing on niche areas within these verticals.  In order to compete with other influencers in their vertical and to sculpt a unique persona that stands out from the rest, influencers dedicate their social media platforms to a highly specialized area, such as eco-friendly, socially conscious fashion, within the fashion vertical.

2. Get the Scoop

Do you know the influencer you are targeting?  No one expects you to know them in person, but by all means, do your due diligence.  A simple web search for top influencers in your chosen niche will help filter out some of the people you might consider targeting.  Getting more specific, be sure to conduct background research on your influencer.  Do they work with brands?  If so, what kinds of promotions and sponsorships have they done before?  Is it in line with what your brand would like to do?  Can you get a sense, based on the campaigns, what the budget may have been so you can prepare yourself for the cost?

3. The Approach

Knowing more about a top Instagram influencer you plan to target will also help you decide how to best approach them.  Do they like being contacted directly via email and asked for influencer sponsorships, or do they prefer to build a relationship with people and brands before doing business?  Unsure?  Play it safe and build the relationship first.  Small steps such as following their Instagram profile, liking photos, commenting on photos, sharing your IG page and website, can go a long way.

4. Top Instagram Influencers Aren’t All That

Have you considered that the Instagram influencers at the very top are unreachable, for any number of reasons?  It might not even be worth the extensive time, effort, and money it would take to reach these folks.  On the other hand, if you appreciate the power an Instagram influencer holds even in the mid-range with thousands to tens of thousands of followers, it might be more worth partnering with someone more accessible.

If you are an indie brand, a start-up, or on your way to the top, it could be just as effective to partner with an influencer who is also on their way up.  Consider that this partnership would be more likely to lead to a long-standing influencer relationship.