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How to Find Creators for Instagram and YouTube Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is an essential step for brands that seek to achieve market saturation for their product or service. It doesn’t matter how great the product, brand, or initiative is, without the right advocates on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram, your promotion is bound to fall flat. 

Fortunately, the team at Grapevine has been around the block more than a few times when it comes to scouting and sourcing creators for influencer marketing campaigns. Here are some of our top tips to leverage when you are looking for influencers for your company. 

  1. Utilize Hashtag Searches on Instagram 

Use a hashtag search on Instagram to discover creators that may be posting about products in your field and reach out to them!

Hashtags are really helpful when curating content. When you’re looking for influencers, try to think of the hashtags that would most likely relate to your brand. For example, if you’re a beverage company, you might want to try looking for posts tagged with the hashtag, “#drink” or “#sip.” Once you have a list of hashtags to search for, take a look at the top performers for each of those hashtags. Do a few different permutations of those same hashtags as well. If you’re searching for “#drink” you might also want to search for “#drinking.” 

If you’re looking for geo-targeted influencers, try using city hashtags as well such as #NYCBloggers or #AustinBloggers. Take about ten minutes looking through some of the top results of the hashtag you typed in. When you identify the top performers, scroll through their profile to determine if the influencer is a right fit for your brand-category. How many times have they used the hashtag before? Additionally, take a look at the engagement they have on #sponsored posts versus organic posts without any sponsorships. 

You want to look for influencers that have a relative parity between sponsored and non-sponsored posts. Close parity lets you know that their content is generally of high-quality. 

2) Leverage YouTube Keyword Search

Make no mistake: YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet. It is, after all, owned by Google. When you start your search for YouTube influencers, think carefully about how your ideal user would discover your content. Try to look for videos using long-tail keyword searches like “top 5 clothing brands from Boston” or “how to dress for summer break in Costa Rica.”

Keywords on YouTube
Use keywords on YouTube to discover creators that build the type of content you’re seeking

Ask yourself, if you were to make a post yourself or have an influencer create a video for your brand, what is the ideal SEO title for that content?  With YouTube influencer marketing, you’re looking for answers, not influencers. 

One interesting hack here to be is to game the algorithm for you. If you’re a beauty brand, for example, try creating a separate YouTube account so your personal searches don’t weigh your algorithm at all. Eventually, if you make enough searches and watch enough videos in a specific niche, YouTube will work its magic and give you a gold-mine of high-quality content to sift through. As they say, you wouldn’t use your dad’s Netflix channel! 

3) Dive Deep Into Top Engagements and Similar Accounts

Influencer marketing trade secret: Influencers love to help each other out. The influencer marketing space tends to include “cliques” or groups of influencers who are friends so you’ll often find the same people in a creator’s orbit whether they are commenting and sharing posts or sharing content from their friends on their own channels. 

When perusing posts from your favorite influencers, take special care to see who is commenting below. If you consistently see the same person/people engaging with an influencer’s post, click through to their profiles as well. This can help you build a stable of influencers for your marketing campaign. 

The goal should be to bookmark several influencers that share a similar aesthetic so you can achieve consistency with your branding and marketing efforts.

Use Instagram’s “places” search to find potential creators shopping at local stores and restaurants

4) Research Competitor Influencers  

Similar brands will inevitably book similar influencers. A shoe company might want to stalk the kind of influencers that Adidas collaborates with for their campaigns. Influencers can be aspirational as well and will often tag brands they are interested in working within some of their organic posts. If you feel a creator is out of reach for your budget then leverage the tips above to find an influencer that might share a similar aesthetic with fewer followers.

Another hack here is to search for any brick & mortar stores with Instagram’s “Places” tab in their search functionality. Here you can see all the top posts from users that visited a certain location and posted a #fitpic or selfie. 

5) Leverage an Influencer Marketing Platform 

Influencer marketing platforms such as Grapevine can take some of the guesswork out of searching for influencers with functionality like Discover. Tools like Grapevine can not only help you search influencers by the content of their videos but it can also give you a better understanding of what audience demographic engages with their content. 

Grapevine’s robust discovery tools can help you find the perfect creator for your influencer marketing initiatives

Furthermore, platforms such as Grapevine can also connect you with a team of influencer marketing experts to help guide you along the process as you search for creators. 

How to Talk to an Influencer

Outreach for Influencer Marketing is almost exactly the same discipline as outreach for building back-links. When you’ve sorted out all your target influencers, you’ll want to approach them the right way to secure a partnership. When reaching out, be positive, professional, and — if they don’t respond – pleasantly persistent. 

Personalize your note. Write something such as, “I came across your profile and I thought you’d be a great fit for our brand”  Flatter your target creator and pitch your brand can fit their lifestyle and aesthetic.

If you have a positive experience with an influencer – especially a micro-influencer – be sure to keep in touch with them because they’re more likely to give you premium real-estate on their feeds since you invested in them when they had a smaller follower account. Turn them into an ambassador for your brand!

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  1. Don’t be too niche with your hashtags or search, but don’t be too broad either. Take some time to really figure out what kind of content and type of influencer will resonate with your audience 
  2. At the end of the day, you’re paying for digital real estate. How much are you willing to pay to get the right eyeballs on your brand? 

Come with an idea and plan. Outline what you want and envision as the end goal of the content. If you have no creative vision, this could result and content that does not match your esthetic or campaign goals. Try to build a creative brief for your campaign to give yourself and the influencers a better idea of what you’re looking for. 

Grapevine is the world's leading influencer marketing platform. Grapevine helps marketers identify and collaborate with trusted social creators to reach and engage their customers.

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