How To Find Instagram Influencers: Advice From Agency Pros

Tips On Finding Instagram Influencers From Marketing Agency Insiders

Instagram is on a steady ascent, predicted to surpass a $2.3 billion influencer market size by the end of 2021. Not surprising, as over 89% of marketers rated Instagram as the most important social media channel for influencer marketing strategies. Instagram is about as crucial to executing effective influencer marketing campaigns as turning the oven on when baking chocolate chip cookies.

Brands of all types seek to advertise on Instagram by partnering with top Instagram influencers for cost-effective, high-reach, and engaging sponsored posts for both branding and direct response marketing. In order to execute these campaigns, brands must first know how to find Instagram influencers who are the right influencers for their campaigns. Our data predicts there are 2 million to 37 million influencers on Instagram alone—which makes finding the right influencers to work with, a top influencer marketing challenge. So we asked our very own marketing experts their advice on the following:

Before we give the ingredients for finding Instagram influencers, it helps to know the biggest errors marketers commit when trying to find them.

5 Biggest Mistakes To Avoid When Finding Instagram Influencers

Whether it’s your first time running an Instagram influencer marketing campaign or you’re a seasoned veteran, marketers have to keep pace with the ever-evolving influencer marketing trends. This includes knowing costly errors marketers make when trying to identify the best influencers to partner with. Do your team a favor and brush up on the biggest mistakes to avoid:

1. Misunderstanding Your Instagram Audience

By now, your brand likely knows who your target audience is—things like how old they are, where they live, how often they shop, what their core interests are, if they work, if they travel, what causes they support—the list goes on. In the same way that you’ve built a customer profile or buyer persona, your brand needs to understand how that translates over to Instagram users. That starts with knowing key statistics and demographics on Instagram’s user base.

how to find instagram influencers

Who is on Instagram, and what are their user behaviors? Approximately 64% are 18-29-years-old, 42% have earned a college degree, and users overall spend an average of 53 minutes a day on the app. Diving into statistics like these that are relevant to your brand’s audience will help you determine if they’re even reachable on Instagram. From there, ask yourself whether or not influencers can reach your target audience on Instagram. A solid understanding of the relationship between your audience, Instagram influencers, and their audience ultimately ensures that the influencer(s) you partner with will be effective in reaching your target demographics.

2. Forgetting To Set Clear Campaign Goals

A successful influencer marketing strategy starts with clearly defining your campaign’s objectives and KPIs. Without an understanding of what you want out of an influencer marketing campaign, how will you know which Instagram influencers will propel your brand or product? The absence of campaign goals makes for unmanageable expectations, meaning your brand’s success rate with finding the right Instagram influencers will be low.

how to find instagram influencers

You can’t find the right Instagram influencers without knowing what “the right” influencers look like. Save yourself time and energy by establishing whether the goal is to raise brand awareness or drive particular conversions. From there, you can get more granular and better understand whether an influencer is capable of achieving those KPIs.

3. Focusing Only On Follower Counts

The classic vanity metric—follower count—is a notoriously deceiving factor that many marketers take into account when finding Instagram influencers. While reach is undeniably important, it doesn’t always correlate with high-performing campaigns. Knowing Instagram influencer tiers will help you distinguish types of influencers based on both follower count and engagement rates.

how to find instagram influencers

While follower count gives you an idea of how many potential impressions an influencer will generate, the engagement rate tells you how many followers will actually interact with the content (i.e., likes, comments, shares). On Instagram, you can calculate the engagement by adding up total likes and comments and dividing that by the total number of followers the influencer has. Multiply by 100 to get the engagement rate.

However, it should be noted that looking at these two qualifications alone doesn’t paint the entire picture—do your homework and make sure the influencers you identify have actually earned both their following and engagement rates.

4. Failing To Check For Fakes

That brings us to the next mistake that has a majority of marketers in a tizzy—fake Instagram followers and/or fake influencers. With 50% of marketers saying that spotting fake followers and inauthentic engagement is a chief influencer marketing challenge, brands must be on the lookout for frauds.

how to find instagram influencers authentic

To safeguard your brand, be sure to thoroughly vet Instagram influencers and check that they have a legitimate profile, followers, and engagement. In some cases, influencers employ Instagram bots to inflate follower counts and engagement rates. In other instances, users will feign influencer status to strike brand sponsorships. Don’t be fooled and jeopardize brand safety—review our marketer’s guide to spotting fake followers to learn how to avoid committing this colossal misstep.

5. Limiting Your Campaign To One Influencer Or One-Off Partnerships

As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Basically, don’t look for one Instagram influencer and expect to move the needle much. Instead, find multiple influencers with varied followings, interests, and styles to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. The benefits of doing so include reaching a more diverse audience, lifting brand awareness, strengthening campaign messaging, and deriving richer learnings.

In a similar vein, don’t limit your influencer marketing campaigns to solely one-off influencer relationships. Sure, you can sprinkle those in when they make sense, but invest in long-term influencer partnerships to guarantee more fruitful and long-lasting results.

A long-term approach relies on constant nurturing from both the brand and influencer side to build stronger partnerships and ultimately a stronger influencer marketing strategy. Don’t make the mistake of viewing influencers as a quick-hit advertising avenue. Realize their value as business partners and your brand will be on the road to long-term success.

3 Free Tools For Finding Instagram Influencers

Along with knowing common mistakes people make when finding influencers, it’s helpful to know what free tools are available to search for Instagram influencers. We’ve gathered a list of some of the most resourceful, free tools that our marketing professionals recommend—ones you can use in your hunt for Instagram influencers.

1. SocialBlade

how to find instagram influencers

SocialBlade is a free resource that provides continuously updated rankings (top 10, 100, and 500 channels) from multiple platforms including Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch. On the quest to find high-reach Instagram influencers for sponsored content, it’s helpful to know the top social media influencers from other platforms. The tool also gives insights into audience size, user demographics, followers to following ratio, and other important channel statistics.

While Instagram may be a newer platform compared to blogs and YouTube, it has quickly burgeoned into the most popular influencer channel. Oftentimes, established bloggers and YouTubers will also have adjoining Instagram channels—a direct result of having already amassed vast amounts of followers and viewership on other platforms. So, if you come across influencers whose primary channel is YouTube, chances are they probably have a successful Instagram account as well. Be sure to cross-reference influencers across platforms so you don’t miss out.

2. HypeAuditor

how to find instagram influencers

HypeAuditor is a tool that lists the top 1,000 Instagram influencer rankings by the number of “quality” followers and how much authentic engagement their posts receive. Using AI, the tool analyzes Instagrammers by gathering open-source data, evaluating authentic engagement, and tracking and ranking the top Instagram influencers daily.

Searchers can filter from a list of several categories and countries, or they can simply type in the username of known Instagram influencers to find out basic information on audience demography and interests, follower growth, account activity, and rank at the worldwide, country, and category levels.

3. Klear

how to find instagram influencers

Klear enables marketers to find, research, and measure Instagram influencers—all in the name of confirming they align with your brand’s values and building a successful campaign. With a database of over 900 million Instagram profiles broken down into 60,000 topics, Klear touts that its repository of Instagram influencers is the most advanced worldwide. The search functionalities on Klear also allow marketers to cast a wide net or hone in on more niche categories of influencers.

Another beneficial feature is the option to filter by Celebs, Power Users, Casual, and Novice. Additionally, the platform is equipped with demographic features that show which audiences follow the influencers you’re interested in working with. This obviously increases the likelihood of selecting influencers who will resonate with your target audience.

10 Tips From Marketing Pros For Finding Instagram Influencers

It’s no secret—running a successful Instagram influencer campaign starts with identifying the appropriate Instagram influencers. Without the know-how to do this effectively, marketers risk time-consuming searches that could lead to working with the wrong influencers, ultimately putting their ROI on the line.

Below are 10 tried and true tips on how to find Instagram influencers according to our agency professionals:

  1. Listen to your target audience
  2. Perform a niche, organic Google search
  3. Search relevant and/or trending hashtags on Instagram
  4. Find previous influencer sponsored content
  5. Filter through known influencers’ followers/following
  6. Ask current influencer partners for a referral
  7. Leverage talent networks
  8. Review influencer content quality
  9. Reach out to influencers
  10. Work with an influencer marketing agency

1. Listen To Your Target Audience By Keeping Tabs On Who & What They Follow On Instagram

First and foremost, you need to listen to your audience. The reason you’ve chosen to work with influencers is that they’re able to reach and engage your community authentically. If you have an established Instagram brand account with a following who is representative of your target audience, monitor how they engage with your Instagram content. Which posts do they “like” most, or which posts prompt them to comment positively? You can also look into what influencers they follow by peeking at their following list.

how to find instagram influencers

Additionally, stay alert for those who are mentioning or tagging your brand on Instagram. You may discover that influencers or brand advocates are already promoting your business to a loyal and relevant following. These Instagrammers will be more prone to working out a formal partnership with your brand. By understanding who already supports your brand online and what your audience responds well to, you can quickly narrow down on a short list of Instagram influencers.

2. Perform A Targeted Google Search & Leverage Existing Lists From Reputable Sources

how to find instagram influencers

This may seem an obvious step in how to find Instagram influencers, but there are a few tips that can make a standard Google search yield impressive results. A search for “highest followed nfluencers” produces many mainstream Instagram accounts including celebrities, such as actors, athletes, and rockstars—unattainable or irrelevant for most brands looking to partner with social media influencers and drive tangible ROI. To find both relevant and reputable lists and sources, try a more targeted search that pinpoints the influencer channel and category.  First, dial in your search terms by industry. Instead of searching “top Instagram accounts,” try searching “top 20 fitness Instagram influencers.” Searching “top 20 fitness Instagram influencers” returns more refined results for influencers on Instagram within the fitness industry:

how to find top instagram influencers

Not only are the top results from reputable industry sources (with targeted lists from Refinery29, Harper’s Bazaar, and Mediakix), but they also point to more attainable influencers compared to their celebrity counterparts. Not to mention, the results are more specifically tailored to brands, products, or services within a specific industry.

Pro Tip: Google has grown more sophisticated over the years, enabling the search engine to understand the search intent of users more accurately. Be sure to use these advanced search features to find the most precise results for your campaign.”

3. Search Relevant Hashtags Via Instagram’s Discover Tool

how to find instagram influencers

In many cases, brands that decide to dip their toes into the influencer marketing pool are probably already familiar with running social media campaigns, many of which incorporate branded or campaign-specific hashtags. Ever since Twitter initiated the trending hashtags, the pound symbol has functioned as a way to discover new, relevant content.

Begin by searching hashtags that are related to your brand, product, or service. For instance, if you’re looking for skincare experts, type in hashtags like #skincareroutine. Once you find an influencer’s post, see what other related hashtags they’ve used to find other avenues to related content. On Instagram, you can even “follow” hashtags so that if a trending one is of particular interest to your brand, you can keep a pulse on who’s using it in your feed. This comes in handy when studying your target audience or identifying potential influencer partners.

4. Locate Previous Instagram Sponsored Content & Review Performance

how to find instagram influencers

Despite influencer marketing being a relatively new addition to advertisers’ repertoires, it’s been around long enough that anyone can locate sponsored content from prior influencer campaigns. This can be done by searching for posts with the tags #sponsored or #ad, or you can skim through influencers’ previous posts to find ones that mention or tag another brand.

If your brand already has a wishlist of influencers in mind, it’s likely you’ve seen examples of their sponsored content before. Be sure to search for fresh sponsored content and review closely for evidence of how the collaboration performed to ensure a partnership with said influencer will be a natural fit.

how to find instagram influencers

To take it one step further, look at who else engaged with the sponsored post to see if any other influencers “liked” or commented on it. In most cases, influencers have built vast networks with similar influencers, so their sponsored and organic content will likely attract the attention of fellow influencers.

5. Comb Through Known Influencers’ Instagram Networks

how to find instagram influencers

Speaking of influencer networks, you can also filter through the followers of influencers you’ve already identified to locate new ones. Despite being a more manual process, this strategy proves to be an invaluable way to stumble upon similar influencers to ones you’ve already identified. Just be careful not to careen down a rabbit hole by allotting a fixed amount of time to this task. Otherwise, you may find yourself buried in the depths of Instagram.

Likewise, check who your identified influencers are following. To quicken the search through thousands of Instagram followers for a given account, scroll through and look for the “verified” checkmark or for handles that are cleanly spelled. Don’t feel compelled to scroll through the entire list of followers. Use your best judgment to maximize your efficiency.

6. Ask Influencer Partners For A Referral

This is yet another great networking tactic that brands should lean on when they’ve already established long-term partnerships with other influencers. Having strong rapport with influencers will often mean they’re more inclined to refer you to other influencers they know or work with. If you’re confident you have a solid, healthy relationship with an influencer, reach out directly for a referral.

Since current influencer partners already understand your company’s messaging and goals, they’ll likely know who else within their influencer network would be interested in partnering with you. And generally, they are going to be more than happy to fulfill your request. This opens up the door for more direct and trusted influencer discovery.

7. Leverage Influencer Talent Networks

search for instagram influencers

Sometimes, reaching out to talent networks can produce viable Instagram influencer connections. Influencer talent networks, such as Digital Brand Architects or Gleam, often have hundreds of available influencers who are on the lookout for collaboration opportunities. Talent managers are normally eager to help and will strongly suggest their own influencer clients with the caveat that managers take a percentage of the payment. You can also get summarized influencer bios and channel follower stats, and the option to contact the influencers directly (see tip #10).

8. Review Influencer Instagram Content For Authenticity & Engagement

mediakix fake followers instagram calibeachgirl310

While finding Instagram influencers is a laborious process, you need to do your due diligence to ensure those you’ve identified have a track record of genuine partnerships and productive engagement. Efforts will be futile if your brand sponsors an influencer who’s bought fake followers, doesn’t comply with FTC guidelines, or comes across as inauthentic in their messaging. Audiences have become attuned to detecting content that’s not genuine, so this step cannot be emphasized enough.

9. Reach Out To Influencers

how to find instagram influencers to work with

After discovering how to find Instagram influencers, the next step is vetting and outreach. Some Instagram influencers will have an email in their bio description or within free influencer databases, so you can email directly. If no contact information is immediately available, you can try direct messaging them through Instagram. Present the potential opportunity, but keep it vague so you can ask for their email to follow up with more details. While this method may seem intrusive, it can lead to fruitful influencer relationships when you craft a thoughtful, concise message.

Keep in mind that influencers are often inundated with inquiries. To increase your chances of catching their attention, engage with their content in advance of reaching out by liking and commenting on their Instagram posts. Ensure you follow them on Instagram and show a vested interest in their work so they can be confident that you’re serious about becoming a partner. Influencers can usually distinguish whether or not the email sender has done their research, so don’t jeopardize your opportunity by blasting cold emails or messages that aren’t tailored.

Pro Tip: While many influencers publish their contact information within their Instagram bio description, an increasing amount use agents, managers, or other intermediaries. The email listed may belong to their representative, but it shouldn’t change your outreach approach.”

10. Work With An Established Influencer Marketing Agency

how to find instagram influencers

Perhaps even more important than knowing how to find Instagram influencers is knowing which Instagrammer will perform and produce bottom-line results for your brand. Though high-reach usually correlates with influencer price, it doesn’t always correlate with high campaign performance. With several influencer tiers (such as nano- or mid-tier influencers), choosing the size of influencer(s) to work with can be a challenging task without the direction of an influencer marketing agency. Established influencer marketing agencies who specialize solely in vetting the best Instagram influencers for each industry can provide case studies and documentation to support a track record of successful campaigns. For brands with the budget, agencies can give you direct access to viable Instagram influencers.

Working with the right influencer marketing agency not only facilitates the often arduous process of finding Instagram influencers but also ensures best industry practices when it comes to workflows between brands and influencers, adherence to sponsored content FTC guidelines, and optimized campaign management and reporting. You can explore the ins and outs of a successful influencer marketing campaign in our 10-step guide.

How To Advertise On Instagram: The 11 Best Ways

how to advertise on Instagram

A Complete Guide: How To Advertise On Instagram

Instagram is a social networking powerhouse that currently boasts over 1.5 billion monthly active users, 500 million of whom use its Stories feature on a daily basis. Accordingly, brands interested in reaching Instagram’s deep well of users are constantly looking for the most effective techniques to advertise on the trending and popular social platform.

The two primary ways for marketers to reach audiences are via Instagram’s native advertising features and a variety influencer marketing strategies, tactics, and campaigns. 80% of marketers in our 2021 influencer marketing survey found Instagram to be the most important channel for influencer marketing, with advertisers spending $8 billion on Instagram influencer marketing by 2021. With a wide array of options within each of these verticals, Instagram advertising can be a daunting assemblage to absorb and comprehend.

In order to give brands a better understanding of Instagram’s advertising landscape, we’ve developed a comprehensive guide which details the many ways the social platform can be leveraged to reach potential customers.

Native Advertising

In order to use Instagram’s native advertising features, brands will first need to set up both a Facebook Page and an Instagram Business Profile. These accounts will serve as a launchpad for native advertising efforts and will become destination options for ads and campaigns.

1. Photo Ads

IMG_1702_iphone7jetblack_portraitPhoto Ads purchased by brands display a single photo and caption in a user’s Instagram Feed. Labeled as “Sponsored”, these ads provide marketers with the option to include a range of different calls to action (CTA’s) alongside clickable links.

Photos Ads, while static, can be versatile. They’re able to serve businesses by increasing brand awareness, conversion, engagement, reach, traffic, and app installs.

3. Carousel Ads

How to advertise on Instagram carousel

Carousel Ads give brands the power to post up to 10 photos or videos as a single swipeable, dynamic post on Instagram. This format gives brands the opportunity to display multiple pieces of branded content that can create more in-depth narratives. Carousel Ads are accompanied by a full-width CTA and link for viewers.

2. Video Ads

how to advertise on Instagram

Video Ads give brands an added dimension of vibrancy on Instagram. This advertising feature autoplays videos up to 60 seconds long or, alternatively,  offers a slideshow feature that enables up to 10 images to loop in video form.

Similar to Photo Ads, as well as many of Instagram’s native advertising options, Video Ads are denoted as “Sponsored.” All video and photo ad offerings are available for placement in an Instagram user’s feed (In-Feed) or on the Explore page.

4. Stories Ads

advertise on instagram stories

Instagram Stories Ads are sponsored videos or photos that appear between users’ Instagram Stories. Brands have a maximum time allowance of 15 seconds for a sponsored Instagram Story and can choose one or multiple segments of photos and/or videos to play the full length of the ad.

Stories Ads are equipped with an optional swipe-up CTA, and while captions are not available, text can be incorporated as an overlay.

5. Shopping Ads

instagram shoppable post

Shopping Ads also called ‘Shoppable Posts’ give businesses the power to facilitate shopping experiences directly through Instagram and re-engage with customers. These posts feature a “View Products” tag or tiny image of a shopping bag, and include a brief description of a product or service, a price tag, an additional photo, and a purchase link to the brand’s website. U.S. users may be able to purchase directly in-app through Instagram Checkout.

Shopping Ads can run as video, single image, or carousel formats either In-Feed or on the Explore Page.

6. Instant Experience Ads

how to advertise on Instagram

Previously named Canvas Ads, Instant Experience Ads were originally exclusive to Facebook, but are now available for Instagram Stories and as a built-in feature to Collection Ads.  The Instant Experience Ad format allows brands to create ads that, once clicked, become a full-screen user experience. Within an Instant Experience Ad, users can scroll, zoom, and swipe to see more detail.

Like many Instagram and Facebook native advertising options, Instant Experience Ads are a content medium that brands can utilize to reach new and existing audiences.

7. Collection Ads

advertise on instagram collection ad

A Collection Ad includes a main image or video followed by 3 smaller product images. Fashion brands and retailers commonly use this format so users can browse and buy products or services directly from the advertisement.

When a user taps on a Collection Ad it transforms into an Instant Experience—a full-screen landing page—that conveniently leads to the company’s website or product page. Collection Ads are available as In-Feed Ads and Explore Ads.

Influencer Sponsorships

Outside of Instagram’s native offerings, brands can partner with influencers on the platform to promote their brand image, generate user engagement, and/or advertise specific products and services. Promotions can be subtle or explicit and can include offer coupons, deals, or giveaways, or specific CTA’s.

Influencers on Instagram are frequently used by brands to get their messaging out to large audiences in effective and meaningful ways. While verified accounts and large macro-influencers may be out of reach for some brands, smaller influencers on Instagram called micro-influencers are available for partnership and promotion. Micro-influencers, accounts with less than 50,000 followers, are a popular option for brands looking to reach specific audiences.

75% of marketers believe Instagram Stories to be the best content format for Influencer marketing, with Instagram in-feed posts and video posts coming in second place by one percent.

how to advertise on instagram

These findings show just how effective Instagram’s content offerings are for brands looking to boost awareness and increase ROI through influencer collaborations. Virtually every content feature on Instagram’s robust platform allows for influencer marketing possibilities: In-Feed video/photo posts, Stories, IGTV, and Instagram Reels.

Influencer marketing agencies can ensure your company chooses the best content offerings for your goals, finds the best Instagram influencers for your brand, and correctly structures the campaign.

Click here to learn more about developing an effective influencer strategy on Instagram. 

4 Popular Ways To Advertise On Instagram With Influencers

1. Stories

advertising on instagram

Differing from Instagram’s default feed, Stories showcase content that disappears within a 24-hour window. Brands can partner with influencers on Stories, using a wide range of promotional messaging techniques.

One of the most popular ways influencers and brands partner through Stories is by showcasing a product or service through a video, while including branded hashtags in overlay text. Influencers can also present shopping opportunities in their Stories by creating CTAs around products or services that encourage followers to purchase on a brand’s website. To further increase conversion rates, influencers can provide links to brands’ websites within their Stories.

2. Instagram Live 

hwo to advertise on instagram

Instagram Live allows influencers to engage audiences authentically and in real-time. By activating influencers in Instagram Live, brands are also able to grab audiences in the moment with urgent and disappearing content.

3. Instagram Takeovers

An Instagram takeover is when an influencer is enlisted to create content for a brand’s Instagram account for a predetermined period of time. A takeover can exist in any content format so long as the influencer is posting from the brand’s channel. An influencer will promote a takeover in advance on his or her own Instagram account to encourage their followers visit and engage with the content.

Takeovers are popular with businesses looking to showcase their close relationships with influencers, advertise big launches, or bolster the traffic and followers on their own Instagram account. An Instagram takeover is typically held as an Instagram Live event, where the influencer hosts a live broadcast from the brand’s social media channel.

4. Whitelisting Influencer Content 

hwo to advertise on instagram paid ads

One of the main ways brands can amplify traditional influencer content is by extending influencer campaigns into paid ads through whitelisting. Whitelisting allows brands to use the influencer’s handle for paid Instagram ads.

Re-using influencer-generated content for social media or other advertising channels is an efficient way to stay on top of the various growing content formats and to minimize production costs/creation costs. Brands can then utilize the influencer-content across many different mediums (streaming ads, In-Feed/Video Ads, brand-owned ads, Story Ads, etc.)

How To Design Sponsored Instagram Stories That Convert

advertising on instagram

Why Businesses Should Craft A Sponsored Instagram Story Strategy

Instagram Stories are one of the best tools for brands looking to boost engagement and connect with their audience. Since its launch in 2016, Instagram Stories’ capabilities continue to evolve with added features like shoppable tags, music, comment stickers, and AR integration. Roughly 50% of the platform’s billion users now post on Instagram Stories daily, and a third of Instagram’s total users claim they become interested in a product they saw on Stories.

sponsored instagram story

Currently, a third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories come from business accounts, with 90% of Instagram users following businesses. Suffice to say, brands have a massive opportunity to get in front of an audience eager to engage with the businesses they’re loyal to.


Partnering with influencers to create sponsored Instagram Stories offers brands a way to reach users who are disengaged to heavily-produced, commercialized content. Influencer-created Stories are more off-the-cuff and less self-promotional than Stories designed by businesses themselves.

Top Instagram influencers are able to authentically convey the brand’s message while still elevating the brand’s social relevance. Over 73% of marketers believe Instagram Stories to be one of the most important content formats for influencer marketing. Now more than ever, brands are leveraging the expertise of social media personalities to host Instagram Story takeovers, lead Q&As, narrate behind the scenes clips, or showcase product unboxings.

sponsored instagram story

Instagram Stories offer the ability to drive immediate traffic without leaving the app, along with providing powerful insights into what your audience wants.

Here are nine ways to ensure sponsored Instagram Stories success:

9 Tips For Designing The Perfect Sponsored Instagram Story

  1. Identify influencers who post high-quality Instagram Stories consistently.
  2. Confirm how many segments to include within sponsored Instagram Stories.
  3. Discuss how your product or service will be presented within Stories.
  4. Personalize the experience through AR filters
  5. Utilize built-in features to enhance conversation
  6. Employ free Instagram Story design tools.
  7. Give a clear call-to-action for Stories viewers using the “Swipe Up” feature.
  8. Use Bitly links to track clicks.
  9. Request screenshots of the opens per Story from influencers.


Before launching a sponsored Instagram Stories collaboration, brands should ensure the influencers they work with post solid Stories on a consistent basis. Brands should only select influencers whom they’ve tracked and followed to confirm they have high-quality Stories regularly. An influencer who posts Stories throughout the day will also be more likely to provide you with trend-based viewership estimates than an influencer who posts Stories sporadically or infrequently.

This vetting process acts as a safeguard against inexperienced influencers who hardly use Stories and therefore don’t have a following via that channel. Likewise, your brand shouldn’t partner with an influencer who produces subpar content that wouldn’t resonate with your target audience.

sponsored instagram story

What Should Brands Pay Attention To When Finding An Influencer Who Produces Top-Notch Instagram Stories?

If interested in a set of influencers, be sure to watch their Stories to gauge:

  • Frequency Of Stories Posts – Top tier influencers use this feature daily or, at a minimum, weekly.
  • Content Engagement – Influencers should have an established and engaged audience. Indications of audience engagement are visible within the Stories themselves. Influencers will pose open-ended questions and post follower replies, solicit follower questions and post replies, and use polling and/or comment functions.
  • Message Authenticity – Influencer messaging should be genuine and seamless within their Story. It’s a red flag if influencer messaging feels obviously sponsored or mismatched to the rest of their organic content.
  • Stories Quality – Influencer Stories shouldn’t be hard to understand, too visually busy, or amateurish.

Pro Tip: In addition to the above qualifications, brands should try to work with influencers who have already created sponsored Instagram Stories. Those who haven’t run the risk of underperforming and not sitting well with their audience.”


sponsored instagram story

Once you’ve found a set of influencers who have demonstrated high-quality and frequent Instagram Stories, the next step is to lay out formatting expectations for the sponsored content.

An Instagram Story consists of segments, meaning it contains multiple pieces of content that appear within a “carousel” slideshow format. This is usually a combination of both photo and video components. To get the most out of a sponsored Instagram Story, we recommend at least three segments. Anything less might not be impactful enough to drive awareness or user action – it’s too easy for users to swipe past a single segment.

Pro Tip: Instagram Stories last 24 hours, so a sequence of sponsored Story segments from one influencer should not be uploaded with large intervals in between. As suggested by its name, Stories should be seamless, not disjointed. Ask influencers to be reasonably timely with their posting schedule.”


sponsored instagram story
In addition to clarifying how many segments the Instagram Story should include, your brand needs to discuss how your product or service will be presented. Influencers should have sufficient time getting to know your product or service. Likewise, you should be proactive in providing information on product/service details, highlights, or any other important information regarding your brand.

Be sure you’re available to answer their questions so that you ensure the most accurate information is being presented. For instance, should the influencer mention any new product features, particular benefits of your product, special promotional deals, or causes attached to any purchases?

Pro Tip: Brands should never have total control over what influencers say about their product or service. Within reason, your brand can provide helpful insights or certain promotional elements for them to weave into their Stories, but influencers should have full creative freedom over how they design their Story to maintain authenticity and effectiveness.”

4. Consider Experimenting with Interactive AR Elements

62% of US consumers who have used AR when shopping noted that the technology encouraged them to make a purchase.

LA-based Cosmetics company Glamnetic created a virtual product try-on filter on Stories to encourage consumer-product-interaction with their new product range. To supplement their AR effect, they also sponsored a number of Instagram Stories, showing popular beauty influencers try on the new products in real life.

The combination of the virtual try-on filter and the informally-produced influencer product reviews generated a 24-point lift in ad recall and 16-point lift in brand awareness. Augmented reality elements can help shape the consumer experience, grow brand loyalty and above all entertain.

sponsored instagram story

5. Initiate Conversation Through built-in Instagram Stories Features

Brands and influencers alike can utilize Instagram’s engagement driving features to deepen audience connection and test follower insights. Stories users can lead a Q&A with the comment sticker and poll feature, or create photo quizzes through “Create Mode.”

Instagram is constantly adding functions and features to improve audience interaction within Stories, it is important to partner with influencers who are up to date on the latest built-in app tools.


While influencers will have control over the creative process, it’s not out of the question for brands to provide assistance. There are several Instagram Stories tools that allow businesses and influencers to create templates with a consistent style and aesthetic. Even if your brand doesn’t plan to use these tools, it doesn’t hurt to share them with influencers who will be designing unique Stories.

Free Tools To Design & Create Instagram Stories

  • Unfold – Helps create lifestyle, fashion, and travel content for a multi-page Story.
  • Easil – Offers a variety of templates that can be customized and edited.

sponsored instagram story

  • Hype Type – Allows you to add designed motion typography and music clips to Stories.
  • CutStory – Edits, designs, and saves videos to your camera roll for later uploads.

“Pro Tip: While branding is important for your brand, influencers have their own branding style. Templatized Stories are more useful for Business Stories, but certain elements can be transferred to influencer sponsored Instagram Stories.”


Instagram Stories are meant to immerse the target audience in order to build brand lift and awareness, so it’s imperative sponsored Instagram Stories include a clear call-to-action (CTA).

While communicating with the influencers about your campaign goals, be sure to inform them what CTA to include in order to drive appropriate user action. A sponsored Instagram Story that ends abruptly without next steps for the user will likely vanish within the saturated Instagram environment.

sponsored instagram story

Available to verified accounts and business accounts with more than 10,000 followers, links within Stories enable influencers to point users in the right direction. Typically, the final frame of the sponsored Story includes a CTA to “Swipe Up” for more information on whatever product or service information the influencer just previewed. Examples of “Swipe Up” CTAs include:

  • Watching a full video
  • Shopping on-site
  • Making a purchase
  • Booking an appointment
  • Reading a blog post
  • Gifting a freebie
  • Entering a giveaway

In all these examples, the CTA link drives traffic directly to an optimal landing page without the users leaving the app.

Pro Tip: The “Swipe Up” feature, also known as the “See More” call-to-action at the bottom of an Instagram Story, is a seamless way to direct the influencers’ followers to your website without forcing them to abandon their Instagram experience.”

How To Track Instagram Stories Influencer Marketing

8. Track Sponsored Instagram Stories Through BITLY links

In order to measure the success of your influencer sponsored Instagram Stories, incorporate trackable links, like Bitly links. By using these shortened links, your brand can have influencer partners utilize these links within their “Swipe Up” or “See More” CTAs for easy performance tracking. Bitly links allow your brand to measure click stats so you can determine how effective particular influencers are in driving engagement and traffic. This is particularly useful when your brand’s objective is to drive click-through rate (CTR).

sponsored instagram story

Pro Tip: If you want to add a campaign tracking code, like a Google Analytics UTM code, to your Bitly link, be sure to append them to the long, original version of your URL before shortening to a Bitly link.”


sponsored instagram story

While Bitly links show how many people click on the influencers’ links, it’s also important to know how many users opened or viewed the Instagram Stories at all. Your brand can reach out to the influencers individually to request screenshots showing the reach and impressions per Story and/or segment. This will allow you to understand just how many of the influencers’ total followers opened the Stories, and how many remained engaged by viewing each segment.

Pro Tip: Ask for these insights before the influencers launch their Stories so they’re aware what type of data you want. Keep in mind that full reporting won’t be available until 24 hours after initial Stories upload.”


best influencer marketing examples


Instagram and YouTube are two of the biggest influencer marketing platforms in existence today. Brands of all types are harnessing these platforms—as well as emerging apps like TikTok, to create authentic sponsored content with the help of influencers. 

To demonstrate how major brands are partnering with influencers across social, we’ve analyzed ten successful influencer marketing examples across four major social channels. The influencers involved range from a comedian to a stuntman, but common among all is the use of personal flair and inventiveness to showcase brands.


The Top 20 Instagram Micro-Influencers That Have Yet To Be Discovered

Top 30 Micro Influencer Feature


Social media’s growth across both new and existing apps and platforms has fueled the rise of new, upcoming and original content creators and influencers. Instagram, in particular (and now perhaps also TikTok) is a common starting point for creators looking to build a following. As such, Instagram has become a hub for “micro-influencers” — social media influencers and creators with more than 10,000 followers but less than 50,000.

The effectiveness of influencer marketing has prompted brands to partner with instagram micro-influencers, who are often viewed as a way to reach smaller and niche audiences. Due to their smaller size, micro-influencers may maintain a higher degree of reliability to their audiences and their recommendations may be more akin to word-of-mouth advertising.

In addition to compiling a list of the top micro-influencers on Instagram across several popular categories, we also share best tips and practices on how to find the best micro influencers below.

How To Find Micro-Influencers On Instagram For Your Brand

When evaluating micro-influencers there are many factors to consider and steps needed in crafting the perfect micro-influencer campaign. Influencer marketing can be tricky and nuanced, therefore brands need to be strict with their vetting process with micro-influencers and be up to date on their do’s and don’ts. A few big ones are:

  • Don’t choose micro-influencers strictly by their number of followers.
  • Do consider the performance of their previous sponsored content (as this is a good measure of success for your potential campaign).
  • Do check to see if they have consistently high engagement with positive sentiment throughout their content.

Brands can jumpstart their search for micro-influencers by looking through their existing brand tags and/or topic hashtags and seeing who is already aligning with or promoting their brand. Instagram also has a built-in profile suggestions feature: once you’ve found a suitable micro-influencer, hit the down button on their Instagram profile to see similar/related accounts.

Want to ensure your brand finds and partners with only the best micro-influencers? Talk to one of our influencer experts today.

Here are the top 20 Instagram micro-influencers establishing their expertise in fashion, travel, food, fitness, and photography:


top micro-influencer instagram

Adam Gonon is a fashion influencer based out of New York City. His page looks less like an Instagram profile and more like a well crafted magazine. The 28-year-old is known for his fresh, business-casual looks and owns an online store for men. His fashion sense has garnered sponsorship opportunities with Maserati and alcohol brands like Bacardi.


Top Micro Influencer Fashion Influencer Trey Bryant

Trey Bryant is a trending men’s fashion expert based in Atlanta, Georgia. His sense of high-end American fashion has caught the attention of his 30,000 followers. His fresh style ranges from suits to casual looks.


Top Micro Influencer Fashion Influencer Little Red Fashionhood

Ali aka Little Red Fashionhood is a trendy fashionista based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Ali is an example of a micro-influencer with an extremely loyal following — she receives nearly as many comments as likes on her posts. With less than 35,000 followers she has already worked with major brands like Hyundai, Spanx, Green Chef, JustFab, and BevMo.


Top Micro Influencer Fashion Influencer Tia Kirby

Tia Kirby is a fashion and lifestyle influencer based in Mansfield, Texas. Her mission is “to inspire others to learn and love themselves while discovering & enhancing their own individual style and beauty.” Tia frequently promotes her favorite black-owned businesses and has partnerships with JCPenny and Walmart.


Top Micro Influencer Travel Influencer Girl Gone Abroad

Lauren’s Instagram is a traveling account of her adventures around the world. At each stop, she writes about the lessons each place has taught her. Her page is an inspiration for many travel seekers wishing to explore the corners of the world.


Top Micro Influencer Travel Influencer Dan Carter

Dan Carter is a full-time photographer and adventurer capturing some of the most beautiful landscapes worldwide. His journeys have taken him from the snow-tipped mountains of Iceland to the white beaches of South Africa.


micro-influencer camping instagram

Adam Northwest is a proud husky dad and traveller with a passion for hiking. Along the way, he captures the beautiful scenes of nature. While Adam may not have a high following, his Instagram account shines by the amount of positive audience sentiment in each post. His engagement has attracted top brands like Lull Mattress, Coleman, and T-Mobile.


Top Micro Influencer Travel Influencer Cheslea Martin

Chelsea Martin is a travel advisor creating content in some of the most luxurious locations in the world. In addition to her popular Instagram account she is the founder of her own travel agency, Passport to Friday. Her travel expertise has gained her numerous sponsorships with hotels and a partnership with remote healthcare company SteadyMD.


Top Micro Influencer Food Influencer Elizabeth Moye

Nutritionist and health coach, Elizabeth Moye is a wellness guru to her audience of 42,000 on Instagram. In college, she battled an eating disorder which compelled her to help others build a healthy relationship with food. Her channel is dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle and she showcases delicious dishes.


Top Micro Influencer Food Influencer Amanda Ghee

Amanda Holtzer is a popular dietetic intern dedicated to simple and  sustainable nutrition. Her aesthetically pleasing feed includes healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that adults and children alike can enjoy. Some of her recent sponsorships include Fabletics, Sabra, and Jojo’s.


Top Micro Influencer Food Influencer Plays Well with Butter

Micro-influencer Jess Larson, also known as “Plays Well With Butter” on Instagram, cooks healthy flavor-filled recipes. Her recipe blog has a wide variety of categories to choose from with recipes that take less than 100 minutes.


Top Micro Influencer Food Influencer Mary Sarge

Mary Sarge is a passionate mother who knows a thing or two about cooking and DIYs. Her happy, friendly energy makes it impossible not to trust her recommendations. With less than 20,000 followers Mary has already featured big name partnerships on her Instagram. Her notable sponsorships are Kroger, ADT, Ghirardelli, Sam’s Club, and Tom’s.


Top Micro Influencer Fitness Influencer Alex Callahan

A yogi from Boulder Colorado, Alex Callahan shares her personal journey in wellness, fitness, and spirituality with her small tribe of 45,000 followers. Her modest following allows her to develop close relationships with her followers, sharing personal life learnings through her passion for yoga. Michelob Ultra, Aerie, and MVMT are just a few of the brands leveraging her raw and vulnerable approach to Instagram content.


Top Micro Influencer Fitness Influencer Tom Bliss

Fitness influencer Tom Bliss brings together high-quality advertising that packs a punch. Tom’s content is a blend of workout videos, product reviews, fashion, and the occasional recipe. Tom’s popularity has garnered him a long-term sponsorship from Under Armour.


Top Micro Influencer Fitness Influencer Allen Swan

Allen Swan is an expert in men’s fashion and fitness. The former basketball player and model is known for his online fitness training videos and partnerships with small-scale brands.


Top Micro Influencer Fitness Influencer Kanoa Green

Kanoa Greene has built a strong following through her fitness content centered around hiking, yoga, and HIIT. Her vulnerability has helped her develop a strong connection with her followers who look to her for inspiration. Kanoa has attracted many top brands including Nike, Muscle Milk, Propel, and Victoria’s Secret.


Top Micro Influencer Travel Influencer Connor Trimble

As an adventure and lifestyle photographer, Connor Trimble has created sponsored content for Canon and Lululemon. He is a rising star on TikTok as well, sharing his serene footage to over 30,000 followers. Influencers with a high aptitude for photography are the perfect fit for brands looking to go above and beyond with their advertisements.


Top Micro Influencer Photography Influencer Eric Matt

Eric Matt’s vibrant Instagram account highlights his passion for adventure and talent for photography. His rich photos pop off the screen which makes him an asset to advertisers.


Top Micro Influencer Photography Influencer Ben Hess

Ben Hess specializes in cinematic content — action scenes, music videos, and even workout videos. Cinematographers such as Ben often utilize the IGTV feature on Instagram, which allows users to upload long-form content at a larger file size compared to regular Instagram posts. Ben recently partnered with Lumix to film a music video for IGTV.


Top Micro Influencer Photography Influencer Joshua Winders

Joshua Winders is a full-time explorer with a passion for photography. On a typical day, Joshua captures the American frontier in ways never seen before. Joshua further brings his content to life through his long-form captions and story-telling.

Case Study: How Parade Underwear Celebrates Social Causes with Nano-Influencers

nanoinfluencer instagram case study

Gen Z-created underwear brand Parade is rooted in a purpose and a promise to impact the world with its cause-focused initiatives.

Less than two years old, the retail company has received over $8 million in funding and has claimed partnerships with a myriad of nonprofits centered around LBGTQ+, body positivity, racial injustice, and more.

Parade’s charitable marketing and Gen Z identity is quickly gaining recognition. See how Parade leverage specific influencer marketing tactics and strategies to disrupt a seemingly crowded space.

Parade Undertakes Sex Education, LGBTQ+ Rights, Body Positivity & More With Nano Influencers

Many brands have shared success in influencer marketing with nano-influencers, Dunkin’, Fabletics, and Playstation — to name a few. Brands hope to achieve credibility with this strategy by tapping into niche communities for a more ‘word-of-mouth’ effect than traditional influencer marketing.

In this case study we examine the results of Parade’s recent Cyber Monday campaign featuring 50+ nano-influencers, including “influencers” with under 1,000 followers (the smallest tier of influencers).

How Parade Leveraged Influencer Marketing For Its Biggest Sale of The Year


  • Awareness: Build and raise awareness of Parade’s promises to support sustainability, sex education, LGBTQ+ rights, body positivity, and more.
  • Engagement: Ignite social issue conversations within tight-knit Instagram communities while advertising the brand’s Cyber Monday sale.


  • Channel: Instagram
  • Influencer Strategy: In most cases, the users promoting the brand were invited by email or reached out to via DM. The campaign was essentially run by gifting free products in exchange for an Instagram post. While Parade does offer a unique sharable discount code once a purchase is made, they currently do not have an affiliate program where users earn commission on sales.
  • Creative/Branding: We analyzed a sample of 50 influencers who recently promoted Parade’s Cyber Monday campaign. Each influencer appeared to be artistic, expressive, and belonging to the Gen Z – Millennial age range — three attributes notably upheld and reflected by the Parade brand.
  • Influencer Tier(s): Of the sample of 50 influencers, followings ranged from to 300 to 7K with the average following of 1,700 followers. 28% had followings over 2K, 20% had followings below 1K and the majority (52%) of influencers were in the 1K – 2K follower range.
  • ‘Influencers’ with less than 1,000 followers: this campaign is especially unique because of the substantial participation of users whose follower counts do not meet the criteria of the lowest-tier influencer (nano-influencers have upwards of 1,000 followers). While some users with below 1K followers appear to be building their “nano-influencer credibility”, many appear to be posting simply to support Parade — and to get free merchandise in return.
  • Sponsored Content: Each influencer referenced Parade’s Cyber Monday sale and tagged the brand’s Instagram account in the post. Many users mentioned product and company values in their caption, highlighting sustainability and philanthropy.

Parade’s Cyber Monday Sale Results, Content & Takeaways

Gen Z influencers case study
influencer marketing case study nano influencers
nanoinfluencer fashion campaign case study

Of the 50 sample posts collected, only 20% designated the product as ‘gifted’ by either thanking the brand in the post’s caption or using the hashtag #gifted. FTC guidelines suggest properly disclosing anytime a product was gifted in exchange for a post or endorsement.

Combined Social Reach:

  • Instagram followers targeted: 87,000 collectively


  • Combined Likes: 7,193
  • Combined Comments: 772
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 10.4%


  • Advantages: By gifting merchandise to smaller influencers, Parade can keep influencer marketing costs relatively low. We estimate it cost them $12-$50 in product to send merchandise to 50 nano-influencers (resulting in the combined reach of a mid-tier influencer). This strategy allows for the brand to achieve the desired campaign metrics without having to pay additional influencer fees besides free product.
  • Disadvantages: Partnering with nano-influencers and loyal customers to amplify brand messaging has a lower reach and less control than partnering with traditional influencers.
  • By transforming “normal” satisfied customers into ‘influencers’ Parade achieves a more word-of-mouth form of advertising while concurrently reaping some benefits of influencer marketing.
  • When a brand’s values align seamlessly with an influencer’s personal values, it lessens the chance of brand messaging appearing irrelevant and results in positive sentiment from an influencer’s like-minded audience.
  • Brands and social media influencers can collaborate on campaigns that raise awareness and promote social good to achieve impactful results.