Instagram and other social media channels are full of personalities with a large following and influence. They have logically gained the name of influencers, but all that glitters is not gold.

In this piece, we’ll try to figure out how to identify proper influencers, check their quality and avoid fake opinion leaders.

Ways to find Instagram influencers

It’s been partly covered in one of our previous articles. Yet, we’ll quickly repeat it here once more.

You can find Instagram influencers by simply googling them. Yes, that straightforward. Just enter your niche and add the word “influencers” next to it.

Or you can use more advanced tools for the purpose. One of them is Combin Growth. With this app, you can search for relevant Instagrammers by hashtags, locations, bio keywords, gender, activity, followers and following count, and even the language they speak.

Search results by a bio keyword

With its powerful search feature, you can set multiple parameters simultaneously and find relevant influencers for your Instagram marketing campaign.

Another tool is the Facebook Brand Collabs Manager, where brands can connect with creators for further collaborations. However, influencers must check their eligibility to participate in the program, and not all of them are eligible to apply. That means that the quantity of your potential partners is somewhat limited.

Once you found relevant influencers, it’s time to check their quality.

What should you pay attention to before partnering with an Instagram influencer?

There are several metrics you should keep in mind when outreaching an influencer and collaborating with them.

  1. Their reach.

Everybody knows what Instagram reach is. Instagram reach is the total amount of unique accounts who have seen your post or Story. Take a look at these screenshots and Answer a simple question: which account’s reach has better quality? And no, the whole thing isn’t in the number of unique accounts who have seen the publication.

The answer is the first one. Here’s why.

When you pay an influencer for a collaboration, you buy the attention of their loyal followers. The first screenshot reveals that the majority of users reached are followers of this account. It means that the post has been seen by relevant, target and genuine audience. That’s what you need and want to pay for.

What’s wrong with the second screenshot? It showcases that 97% of reached accounts are not the followers. They have seen the content from hashtags, which means that the gained reach is the viral one.

The reach an account gets from hashtags or the Explore Tab is not that relevant for you since it doesn’t reflect the interest of an influencer’s current audience. Besides, have you ever noticed how you consume the content on the Explore Page or in hashtags search? Just several swipes.

So next time, when you request an influencer’s account statistics, pay attention to their actual reach.

2. Engagement rate by reach.

To calculate the ER by reach, use this formula:

ERR = reactions / reach x 100%

Knowing the ER by reach, you will understand the percentage of a loyal audience who is really interested in the content the influencer posts. This metrics is more representative than a simple ER.

Yet, good old ER is also helpful when you need to estimate the quality of an influencer from scratch. To do so, you can use Combin Growth and sort your search results by ER.

This will help you understand which influencers are worth your attention in the first place.

3. Following/followers ratio.

F/F ratio is the number of following compared to the number of followers. This metric is considered as representative in terms of an account’s quality measurement.

If the account has a low f/f ratio, it means this account is of good quality and doesn’t use mass-following as a promotion strategy.

Apart from these metrics, you should also pay attention to people who comment on an influencer’s posts. If these are comments consisting of emojis or words of admiration like “beautiful!”, “gorgeous”, etc., then these comments might be left by bots.

Also, read what influencers reply to their commenters and if they speak to them at all.

Focus on an influencer’s reputation and what they promote on their account. If they push scam, products with questionable reliability, and participate in giveaways all the time, it’s better to avoid such influencers.

How to check an Instagram influencer’s quality and avoid fake influencers?

You don’t want to overpay for sponsored posts that will not resonate with an influencer’s audience, do you? Follow these steps to make sure you want to team up with a particular influencer.

  1. Evaluate an Instagram account in general

During this evaluation, you need to focus on an account’s reach, audience, comments, content, and communication between an influencer and their followers.

Tip: if you want to find out an average post reach, take one of the lastest videos an influencer uploaded and multiply it by 1.5–2.5. An average post reach will be within these values.

Kylie Jenner has 167 million followers with an average post reach about 11%. It means that you would pay an enormous amount of money for the attention of 167 million, when in fact, only 12 million would see your promo.

The reach you should work with is 20%-40%, lower reach is not relevant.

Fake influencers typically have many followers, reach under 20%, an irrelevant audience that came from giveaways, and bot-like comments under their posts.

2. Use Combin Growth

With Combin Growth, you can sort the influencers you found according to their ER, f/f ratio and even virality of their content. Moreover, you can sort them by their followers and the following count, number of likes and comments.

After you sorted the results and found potentially interesting influencers, you can manually check their accounts before outreaching once again. Then you can head over to request their account’s insights.

3. Request an influencer’s Instagram insights

Above we have already figured out what you should care about when looking at account’s insights — these are reach, ER, ER by reach, and f/f ratio. Now let’s touch on metrics you should pay no attention to:

  • Impressions

Impressions are generally twice higher than reach. Besides, impressions reflect the general number of your content views, and they include views of your posts and Stories. That’s why you can see that the number of your impressions is different from the one of reach.

  • Old insights (over than two months)

Reach and ER gained throughout several months are not relevant for you. These insights are sorted top-down, so you will see several best-performing posts within the last 90+ days. This is not very useful, you see.

Always ask an influencer to send you new data, not older than 30 days or even later.

  • Geography, gender and age of the audience without the percentage

It goes without saying that you should check if the audience lives in your target location, is of gender and age you need.

Finding a relevant Instagram influencer who will help you boost your sales is not an easy task. Yet, if you follow the advice above and use professional Instagram marketing tools for this, you will succeed and won’t have to waste money on fake influencers.

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