Remember when influencer marketing was a hot new trend?

Those days are long gone. Today, it’s become an integral part of many brands’ marketing strategies — and it’s only getting more popular.

Today, 84.8% of brands and marketers say influencer marketing is effective, while 59.4% plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2024.

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This is hardly surprising, given that 86% of consumers make influencer-inspired purchases at least once a year.

Are you planning to plunge into the influencer marketing pool for the first time? First, you’ll need to perform an influencer search. In this article, we’ll explain how to do it, why it’s important, and how to ensure an influencer will be a good fit for your brand.

Why It’s Important To Find Influencers That Complement Your Brand

Surely, finding the best influencers is easy: just search for influencers in your niche and reach out to those with the most followers.

Actually, it’s a little more complicated.

Follower count is only helpful in gauging campaign success if those followers are interested in your product or service. So, you’ll want to track down influencers with complementary audiences.

There’s another big benefit, too — creators are more likely to accept your proposals if they feel a connection to your brand and audience. This means you’ll spend less time hunting for influencers and more time planning and executing high-performing influencer campaigns.

Sure, hunting for precisely the right influencers takes time. But the results make it all worthwhile.

To demonstrate our point, let’s look at a real-world influencer marketing example from luxury fashion e-commerce store Farfetch, which wanted to drive awareness, reach, and sales by leveraging influencer marketing at scale.

Finding one “perfect” influencer is hard enough; finding hundreds or thousands at a time is a different story.

However, the brand leveraged an influencer search platform to streamline the identification process and then used ChatGPT to speed up influencer outreach.

Farfetch’s clear briefs and attractive remuneration terms — including gift cards, negotiable set fees, and a 10% commission on sales — helped attract a ton of creators with highly relevant audiences:


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A post shared by francisco faria (@franciscofaria)

The campaign generated a return of $8 for every $1 invested, with an average order value of $921.

Moreover, over one-quarter of customers acquired through the campaign became repeat buyers, increasing the average lifetime value to an impressive $1,188.

👉 Learn more: Top 10 Influencer Marketing Campaigns

6 Steps To Vet If an Influencer Is Right for Your Brand

Okay, so finding influencers who complement your brand is essential.

Here’s how to vet influencers to make sure they’re the right fit:

1. Define Your Audience

Simply put, it’s impossible to find the best influencers for your brand if you don’t clearly understand which customers you’re trying to target.

That’s why the first step in any influencer search is to define your audience:

  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • Which social media platforms do they engage with?
  • What would persuade them to buy your products?

The more you know about your audience, the easier it becomes to identify influencers who resonate with them and compel them to take action.

For instance, it makes sense for a women’s fitness and lifestyle brand like ATHLETA to team up with an inspirational influencer like Jessica Mendoza, an Olympic gold medal-winning former softball player:


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A post shared by jessica mendoza (@jessmendoza2)

She’s an ideal match for ATHLETA’s audience, so her content is likely more impactful than if they’d worked with a generic influencer — even if that influencer had a larger following than Jessica.

2. Dig Into the Metrics

When finding influencers, it’s easy to get obsessed with follower counts.

But that top-line number doesn’t mean much if their engagement is terrible.

While figures vary from platform to platform, most social media marketers agree that a 1% to 5% engagement rate is decent. If it’s less than that, it’s a good sign that their content isn’t cutting through or that they have a ton of fake followers.

Interestingly, having a high follower count doesn’t equate to strong engagement — quite the opposite.

Smaller accounts see higher average engagement rates across all the most influencer-friendly social platforms (Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube). For example, on TikTok, micro-influencers with fewer than 15,000 followers see an average engagement rate of almost 18%, compared to less than 5% for mega-influencers with 1+ million followers.

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While engagement rates aren’t publicly available, various free and paid tools can crunch the numbers for you (more on that in the next section).

But influencer marketing metrics aren’t just about engagement rates.

If you’re looking to partner with a blogger, you’ll also want to consider how many people visit their site in an average month and how many views they get per article.

3. Check Who’s Engaging

Metrics are a helpful guide, but they don’t tell you the whole story.

Dig deeper than engagement rates by looking at who’s commenting on each post.

Do they look like real people or bots? Do the comments make sense, or are they just automated nonsense?

If all their engagements are spammy, they’re not the right influencer for you.

4. Run Quality Control

When you partner with an influencer, they’re representing your brand.

So, you need to be sure their content is up to scratch.

Do they post engaging captions? Are those captions well-written or riddled with typos? And are their visuals up to scratch?

Essentially, would you be happy to have this person speaking on behalf of your brand?

5. See Who They Work With (& How They Promote Sponsors)

You probably don’t want to partner with influencers who work with your competitors because it looks inauthentic and that they’re just in it for the money rather than promoting their favorite products.

Beyond that, pay attention to how they promote the brands they work with.

If a high proportion (say, one in five) of their posts are brand collaborations, you’ll risk getting lost in the noise.

And make sure their sponsored posts showcase the brand well. Is the product front and center? Do they effectively demonstrate the features and benefits?

6. Compare Costs

Hopefully, having been through the previous steps, you’ll be left with a shortlist of potential influencers.

Now it’s time to compare their rates and what you get for your money.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate with influencers to build a package of deliverables that meets your requirements and offers the best value for money.

5 Best Influencer Search & Discovery Tools

You know how to assess whether an influencer is a good fit. But how do you find them in the first place?

These five influencer marketing tools will help you identify potential partners for your next collaboration.

1. Upfluence

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Pricing: Unlisted

Upfluence’s influencer search tools help you track down potential collaborators from a variety of sources, including:

  • Your own customer base or point-of-sale system
  • Your website visitors
  • It’s own database of influencers

As with most influencer marketing tools, you’ll need to pay for Upfluence’s most advanced functionality (and it doesn’t publish prices, so you’ll have to contact them to learn more).

However, if you have little (or no) budget for tools and are happy to do a bit of legwork yourself, it also offers a free Chrome extension that lets you identify a range of key influencer profile analytics, such as:

  • Total reach
  • Average likes
  • Post engagement rate
  • Audience demographics
  • Average views

Have you found a potential match? The plugin also lets you reach out to influencers from within your browser.

2. HypeAuditor

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Pricing: Unlisted

HypeAuditor has a database of more than 50 million influencer profiles across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

You’re pretty much free to cut and slice that database as you see fit. For instance, you can search for:

  • Accounts that mention your brand
  • Content creators with specific audience demographics (e.g., age, location, interests)
  • Influencers in a particular content or industry niche
  • Accounts with high growth rates

Again, you’ll need to pay for full access to HypeAuditor, but it also offers a free plan and a bunch of free tools for things like:

  • Calculating Instagram engagement
  • Analyzing audience quality and engagement authenticity
  • Identifying high-quality TikTok accounts

3. Storyclash

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Pricing: $999 per month

Storyclash aims to help brands move beyond using basic demographic information to find influencers.

Instead, it offers multiple influencer search options based on follower growth, audience similarity, and brand affinity. It also has a content-based search function, allowing searchers to filter by country, language, and follower range.

Storyclash isn’t cheap, with prices starting at $999 per month for an annual contract.

But it also offers a bunch of free resources, such as a free Instagram influencer search tool.

4. Collabstr

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Pricing: Free to join and search; pay influencers per project

Collabstr is a marketplace — like an influencer marketing-focused version of Fiverr or Upwork.

As a brand, you can join the platform and hunt for influencers free of charge, with no subscriptions or hidden fees. When you find the right influencer for your campaign, you can reach out and pay them through Collabstr.

These factors make this one of the most cost-effective influencer marketing tools.

The marketplace lists influencers across dozens of popular categories, from fashion and beauty to business and technology, and supports six different social channels and strategies: Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, X/Twitter, YouTube, and user-generated content.

5. Heepsy

Pricing: $0 – $215 per month

Use Heepsy to find the right influencer for your brand among millions of content creators on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

The platform’s search filters — including category, location, engagement, and followers — allow you to hone in on the most relevant influencers in your niche while the AI-powered authenticity function weeds out fake followers. You can easily discard potential partners without genuine, engaged audiences.

It also offers useful competitive intelligence functionality, letting you filter by mentions to discover which brands and influencers work together.

👉 Learn more: 10 Tools to Help You Run A Successful Influencer Marketing Program

6 Strategies To Find Influencers Manually

Don’t have the budget for paid influencer marketing tools?

Not generating the results you need from the free solutions we highlighted in the previous section?

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, finding influencers manually is possible.

Here are six ways to do it:

1. Search for Bloggers On FeedSpot

Feedspot isn’t technically an influencer search tool (hence, we didn’t mention it in the previous section).

Instead, it’s a content reader that helps users keep up with all their favorite content from a single platform rather than visiting several individual websites.

How can it help you find influencers for your brand?

Well, if you’re searching for bloggers in a specific niche, simply enter that niche in its search tool, and it’ll bring up the top blogs in that category, along with details about their social followings and the volume of blogs they publish:

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Then, it’s simply a case of visiting those blogs, vetting the creators, and reaching out to those who are the best fit for your brand.

2. Look for Relevant Hashtags

Pretty much every social media platform allows you to search for content by hashtag.

So, if you look for hashtags relevant to your brand, industry, audience, and product, you can potentially identify several influencers who’d be an excellent fit for your next campaign.

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But how do you find relevant hashtags in the first place?

To an extent, it’s a case of trial and error — brainstorm the type of stuff people might be posting about, search for it, and see what you come up with.

If you want to be a little more sophisticated, Hashtagify offers a free X/Twitter hashtag search tool.

As well as showing you the popularity of individual hashtags over time, it highlights related hashtags, which can help you broaden your search:

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This free tool only shows you X/Twitter hashtags.

But it’s a safe bet that many of those terms will also be popular on other platforms.

3. Find People Who Talk About Your Brand

What’s the biggest reason influencers agree to brand collaborations?

If you said “money” or “free stuff,” you’re wrong.

According to Emplifi, influencers say their top motivator is having a personal interest in the brand, while shared values and community fit also make the top five:

It makes sense to seek out influencers already talking about your brand and product.

The best way to do that manually is through the search functionality built into social media platforms. Each platform has its own search tool, and while they all work slightly differently, they all do pretty much the same thing.

For instance, here’s a search on X/Twitter Explore for people talking about the bedding brand Brooklinen:

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Trawl through the results, and hopefully, you’ll find a few potential influencers who’d love to partner with you and promote your brand.

Alternatively, you can eliminate some of the legwork by using a social listening tool to find people discussing your brand or related topics.

👉 Learn more: Top 28 Social Media Listening Tools for Your Best Audience Insights

4. Explore Viral Content

Influencers know how to create highly engaging content — that’s why they’re influencers.

So, one of the most effective ways to track down potential influencer partners is to explore viral content in your niche. If you spot a post blowing up, there’s a good chance the poster is an influencer. And even if they’re not, you might still find influencers joining the conversation via the comments.

Instagram Reels is your best friend here because the Reels tab is built to showcase viral content you’ll most likely enjoy and interact with. It’s worth setting up a dedicated Instagram account for finding influencers in your industry — the more of this content you engage with, the more Instagram’s algorithm will show it to you.

Scroll through the latest Reels, find a post that looks relevant to your brand, and click through to the creator’s profile:


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A post shared by Melissa Roberts (

Then look out for tell-tale signs in their bio that they’re an influencer (or open to brand collaborations), such as an email address, a list of the content categories they target, or the words “digital creator”:

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5. Keep an Eye on Your Competitors

It’s doubtful you’re the only brand in your niche investing in influencer marketing.

This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’d love to have the playing field for yourself. Conversely, you can take some of the effort out of finding influencer partners by simply identifying which creators your competitors are working with.

Let’s say you’re a vegan skincare brand, and one of your biggest competitors is Facetheory.

Cool, just head to their Instagram (or check out who’s tagging them on TikTok) and look out for influencer posts like this one:

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Then, you can simply contact the creator in question and ask if they’d be interested in working with your brand, too. Simple!

6. Search for Influencers on Google

One of the quickest and easiest ways to find creators in your niche is to simply Google it.

Let’s say you’re a food and drink brand looking to target customers in the New York area. In that case, you can track down potential influencer partners by searching for “site:” followed by the social platform you’re targeting and the type of creator you want to work with.

For example, we searched “food blogger new york.” It brought up the following result:

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After clicking through to the Discover page, we quickly tracked down the profile of Kaitlyn Lavery (AKA @kaitlyneats), who is — guess what? — a New York-based food blogger with over 186,000 followers.

And after scrolling through her most recent posts, we quickly found this influencer collaboration with ¡Hola! Churros:

@kaitlyneats Only feels right eating ¡Hola! Churros on National Churro Day🤭 Available in 3 Bite-Size Flavors that are easy to make. Find where you can grab a box on #partner #nationalchurroday ♬ original sound – Kaitlyn Lavery

This woman gets to eat churros for a living. We really are in the wrong line of work.

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