The Definitive Guide to Influencer Marketing: Chapter 3


Chapter 3:


Now that you’ve outlined the goals and guidelines of your campaign, it’s time to start putting the pieces in motion. And for influencer marketing campaigns, the most important piece is probably the influencer! Finding influencers can feel overwhelming, but Heepsy makes it easy. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know when searching for and selecting influencers.

Finding the right influencers

First off, when it comes to nano or micro influencers, a majority of their audience tends to be from the same country or even the same region as the influencer. Macro and mega influencers, however, usually have audiences spread across the country, or even across the world.

Nano/micro influencers also tend to be more prone to accept collaborations based on products or experiences, while higher tier influencers will likely only work for a fee. It’s critical to understand what you’re prepared to offer before starting your influencer search, as it will help narrow down your parameters before you even get online.

Furthermore, if you want to launch a national campaign, try to make an impact across different categories of social media, and use different influencers to help you accomplish that. For example, for a national sports campaign, you might want to contract influencers who focus on various sports, as well as fitness, health, crossfit, etc...

  • Do you have any influencers who are already fans?
    Analyze your own brand’s followers. If you find an influencer among them, chances are they’ll want to work with you.

  • Have you been mentioned?
    Look through all the instances in which your brand has been mentioned on Instagram. If you find an influencer who already uses your products, they’d probably be down to collaborate.

  • Do they produce quality content?
    Does the influencer take time to curate their content? Do they have a clear aesthetic? Check to see if their content aligns with your brand’s mission and aesthetic.

  • What’s the influencer’s follower/following ratio?
    Remember that if the influencer has a ratio close to 1, they may be using the follow/unfollow strategy.

  • Is their engagement good for their industry?
    Engagement rates vary based on how many followers an influencer has, and also based on their industry. (You can calculate this using Instagram, but it’s much easier using Heepsy).

  • How often do they post?
    Depending on the goals of your campaign, you may want only one post, or you may want several. If so, make sure the influencer has the capacity to post at the rhythm you want.

  • Have they collaborated with other brands?
    If you see that an influencer has worked on various other campaigns, look at what kind of content they created and the engagement of those posts, particularly for collaborations within your same industry. Check to see if they’ve worked with your competitors, as this could affect a collaboration with you.

  • Does the influencer’s audience align with your target audience?
    Analyze the demographics of the influencer’s audience to see if they’d be interested in your brand. (Not to be too repetitive, but this is something that’s much easier with Heepsy).

  • Who follows your competitors?
    Analyze your competitors’ followers to see what they’re interested in. You may be able to find new people to add to your target audience.

Here’s another checklist, this time with questions you should ask yourself while looking for influencers directly on Instagram:



Heepsy was built to make your influencer searches seamless. The software uses data that comes directly from Instagram, so you can rest assured that the information you get is the real deal. Heepsy allows you to search according to various filters, and gives you immediate metrics about any influencers who you think may be suitable for your campaign.


When you log onto Heepsy, at the very top of the page, you can search for a specific handle or a keyword.

Beneath that, you’ll see all the search filters at the top of the page:

  • Categories: Filter by the influencer’s industry. Fashion, Vegan, Mommy, you name it.

  • Location: Search by country, state or county/city.

  • Followers: Specify your search by the number of followers.

  • Engagement: Look for influencers who have low/high engagement, or for an exact engagement rate.

  • Contact: See which profiles are verified, which influencers have public contact details available, or which have a presence on other social networks.

  • Audience: Check out an influencer’s audience, and its gender, age, location, language, and interests. Search using those parameters and the percentage of the audience that you want to fulfill them.

  • Authenticity: Sort influencers based on their authenticity (the overall quality score calculated by Heepsy), or their percentage of real followers.

  • Advanced Metrics: Choose influencers based on their price estimate, their percentage of branded posts, or their post frequency.

Using Heepsy’s search filters is easy! But just in case you’re still a bit lost as to how to conduct a thorough search, we’ve laid out some additional tips to make the process easier:


  • Search categories independently of each other.
    You’ll get more results if you search for your target categories separately. For example, search first for “Fashion”, and then separately for “Beauty”. If you mix categories during the same search, you might miss out on some good results.

  • Don’t shut out certain categories.
    If you’re a makeup brand, you’ll probably jump right into the Beauty or Make-Up category, which is a logical place to start. But, to make sure you’ve covered all your bases, why not try related keywords like “cosmetics”, or related categories like Lifestyle? You may find an influencer that better matches your objectives but who wasn’t in your original category.

  • Leave a margin on your search ranges.
    If you’re interested in influencers who have between 10K-25K followers, search for 5K-30K. You may be pleasantly surprised by someone who didn’t fall into your initial range. And remember that influencers with relatively few followers aren’t useless; influencers with just 5K followers often have higher engagement rates. But, if you want to use Instagram’s Swipe-Up feature, keep in mind that the account must have at least 10K followers.

  • Use keywords for niches.
    If you want to search for an influencer that falls into a very specific market, it’s best to not filter by any category and instead use a keyword search. Say you want to find travel influencers who live in their vans. Try keywords related to that: van, vanlife, roadlife. The results that appear will be from users who have used those keywords somewhere in their profile.

  • Use keywords for specific locations.
    If you’re targeting a specific city and not getting enough search results, try searching for the place as a keyword. If you’re a restaurant looking for food influencers in San Francisco, and searching by location doesn’t bring up enough results, clear all the filters and try keywords: San Francisco and variations like SanFran or SF. This way you’ll get profiles who mention the city in some way in their bio.

  • Search for healthy engagement.
    Avoid profiles with low engagement rates. Likewise, you should discard profiles with engagement above 20%, as this usually comes from purchased likes and comments. Normal, healthy profiles tend to hover between 3% and 10%, although there are always exceptions. Some nano or micro influencers may have higher engagement.

  • Use the audience filter.
    Heepsy offers you the chance not only to analyze influencers, but also their audiences. This is an extremely useful tool, because you can’t assume that an influencer’s demographics mirrors their audience’s demographics 100%. While the two usually share common traits, you’ll sometimes run into surprises. Don’t forget to utilize the audience filter to make sure you’re hitting your target.

Detecting & avoiding fake influencers

Like everything else in life, social media has its fair share of fraud. Followers can be bought and sold, likes can be automated, and there are all kinds of strategies to boost followers without having to commit to quality content creation.

As marketers, it’s critical that your message hits your target audience. And if an influencer you contract has falsified their audience metrics, you’re the one who’s losing out. But thankfully, there are ways to see which influencers have amped up their stats through illicit means. The truth is in the data. You just need to know what to look for.


If you’re searching directly on Instagram for influencers, there are some tell-tale signs that a profile may be fake, or that it may use unorthodox strategies in the attempt to make it look more impressive than it is.

Use this checklist to help you analyze a profile’s authenticity.

  • Are there sufficient posts?
    If a profile has no posts, or very few, it might be fake. While younger influencers tend to archive more content, it’s still strange to see a profile with very few publications and a lot of followers.

  • Are there comments?
    Older age groups generally comment less, and in some countries, people may just be less participative on social media. But if a profile has a lot of followers and 0 to few comments, something’s probably not right.

  • Do the comments seem natural?
    Are the comments written in the same language that the influencer communicates in? Do the comments make sense? Are they relevant to the post? If not, this could indicate that the influencer has purchased fake comments shared by bots. Take a look at the profiles leaving the comments and see if they look like real people.

  • Are there very few likes compared to followers?
    This could be a sign that the user bought fake followers.

  • Are video views on par with likes?
    If you see that an influencer’s photos have tons of likes, but their videos only have a few reproductions each, this could be a sign of purchased likes.

  • Do the likes vary a lot from post to post?
    Big jumps between the amount of likes from one post to another could be a sign of something shady. For example, if one post has 200 likes, and the next 2000, maybe the influencer tampered with the system to boost their likes.

  • Do the likes vary depending on the content?
    Generally speaking, photos that include people tend to have more likes on Instagram, except maybe when a profile centers around something like photography, art, decoration or travel. Also, check to see if the photos that have the most likes relate to the theme of the profile. If the profile belongs to a fashion influencer, the audience is presumably interested in that, and so posts related to fashion should have more likes than pictures of landscapes or food. If not, the likes may be coming from bots, who don’t distinguish between different types of content.


You should definitely take a look at the Instagram profile of any influencer you’re thinking about collaborating with. And while you can use Instagram to help you manually assess a profile’s strengths and weaknesses, there’s a much more efficient way to do this: using Heepsy.

Heepsy analyzes data directly from Instagram and presents it to you as easy-to-understand influencer analytics. You’ll save a lot of time and effort if you let the software do the dirty work.

These are the different metrics you’ll see while using Heepsy, as well as some tips on how to use them to detect fake influencers:


Heepsy’s quality score shows you an overall rating of the influencer’s profile, displayed as one clear, concise metric. When you look at an influencer’s quality score, you’ll see a score in the form of a number (from 100), a color (ranging from red to green) and a word (good, bad, etc.). The quality score gives you a general sense of if the account is healthy or suspicious.

Engagement rate is the level of interaction a profile has when compared to its number of followers. It’s measured in likes and comments. Good engagement is good for your brand, as people who trust an influencer are more likely to trust brands the influencer promotes.

The average engagement rate depends on how many followers the influencer has. Profiles with 10K followers won’t have the same engagement as those with 1M. Heepsy will show you an influencer’s engagement compared to others in their followers segment, alongside a qualification ranging from “very low” to “suspiciously high”.

If an influencer has acquired their followers through buying them or using follow/unfollow, they’ll probably have very low engagement. Equally suspicious is very high engagement, which may suggest fake likes or comments. As engagement is one of the most important details in influencer campaigns, make sure you check it out before setting up any collaboration.


Follower growth rate is the increase/decrease of an account’s followers over time. The best influencers grow their follower base through a steady commitment to quality content creation. It may take them years to earn their followers, but here, “slow and steady wins the race” is definitely true.

A healthy growth rate should be a steady climb. If you see sudden peaks and drops, something’s up. First, check to see if the influencer has recently hosted a giveaway. These often require a follow, and people love the chance to win free stuff. Therefore, this could be visualized as a peak (loads of people joining) and then a dip (unfollowing once the giveaway is over). Other legitimate reasons for spikes in follower growth could be that the influencer became famous from appearing on TV, going viral, or linking up with a more famous influencer or celebrity.

If none of these are true, a spike in followers may show that they were bought. Really, what can’t money buy these days?


The comments/likes ratio shows just that: how many comments does a profile have compared to likes? This metric is useful because some influencers buy fake likes bot not fake comments. Analyzing this ratio could give you insight into the authenticity of a profile’s likes. Heepsy also generates the average comments/likes for an influencer segment, so you can have a clearer perspective on how a specific influencer stacks up to their peers.


The followers/following ratio can show you if the influencer might have used the follow/unfollow method. Under this strategy, an influencer follows a bunch of accounts just to get a “follow back”. Later on, the influencer can unfollow them.

If this ratio is close to 1:1, it could be an indication that the influencer is using this tactic. And while this tactic may grow followers, it does nothing to grow engagement. These followers aren’t genuinely interested in the influencer’s message, they’re just trying to be polite on social media.


Heepsy shows you a breakdown of an influencer’s audience, according to country, age, gender, language and interests. You should pay special attention to the country demographics. Check to see if most of the influencer’s followers are from their country of origin or residence.

For example, an Italian-born influencer who now lives in Los Angeles may have an audience that mostly comes from Italy and the USA. If you see that most of an influencer’s followers are from countries that have no connection to them whatsoever, it could be a sign of bought followers.


Heepsy provides another metric, which shows you the percentage of followers that appear to be authentic. AI helps to detect the types of behaviors typical in bots, and suggests which portion of an influencer’s following are suspicious of such. As you don’t want to invest your marketing budget in bots or fake followers, make sure to take a look at this metric.


Master influencer marketing with Heepsy

An industry that already generates 6.6 billion dolars

After searching and checking that influencers look legit, you should have a list of some who look interesting for your campaign. Don’t forget that you’ll want to contact double what you think you’ll need. If you want 5 influencers, reach out to 10. Not all will be available, and some might not even respond.

Regardless of the number you’re working with, it’s important to keep your information well-organized to avoid confusion and oversight. There are two ways you can do this.

Organizing your influencer search results


Create a spreadsheet that includes the following key info:

  • Instagram handle
  • Influencer’s name (if available, to personalize your communications with them)
  • Number of followers at time of search
  • Contact information (public email address on the Instagram profile)

Simple enough. But there’s a much more efficient and comprehensive way to organize your influencers.


Heepsy lets you keep customized lists of influencers for various campaigns, countries, categories, or however you prefer to organize your information. Once you build your list, you can access it directly in Heepsy or download it as an XML or CSV file.


To access your influencer lists, look for My Influencers at the top right of Heepsy’s interface.

This will open the page called My Influencers, where you can manage your lists. On the left side of the screen, you can see your existing lists, as well as the option to create a new one.

To add influencers to a list, look for the same banner icon while viewing their card or report. When you click the banner icon, you can choose to add the influencer to an existing list or create a new one on the spot.

In addition, from this page you can manage your lists by adding:

  • Handle and name - the name as it appears on the profile
  • Frequent location - based on bio and/or common geotags
  • Number of followers - this one’s self-explanatory
  • Engagement rate - average engagement rate across all posts
  • Quality Score - overall rating of the profile
  • Branded Engagement - average engagement on only branded posts
  • Estimated Post Cost - this range is an estimate, and can vary depending on several factors, including whether or not the influencer is a personality outside of social media

Heepsy’s lists allow you to easily compare influencers across various metrics, and provides you all the information necessary for you to reach out.

At the top of a list, you’ll see the Aggregated Metrics, which show you aggregates or averages of all the influencers in that list. Beneath the aggregates, you’ll find the influencer-specific metrics:

  • Ratings (the star) - you can rate influencers you’ve already worked with from 1-5
  • Notes (the speech bubble) - add notes about past collaborations or negotiations
  • Statuses (“Add Status”) - change the influencer’s status to discarded, to be contacted, proposal accepted, or proposal rejected, and add relevant comments

Further, when you download the list as a spreadsheet, you’ll find all the information from the influencer analytics, including the audience metrics, brand mentions and contact emails.

With Heepsy’s lists, you have all the information necessary to choose influencers, get them approved by your client or manager, and start reaching out for collaborations.


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