11 Ways To Find Micro Influencers (Free & Paid Methods!)

February 12, 2024
14 min
Rochi Zalani
Content Writer, Modash
Ryan Prior
Head of Marketing, Modash
... and
more expert contributors

Micro-influencers might have a small following (creators with a follower range of 10,000 – 100,000), but their impact is anything but small.

They have a higher engagement rate, more relatability, and a tightly-knit niche community. The best part of all? They’re more affordable than larger influencers.

But you're already sold on the idea -- so let's get into the best ways to find micro-influencers for your brand.

1: Use an influencer discovery tool

Modash has a searchable influencer database that lists every creator on Earth for Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube with 1k+ followers. It's the fastest way to get a shortlist of creators that match your criteria.

You can search using criteria like:

  • Influencer follower ranges (e.g. 10k-35k)
  • The influencer's location, gender, or main language
  • Minimum engagement rates, or minimum follower growth rates
  • Whether or not a contact email is available
  • Their audience demographics
  • Keywords (e.g. words in bio, or hashtags used)
  • and more...

After running a search, Modash can also help you to analyze each profile that matches your criteria. Without even reaching out to the creator, you can instantly:

  • Check audience demographics
  • Check fake followers & engagement rate (including benchmarks vs. similar creators)
  • Get contact emails (in bulk)
  • See most popular posts & hashtags used
  • ...and more

Modash also has features for:

  • Integrating with Gmail, so you can manage your influencer outreach within the tool
  • Integrating with Shopify, so you can track promo code redemptions per creator
  • Tracking live influencer content (who posted? what did they post? how did it perform?)

You can try it free for 14 days.

2: Leverage the search feature and hashtags on social media platforms

Creators rely on hashtags to improve their content distribution. Many users follow hashtags or search for them to discover more content around a topic.

As a brand, you can use hashtags to find niche micro-influencers who align with your brand. Focus on three kinds of hashtags:

  • Size: Directly search for #microinfluencer to see the creators who meet this criterion.

  • Category: Search for hashtags related to your product or industry. For example, if you sell skincare products, use hashtags like #skincareinfluencer, #skincarecreator, or #beautycreator.

  • Location: Search for the ideal location of your influencer, like #nyccreator or #parisinfluencer.

Which hashtags you should focus on depends on your brand and what you’re looking for from your micro-influencers. If you’re a lifestyle brand, searching for generic #micro-influencers might be helpful to find the best-performing small creators. Local brands would benefit from using location hashtags to find local influencers. When selling niche products, category hashtags are your best bet.

Overall, your hashtag strategy will be largely trial-and-error. Search for all related hashtags you can think of and spend some time vetting each influencer profile. Look for the most views on Instagram Reels and TikTok videos for the hashtag to find well-performing micro-influencers.

For YouTube, use the search functionality to find influencers using your desired keywords. Think: what would my audience search for?

For example, if you’re a fashion brand selling sustainable clothing in the UK, search for “sustainable fashion brands UK” and see the creators whose videos pop up top in the search.

Both influencers whose videos are ranking are micro-influencers. (Jessica Harumi and Cynthia Dam have 10.5K and 83.6K YouTube subscribers, respectively, at the time of writing this article.)

Like with hashtags, search for various variations of your keywords to find different micro-influencers and examine each channel manually to confirm if they meet your requirements. Instagram’s search functionality has also leveled up, but it isn’t as strong as YouTube right now. When searching keywords on Instagram, be prepared to screen for the right creators a lot more thoroughly.

3: Find micro-influencers who are creating UGC for your brand or following you already

Micro-influencers are proactive in hunting for new products that might be helpful for their audience and creating user-generated content for brands they’d like to partner with. Keep an eye out for small creators already posting reviews about your products or tagging you in their relevant posts — they might already find your brand interesting and your merchandise useful.

For example, beauty and wellness micro-influencer, Lily, posted casual photos about everyday things and included BlendJet (along with some other brands) in her post without being asked or paid.

She has over 26K followers and would make an excellent micro-influencer for BlendJet as she already uses their product and has a decent audience size.

Along with tracking your user-generated content, also regularly run your eye through your followers’ list. You might hit a pot of gold by discovering that a perfect-fit micro-influencer is already following your brand.

The influencer collaborations coming out of these scenarios is likely to be organic and authentic since the micro-creator is already aware of your brand and finds it useful. Influencer outreach to these micro-influencers is also easier because you already have an “in” with them.

4: Find micro-influencers who are adjacent to your niche

(Hat tip to Maia Pedro, influencer marketing lead at Bitpanda, for this tip. Listen to our full conversation with Maia here.)

Partnering with niche creators is a good way to scale your influencer marketing efforts. For example, if you’re delivering healthy, nutrient-rich meals to people’s doorstep, fitness influencers are your natural go-to choice for micro-influencers. But so are busy moms who might not have the time to whip up something healthy and delicious for their kids. Metabolic Meals realized this and started partnering with micro-influencers of both kinds — from athletes like Allison to moms like Sharon.

Instead of limiting yourself to one type of niche creator, see if you can widen your horizons and find micro-influencers in adjacent categories.

5: Find doppelgangers of micro-influencers you like

Found a micro-influencer you like? Find similar ones using the “down” arrow on Instagram and TikTok.

These creators are likely to have the same kind of audience and are creating the same type of content.

Other ways to find micro-influencer doppelgangers: 

  • If you scroll Instagram and TikTok long enough, the algorithm will also start showing these influencers in your Explore or For You page.

  • Micro-influencers often collaborate with each other to grow their audience. If you’ve found a micro-influencer you like, scroll through their posts and check if they’ve collaborated with another micro-influencer.

YouTube doesn’t have the same kind of arrow, but look for “related” videos on the right hand side to find similar creators creating videos on the same topic.

All these methods require thorough, time-intensive vetting. To save some time, you can use Modash’s influencer lookalike tool. For example, if you want to find TikTok influencers similar to @u_beautylauren, enter her profile URL in the ‘Search by Username’ tag, and Modash will give you a list of influencer lookalikes who have the same type of audience and produce similar content.

6: Ask for referrals

The influencer marketing industry is a tightly-knit community. If micro-influencer marketing isn’t your first rodeo, ask your old pals for recommendations for other good micro-influencers. They might have names to offer or know mutual micro-influencers who are a good fit for your brand.

Even other nano-influencers or macro-creators might know some micro-influencers who’d be a good fit for your brand.

Here’s a script you can tweak:

“Hey {influencer name}, 

We loved partnering with you on {1-2 personalized lines about the campaign you partnered with them on} and can’t wait to chat about future collaborations!

In the meantime, we were wondering if you had any recommendations for micro-influencers on {social media platform}? We’re looking to partner with micro-creators influencers for our new campaign, and an intro from you would be super helpful! Specifically, we’re looking for micro-influencers creators who…{send some requirements like niche, engagement rate, and other metrics you’re looking for}.

Do you have anyone in mind who might be a good fit for {company name}? No worries if not!”

Talk soon, 

{Your name}”

Pro-tip: also check the comment section of macro-influencers. Sometimes a micro-influencer in the same niche might be commenting on their posts. It’s an unscalable thing to do, but you might get lucky and land on an excellent micro-influencer.

For instance, see comments by some similar-niche micro-influencers on a macro-influencer, Sophie Marie’s post. Siân (@wavycurlysian) has 41.7K followers, and Julian Ann (@curlieswithjulia) has 95.9K followers at the time of writing this article.

7: Work with an influencer marketing agency

The influencer marketing industry is full of agencies that can help you find the perfect micro-influencers for your brand. The pros of working with a full-fledged influencer marketing agency are they’re experts in their field, so you aren’t gambling your hard-earned money.

Another advantage is agencies do the heavy lifting for you — from influencer hunting, managing influencer payments, drafting influencer contracts, and maintaining influencer relationships.

The downside is working with an agency can be heavy on the pocket, and there’s no guarantee an influencer marketing agency will have a large enough database of micro-influencers for you.

If you have the budget, you can ease some of these cons by thoroughly examining influencer marketing agencies before committing to one. Some questions you should ask are:

  • What does this influencer marketing agency specialize in? They might be known for a particular industry, like fitness brands, or perhaps their expertise is in one platform, like Instagram.
  • Who are the faces behind the influencer marketing agency? If the agency is run by well-known experts who have run successful influencer marketing campaigns in the past, you know you’re in good hands.
  • How many influencers does the agency have access to? Some agencies strictly use their own network of influencers, while others have a more detail-oriented approach of using tools and manual vetting. You want the latter to access a large pool of micro-influencers.

8: Search on Google and ChatGPT

It can be a little cumbersome, but you can find listicles of excellent micro-influencers on Google. Enter “your industry + micro-influencer” and you’ll get a list of articles (like this) detailing the specifics of each influencer.

If you opt to search on Google, remember only to read the recent articles. Why? The influencer marketing industry evolves by the minute. A fast-growing influencer might climb the ranks from a nano to a micro to a macro-influencer by the time you read the article.

The solution is simple: go to “tools” below the search bar and select the timeline to “past year” or “past month” to only get a list of the articles published in the time frame you selected.

Don’t read only a couple of articles. Scour as many as you can to find unique and unheard-of micro-influencers to evaluate.

You can also ask ChatGPT. Go for the simple, “tell me 10 micro-influencers in the {industry}” or go for a more detailed script like this:

If you prefer the detailed version, here’s the script you can tweak:

“You're an influencer manager for {your company}. The brand sells {product you sell}. Your job is to find micro-influencers for the brand with a following of 10,000 to 100,000 on Instagram. The influencer should create {the kind of content your ideal micro-influencer would create}. Give me a list of three micro-influencers who meet this criteria.”

But remember: ChatGPT is notorious for suggesting micro-influencers who…don’t exist.

Cross-check the list before playing with the prompts to minimize wasting your time on non-existent influencers.

9: Create a brand ambassador program to have the right micro-influencers come to you

Building a brand ambassador program is one of the best ways to have influencers come to you rather than the other way around. It attracts micro-influencers who genuinely love your products and are interested in partnering with you long-term.

How to put the spotlight on your ambassador program?

  • Ask your existing influencers, employees, and network to share your micro-influencer callout on their social media or newsletter
  • Share details about your ambassador program on order confirmation emails, newsletters, and all other forms of customer communication
  • Create a landing page for your ambassador marketing to get inbound traffic from Google
  • Promote the exclusivity and benefits of your ambassador program on social media

Take Bolt — it has over 500 ambassadors across 18 countries. Its ambassador program with month-over-month Instagram campaigns with so many brand ambassadors is one of the primary reasons for becoming the third-fastest growing European company.

Micro-influencers seeking out reliable, regular partnerships and ambassador programs are a great way to create a win-win situation for you and the influencer.

10: Search for macro-influencers who are expanding their social media presence

All creators today are diversifying their revenue stream by being present on multiple social media platforms. A macro-influencer on TikTok might have just begun repurposing their content on Instagram. Or a YouTuber might’ve decided to create short-form video content for Instagram and TikTok.

The key is to catch these influencers at the right time when they’re expanding their business and starting to develop a presence on other platforms.

For example, productivity influencer Mariana Vieira has over 765K subscribers on YouTube but 40.7K followers on Instagram.

A brand whose target customers align with Mariana’s followers just has to find Mariana now and approach her for sponsored Instagram content. She’s a micro-influencer on Instagram right now, so she’d be less expensive, but her following will catch up to YouTube soon enough if she keeps posting consistently.

The best perk of this method is you’re partnering with micro-influencers with a macro-influencer level of professionalism. They already know how to hook the audience, create valuable content, and have admin stuff like video editing taken care of.

The con is it isn’t scalable and only possible when you’re very “online” and keeping track of the small and big influencers in your industry.

⚠️ Remember: check if the influencer is posting consistently on both platforms. It’s possible they might be using one social media platform just for fun.

11: Ask your customers for recommendations

Your customers are the best research group for finding trusted micro-influencers. Who do they turn to for product recommendations in your industry? There’s a high chance there’s a similar untapped market in that micro-influencers’ following list.

How to ask your customers for micro-influencer recommendations?

  • Include a “How did you hear about us?” question for every post-purchase survey. You might be surprised to discover a micro-influencer’s name who recommended your brand.

  • Run a fine-toothed comb through some of your customers’ following lists on social media and spot micro-influencers they’re following.

  • Do a customer survey to ask your buyers who they follow on social media and which micro-influencers they trust.

Micro-influencers for the win!

Micro-influencers are having a moment right now, and it’s for all the right reasons. Bigger isn’t always better.

But there are anywhere between 3.2 million and 37.8 million influencers in the world. Finding good micro-influencers (ones that actually fit with your brand) is like fishing for gold in a sea of trash. Hopefully, with this guide, you have all the resources you need to hunt for relevant micro-influencers for your brand.

What’s even better? With Modash, taking the first step is not so hard. There’s no learning curve, it has data for the 3 major influencer marketing platforms, and it’s an all-in-one tool to manage every step of your influencer marketing campaign. See how it all works with a free trial of Modash today.

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Contributors to this article

Ryan Prior
Head of Marketing, Modash
Ryan is in charge of making sure all the content on this blog is great. If anything sucks, blame him.

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