How to find travel influencers. Step by step guide.

There is a huge amount of people making travel related content on Instagram. It’s one of the biggest niches on the platform. It is likely that you are following someone a jetsetter type yourself. Finding a good fit and the right travel influencers is a challenge though. Why? Because the nature of how their content is made. Travel influencers must travel to make content. Travelling means that their audience comes from all over the world. Doing targeted campaigns is super hard to pull off.

Here are some things for you to consider when working with travel influencers. I will be guiding you through on how to find the influencers for free. Although you might see in the end why investing up front can be better in the long run.

So how do I find travel influencers?

Let’s say for the sake of this example. We are looking for travel bloggers/influencer in Canada.

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first step of finding influencers in canada
results of the first step findings

If you find an influencer in a country so popular that blogs write about them, you might be on to something. You can also try narrowing it down to a city. For the topic of travel, it is usually too niche of a search and you won’t be finding anything.

Finding 3 Canadian influencers listed on theculturetrip.com.

@travelingcanucks

instagram image from a canadian travel influencer

@theplanetd

travel photographers instagram picture

@hecktictravels

hecktictravel content

After finding influencers to potentially collaborate with. The next step is to verify whether they relate with your brands values, message and identity. Of course, these influencers should be double checked to make sure their audience is real. We wouldn’t want to end our search with finding influencers with a fake audience.

When we analyze accounts, we find millions of influencers with a majority of following being fake. While those robots leave comments on posts to drive engagement, they suck at saying anything of substance. Checking the comment section and see if you can find some of these red flags:

🚩Thoughtless comments like “Cool”, “ So Great”, “Amazing shot”.

🚩Emoji only conversations.

 

🚩Long, unnatural text that doesn’t fit the context. “Wow. This is looking like the best shot I have seen today. I can’t believe it!”

Example of a comment I received recently when creating a post about plastic bag usage:

real posts can get fake comments without you knowing
fake comments on real posts

This bot is trying to be concrete, but it fails to hit the mark. It comments on posts that are related to plastic bag usage and most of them do have oceans and beaches in them. Just not this one.

The rule of thumb: Robots are our enemy when it comes to influencer marketing.

Once you are happy that the followers seem real. The audience is engaging with the content: Then you’re ready to contact those influencers. The best bet is to visit Instagram directly and check in to see if they have a listed email or phone number. Even micro influencers will often list contact details for brands to get in touch. If not, direct messages do the trick.

Search on Instagram.

Finding travel influencers through Instagram is a little bit different than in any other niche. Searching #’s like #travelcanada will get you nowhere, unless you are super lucky. The results will be full of random results that won’t matter to you.

There are 2 different ways to more effectively approach this.

Location search

First – Go to Instagram search and search the location. In this case Canada.

finding influencers by location

Second step Look for semi-professionally or professionally made photos. A lot of these photos, tagged with the location that you are looking for are made by specific pages that focus on posting only amazing imagery from that location. Also look for the ones where a person is in the photo. Not just an empty landscape. .

results of the second step of finding instagram influencers

Third step – Open the image. Here you may end up in 2 different results.

A: You might have found the page of an influencer. Then try to find out through their profile. If they actually are a Canadian influencer, or a person travelling in Canada. If they have very little following or have no sign that they are from Canada, then go back to the previous step.

B: It is a page that specializes in content around a specific location. Then the person in the photo is most likely from that location themselves. Click on the photo to see who is tagged there and check out their profile. This is a little known trick for finding influencers manually.

results of the 3rd step when looking for influencers

Fourth and final step – We have found an influencer! Go ahead and take a look whether their followers seem real and shoot them a message.

results of the 4th and final step when looking for influencers

Audience search

Since travel influencers are hard to find with #’s then consider working with someone different. Someone whose audience is interested in travel. A lot of photographers who are based in a specific location post strictly photos of that location. The audience that is following that person is not only interested in photography. They are also interested in that type of scenery and location. Which means they are likely interested in travelling there.

This may not be as easy to confirm without using a tool to find influencers. After doing extensive amounts of these types of searches. You should be able to find the influencers you want with this method.

If your target market is broader than one location, you can also dive into using more general and popular hashtags. Here is a list of some of them.

#traveling #travelers #goexplore, #travelmore, #lovetotravel, #wonderfulplaces, #roamtheplanet, #travelbug, #travelholic, #travelgram, #travelphotography, #exploring, #explorer, #wanderer, #doyoutravel, #solotravels, #solotraveldiaries, #mountains, #nature, #beach, #snowcapped, #landscapephotography, #tropicalislands, #luxuryhotel, #hiking, #exploringtheglobe, #worldwonder, #blogtravel, # vecationlife, #getaway, #passportready, #travelblogger, #travel, #igtravel, #writetotravel, #travelwriter, #ilovetravel

Word of mouth.

You are likely to know someone who is a travel enthusiast. Ask them who they follow on social media, who are their favorite content creators. Who to they look for advice.

You can also look for other brands using influencers in your niche and see who they are collaborating with and reach out to them. It is possible to identify influencers who have stopped working with that brand.

Make sure also to ask for referrals once you have found an influencer who suits your campaign. Ask them the same questions. They should know best who are the ones killing it with content in that area. They might even be able to provide contacts to their network of travel bloggers

Vet the influencers as best you can.

One extra way to manually vet the influencers is through using Socialblade. Search for the influencer that you have selected for your campaign and look for their historical data.

If you see any big sudden jumps in the following then that may refer to the user having bought followers at some point.

The influencer should have a steady curve in the increase of following. Here’s an example of what to watch out for.

how big growth in following

Results of finding travel influencers manually.

So, we have found couple of influencers that we would like to work with and we didn’t spend a dime on it. Yet it is still really hard to know what you are getting yourself into. Where all these comments and followers are actually coming from?

Here is the audience data of these 4 influencers we found.

example outcome of the influencers we founf
profile analytics of the influencers found manually
instagram audience demographics for travelingcanucks
data overview of an instagram influencer

Conclusion

When looking for creators, the only criteria we were seeking was related to travel and who can reach audiences in Canada. As you can see if we would have decided to work with some of them, we would have ended up paying a premium. Without having any sense who is actually following them.

After calculating in the cost we would have paid for fake followers or for the audience that is not in Canada, this becomes very expensive. Relying on manual labor in this circumstance is not cheaper at all. Plus all the time spent looking for the influencers and trying to reach out to them needs to be calculated in.

This is why sometimes it makes sense to invest in an affordable influencer marketing tool to help you identify your favourite influencers.

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