Content creators have totally transformed how brands promote themselves on social media.
Fact: 79% of consumers say their purchasing decisions are influenced by creators.
Makes sense! That’s because consumers trust the authenticity of other consumers.
The catch? Earning user-generated content organically can be tedious and time-consuming. This is a big problem for brands already struggling to get customers to post about them.
That’s why brands are eager to figure out how to find content creators to earn UGC at scale. Creator partnerships provide brands with authentic content without playing the waiting game.
Finding content creators that fit your brand isn’t going to happen by accident, though.
That’s why we put together this post to streamline the process!
Before You Start Looking for Content Creators, Read This! 🛑
Bouncing between social profiles. Scrambling for contact info. Crafting personalized pitches.
It’s a lot to wrangle! Trust us: we know how overwhelming finding content creators can be.
That’s why you really need to nail down your creator criteria before you start searching.
Otherwise, you’ll find yourself endlessly scrolling through profiles for hours and hours.
The good news? With countless creators on social media, brands can afford to be picky. Below are some pointers to consider before you begin browsing for creators on TikTok or Instagram:
- What are your goals? Why do you want to work with creators in the first place? If you’re laser-focused on UGC, you might seek out profiles that market themselves as UGC creators. If brand awareness is your main goal, you might be more concerned about a creator’s engagement rate.
- Who is your target demographic? You should strive to find content creators that resemble your target audience. Think about the voice, values and aesthetics of your customers. Keeping your audience in mind will weed out creators that wouldn’t be a good fit. Remember: your content creators are an extension of your brand.
- What types of content do you want? For example, are you after photos or videos? Do you want off-the-cuff reviews? In-depth tutorials? Creators can produce pretty much any type of post on TikTok or Instagram. No matter what you want, there are creators that can make it happen.
In short, you want to find people that align with your brand’s demographic and overall vibe.
Having a vision of what you want will make your creator search so much less stressful. If you have confident answers to the questions above, you’re already on the right track.
How to Find Social Media Content Creators Step-by-Step
Let’s say you’re ready to start coming up with a list of content creators to work with.
Excellent! One last important point to note before searching:
Your list of potential creators should far exceed how many creators you actually want to hire.
Getting ghosted is a bummer but it’s also part of the pitching process. So think “the more, the merrier” when it comes to compiling your creator list. We recommend tracking your efforts in an influencer spreadsheet to keep it organized.
1. Choose the Right Platform for Finding Creators
Rule of thumb: try to find content creators where you and your audience are most active.
Whether that’s Instagram or TikTok (or both!) really depends on your brand. 71% of young consumers claim that these apps are where they discover products most often. Either is a solid place to start.
Not sure which app is best for your campaign? Both platforms have their fair share of incredible content creators. Here are a few considerations to help you choose:
- Instagram is all about aesthetics. Content creators on Instagram typically make more polished and produced posts for brands versus TikTok. Whereas TikTok is a video-only platform, brands on IG can earn content including product action shots, Carousel slideshows and Stories. That said, authentic and unpolished Reels are incredibly popular for brands right now as well.
- TikTok is all about raw and unfiltered content. Many brands and products that go viral on TikTok are unconventional. This includes specialty makeup, CPG products and everything in between. The charm of TikTok creators comes from their off-the-cuff, relatable content. Candid reviews and showing off products in action are big on TikTok
Source: @emilybookedup / @rxneexx
From here, you’ll have a better idea of which platform makes the most sense for your audience.
2. Peek Your Own Followers for Potential Content Creators
If you’re intimidated by the search bar on TikTok or IG, don’t panic.
Rather than comb through an endless scroll of posts, start by looking at your followers. You might be surprised at how many of your existing customers and fans are content creators themselves.
You can actually spot social media content creators that follow you a few different ways:
- Check your @mentions for shout-outs and UGC from satisfied customers that follow you
- Make note of followers that frequently comment on or “Like” your posts
- Peek your social inboxes for queries from creators on your follower list
If someone’s following your brand, it’s safe to assume they’re familiar with you.
Heck, they may even already use your products! As a result, followers will often be more receptive to your outreach than cold prospects. This will increase the success of your pitches.
3. Search for Creators Through Hashtags
Hashtags are a potential goldmine for finding content creators on TikTok and IG.
For example, let’s say you’re looking for beauty creators for your curly hair products. Hashtags such as #CurlyHairRoutine or #CurlCare can highlight potential creators posting about your industry.
Research a few tags and record the details of relevant creators who catch your attention. Simple as!
Beyond product or industry tags, you can also search your brand’s own hashtags.
For example, brands like Casetify regularly curate and repost customer content. They promote their #Casetify tag in their social bios and have earned 500k posts on IG alone. The brand has an endless stream of potential creators to partner with as a result.
4. Browse Social Media Bios for Relevant Terms
Social bios are an underrated tool for conducting creator research.
How so? For starters, bios are searchable. That means you can search specific terms and keywords to help you hone in on relevant content creators.
For example, search terms like “MUA” or “makeup artist” can highlight cosmetics creators. Meanwhile, food brands might look up “food blogger” or “food vlogger.”
Seeing these phrases in the bio of a creator is good news and likely means you’ve found a good fit.
Keep in mind that creators and influencers don’t always label themselves as content creators. However, many UGC creators actually do. You can search for “UGC creator” alongside your industry to find people that note their creator status in their bio.
With the right search terms in mind, you can find creators for just about any industry. Don’t be afraid to get specific during your search.
5. Try Influencer Marketing Platforms and Search Tools
If you’re still struggling to find creators on your own, there are platforms that can help:
- The TikTok Creator Marketplace provides a straightforward, search-friendly way to partner with TikTok’s approved creators. The caveat to the TCM is that it’s more suited for brands working with macro-influencers one-on-one versus always-on campaigns.
- Third-party Influencer databases let brands search through curated lists of creators on IG and TikTok. Thing is, these lists aren’t always up-to-date or fully vetted. For example, some “databases” boast having lists of millions of creators. This doesn’t exactly solve the problem of analysis paralysis for brands looking for content creators.
- Turnkey influencer platforms remove the legwork of manual searching. For example, platforms like Statusphere programmatically match brands with relevant creators based on specific criteria. Since our network is vetted by hand and opt-in only, our data and creator quality are guaranteed.
Vetting Your List of Potential Content Creators
Okay, let’s say you’ve built your own mini database of creators to reach out to.
Before pitching and conducting outreach, you need to vet your creators further.
Putting potential creators under the microscope is a crucial step. After all, low-effort creators with no engagement won't do your brand any favors. Here are questions to ask to narrow down your list:
How Are Their Engagement Rates?
Keep an eye out for creators who have overly engaged audiences.
What do we mean by this? Check the quantity and quality of their comments.
If their comments seem like spam, they may have an artificially inflated engagement rate. There’s been a recent rise in fake followers on Instagram doing this, for example.
Remember: engagement is far more important than follower count when it comes to finding creators. A creator with 1,000 receptive and engaged followers is more valuable than someone with 100,000 bots following them.
Do You Like Their Content?
This might seem like a no-brainer but it’s worth mentioning!
One of the biggest perks of running a creator campaign is earning pieces of content. Not only does authentic content make your brand look like a million bucks but you can also repurpose it across your entire marketing funnel.
Again, your target creators’ content should reflect what your target audience wants to see. Beyond that, make sure your creators pass the vibe check.
Is Their Content Authentic?
Always consider the authenticity of creators that post about your brand.
They’re going to potentially represent you, after all.
Ask yourself: “Does this person seem transparent? truthful? Are they trustworthy?”
Brands should seek out candid product reviews from people who benefit from your product. This way, you’ll attract more authentic consumers who are genuinely interested in what your brand has to offer.
Consumer-to-consumer marketing thrives on authenticity. Genuine posts from micro-influencers are far more impactful than posts from mega-influencers phoning it in.
What to Do After You’ve Found Content Creators
Once you’ve compiled a list of creators you’d like to partner with, it’s time to conduct outreach.
The pitching process is another ballgame entirely. That said, here’s a basic overview of the next steps and some resources to get you started:
- Find the contact information of your potential content creators. This is usually listed on Instagram (via their bio or “Contact” button). Sometimes creators will keep their email addresses in their social links. TikTok can be a bit more complicated as you can only get in touch with content creators that follow you.
- Based on where they prefer to be contacted, format your pitch accordingly. We have plenty of DM and email outreach templates for both Instagram and TikTok.
- Personalize your pitch for each individual creator. Be direct about the value exchange you’re offering in terms of your products and partnership. Make your intentions clear.
Then you’ll need to figure out how to get your products into the hands of creators.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Find creators first before worrying about all of the above.
How to Find Social Media Creators Faster
With so much talent out there, brands are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding creators.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make the process any easier.
By sticking to these tips, you can speed up your search without getting overwhelmed or wasting time.
And if the whole creator search process feels like too much, we can help!
Statusphere’s influencer marketing platform matches brands with relevant content creators without requiring any digging on your behalf. Our platform also handles everything from matchmaking to fulfillment to performance tracking.
Want to learn more about how the process works? Get in touch with one of our consumer-to-consumer marketing specialists to see how we can get more content creators posting about your brand ASAP.
This article was first published in February 2021. It was last updated February 15, 2023.