Overview of the Search

Welcome to the help documentation for our search page! Our search was built by a bunch of data nerds who are continually adding bells and whistles… as well as new influencers (so feel free to submit feature requests to anyone on the team. We love the feedback!).

If you’re a subscribed user, it would be good if you read through this entire document, as well as have your account manager review your first few searches, to ensure you’re off to a really good start.

If you’re a trial user, this beast of a help doc might be a little much, so we’ve pulled the more important stuff up into the first section, appropriately titled “The Most Important Section”. So try to read that if you don’t feel like reading everything.

The Most Important Section

To start, the search page can be used for more than just finding influencers. You can also do:

  • competitive research

  • trend analysis

  • inspiration sourcing for your campaign ideas

  • analysis of your brand’s organic coverage

  • vetting of influencers to ensure you’re avoiding the cheaters

  • plus a lot more for those of you who are creative

So, let’s start by getting a lay of the land. Here’s is a handy diagram of the search page.

  1. The keyword search (on the upper left of the filter bar) should be your starting point (described in much more detail below).

  2. The narrowing-down filters (directly under the keyword search) allow you to fine-tune your search with metrics like follower counts and engagement rates.

  3. The feed is that big section in the middle with a bunch of influencers.

  4. The feed tabs (sitting right above the feed) allow you to change the feed content.

  5. The results count (in the upper right corner of the feed area) shows you how many influencers or posts were found for each of your searches.

  6. The query bar (is that blue bar sitting above the tabs) and it allows you to quickly see what filters and search terms have been applied).

  7. The saved searches (in the top right of the screen) house all of your saved searches. (If you are a new or trial user, your account manager will most likely have saved a few searches in there for you to kickstart the fun.)

Now let’s dive into that most important stuff mentioned above. (This is the section that you should really make sure to power through.)


The keyword search is by far the most powerful tool on the page.

In order to harness that power, your search techniques need to go beyond the techniques you use on Google (or any other search engine).

The keywords that you type into the search field need to consist of very targeted words, phrases, hashtags, and brands.

So start by asking yourself this question before typing in a keyword:

“Would this word/phrase/hashtag/brand appear in the textual content of a post by an Influencer in my target demographic?”

It’s important to use lots of very targeted keywords because, unlike Google, our platform understands the semantics of each type of keyword in the social media context, allowing you to get much more fine-tuned with your results.

Just to quickly clarify (because we like Google as much as the next guy) a semantic search (like ours) is a better option for influencer discovery because it avoids over-generalization. Have you tried finding influencers on Google? It’s hard! The same people show up over and over again and it’s nearly impossible to find niche influencers… Plus, micro-influencers are almost impossible to discover.

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 1.58.03 PM.png

Switching over to a semantic style search takes a little bit of practice, so let’s look at an example of how you should go about selecting your keywords.

Imagine you are a brand looking for influencers to promote a high-end face cream.

If you were looking on Google you might type in a query like:

High-end beauty influencers

Your results will turn up a variety of things… MUA peeps… makeup tutorials… large aggregate sites like Buzzfeed. And while there might be a few decently-targeted influencers in the bunch, the bulk of these influencers will be huge macro influencers like Carli Bybel.

For most of you, generic results consisting of celebrities probably won’t be overly useful.

In our search, you can get very specific and detailed. Since this hypothetical face cream is higher-end, we’d recommend starting by entering brands that are similar to yours into the keyword search:

Algenist Amore Pacific Belif Caudalie Dr. Jart+ Josie Maran Korres Ole Henriksen Perricone MD Shiseido SK-II Sunday Riley Tata Harper

The more the better!!

These brands are all really good options because they are pricier than most brands AND they sell primarily skincare products (as opposed to makeup products… or products in other verticals).

The brands that you choose should be brands that sell PRIMARILY products like yours. In this example, you might consider entering in brands like Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs because they also sell skincare products, but you wouldn’t want to choose them because the bulk of their product offerings are in fashion.

Even brands like Clinique and Lancôme would be a little risky because while they sell a lot of skincare items, they sell quite a bit more products that fall within the makeup category.

At this point, your results should be looking pretty great. If you’re feeling go-gettery…you can also stick in some hashtags and/or keywords that cater towards higher-end beauty products like yours:

#luxuryskincare #luxurybeauty

Again, really consider your demographic when selecting each keyword. The above two work but you’ll want to steer clear of keywords listed below (because they’re way too generic):

a a a #beautyblogger #skincare #beautyreview #skincaredaily

Another approach you can try would be to add in product keywords. (For this particular particular hypothetical brand I wouldn’t recommend it because it’s higher-end… and product types typically have both cheap and expensive options available.) If our hypothetical brand was more mid-range, product keywords like the following examples would be great options because they would be showing up in the content of skincare nuts:

a a a aa a a a a a a a a a sheet mask or exfoliating pads or under-eye lotion

Get it? Different targeting requirements will require different search techniques. So let’s go through one more example to really cover our bases.

Imagine you are a brand searching for influencers to promote a weird baby product that you’re trying to sell… like one of those devices that sucks snot out of a baby’s nose.

The skin cream example above started out with search terms consisting of competitive brand names, but for this baby-snot-sucker example, I doubt there are many brands out there that sell competing products.

So, lets consider other options. In this example, the main criteria that we care about is finding moms with very young babies. The snot-sucking aspect of the product is kind of irrelevant because any mom with a small baby could benefit from this product.

We’d recommend a combination of three approaches: hashtags, keywords, and brands that sell any type of product for infants.

Brand names like this would work well because they definitely target moms who have small babies:

a a a aa a a a Huggies Evenflo Gerber Diaper Genie

Then if you want to expand your search, hashtags like these would be a good way to go:

a#newborn #instababy #infant #beautifulbaby #newmom #firsttimemom #babybump #thirdtrimester

To expand on your search further, you can add product names or random keywords that are relevant to moms with newborns:

a a a aa a a a a a a a a a baby carrier swaddle breastpump changing station

So to wrap up, here are the main takeaways of this section:

  1. Avoid generic keywords at all costs! Keywords need to be very targeted toward your demographic.

  2. Add LOTS of keywords. More is always better in this case. With each keyword you add, your search results will get more targeted AND more and more people will show up as options.

  3. If you have trouble locating good influencers, get in touch with someone at The Shelf. We’re all nice. And most of us are kind of funny too.

That wraps up the most important portion of the search… but read on for many other helpful tips. They are listed in order of helpfulness, allowing you to taper off as soon as you’re bored.

Everything else that is good to know.

The Visual Search: quickly build a search that is relevant AF

Everyone will have different workflows when it comes to entering keywords but we recommend using the Instagram tab to help you keep your search results on point.

When you first land on the search page, you’ll be on the Influencer tab.

You can start here, then enter in a few keywords into your search. Once you have a good number of results showing up, switch over to the Instagram tab.


The Instagram tab will show you specific Instagram content that contains the keywords you typed in.

Why is this helpful?

Well, this view will allow you to self-correct your searches as you type stuff in.

If you refer back to that screenshot above… the search shown there uses the set of keywords that we were using for our snot-sucker example. You can see from the photos that show up in the Instagram tab that the keywords typed in are pretty on point. If you wind up with a ton of random pictures in this tab, the keywords need to be refined a bit.

Most of the time you won’t realize that you have a bad keyword in there until you check this tab because it’s hard to anticipate how other demographics might be using your keywords. For example, we’re big DIY fans… and one such example that came up recently occurred in a search that we were doing to find sewing influencers. If you’re unfamiliar with the sewing space, the word “selvage” is a common term that comes up in sewing projects.


So when we typed that into the search queries, we were surprised to see that our search results had become infiltrated by a bunch of fashionistas talking about their fave pair of jeans. Evidently, “selvage” is a hashtag used much more frequently by denim-enthusiasts. And the only way we would have known that our results had been adulterated was seeing the mismatched content on this Instagram tab. It was immediately clear that keyword was a bad choice, at which point, we simply got rid of it by clicking on X the beside the keyword.


When you are just getting started with our platform, it’s not always obvious what a bad keyword looks like. For example, when looking for influencers to post about a baby product, the term “baby” seems like a good option. But is it?

Yes, babies will show up with that term. But when I just did a search on Instagram for “baby” I saw random vacay pics, some girl making kissy faces at her bae, Russell Brand, llamas, some dude smoking something suspect… it’s just a “muddy” keyword. And you’ll figure this out within the Instagram tab.

If you aren’t on the Instagram tab, you could be typing in many of these “false-positive” keywords by mistake… and wind up with search results that are all over the place… which will get super annoying because you’ll be clicking on all kinds of profiles with high hopes that ultimately get crushed when you realize your DIY gal pal is actually a college party girl who loves touting her newest ripped jeans.

One final note about the Instagram tab before we move on is… you can use this page to find influencers with the best looking photos. When you are on the default search tab, all you can see are influencer profile pics. But on the Instagram tab, you can just look for the pictures that catch your eye, and open up those profiles to explore further.

Some quick best practices that will save you tons of time

Let’s pop back over to the keyword searching and add in a few more best practices that will increase your results pretty quickly.

1. When typing in keywords that consist of more than one word, like “baby shower”… it’s a good idea to type in a one-word version of that phrase as well to account for hashtag use: “babyshower”. This can grow your results by quite a bit. For the “baby shower” example, if you look on Instagram, there are more than 16.5 million posts that have been tagged with #babyshower… so we want to make sure we loop that in. Here are some examples of where that might be useful.

vegan food veganfood or a a a mother’s love motherslove or a a a my dog mydog

2. When typing in certain keywords it’s generally a good idea to add in both singular and plural versions. Like if you’re looking for dogs… #pug has 15.1M posts. #pugs has 5.9M posts. So you’d be leaving off a lot of people if you just did the singular version. Here are some other examples:

aa fit girl fit girls fitgirl fitgirls

or a a aa a a a a afashion lover fashion lovers fashionlover fashionlovers

3. On that same note. Variations are good too. This would apply for stuff like :

a a aa a a a a a a a a a a aa a a a a a a a a puglove puglover puglovers poodlelove poodlelover poodlelovers


a a aa a a a a a a a a amy kid my kids my child my children my daughter my daughters my son my sons


a a aa a a a aamom blog momblog mom blogger momblogger mom bloggers mombloggers mommy blog mommyblog mommy blogger mommybloggers

4. Including variations in brand names is also a good idea for names that get referenced in different ways. Like:

Honest Co. Honest Company @Honest


a a aNew York and Co. New York and Company New York & Co. New York & Company NY&C @nyandcompany

Keyword types (when to use them)


We provide the ability to change the type of keyword you’re entering.

So instead of typing in #girlsjustwannahavefun (with the hashtag symbol in front of the word)… You would want to select the # Filter and then type in girlsjustwannahavefun. Same thing goes for @ mentions… Instead of typing in @dudewipes, you’d use the @ Filter and then type in dudewipes.

Here’s a quickie list of what each of them do:

  1. The ALL Filter will search all words in captions, urls, hashtags, mentions… everything in all posts.

  2. The BRAND URL Filter will search just within the url of mentioned brands. For example, if an influencer links to Shopbop.com, if you were to type in Shopbop, just posts with those links will pull up.

  3. The # Filter will just search within the post hashtags (this will most likely appear in Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts).

  4. The @ Filter will just search within @ mentions of the post (this will most likely appear in Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts).

  5. The INSTAGRAM HANDLE Filter will search for an influencer’s Instagram handle.

    *The remaining three probably aren’t the best filters to use… they’re for specific use cases.

  6. The BLOG NAME Filter will search within the influencer’s blog name.

  7. The BLOG URL Filter will search in the influencer’s blog URL.

  8. The NAME Filter will search for an influencer’s name.

Understanding HOW to use them is easy. The bigger question that we want to answer now is WHEN you should use them.

The answer is… rarely.

You will not need to use these often at all. And the reason being is that ALL search is pretty bad-ass. The ALL search feature will search in all of those keyword filter types.

Examples always help!

Let’s take the brand For Love & Lemons. That’s a pretty unique name. If someone were to say “For Love & Lemons” in a conversation, they’d be talking about the brand… there’s no room for confusion with that name.

For a name like that… you’ll of course want to do all variations of that name to ensure that you’re not missing out on good people… but you’ll use the ALL Filter to do so, rather than messing with any of the others.

For Love & Lemons (ALL Filter)

a a aa a a a aFor Love and Lemons (ALL Filter)

a a aa a a a a aforloveandlemons (ALL Filter)

Now let’s take the brand Honest Co. The name itself is unique. But the Instagram handle “@honest” isn’t… So this is where the extra keyword filter types come into play. “Honest Co.” and “Honest Company” are both unique phrases that wouldn’t be used in any other context, so you can use the ALL Filter for those. But for “@honest”, because “honest” is an everyday word that will most likely come up in other contexts, you’ll need to use the @ Filter to simply let the system know that it should only search for “honest” within @mentions.

aHonest Co. (ALL Filter)

a a aHonest Company (ALL Filter)

a aHonest (@ Filter)

Lastly, let’s take the fashion brand “Express”. This is an example of a brand name that will come up in everyday chit chat like “I had to use express shipping”, “Please express your feelings more, Jim”, etc. For names like this… it’s critical to use those other keyword filter types to ensure that you avoid false positives.

a a aa a a a a a a a a a a aa a a a a aExpress (BRAND URL Filter)

a a aa a a a a a a a a a a aa a a a a a a a a Express (@ Filter)

If someone simply mentions “OMG, Express is my totes fave store ever.” Yes, we wouldn’t pull it up in that case. But if they link to Express… the search queries will capture that. If they @ mention it on any of the social platforms… we’ll pull those results, too.

So a good rule of thumb is: think about the name a bit before typing it in. Is it a word that can come up in everyday speech? Express, Gap, Loft, Guess, etc… those would be brand names that require the above approach.

What about all of those other search filters?


Up until now we’ve only covered the keyword search, but there’s a slew of other filters that you can use, which are sitting right below the keyword search. We recommend using these extra filters once you have your keyword search pulling in really good people in order to fine-tune your list.

The ones that you’ll probably want to consider using are :

  • Location: if you need people within a specific country (or city)

  • Follower Count: because you’ll want to put some sort of lower bound threshold on the followers… Hiring someone with 500 followers probably won’t get you very much ROI.

  • Engagement Ratio: if you are looking for Instagrammers, it’s good to shoot for people with 1.5% or higher in engagement.


Most of the filters are self explanatory. One thing to note though is, for any of the filters that require a range, you need to fill in both numbers within that range or the filter won’t apply. For example, if you want influencers with at least 5,000 followers, you’ll need to put in 5000 to 10000000000 (or any random super high number so that the results don’t get capped).

Get your Boolean on (aka. Advanced Search)

We have an advanced search for all your complicated needs. It incorporates the infamous AND search (as opposed to simple OR searches that are used in our default search).

If you’re unfamiliar with Boolean searches, not to worry. We have examples!

Let’s say that your an emerging brand who’s selling some revolutionary new mascara.

If you are on the REGULAR search (where your keywords are applied as OR filters), you’ll type in a bunch of keywords and the search queries will basically pull in anyone who mentions at least one of the terms… fake eyelashes OR mascara OR eyeliner.

That’s all fine and good… but let’s say you want to get a little more specific and target somewhat edgier makeup bloggers… maybe influencers who talk about brands like Kat von D OR Anastasia Beverly Hills.


So you will type in your first set of product keywords listed above.

Then click the Add New Set button.

Then add your second set of those brand keywords.

This is what your advanced search will look like then in your query bar.


This advanced search will now bring up influencers who like one of those two brands AND who talk about eye-makeup related products.

That’s how Boolean searches works.

Once you have switched over to the Advanced Search, there’s one other option that you should be aware of that allows you to define whether the search term sets that you’ve created need to show up in the Same Post or Any Post.


Using the same mascara example, if you choose Same Post you’ll get fewer results… but your results will probably be more targeted. If you do Any Post, you’ll get more results, but they probably won’t be as targeted.

So, when should you use the Same Post option?

It’s a little hard to say. In most cases, you’ll want to see what the options look like with both. Typically, the Same Post option should be used when you are looking for more specific things… like if you are searching for men who wear high-end fashion. You’ll want to add in keywords like dapperdude gentlemanstyle, etc. on one side and then a list of higher end brands like Ralph Lauren and Guccion the other side. The reason this is a good approach for men’s fashion is because the two brands used in this example to represent high-end fashion also sell women’s clothing. Your Same Post filter will ensure that the brand mentions within the post are referring to men’s fashion, and not women’s fashion.

Okay. So, when should you use the Any Posts option? Well… that’s more for demographic targeting. Let’s say you want to find moms who would be interested in going to a super high-end resort in Disneyworld. For this to work, you need to make sure that they have kids AND they like ritzier travel accommodations. The first half of your search will consist of kids terms like my kids my kid my children my daughter my son etc., and the other half of your search will consist of stuff like #luxetravel #luxurytravel #resortandspa #ritzcarlton, etc.

Basically, reserve this Any Posts option for finding influencers who need to have more than one characteristic. And the Same Posts option is more for finding influencers who have talked about things that are more specific than simple brands or products.

We’re almost done… hang in there!

Save Your Search!

After all that, you’re going to want to Save your search! Who the heck wants to do all of that again if you need to re-access a big search that you put together.

To do this, just go to the right side of the query bar and click Save.


As you continue to evolve your search, you’ll want to continue clicking Resave.

As time goes on… your search might evolve into something different. For that, you can click Save As to save it as a separate search.

Then to access these past saved searches, go to the very top right of the search page and click on the Saved Search dropdown.

Tagging Your Faves

Last but certainly not least. You should use Tags to keep track of influencers who you like and/or who you want to add into a campaign.


If you’ve used Pinterest, the basic tagging function works like that. When you find someone who’s kick-ass like @afashionnerd (featured on right), click the star.

A popup will appear.

Then just select the collection that you would like the influencer to be added to. (The top one will be the most recently used collection to make things easier to find.)


Once they are added to the tag group, you’ll be able to find them on the left navigation panel under “My Tags”.

That’s the basic info that you need to know.

We’ve designed our tag feature to make scaling a pretty easy thing that won’t turn into a nightmare if you have multiple campaigns going on. So here is a rundown of the extra bells and whistles if you feel like the basic tagging function isn’t enough.

  1. If you use the checkbox on the little profiles instead of the stars, you can select all of the influencers who you like right from the page and then mass bookmark them at once into a collection (before you flip to the next page). To move them all into a collection, use the little star in the upper right corner of the page.

  2. If you find that you’re doing multiple tag groups to fill one campaign, you’ll want to use the Exclude Tags filter… this is in the left panel and allows you to remove people who you’ve already bookmarked from your search results.

  3. Since many of you will probably be running multiple campaigns, you’ll wind up with pretty many tag sets… so if you want to see which tag sets an influencer is already in, you can hover over the bookmark button and the list will appear above.



That’s it folks! If you have any additional questions, please get in touch with us!