A decade ago, very few people could have foreseen the impact social media would have on marketing. Today, thanks to social media, the Internet is churning out celebrities and advocates whom we know as social media influencers.
Brands are seizing opportunities to find ways to utilize the far-reaching power of different types of influencers on social media because of two main reasons:
Influencer marketing strategies that most brands follow to collaborate with social media influencers to market their products and services follow this pattern - The influencers create content for or about the brand's product or services, or even sales and events. They also share brand mentions and endorsement posts to help improve brand awareness and reach. In return, the brand compensates them with cash, free products, or rewards.
Over the last few years, influencer marketing has exploded in popularity to become an integral part of the marketing landscape – for a simple reason: People don't make their buying decisions based on price and market competition anymore – they rely on reviews shared by their trusted network and influencers.
Today, influencer marketing is a choice of many top-tier as well as D2C brands around the world. And we have statistics to back our claim. According to a Statista report:
In the world of influence marketing, different types of influencers can support brands in their marketing efforts in their own unique ways. Influencers are mainly categorized based on their follower count and then further categorized based on their content/niche.
If you want to maximize your business benefits by collaborating with the right type of influencer, it will help if you know the different types of influencers there are. So let's break it down and understand the characteristics of social media influencers and how you can use them to meet your brand objectives.
There are five different types of influencers based on follower count: all-star, mega, macro, micro, and nano. To make it easier for you to choose the right influencers for your brand, let's define who these influencers are, list down their characteristics, discuss how you can use them for your influencer marketing campaigns, and look at an example of each type of influencer.
All-Star Influencers are usually celebrities, and people interact with them every day. They can only be accessed and collaborated through their agencies or intermediary parties. They have a strong influence, but it doesn't come with a risk. The risk of collaborating with these influencers is not only their price for partnerships (it's really high, by the way) but their audiences, which are large and varied. This means it's hard for you to identify the quality of the audience with respect to your brand. Also, it's worth noting that the engagement rates with these influencers are usually low.
Characteristics of All-Star Influencers
When to Use Them?
Example of an All-Star Influencer: Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo needs no introduction. Imagine how much influence one of the world's most popular soccer players had when he pushed two Coca-Cola bottles away during a press conference. This tiny gesture dropped Coca-Cola's share prices from $56.10 to $55.22, and the company's market value took an astounding dive from $242 billion to $238 billion. Such is the power of an all-star influencer!
Ronaldo is the first and currently the only person to cross 500 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He has over 393 million followers (@cristiano) on Instagram alone, making him the most followed person on Instagram. Through his sponsored posts, including his paid partnership with Nike, LiveScore, Clear, Università eCampus, and his underwear line CR7, he uses his following efficiently for promoting brands. His one Instagram post garners the attention of around 7-15 million likes and tens of thousands of comments. A single paid partnership with Ronaldo can amplify a brand's reach to new peaks.
Mega Influencers are almost everywhere, across all major social media platforms. Collaborating with them is more affordable than all-star influencers. They can reach extremely large numbers of social media consumers and influence them strongly.
Characteristics of mega influencers:
When to Use Them?
Example of a Mega Influencer: Em Ford
Em Ford (@mypaleskinblog) started her beauty blogging journey on Instagram and YouTube and now has over 700k followers on Instagram. However, she is not your typical beauty influencer. With her severe acne problem, she is on social media tackling stigmas and bullying around bad skin. Her YouTube video campaign #YouLookDisgusting garnered 12M views in a week. She is currently a UK ambassador for Olay. She is one of the fearless faces in Olay UK's #faceAnything campaign.
Mid-tier or Macro Influencers are internet-made celebrities. They are social media stars, bloggers, vloggers, or podcasters on various social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok. Macro influencers have a large audience they have built through months or years of nurturing relationships.
Characteristics of Macro influencers:
When to Use Them?
Example of Macro-Influencers: Georgia Jones, Rosie Birkett, and Arthur Parkinson
Georgia Jones (@thegeorgiaedit), a parenting influencer, Rosie Birkett (@rosiefoodie), a food influencer, and Arthur Parkinson (@arthurparkinson), a florist, were three of the nine influencers that came together for the #feedthebees campaign for Rowse. The campaign aimed at encouraging businesses, organizations, individuals, and governments to help protect the incredible honeybees. Over a period of 2-week, these macro-influencers created and shared a series of Instagram stories and grid posts to spread the message. The campaign garnered an engagement rate of 6.2%.
Micro-Influencers are not your traditional celebrities. They have built a reputation for themselves as credible sources in their niches. These influencers have highly-engaged, tight-knit communities that reflect their strong rapport and credibility in their niche. The engagement and interaction are high, and hence chances of conversion are greater.
Characteristics of Micro-Influencers
When to Use Them?
Example of a Micro-Influencers: Miette Dierckx
Miette Dierckx (@miettedierckx) is a lifestyle power influencer with 35.6k followers. She was one of the 12 Belgian Instagram influencers that Coca-Cola chose to collaborate with to promote their signature Coke beverage to Belgian customers. Every sponsored post included the tag @cocacolabegium and #CokeAmbassador. This campaign garnered over 46,000 likes and 500 comments with an average engagement rate of 9.1%.
Related: Exhaustive Guide to Running Micro-Influencer Campaign
Nano Influencers have a highly engaged social media following. They are very vocal advocates of brands they love, and their followers appreciate their recommendations. They have a very close relationship with their followers and invest time and effort to engage with their followers to nurture their relationships.
Characteristics of Nano Influencers
When to Use Them?
Example of a Nano Influencer: Alexis Baker
Alexis Baker (@alexisbakerrr) is a beauty influencer. She was featured in New York Times for her curated content on Instagram as a nano influencer.
Brands like Suave, Clinique, and Loco Coffee have collaborated with Alexis Baker to reach her hyper-focused followers. One of her recent sponsored posts for Suave garnered 213 engagements (comments and likes) — that's a 7.3% engagement rate based on her follower base of around 4.7K.
Influencers across the five categories listed above, other than celebrities, all have specific specialties and niches that they create content for.
The most common 14 types of influencers based on their niches are discussed below:
Gaming influencers live stream their games on platforms like YouTube and Twitch. They have millions of followers who are keen on improving their own game. These influencers represent a targeted niche that clothing, vehicle, shoes, electronics, vehicles, and F&B brands can benefit from.
Example of a Gaming Influencer: PewDiePie
PewDiePie (@pewdiepie), aka Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is a gamer and commentator, popular for his humorous "Let's Play" videos and vlogs on YouTube. His YouTube channel has over 111 million subscribers. He has 21.9 million followers on Instagram.
Brand collaborations: Volvo and Razer Kraken
Here's a comprehensive list of the top gaming Instagram influencers in the US.
Related: FIFA World Cup - Why Gaming Influencers Are A Top Choice For Brands
Sports and fitness influencers motivate their followers, and they are ideal people to endorse sports brands, diet plans, workout programs, and food and drinks related to health and wellness. Fitness influencers cover a range of niches, including running, yoga, weight lifting, health and lifestyle, CrossFit, weight loss, and many more.
Example of a Sports and Fitness Influencer: Adriene Mishler
Adriene hosts a YouTube channel, Yoga With Adriene, with over 10.7 million followers. She has an Instagram account (@adrienelouise) with 1.2m followers and provides high-quality free yoga videos for all levels, bodies, shapes, and ages. She regularly works out with her dog, Benji, who adds the 'aww' factor to her videos.
Brand Collaboration: Adidas Yoga Clothing
Here's a comprehensive list of the top fitness Instagram influencers in the US.
Bloggers and vloggers are typically macro and mega influencers with large follower counts on their blogs or videos. These influencers create high-quality content to keep their followers engaged, making them authorities in their niches. These influencers can help with brand awareness, improve your sales and drive website traffic.
Example of a Blogger: Rachel Levin
Rachel Claire Levin (@rclbeauty101) is an American YouTube personality, beauty guru, and video blogger from Pennsylvania. She is popular for her DIY, food, beauty tips, expectation vs. reality series, and lifestyle. She has 3.6 million followers on her Instagram.
Brand Collaboration: OleHenriksen
Photographers create some of the most amazing, high-quality content on social media. The skills they possess allow them to partner with various brands across industries. Many camera and accessory brands collaborate with these influencers to promote their products.
Example of a Photographer Influencer: Paola Franqui
Paola Franqui (@monaris_), aka Monaris, is a New York-based photographer. She is famous for capturing emotions and moments that most people just walk by. Her career began with pictures shot with her iPhone. She couldn't afford to buy a professional camera for a long time, but she managed to get one once her Instagram followers and her popularity increased.
Brand Collaborations: Budweiser, American Airlines, Mercedes Benz, Nike, Sony, among others.
Here's a comprehensive list of the top photography Instagram influencers in the US.
Beauty influencers share beauty tips, create product tutorials, review beauty products, and many more. They are the beauty brand advocates. They can increase brand awareness of the beauty products and increase their sales as well. These influencers can range from average everyday beauty enthusiasts to professional makeup artists of any age or gender.
Example of a Beauty Influencer: Huda Kattan
Huda Kattan (@huda), better known for the cosmetics and beauty company she founded, Huda Beauty, is one of the top beauty influencers. Her Instagram account has a whopping 49.8 million followers!
Brand Collaborations: Sephora, Dior, and Chanel.
Fashion influencers focus on niches such as shoes, hats, accessories, clothing, jewelry, hats, belts, and other fashion products. These influencers usually promote fashion products, offer product reviews, or collaborate directly with a fashion line, posting haul videos or styling tips.
Example of a Fashion Influencer: Chiara Ferragni
Chiara Ferragni (@chiaraferragni) is a fashion influencer. She started her blog "The Blonde Salad" in 2009. She won the best blogger of the year award in 2009. Today, she is followed by 25.6 million fans on Instagram
Brand Collaborations: Dior and Prada
Here's a comprehensive list of the top fashion Instagram influencers in the US.
Travel influencers offer travel tips, tricks and hacks, and reviews of various travel-related products, including restaurants, hotels, and resorts. They recommend and advocate places they eat or stay at while traveling.
Example of a Travel Influencer: Matt Kepnes
Matt Kepnes (@nomadicmatt) has 131k followers on Instagram. Matt helps travelers to realize their travel dreams. He shares posts on his social accounts about how to travel longer, better and cheaper!
Brand Collaboration: Nerd Fitness App
Here's a comprehensive list of the top travel Instagram influencers in the US.
Parenting influencers are parents themselves, which gives them the chance to educate their followers on how to raise kids. They provide expert advice, real-life experiences, and incredible products to help new moms and dads deal, making lives easier for them.
Example of a Parent Influence: Samantha Busch
Samantha Busch (@samanthabusch) is a US-based, 34-year-old blogger. She has 223.6K followers on her Instagram, with whom she shared her IVF journey along with her husband, Kyle Busch, a NASCAR Champion with her fans. She has set up the Bundles of Joy fund to make fertility treatment accessible for other parents.
Brand Collaboration: Tarte Cosmetics
Here's a comprehensive list of the top parenting Instagram influencers in the US.
In the social media world, technology accounts for a large community. The technology influencers are always looking for the latest tech gadgets, including smartphones, cameras, computers, and other tech devices. These influencers share their experience, expertise, views, and reviews by testing technology products that are flooding the market.
Example of a Technology Influencer: Lewis Hilsenteger
Unbox Therapy (@unboxtherapy), a channel run by Lewis Hilsenteger, is based on the simple concept of unboxing electronics. The channel aims to help consumers understand whether the product is worth the money. Unbox Therapy has over 2.2 million followers, making it one of the most subscribed tech channels on the Internet.
Brand Collaboration: Oura
Here's a comprehensive list of the top technology Instagram influencers in the US.
Lifestyle influencers post various content, ranging from food, travel, and fashion. These types of influencers simply document their daily lives, be it cooking a new dish, a trip to Disneyland with kids, a new workout they are trying out, or the challenges they are facing in their busy professional life. This type of content makes them incredibly relatable and authentic.
Example of a Lifestyle Influencer: Julie Sarinana
Julie Sarinana (@sincerelyjules) has 6.4million followers on her Instagram. She posts content on fashion, travels, her favorite things, modeling, and life experiences. She loves to share her life with her community. She also shares life hacks with them.
Brand Collaboration: Bobbies
Here's a comprehensive list of the top lifestyle Instagram influencers in the US.
Luxury influencers model various products of luxury brands on social media. They know the latest trends, outfit ideas, and brands in high-end fashion.
Example of a Luxury Influencer: Tara Milk Tea
Tara Whiteman (@taramilktea) is an Australian travel influencer who covers her luxury lifestyle in detail. Her content is creative and colorful, from luxurious travel destinations to partnerships with brands such as Chloe. She has over 1.3 million Instagram followers and enjoys a great engagement rate.
Brand Collaboration: The Luxury Collection
Here's a comprehensive list of the top luxury Instagram influencers in the US.
Entertainment influencers are found in various niches - from industry veterans to social media stars, music and film to literature; they are present across all social media platforms. They help entertainment companies and channels retain and reach a wider audience with the help of curated content on entertainment across various social media channels.
Example of an Entertainment Influencer: Katy Perry
Katy Perry (@katyperry) is a popular entertainment influencer with over 150 million followers. The pop star engages her audience with up-to-date posts on what's happening in her life.
Brand Collaborations: Apple and Spotify
Here's a comprehensive list of the top entertainment Instagram influencers in the US.
Food influencers have emerged powerful on social channels such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. They can influence trends in favor of particular food products and have the ability to sway consumer opinions, ideas, and attitudes.
Example of a Food Influencer: Kevin Curry
Kevin Curry (@fitmencook) has 1.6m followers on Instagram. He is a food and diet blogger with his own blog called Fit Men Cook. He has also written fitness articles that have been published on BodyBuilding.com.
Brand Collaboration: Breville
Here's a comprehensive list of the top food Instagram influencers in the US.
Wellness influencers help push self-care to be at the top of everybody's list of priorities. Their content aims to inspire their followers to pay closer attention to their mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
Example of a Wellness Influencer: Jerrelle Guy
Jerrelle Guy (@chocolateforbasil) is the author of the James Beard Award-nominated cookbook Black Girl Baking. She has 144K followers on Instagram. She does a lot of different things with food — writing food stories, developing recipes, digital cooking, and food photography.
Brand Collaboration: Le Creuset
Here's a comprehensive list of the top wellness Instagram influencers in the US.
As influencer marketing is a lucrative business, it's not surprising to see a rise in fake influencers. These fake accounts pay to increase their follower count and engagement rate to make them look more influential. Some fake accounts are easy to identify, while others need a bit more discernment. Here are a few metrics you can use to detect fake followers and ensure that you are collaborating with an influencer account that is as real as it seems:
It's important that you find influencers that are right for representing your brand. Here are a few factors that you may want to consider when searching for the right influencers:
Every day, many brands pitch to different types of influencers hoping that they might collaborate. So, before you jump into the influencer marketing pool, you might want to consider these factors:
As you can see, there are several different types of influencers you can use to promote your brand, products, and services. That being said, your influencer marketing should serve a specific purpose in your broader social media strategy. That's why it is important that you figure out precisely what your brand needs from these different types of influencers.
Whether your campaign goal is brand awareness or sales, influencer marketing is something you can't ignore, and to make the most of your influencer marketing efforts, let Affable.ai help you. Request a trial and learn how we can help.
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