11 Types of Influencers & How To Pick the Right One
The internet has given rise to a lot of industries that, before its emergence, were either very difficult to get off the ground or simply did not exist. But its impact on social media and the different types of influencers it promoted has been unparalleled.
Today, there’s an influencer for every platform and every genre. From music to travel and on TikTok to LinkedIn, there’s an influencer that you could turn to for entertainment, advice, or reviews. The influencer industry has become so popular that hundreds of thousands of them have occupied our digital spaces.
Our article today hopes to highlight the most prominent categories of online social media influencers. We’ll also discuss how to pick the right one for your brand. Once you’re done reading, you’ll know which category to pick for stronger partnerships and the factors that’ll help you maintain a steady engagement rate with your target audience.
Influencers Vs Content Creators
To put it simply, the term “content creator” is a broad spectrum of people who create content in blogs, articles, photos, vlogs, and videos. Their main aim with their content is to help educate the masses, promote their brand, or to earn revenue.
Influencers on the other hand are best described as online celebrities with large followings on one or more platforms. The term originates from the act of influencing their fanbase. Influencers use their popularity to promote other brands or lifestyles.
Because of their celebrity status, influencers leverage their position to “shout out” other brands to help them get the recognition they need. In the ever-evolving digital marketing industry, the role of online influencers has never been higher, with companies working with established names to further their brands or products. In return, influencers get paid for their share in marketing to the brand’s target audience.
Knowing the difference between the two is crucial, especially if you’re looking to hire one subset to host and promote your business or brand.
A content creator may make a video series on your website, detailing tutorials and help guides, but an influencer would promote it without any of the educative elements. The difference between the two can be best understood with the following example:
For a clothing line, content creators can help educate their followers regarding the benefits of selecting clothes on professional dress forms to understand the type of stitching and fitting they would require. On the other hand, an influencer would promote with a racy Instagram picture of themselves wearing the same dress.
While both categories can help your marketing campaign, most brands will agree that influencers are the best bet forward. They also drive a high engagement rate and can help increase your brand awareness.
The 4 Categories Of Influencers (Classified By Audience Size)
Understanding online influencer industries is one element of your digital marketing strategy, but targeting and partnering with the right category can ultimately determine your brand’s reach. Any influencer’s worth can be measured by their follower count and how many engagements they get on their posts.
Here are the four categories, based on audience size, that you should prioritize.
Nano-influencers are your everyday social media users, vloggers, and bloggers with a follower count between 100 to 10,000 on a single platform. This group varies in the type of content they publish and can be regular people posting about their families, lives, and pets.
Nano-influencers are cost-effective brand ambassadors since they typically don’t charge for promotions and collaborations. Brands offer them free services or a package in exchange for a few posts, videos, and stories/reels about the product and their experience.
But since they have a close-knit group of followers, they also command the most influence. Nano-influencers also don’t have regular promotional campaigns running which makes the odd one or two seem more sincere and genuine to their followers.
Nano-influencers are the best bet if your brand has a relatively inexpensive service or product that can be easily shipped out.
A micro-influencer is a person with a social media following between 10,000 to 50,000. They use their following to collaborate with brands and promote products and services that align with their expertise and interests.
These online celebrities are regularly employed in influencer marketing campaigns by small to medium-sized companies that require a greater reach and endorsements but at substantially lower costs than celebrity influencers.
For instance, if a bigger brand like Amazon has to promote its Automate Pricing Tool, it may not collaborate with this influencer category. On the other hand, a tech company offering alternatives to Amazon’s repricing tool would choose to partner with a micro-influencer because of its lower costs and better audience engagement rates.
TikTok has become the go-to place for brands to search for micro-influencers that can make quick and shareable videos on their products. These videos are attractive since most micro-influencers excel at making high-quality content for their preferred platform. An example of this would be a life-coach podcaster endorsing paid plans and classes for personal development strategies with women.
Macro influencers leverage the power of social media and video marketing hacks to gain a substantial following on most platforms. TikTok is one platform where the innate randomness of the algorithm has created multi-million following accounts overnight. Still, these influencers command following counts ranging from 100,000 to 1 million and are valuable assets to most brands looking for genuine and long-term partnerships.
The beauty and fitness space are two of the most buzzing categories where such influence is gaining. Brands are looking to sign “athletes and models” as brand ambassadors who only wear apparel or makeup from their partnered companies.
Gymshark is an excellent example where “athletes” are recruited from all over the world that has a substantial amount of followers and can help build an audience for their line of gym wear products in their locality or gym.
Mega-influencers are global icons and are recognized by the vast majority of people irrespective of their following counts – even though these are in the multiple millions. Think, the KSIs and Logan Pauls of the world.
These celebrities have built their audience through the content they post on various platforms and may have even had an A-list Hollywood experience on the side.
KSI, for instance, is a YouTube personality known for his gameplay videos on FIFA. Today, he manages and organizes boxing matches, is a chart-topping rapper, and is a successful owner of the energy drink company, Prime.
Collaboration with such influencers can be very expensive, often costing brands hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per endorsement.
7 Most Popular Types Of Influencers (Classified By Niche And Industry)
Influencers and social media stars fall into various categories that tailor to their specific niche. But one thing they all have in common is that they exist primarily on popular social media platforms. Knowing which platform to pick for your brand is just as important as selecting the right face for your marketing and communication strategies.
For instance, influencers that make video content or short reviews won’t be publicizing themselves on Facebook. Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are the best places to be for this genre. Similarly, influencers that engage their audiences with their photography lifestyle will be found on Instagram and Twitter. Understanding the medium and the type of influencer is key.
Still, we can agree that the majority of influencers have particular interests that align them with a specific category of content and brands. These fall into the following categories:
1. Fashion Influencers
A fashion influencer is a social media personality with many followers on social media channels and uses their platform to influence the public’s opinion on the latest fashion tips and trends.
This crop has perhaps the biggest share in the influencer space and routinely serves as a reference point for what is trendy and in vogue at any given moment. From lingerie collections to clothing lines, they work and partner with different labels to display their “fits”. Labels also prefer these fashion influencers for the launch of their collection more so ever and get going with the modeling campaign much later.
Why? Simply because people want to see someone to whom they can relate. For mass followers, it is more convenient to relate to an influencer than a lingerie model in a catalog. Think about who you would be most likely to turn to if you were looking for lingerie. You know your inclination would be toward more relatable content at the end of the day.
Fashion influencers may often work directly with designers for editorial shoots and other sponsored work and use clever “OOTD” hashtags to promote their outfits of the day.
Popular examples include:
- Cole Sprouse (Instagram: @colesprouse)
- Chiara Ferragni (Instagram: @chiaraferragni)
- Lauren Conrad (Instagram: @laurenconrad)
2. Travel Influencers
A travel influencer’s primary purpose is to visit far and exotic locations to post pictures of their journey and keep their followers inundated with social media content about culture, tourism, and travel.
Travel influencers can also be classified as lifestyle influencers since they keep a detailed log and record of their travels and experiences. This group of social media celebrities has become invaluable to tourism industries globally, with brands and governments flying out popular faces to promote their cities and resorts.
Various firms collaborate with these travel influencers to grow their organic following and raise awareness of popular tourist destinations. Some of the establishments these travel influencers collaborate with include:
- Best or most inexpensive hotels and resorts to stay in
- Different luggage brands to showcase their latest product line
- Travel brands offering budget-friendly flights and cruises to save big
- Different groups and organizations introduce and promote their cultures
- Government tourism boards to promote the country’s popular travel locations
Popular travel influencers include:
- The Bucket List Family (YouTube)
- Rosie Gabrielle (Instagram: @rosiegabrielle)
- Expert Vagabond (Instagram: @expertvagabond)
3. Technology Influencers
Today’s digital and technology-infused world has lent to a growing number of technology-based influencers that review and compare everything from gadgets to home appliances and smart devices.
This category is perhaps the most valuable to businesses and brands launching new cameras, hardware, and computer equipment since tech influencers are the first to see the products. They also help shape public opinions on devices too.
One notable example is when YouTube personality, MKBHD, accidentally went viral for uncovering Huawei’s faux-pa featuring a Gal Gadot advertisement on Twitter.
Another notable example is the recent battery explosion debacle on Samsung phones uncovered by England-based YouTube tech reviewer, MrWhosetheBoss.
Both incidents were picked up by major publications and dented the reputations of both companies involved in the separate incidents. Tech influencers wield immense public support, and most followers take their word as gospel. They’re also some of the most analytical types of social media influencers to work with.
Popular examples include:
- Linus Tech Tips (YouTube)
- Marques Brownless – MKBHD (YouTube)
- MrWhosetheBoss (YouTube)
4. Gaming Influencers
From new console releases to new gameplay and expansion packs to existing video games, gaming influencers cover them all. What started for most as a hobby to post their gameplay or “Let’s Play” videos on YouTube, quickly became a multi-million dollar industry where game developers and studios would pitch their products to a select group of popular influencers.
They would then be allowed early access to beta versions and inside information and typically be the first to walk through entire game campaigns. Today, “speed running” has become a vital part of the gaming influencer division where completing a video game in the shortest time possible is the challenge.
Gaming influencers can determine the success and failure of a particular title despite studios throwing everything but the kitchen sink to guarantee its success. CyberPunk was the most recent title that received negative reviews and mass reports of bugs, despite years of development and anticipation from the gaming community.
Popular examples include:
- Pewdiepie (YouTube)
- Jacksepticeye (YouTube)
- SSSniper Wolf (YouTube)
5. Cooking Influencers
Cooking channels were once reserved for primetime networks but have now migrated to social media where bite-sized cooking recipes and preparation methods reign supreme. These accounts have some of the most scrumptious dishes available in blog and video format, making cooking incredibly accessible to everyone.
Naturally, this has enabled certain cookware and food brands to partner up with the most popular influencers for customized posts and cookware and appliance recommendations.
The industry has ballooned to such an extent that Michelin star chefs that once dominated viewership charts have migrated to TikTok and YouTube for their branded channels.
Popular examples include:
- Gordon Ramsay (Instagram: @gordongram)
- Ree Drummond (Instagram: @thepioneerwoman)
- Rena (@healthyfitnessmeals)
6. Beauty Influencers
Separate from fashion influencers lies another category that focuses on the latest trends in makeup and beauty products. These influencers partner with major brands such as Loreal and Fenty Beauty to promote the latest collection of makeup accessories.
Some influencers also double as special effects (SFX) creators and create certain looks that are widely used in films and TV shows – often changing their appearance to look like mainstream Hollywood celebrities using makeup and little else.
Popular examples include:
- Huda Kattan (Instagram: @hudabeauty)
- Nikkie de Jager (Instagram: @nikkietutorials)
- Zoe Sugg (Instagram: @zoesugg)
7. Fitness Influencers
Health, wellness, and fitness are popular industries and expanded massively during the Covid pandemic. During the times when the whole world was in lockdown and face masks had become the most coveted commodity, influencers across the globe capitalized on the downtime afforded by the pandemic to promote their fitness lifestyles and transformation journeys.
Perhaps the earliest example (and most referenced) was Australian bodybuilder, Aziz Shavershian (Zyzz), who brought the idea of having an aesthetic physique to the mainstream public. Today, most influencers are either partially inspired by Zyzz or have completely modeled their influence on his tactics.
With ever-increasing digital transformation in health and fitness, the space is growing with more diverse fitness channels and influencers coming up seemingly every day. These influencers promote gym wear, pre, and post-workout drinks, and fitness and diet plans. Some have transitioned to the content creation side where they make informative videos on performance-enhancing drugs and other supplements.
Popular examples include:
- Matt Morsia (Instagram: @mattdoesfitness)
- More Plates More Dates (YouTube)
- Chessie King (Instagram: @chessiekingg)
Factors To Consider When Picking The Right Influencer For Your Brand
Finding an influencer that fits your marketing budget and brand profile is essential. There’s no point filling out calendar entries with multiple collaborations if you aren’t targeting well from the start.
Here are a few tips that may help you in picking the right one for an effective influencer marketing strategy:
A. Is The Focus Niche Or Reach?
Brands typically have two options with influencers; do they pick the one that fits their brand’s niche perfectly or the one that has the most organic reach?
Micro-influencers may have specific niches but a dedicated following and higher conversion rates. Whereas macro-influencers may get you eyeballs but hiring and endorsement costs may soon rack up against you.
High-value products benefit from niche influencer marketing, whereas generic products can go either way.
B. Knowing Who’s Relevant
An influencer that doesn’t have the same target audience as your brand can be disastrous. Similarly, targeting influencers of the same type is a mistake that is made frequently and may not give the desired outcomes.
For instance, it might seem logical for a word unscrambler platform to hire only anagram-solving influencers for their brand promotion. But putting together a roster of various influencers like game reviewers, modding experts, and streamers along with these anagram niche-specific influencers would be the ideal strategy.
Since the gaming niche audience has the highest engagement rates, the probability of getting your unscrambler brand all over social media becomes very high.
C. Checking Engagement Rates
Before pulling the trigger, assess the impact of your efforts, including traffic, engagement, and conversion rates. Collect all the relevant metrics on these indicators, build a proper data pipeline for them and read up on any press coverage they may have had in the past and what the public sentiment is towards them.
D. Looking Out For Red Flags
You need a reliable ambassador representing your brand. Past controversies, negative press, and unfavorable public sentiment can make your influencer campaign fall apart. It can be a serious PR disaster too and one that can end up hurting your brand for a long time.
E. Understanding Their Content
Each influencer is unique in their way. Their audience, engagement tactics, and tone will shift from person to person. Think about trying to manage tasks and achieving goals after you hired a vegan Instagram influencer to promote your leather manufacturing brand.
Research the influencer you intend to work with and familiarize yourself with their work. Not only will this shorten briefs but help you get the most out of the content marketing campaign by tailoring content and posts to their audience demographics.
Influencers are an important segment of digital advertising and marketing and will continue to play a vital role in the strategies of brands from every niche and industry. Tackling some of the growing pains that can come with this tactic is the best way to get your brand ahead of the curve.
With our guide on different types of influencers and the factors you should keep in mind when selecting one, you’re on course to identify the best matches (both in terms of personality and budget) for your company.
And if you require a database to find influencers for your campaigns, look no further than Linkub.