Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of influencers. And while there might be a stereotypical image that comes to your mind when you think of the word, there are actually lots of different types of influencers out there.
If you want to try out influencer marketing, it’s important to know about the different types of social media influencers, so that you can choose the best ones to collaborate with you.
There are a few different ways to organize influencers. So let’s check it out.
Influencers by network
One of the major differences between influencers is obviously what social network they’re on. In 2021, influencers almost always have a presence on various social networks. However, they’ll usually have one network they’re best known for.
There are many social networks out there, and each will have its own influencers. But let’s look at a few of the most popular in 2021.
89% of surveyed marketers say that Instagram is the most important channel for influencer marketing. This could be because the network offers visual content that is easily digestible. It also allows creators to produce content in various formats, like photos, videos, Stories, and Reels.
Instagram also offers its influencers some features that other networks haven’t yet set up. Instagram influencers can tag their content as a “paid partnership,” which helps content comply with regulatory disclosure agreements. Or, brands can set up Instagram Shopping and give their collaborators permission to tag products directly in their content.
TikTok creators have grown in importance alongside the network’s impressive growth in popularity throughout the last two years. Moreover, the number of TikTok influencers being selected for campaigns tripled in 2020.
TikTok is one of the best places to reach Gen Z, as a quarter of its users are within the ages of 10-19. So if your target audience is teens, TikTok influencers might be best suited to help you connect with them.
Like TikTok, Twitch has also grown a lot, and that’s led to an increase in Twitch influencers being selected for marketing campaigns, too. Twitch influencers mostly operate in the gaming industry, as that’s the platform’s primary topic focus. However, Twitch also has channels for other topics, too, like cooking, painting, or just chatting.
Influencers by category
There are influencers from just about every content category you can think of. While the most stereotypical ones are fashion, beauty, and travel, there are loads of categories out there to explore. Here are a few examples of lesser-known categories of influencers.
Activist influencers post content related to social issues that they feel need to be addressed. Within this category, there are lots of subcategories, like environmentalists, anti-racists, trans rights activists, and so on.
Social media is a powerful tool to connect people and start discussions. And that’s what activist influencers do. Moreover, when brands want to highlight a social issue or celebrate a commemorative event, like Pride, they can turn to these influencers for authentic content that isn’t tone deaf.
@blairimani is an example of an activist influencer. Blair’s content educates people about all types of issues related to race, gender, religion, and identity.
Tattoo artist influencers
We all know about beauty influencers, but tattoo artist influencers? They’re out there. There are lots of talented tattoo artists sharing their ink on social media.
Tattoos have their own subculture, so working with these influencers can be great for brands who fall into that same culture or want to access it.
Handball isn’t the most popular sport, but it has a dedicated following on social media. The average engagement rate on Instagram, for example, is 5%, which makes it the category with the fifth-highest average engagement on the network.
So, if you’re a sports brand, why not try working with handball influencers instead of the more obvious footballers or basketball players?
Influencers by follower count
Another way to break down influencers is by follower count. The number of followers an influencer has directly impacts how much they’ll charge you. So let’s take a look at the different levels of influencers that exist.
Nano influencers have between 1-5K followers. They’re just starting out in influencer marketing, so they’re therefore affordable options. They’ll often agree to collaborations in exchange for free products. Additionally, they have extremely engaged audiences and few fake followers, which makes them affordable and powerful options for campaigns.
They have between 5-50K followers and are one step up from nano influencers. Micro influencers hit the sweet spot between follower count and engagement rate, as their rates are still very high. Their followers trust them as experts in their niche industries. At the lower end of this range, you can close deals for free products, but at the higher range expect micro influencers to ask for relatively small fees.
This range, where influencers have 50-100K followers, is where they also start to professionalize. Medium influencers may leave their day jobs and start influencing full time. They also might hire managers to help them deal with their more frequent collaborations with brands. From here on up, expect to pay fees for all your collaborations.
Macro influencers have great reach: they have 100K-1M followers. However, with that comes a decline in average engagement rates. Macro influencers are also much more expensive than their lower-level counterparts.
Mega influencers are celebrity influencers with 1M+ followers. They have unparalleled follower counts, but their engagement averages tend to be low. This is partly due to the fact that they’ve lost their relatability. They appear to live perfect, luxurious lives and their content tends to be heavily edited. This, combined with constant brand collaborations, makes them come across as less authentic.
A KOL, or key opinion leader, isn’t strictly an influencer. They serve the same purpose, but there’s one main difference: KOLs’ influence isn’t limited to social media. Moreover, they’ll often have professional credentials or experience to back up their reputation.
Working with KOLs can be costly, although it might not be strictly because of the fees they charge. Take Oprah as an example. She used to mention a product, and then give away one to everyone in her studio audience. That adds up for the brand. Although it also makes an incredible impact.
These are just a few of the ways we can organize influencers. If you’re looking to work with influencers for marketing campaigns, it’s good to understand the different segments that exist. This way, you can find the right ones that work for your brand, target audience, and budget.