The Categories of Influencers You Need to Know
This is a comprehensive list of the most important influencer marketing categories to pay attention to. If you are a CMO, brand marketer, campaign manager, social media specialist, or have the words marketing anywhere near your title, this list is going to help you.
First we get into the 4 types of influencers based on follower count. Then we dig into types of influencers by niche/content style—to show you the top 10 categories to pay attention to there.
Grab a notebook and a pen, you’re not going to want to miss this.
4 Types Of Influencers You Should Know About (Follower Count)
Before we get into the different influencer categories you should know the types of influencers that are out there. So here are the 4 influencer types that you can find on every social media platform.
- Follower Count: 1-10k
- Nano-influencers have over 1k followers, are highly engaged with their audience, and typically share content about the brands that they love. Nano-influencers are a great partner for small brands who are new to influencer marketing and want to test out different niches that these influencers touch. Nano-influencers also cost less than other, larger influencers making them a budget-friendly option for those brands who are looking to stretch their dollar further.
- Example: Samantha Boyer (samanthacboyer)
- Follower Count: 10-100k
- Who Are They: Micro-influencers have anywhere between 10-100k followers and are engaged with almost all of them. Influencers of this type have built up a following over a longer period of time and have earned the respect of their followers so when they talk, people listen. Micro-influencers are perfect partners for brands who want to inject their name into a sub-niche inside their industry or share a new product with a hungry crowd. These influencers have a deep connection with their audience and high engagement rates, which can help grow brands to new heights.
- Example: Petal Punk Paints (@petalpunkpaints)
- Follower Count: 100-1M
- Who Are They: Macro-influencers are people who have 100k-1 million followers on social media platforms. These folks have often developed their audience over the course of years and typically have larger followings across all their social media channels. Macro-influencers tend to see lower engagement rates because of these big followings that can sometimes be riddled with fake accounts. Nonetheless, macro-influencers make for a great partner if a larger, more established brand wants to explore a new potential audience and cast a wide net to do it. Because their follower count is higher, the chances of a wider demographic increase dramatically.
- Example: Colette Bernard (artistcolette)
- Follower Count: 1M+
- Who Are They: Mega-influencers have over 1 million followers on their social media. This could be one single channel or all their channels, but usually, it's across all platforms. Macro-influencers can be celebrities, athletes, bloggers, musicians, or really anyone with a large enough reach to impact millions. These influencers are going to cost the big bucks—we’re talking 6-figure deals—if you want to work with them. One thing to note about macro-influencers is that because their audience is so large, they often have some of the lowest engagement rates of anyone on this list. That being said, they also have the highest potential to go viral as well.
- Example: Casey Van Arsdale (caseyvanarsdale)
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10 Types of Influencers (Content Type)
So now you have the 4 types of influencers based on their follower count. Now we are going to slice it up from a diferent angle and look at 10 different types of influencers based on the content niche they occupy.
Food & Beverage
- The food and beverage industry has always pushed the boundaries of marketing. Whether it be the Got Milk campaigns from the early 2000s, or Mcdonald's celebrity partnerships like LeBron James, Tony Hawk, and Justin Timberlake, the industry is known for finding new ways to market food and drink to the masses. With the rise of influencer marketing, this industry has seen a massive shift in direction. What was once a space dominated by paid advertising and mega-contracts signed by A-List celebrities and athletes, has now become the ultimate playground for influencers of all sizes, especially micro-influencers. Brands like Bang Energy, Chipotle, and Liquid Death are forgoing the big bills and looking toward smaller, more niche influencers who have a direct connection with a specific audience. In doing so, they have actually expanded their reach far beyond the traditional TV ad slot and into the small communities of consumers that truly crave the food and beverage products they provide.
While there are tons of brands in the food and beverage space that crush influencer marketing here are the 3 that stand out to us: Bang Energy, Liquid Death, and Taco Bell.
- It should be no surprise here that the beauty industry is thriving on the shoulders of influencer marketing. What was once a celebrity-dominated industry has now become simplified with everyday individuals who have a deep passion for beauty and they showcase it on their TikTok and Instagram accounts. These creators, whether they realized it or not, helped propel many beauty brands forward as traditional in-store shopping experience became obsolete during the global pandemic. Today, 52% of users say they discover new products on TikTok and are more likely to make a purchase backed by an influencer than a paid advertisement. Brands like Sheglam, Ipsy, and Fenty Beauty are seeing staggering results at the hands of TikTok influencers. Just look at what happened to Deciem when they started using beauty influencers to promote their new Ordinary Brand products: a whopping 426% sale spike!
Fashion & Apparel
- When was the last time that you went to the mall? Think about it, brick-and-mortar experiences are becoming less and less popular with most brands doing a majority of their sales online. Sales of apparel, footwear, and accessories jumped 13% ($180.5 billion) last year and is expected to top $204.9 billion by the end of 2023. The major question here is why? And the answer is very simple: influencers. As the fashion and apparel market continues to become saturated with copy-and-paste brands, influencers are the tried and true method for creating loyal customers that buy regularly. With a major increase in cost-per-click paid ads (15%) and an overwhelming amount of competition in the space, brands are leaning on storytelling and influencers to drive a more authentic connection with their consumers that results in a higher rate of return. All that is to say, if you’re a fashion brand looking to win in 2023, influencers are going to be a major bonus if you have them in your corner.
- The retail industry is driven by many different marketing efforts. From paid advertising to organic content, major retail brands are always looking to innovate when it comes to attracting more customers. Over the last two years, the consumer base has shifted away from traditional marketing methods like tv advertising and opted for something more organic and authentic. Those 15-second ad slots simply won’t do it if you want to make a splash in the retail space. That’s where influencers have helped diversify brand audiences and convert faithful followers into paying customers. Look at a brand like Target which has over 1.9 million followers—they’ve found a way to integrate influencers into a variety of their content all targeted at different demographics. This works because they carry the widest range of products and pair that with a conscious effort to include influencers that will grow their brand outside their normal reach. Another brand making waves in this space is Casetify—a customizable phone case brand that is dominating the TikTok feed. With the help of influencers, they’ve been able to reach over 66 million users while still having a following of just over 500k. What does this say about the impact of these influencers—they’re worth their weight in gold if you empower them to be creative on behalf of your brand.
- Who is your favorite athlete? Chances are they have social media accounts and are influencers in some form whether it be micro or macro. These athletes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to influencers taking over the sports industry. Brands like the NFL and MLB are stepping outside the shadows of their athletes and looking toward creators like @deestroying and @jacksonolson_ to make entertaining content that drives followers who may not follow them closer to the sport in hopes of converting them to supporters and eventual lifetime fans. Similarly, sports brands like TopGolf are finding unique personalities like @snappygilmore to attend their events and promote their product in a way that the brand itself could not. With the help of influencers, Top Golf shares content that pushes the conventional boundaries of the typical round of golf and invites first-timers to come to their locations and play games.
Media & Entertainment
- It’s only natural that the media and entertainment industry falls on this list. This industry thrives on the shoulders of new trends and oftentimes sets them as well. Brands like TikTok, Prime Video, and Nickelodeon are dominating digital airwaves with a slew of influencer content directed at tons of different audiences. Between those three TikTok accounts alone, they have garnered almost 800 million sponsored views from users. With a constant stream of content coming from all directions, the media and entertainment industry is riddled with different influencers that share content across different platforms including Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, leading to massive growth for brands across the board.
Health & Wellness
- Chances are you probably follow someone who is a TikTok or YouTube fitness coach. These types of influencers are growing at a rapid pace. What was once an industry filled with a couple hundred thousand legitimate influencers, is now bursting at the seams with new creatives finding their own niche within the health and wellness industry. From workouts and coaching programs to nutrition and wellness practices, you can pretty much find an influencer focused on very specific health and wellness niches. Looking for someone who shares high-protein vegan meals that won’t leave you bloated? There’s someone who does that! Need simple training tips for women who are 6 months pregnant? There’s someone out there for you! The influencer diversity in the health and wellness industry is massive and brands who want to win in their niche should most definitely look toward these folks for collaborative opportunities.
Electronics & Software
- You’d be remiss to think that the electronics and software industry is absent of influencers. Have you ever heard of Marques Brownlee? He’s arguably one of the biggest tech review influencers in the entire world and has dominated the YouTube feed for years. With over 16 million subscribers and 1.5 million followers on TikTok, his gravitational pull on consumers in this space is massive. Marques is one of the thousands of influencers in the electronics and software industry that is helping new brands build a voice and established companies test new products and find new consumers. Similarly, brands like Spotify and Samsung are capitalizing on the impact influencers can make by partnering with them to create content that inspires consumers in the community rather than begging them for more money all the time.
- If you’re a fan of cars and don’t have a TikTok account, you’re going to want to get one right away. Whether you’re a fan of old school or the new age, car lovers and automotive enthusiasts alike are flocking to the YouTube and TikTok feeds. Doesn't matter if you like formula one racing or just want to figure out how to replace the windshield wiper fluid in your vehicle, there are millions of creators sharing automotive content and many of them are influencers in their specific niche. As transportation continues to evolve with technology, this industry is going to see massive shifts in how they approach audiences and keep customers engaged and influencers are going to be a critical connector between the two.
- Nowadays you can find just as many social media accounts for pets as regular human beings' accounts. This should be no surprise as the global pandemic brought in a wave of new pets that users couldn’t help but share on their social feeds. As a result, the pet industry exploded online in the last 3 years. Pet influencers (which come in all shapes and sizes) are starting to grow their reach into every corner of the industry. Similarly, pet brands, like food and toys, are targeting new customers via human and animal influencer accounts. Look at how Fresh Step Litter and The Native Pet both use a blend of organic and user-generated content to share stories about their products and how to take better care of your furry friends.
What are you waiting for?
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