Breaking Down the Types of Influencers
We’ve all heard of the term “influencer” or rather an individual who has built a loyal community of followers on social media. But, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. When it comes to influencers, there’s many ways we can slice and dice the different niche categories, but it really comes down to two main factors: channel and following size. We’re breaking down the different channels for influencers, the category names for each audience size, popular influencer niches, and how to find influencers through hashtags. If you’re thinking about employing an influencer for your next brand campaign, keep reading to determine what channel is the best fit for your brand.
Influencers By Channel
That status of an influencer is defined by the quality and the quantity of their following on social media. However, with the abundance of social media platforms available today, influencers have a variety of channels at their disposal to disseminate content and reach their followers. So let’s start by breaking down influencers by channel and the type of content shared on each.
First, let’s hit on one of the most popular social networks worldwide – Instagram. What started out as a photo sharing app (photos still take up most of the content shared), has now entered the video streaming world with IGTV, and Instagram Stories. The video sharing options do have limits: Instagram Stories are limited to 15 seconds (feed video posts can be up to 60 seconds) and IGTV video can be up to one hour long. The combination of both photo and video sharing features on Instagram give influencers the option to share content in different forms.
The video-sharing channel, YouTube, offers a wide-variety of video content. From live streams to video blogging and tutorials (“how-to” videos), YouTube provides a platform for influencers to reach a large audience in either short or long form video. Looking for an influencer who can use your product live or show how it works? YouTube should be your choice.
Facebook is used as a platform to share various types of content. Influencers can share their blog or Instagram content, video content, image content and more. Facebook users are willing and able to interact with content in all forms – and influencers can use this to their advantage. The same goes for a brand trying to reach a broad audience – Facebook can work really well here.
Twitter is a platform known for sharing text in less than 280 characters. However, it also has the option to share photos or videos (in about 2 minutes). Influencers on Twitter can be found tweeting about sports and/or entertainment news. As an influencer on Twitter, you need to constantly monitor breaking news and announcements. Want to get the buzz going about a product or service? Tweeting influencers can help make that happen.
Another channel used often by Influencers is the blog. Creating their own brand via a blog or website can be an effective way to reach an audience. Food and lifestyle bloggers can be found sharing healthy 10 minute recipes, parenting advice, or storytelling about their travels to picturesque locations around the globe. Typically, they also have an audience on another channel, such as how-to video on YouTube of the recipe that was posted on their blog, a link from their parenting blog on Facebook, or sharing that amazing waterfall picture on Instagram.
Multi-channel or Multi-platform Influencer
This brings us to the Multi-channel or Multi-platform influencer, who has an active and large following on more than one channel. A blogger is a great example of a multi-channel influencer, they produce commentary and storytelling on their blog, but also have significant followers through other social platforms as well. A blogger may share a post of Facebook and an image on Instagram, that all funnels back to their blog – achieving reach, resonance and relevance.
Influencers By Size
From the celebrity influencer to the micro influencer, influencers are broken into tiers based on their following size and total reach. The influencer’s following size significantly impacts the engagement on each of their posts and their average engagement rate. So, what are the different tiers of influencer?
The smallest sub-category of established social media influencers are micro-influencers. Although they may have a smaller following size, they tend to have the most loyal community of followers and generate the most engagement on their posts. The size of a micro-influencer can range from 10k-100k followers. They have the highest brand relevance and resonance on the spectrum of influencers and they have personal experience with the brand they are associated with, motivating them to share this with their audience. A niche influencers also takes great importance in the strength of relationships with network. Looking to start working with influencers? Micro-influencers = a good place to start. They are easier to connect with than a celebrity influencer and they’re more open to partnering with several brands at a lower rate.
Example: kc_doubletake (Instagram)
The next tier above micro-influencer is the mid-tier influencer. The mid-tier influencer is considered to have a larger following size and higher engagement rate, but is not quite considered to be a macro-influencer. Influencers within this tier have approximately 100k – 500k followers with a strong engagement rate. These influencers are more likely to only partner with brands they are truly passionate about, as they’re seen more as a brand ambassador. Influencers within this tier will also most likely be more expensive than a micro-influencer, as they have established more credibility and authority on their given platform.
Example: The Balanced Blonde (Instagram, YouTube, Podcast, Blog)
Macro-influencers are influencers with 500k+ followers. Macro-influencers have the highest topical relevance and category specific influence. These influencers are recognized by many social media users and users tend to connect a macro-influencer with brand(s) through which they’ve established themselves. For example, when you ask a few friends who their favorite Fashion influencer is, they’ll most likely associate several macro-influencers with this niche category. The reason being, is these influencers generate tens of thousands of likes per post and their channel is typically verified, confirming that their profile is real.
Example: amberfillerup (Instagram)
This last type is what most of us picture when we think of an influencer – those big-name celebrities we see all over our various social media platforms. These are people we all know and have millions of followers – anywhere from 5 – 50 million! They are mega-influencers and have the highest reach, driven by their celebrity status. However, celebrity influencers are the least likely to engage with their followers (due to the volume of engagement) and they are less likely to pose an authentic sponsorship with a brand. For example, have you ever seen one of the Kardashians post about the brand Fit Tummy Tea? It’s doubtful that they are genuinely passionate about the brand or use the product on a daily basis, they’re more so doing it for the price-point brands are willing to pay for their endorsement. These influencers can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for one post or endorsement. They can also be very selective with who they choose to work with – they’ll be getting lots of requests to be part of a new campaign.
Example: Kylie Jenner
Popular Influencers Niches
In addition to breaking influencers down by channel and by size, we’re able to categorize them into niches. From the food we drool over on Instagram, to fashion bloggers we envy, the oh-so-cute pets that hop into our feeds, and of course the ever-present health and wellness posts that inspire us (or at least try to!).
Let’s talk about the food influencer. These influencers make users want to visit a new restaurants, cook a new recipe, or even try a new product or ingredient. Influencers within the food niche share delicious meals and cooking tutorials on their platform, breaking down the steps of a recipe and sharing important nutrition information about the products they’re using and why! On Instagram, influencers typically showcase the step-by-step recipe creation through their Instagram Stories and share the final product within a post on their feed. On YouTube, influencers are able to show in more-depth the step-by-step recipe process and have a longer time to speak about each ingredient they’re using. Both platforms entice users to try new ingredients or cook a new recipe!
Fashion & Beauty
For fashion and beauty influencers, they are most prevalent on Instagram, YouTube, and blogs. They share “outfit of the day” posts including everything from their hair products and makeup to their clothes and accessories. Whether it’s a makeup tutorial on their YouTube channel or a blog post tagging each of the branded items they’re wearing, these influencers inspire users to try new beauty products and buy certain style clothing.
A category that’s lighthearted, yet followed by many, is pet accounts. Even if these animals can’t technically post on social media themselves, their owners create accounts showcasing the adorable pets they own and share funny videos that entertain several users. Because, who doesn’t love seeing an adorable puppy on their Instagram feed? These influencers can gain hundreds of thousands to millions of followers simply by sharing images of their pets. Whether they’re dressing up their pet or having their pet pose in unique adult-like ways, users are always entertained!
Health & Wellness
One of the most popular niche categories on social media is the health and wellness space. Whether it may be showcasing clean beauty products, nutritious ingredients, or organic products, users are always searching for products that don’t contain harmful chemicals. This has become a trend over the past few years and it’s becoming more and more relevant in today’s society. The influencers you’ll find in this category (including fitness) span across blogs, YouTube, and Instagram. If you’ve ever searched on Instagram for vegan food, read a blog post about organic or recycled products, or watched a YouTube video with workout tips and tricks, then you’ve been exposed to this niche category. Regardless of what information you’re looking for within the health and wellness space, it’s likely there is an influencer that has already shared a post including exactly what you’re looking for.
Popular Influencer Hashtags
If you’re looking for influencers that will fit your brand campaigns, start by searching hashtags on Instagram and actively search keywords on YouTube or within the search engine for relevant blogs. Here are a few popular hashtags that will help you identify influencers within each niche category:
For Finding Fashion Influencers:
For Finding Foodie Influencers:
For Finding Health and Fitness Influencers:
For Finding Pet Influencers:
Any breed i.e. #corgis, #labs