13 Types of Influencers Your Brand Should Activate in 2021 (With Examples)

Get to know the different types of influencers that are emerging and which ones are right for your business using our helpful overview.

Aana Leech
5
min read
13 Types of Influencers Your Brand Should Activate in 2021 (With Examples)
Table of contents:

Influencer marketing has emerged as the hottest talking point of digital marketing in recent years and is now considered an essential part of any successful brand promotion strategy. If your brand has yet to embrace it, now is the time to start.However, the big question remains: Which types of influencers should your brand engage with? This simple guide will explain it all — let’s dive in.

What Are the Different Types of Influencer Classifications?

The power of influencer marketing is clear to see, which is why hundreds of brands are now turning to popular content creators to form winning partnerships. Here are just a few of the key statistics that underline the value of influencers:

  • Influencer marketing as an industry more than doubled in value between 2019 ($6.5 billion) and 2021 ($13.8 billion).
  • A whopping 80% of consumers have made at least one purchase (either by clicking on a link or image) due to an influencer recommendation.
  • For every $1 spent on influencer marketing, brands can expect to see an ROI of $5.78.

These three stats alone show that influencer marketing is an effective sales and marketing tool that consumers respond well to. Even better, the industry is continuing to grow at a rapid rate, creating an even larger pool of passionate, dedicated, and experienced content creators.Whether you’re wading into this space for the first time or you’ve partnered with influencers for years, you’ll always need to determine which types of influencers make sense for your specific product rollout, campaign, or social initiative. There are several different classifications to consider used to organize influencers, such as:

  • Industry niche: This includes food, travel, fashion, health and wellness, sports, media, and more.
  • Follower count: The four main tiers are nano influencers, micro influencers, macro influencers, and mega influencers. (We’ll explain the follower count for each tier and pros and cons later.)
  • Channel: Studies show that Instagram is the most popular platform for influencers. Over 90% of influencers campaigns take place there, either exclusively or through multichannel marketing. Nonetheless, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat remain popular platforms.

Given that different demographics use different social platforms, partnering with influencers who use the right channels is key. However, the content creator also needs to be the right fit for your brand.

9 Types of Influencers Organized by Niche

Influencer marketing revolves around the concept of content creators sharing a message that resonates with a specific audience. An influencer with a defined niche will usually deliver far better results than one who sends out one-size-fits-all blasts or speaks to a generic audience. Here are nine main types of influencers based on their specific niches, along with some quick pros and cons of partnering with each one.

1. Travel Influencers

Travel influencers create diverse content that could include how-to guides, travel tips, secret or hidden destinations, activity and event coverage, and hotel and restaurant reviews. Brands often partner with travel influencers because they naturally leverage the power of FOMO marketing — Fear of Missing Out marketing — for maximum results.

Pros

  • Travel influencer content creates FOMO and can spur your target audience engagement rate.
  • Many consumers interact with social media while they’re dreaming of getaways.
  • Influencers can highlight how brands can improve holiday experiences.

Cons

  • Consumers may consume travel and lifestyle and dream about holidays but not actually book them.
  • Brands typically cover some or all of an influencer’s travel costs to ensure the content is worthwhile.

Examples of Popular Travel Influencers

Companies That Use Travel Influencers

2. Sports and Fitness Influencers

Social media influencers focused on sports and fitness create content related to getting fit, eating healthfully, coaching and personal training, attending games and tournaments, collecting sports memorabilia, and more. Aligning with them can be great for brands that directly produce sporting goods as well as those that are associated with sports through player sponsorships.

Pros

  • People are passionate about sports, meaning higher engagement levels.
  • For consumers looking for workout inspiration, a web or social media search is often stop number one.

Cons

  • The sports and fitness space is a competitive and saturated market.

Examples of Popular Fitness Influencers

Recommended Reading: 25 Fitness Influencers Your Brand Should Know About [From Instagram to YouTube]

Companies That Use Fitness Influencers

  • Nike
  • Fabletics
  • Fitbit

3. Bloggers/Vloggers

When trying to find influencers, many brands head straight for well-known bloggers and vloggers. They tend to maintain large followings, while the high-quality content encourages sharing and offers plenty of advertising space. Bloggers document their lives, which creates opportunities for brands to show how their products and services can have a positive impact on both influencers and potential customers.

Pros

  • Blogs and vlogs offer tons of versatility regarding the types of brands, products, and services that can be promoted.
  • Content creators are seen as authoritative voices in their fields and also use long-form content, which is great for your SEO marketing strategy and social sharing.
  • Your brand can invest in one-off campaigns or invite ongoing ambassador roles.

Cons

  • These types of influencers can be expensive due to their larger follower counts or visitor counts.
  • Bloggers and vloggers often align themselves with several brands at once, which can reduce the impact of a partnership.

Examples of Popular Blogger/Vlogger Influencers

Recommended Reading: 25 Lifestyle influencers Your Brand Should Follow [From Instagram to Bloggers]

Companies That Use Blogger/Vlogger Influencers

  • Adobe
  • Lego
  • MAC Cosmetics

4. Key Opinion Leaders (KOL Influencers)

Key Opinion Leaders (or KOL influencers) are influencers who are deemed to be subject matter experts and thought leaders in their fields. Like bloggers and vloggers, they can cover a wide range of topics with authority. Their content can be as simple as a tweet or photo post and still earn a wide reach, while their expertise makes them great candidates for brand takeovers.

Pros

  • Their opinions carry a lot of weight and credibility, which can motivate consumers to take action.
  • They often produce original, high-quality content that creates genuine value for their audience.
  • They tend to align exclusively with brands that are a good fit for them.

Cons

  • An influencer marketing campaign with a KOL may be expensive. They’ve spent time developing skills and earning trust from their audience and will likely have several sponsorship options to choose from.
  • Some KOLs may reach a small audience size while requiring a larger slice of your marketing budget.

Examples of Popular KOL Influencers

Companies That Use KOL Influencers

  • Nespresso
  • Beats by Dre
  • Rolex

5. Food and Cooking Influencers

Food and cooking influencers are the ultimate foodies, potentially covering recipes, growing food, gadget reviews, food history or culture, restaurant reviews, and a host of other content. For brands, gaining honest reviews or investing in paid ads that show how their products can be utilized will deliver great results.

Pros

  • Food content, especially visuals like videos or images, is often a big winner on social media.
  • These types of influencers are usually authentic and relatable for consumers. They may be aspirational, in the case of top chefs or culinary professionals.

Cons

  • Food influencers may also directly or indirectly promote other brands of ingredients, cookware, appliances, etc.  
  • Followers may focus on the creator rather than the brand.

Examples of Popular Food and Cooking Influencers

Companies That Use Food and Cooking Influencers

6. Health and Wellness Influencers

Health and wellness influencers may focus on physical or mental well-being or both. Either way, their content is designed to inspire people to lead better lives. This could be through yoga, natural home remedies, whole food recipes, or meditation tips. When brands can find ways to get their products or services mentioned or highlighted, consumers will take note.

Pros

  • Consumers will associate brands with creating a better quality of life.
  • Influencers can show consumers how a brand’s products are best utilized.
  • It’s an arena that’s open to both short- and long-form content.

Cons

  • Unless it’s a direct review or product/service feature, any mention of your brand may be minimal.
  • Health and wellness is another deeply saturated influencer market.

Examples of Popular Health and Wellness Influencers

Recommended Reading: 10 Health and Wellness Influencers Creating the Most Engaging Content in 2021

Companies That Use Health and Wellness Influencers

  • Nectar
  • Devala
  • Honest Beauty

7. Beauty and Makeup Influencers

Beauty and makeup influencers may produce videos, photo stories, or live feeds. Their aim is to educate users on makeup routines, quick beauty hacks, and product reviews while they can interact directly with users to answer their questions. Brands in this arena can use this type of influencer, not only to introduce their products to their target audience, but also to show them how it looks and works in real time.

Pros

  • Beauty and makeup influencers provide honest insights that actively engage and influence their viewers.
  • Modern beauty content is often created at home, meaning very few expenses for both the influencer and the brand.

Cons

  • Some beauty and makeup influencers only accept brands to test products or if they actually use their products.
  • Given the popularity of this content style, influencers can charge large fees.

Examples of Popular Beauty & Makeup Influencers

Companies That Use Beauty & Makeup Influencers

  • L’Oreal
  • NYX
  • Lush

8. Fashion and Apparel Influencers

Fashion models and apparel influencers may be traditional models or individuals that have found success online. Either way, their celebration of all things fashion can include product reviews, shopping haul reviews, style and aesthetic tips, outfit of the day (OOTD) looks, and more. As with beauty and makeup, a fashion influencer collab is a no-brainer for apparel brands.

Pros

  • Consumers want to emulate their fashion idols, so they are more likely to convert.
  • It’s a cost-effective way to get content out to relevant audiences.

Cons

  • Some consumers may avoid the products if they feel inferior to the influencer.
  • Followers may only be interested in the influencer’s latest look or collaboration and not long-term brand loyalty.

Examples of Popular Fashion and Apparel Influencers

Recommended Reading: 25 Fashion Influencers That Will Excite Your Brand’s Followers

Companies That Use Fashion and Apparel Influencers

  • Adidas
  • PrettyLittleThing
  • Ralph Lauren

9. Parenting Influencers

Parenting influencers are usually parents themselves. They use their social channels to give parenting tips, review products, provide learning and activity ideas, or just inject a bit of humor that busy parents can relate to. They’re a great match for brands that sell children’s clothes, toys, and snacks, as well as those that just might appeal to families.

Pros

  • Influencers can appeal to parents from all backgrounds.
  • Parents are constantly looking for advice and will look to influencers for guidance and support.
  • It’s easy to find parenting influencers of varying fan base sizes and across channels.

Cons

  • Parents may be more interested in tips than products.

Examples of Popular Parenting Influencers

Companies That Use Popular Parenting Influencers

  • GAP
  • Eco Kids
  • Milton & Goose

The 4 Influencer Types Based on Number of Followers

Influencer classifications aren’t only determined by niche. Influencers can also be categorized by their size or the number of followers they have. The four classifications are detailed below:

10. Nano Influencers (1,000 to 10,000 Active Followers)

Nano influencers generally have anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 followers (excluding bots and inactive accounts). While their reach is modest, they tend to boast fantastic engagement levels because they can give individual attention to fans. Brands looking to tap into a defined and specific demographic often find that this is the perfect solution.

Pros of Using Nano Influencers

  • Nano influencers have a better chance of engaging and activating their followers.
  • They have a clear and distinct audience.
  • They’re a good fit for local brands on a smaller marketing or advertising budget.

Cons of Using Nano Influencers

  • They have a much smaller reach than most influencers, which automatically limits the impact of your campaign.
  • They might not have the resources to create all types of content.

Example of a Brand Using Nano Influencers

The Body Shop and Hailey K: Nano influencers can interact closely with their niche audiences, something The Body Shop tapped into very effectively. Hailey K. showed her 4,000 fans how to use the shop’s products and kits to unlock their best look and boost conversions for the brand.

11. Micro Influencers (10,000 to 100,000 Active Followers)

The next influencer classification is known as micro influencers. They reach thousands of consumers with their posts, yet still have a good understanding of their place in the market and how to make their audience react and respond. Brands often use them for their authentic voices and openness to long-term partnerships.

Pros of Using Micro Influencers

  • Micro influencers see up to an 84% boost in audience engagement compared to other influencers.
  • Micro influencers may have more experience working with brands and may have more flexibility with content partnerships.
  • They’re a cost-effective option.

Cons of Using Micro Influencers

  • They’re still on the low side of audience reach, especially if your product or service only speaks to a portion of their follower base.
  • It’s also possible that a lack of experience could lead to content limitations.

Example of a Brand Using Micro Influencers

Coca-Cola and Miette Dierckx: At just 36,000 followers, this micro influencer scored a brand ambassadorship for Coke. She posts images of her travels with the iconic red can in the frame, celebrating the drink and the brand with creative captions. Dierckx’s campaign instantly creates a mental association between the brand and fun adventures.

12. Macro Influencers (100,000 to 1 Million Active Followers)

Macro influencers have at least 100,000 followers. Their content can reach a large number of people who may be interested in the brand, however, they still retain the authentic voice that fans flocked to in the first place. Due to the wide range of influencers that will fall under this category, brands need to evaluate opportunities carefully and take each partnership on its individual merits.

Pros of Using Macro Influencers

  • They are often more experienced and boast fans that have followed them for years.
  • Macro influencers have had time to determine what type of content works best.
  • They will have greater confidence and know-how when managing brand takeovers.

Cons of Using Macro Influencers

  • A number of influencer followers may not relate to your brand.
  • As follower count increases and experience level rises, so does the potential cost of a macro influencer marketing campaign.

Example of a Brand Using Macro Influencers

Sun Peaks Resort and Callum Snape: The British Columbia ski resort capitalized on the photographer's incredible talents to showcase the destination, attractions, and beautiful natural surroundings. For Snape, it was a chance to create some truly incredible content to further grow an audience of over 800,000 followers while getting paid.

13. Mega Influencers (1 Million or More Active Followers)

Finally, mega influencers boast at least one million active followers. They could fall into the categories of mainstream celebrities, although many originate on social media channels. Brands that are connected to them instantly gain a perception of professionalism and success as consumers are aware that these influencers only work with the best.

Pros of Using Mega Influencers

  • A single post can be seen by a million or more followers.
  • Mega influencers are typically experienced in brand collaborations and have the tools for great content.
  • The impacts of your influencer partnership could last far beyond a single campaign, as new fans discover the content down the road.

Cons of Using Mega Influencers

  • Mega influencer campaign costs can surpass $25,000 per post.
  • One-to-one interactions between mega influencers and their fans are much less likely.

Example of a Brand Using Mega Influencers

CeraVe and Hyram Yarbro: The well-known yet accessible mega influencer was a great fit for the CeraVe team, which noticed Yarbro’s genuine passion for the brand. The partnership has enabled that bond to grow, showcasing the skincare products and routines to a huge audience of over 1.2 million on Instagram alone.

From Popular Pays’ Agile Marketing Solutions: Find the Right Type of Influencers for Your Brand

Influencer marketing isn’t just the future of digital marketing. It should be part of your present too. When your brand is connected to the right type of influencers, brand awareness and audience reach will soar. Moreover, the power of social proof can lead to increased customer conversions and create a better bottom line.Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to find the right influencer. From Popular Pays can connect you to 6,000+ verified influencers from all niches and backgrounds — start searching for content creators now.

Aana Leech
Aana is the former Head of Product Brands of Popular Pays

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