Influencers have a huge footprint online. Even small influencers with a few thousand followers can provide brands with key opportunities to reach engaged audiences.
It’s also valuable to research how successful influencers interact with their fans and grow their communities.
If you don’t know Alexa Chung from Alex Stohl, don’t worry – I’ve done the research, so you don’t have to. These are the top social media influencers in various categories that could help you gain more visibility for your brand.
What Is A Social Media Influencer?
Before we start listing off the movers and shakers in the world of social media, let’s first talk about what exactly it means to be an influencer.
As you can probably guess, a social media influencer has established credibility within a certain niche. This person then uses this authority to connect with a large audience on various social platforms. Considering the average internet user spends more than two hours daily on social media, this offers great potential.
Savvy marketers can, in turn, partner with these influencers to promote their brands. Sometimes these individuals are celebrities using their social handles to influence purchasing decisions, while in others, they’re famous for being influencers.
Our list will include both types of these to help you determine who’s worth a follow – and possibly find a new marketing partner.
The Top Social Media Influencers
While some social media influencers make their living only on social media, the most impactful people on Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms are celebrities. But just like professional influencers, a name drop of your brand from one of them can reap huge rewards for your business.
The Top 10 Social Media Influencers Overall (By Total Followers on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter)
Here are the ten people with the biggest global followings:
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese athlete (soccer), 787 million followers – Hollywood icon good-looks paired with some of the best soccer skills the world has ever seen put Portugal’s CR7 in the top spot.
- Leo Messi, Argentinian athlete (soccer), 530 million followers – The Messi-Ronaldo debate may never be settled on the pitch, but it has been in social media. The Argentinian soccer legend falls in behind his generational rival, though he still has more than 500 million followers.
- Selena Gomez, American actor/musician, 499 million followers – This former Disney star is all grown up, but she still wields a ton of influence.
- Justin Bieber, Canadian musician, 477 million followers – The Canadian heartthrob attracts more than half a billion followers across social media platforms.
- Kylie Jenner, American influencer/reality TV star, 450 million followers – Not many social media personalities can keep up with the reach of this businesswoman and socialite.
- Kim Kardashian, American influencer/reality TV star, 450 million followers – Coming in just two spots down from her younger sister, Kim K was one of the first people famous for being famous in the age of social media.
- Dwayne Johnson, American actor/wrestler, 435 million followers – Can you smell what the Rock is cooking? A lot of people are at least seeing it on his social accounts.
- Taylor Swift, American musician, 408 million followers – Being T-Swizzle’s ex-boyfriend isn’t just going to get you excoriated on her next album, but it will get you a lot of bad exposure with her hundreds of millions of followers.
- Katy Perry, American musician, 395 million followers – The “Dark Horse” singer clocks in just behind her friend-turned-rival with almost 400 million followers.
- Ariana Grande, American musician/actor, 391 million followers – Pop star Ariana Grande wields a lot of influence over her legion of adoring fans.
Of course, not everyone has the international appeal of these celebrities, so unless you’re planning on becoming a world-class athlete, winning an Academy Award, or releasing a multi-platinum album, you’re probably not going to reach the same level.
But there are quite a few people who have carved out places for themselves.
Some social media influencers fall into multiple categories, but I’ve listed them by what I consider to be their primary niche:
Lifestyle Influencers (By Instagram Followers)
Sort of a catch-all for meals, fashion, daily routines, and exercise, lifestyle influencers give their audience a behind-the-scenes look at their daily lives. These are ten of the biggest:
- Zoe Sugg, English, 9.3 million followers.
- Julie Sariñana, Mexican, 7.2 million followers.
- Lauren Conrad, American, 5.9 million followers.
- Rosanna Pansino, American, 4.5 million followers.
- Jack Morris, English, 2.6 million followers.
- Aspyn Ovard Ferris, American, 2.3 million followers.
- Shonda Wagner, American, 2.1 million followers.
- Kennedy Cymone, American, 1.6 million followers.
- Amber Fillerup Clark, American, 1.3 million followers.
- Janni Olsson Deler, Swedish, 1.2 million followers.
Travel Influencers (By Instagram Followers)
If you’re looking for the hottest new vacation destination, the cheapest way to travel across Australia, or want to find hidden gems off the beaten path, these influencers are must-follows:
- Chris Burkard, American, 3.9 million followers.
- Murad Osmann, Russian, 3.5 million followers.
- Jennifer Tuffen, English, 2.8 million followers.
- Lauren Bullen, Australian, 2.1 million followers.
- Jessica Stein, Australian, 2 million followers.
- Alex Strohl, French, 2 million followers.
- Daniel Kordan, Russian, 1.4 million followers.
- Tara Milk Tea, Singaporean-Australian, 1.3 million followers.
- Altug Galip, Cypriot, 1.2 million followers.
- Louis Cole, English, 1 million followers.
Fashion Influencers (By Instagram Followers)
If you’ve taken part in a fashion trend in the last five years, there’s a good chance one of these people was involved in promoting it. These are the people who set trends on what brands and styles are in:
- Cole Sprouse, American, 35.1 million followers.
- Chiara Ferragni, Italian, 28.3 million followers.
- Camila Coelho, Brazilian, 9.8 million followers.
- Karen Wazen Bakhazi, Lebanese-British, 7.8 million followers.
- Olivia Palermo, American, 7.6 million followers.
- Negin Mirsalehi, Dutch, 7 million followers.
- Aimee Song, American, 6.9 million followers.
- Alexa Chung, British, 5.7 million followers.
- Leonie Hanne, German, 4.5 million followers.
- Caroline Daur, German, 4 million followers.
Beauty Influencers (By Instagram Followers)
Social media gives ordinary people in middle-of-nowhere Nebraska access to makeup tutorials and tips used by professional makeup artists. These are ten of the biggest beauty influencers:
- Huda Kattan, American-Emirati, 51.7 million followers.
- Becky G, American, 34.8 million followers.
- Bretman Rock, Filipino, 18.5 million followers.
- Nikkie de Jager, Dutch, 16.9 million followers.
- Jeffree Star, American, 13.8 million followers.
- Makeup by Mario (Mario Dedivanovic), Albanian-American, 12.1 million followers.
- Jaclyn Hill, American, 8.1 million followers.
- Naomi Giannopoulos, American, 6.1 million followers.
- Amra Olevic Reyes, American, 5.6 million followers.
- Carli Bybel, American, 4.7 million followers.
Fitness Influencers (By Instagram Followers)
Everyone wants to look great, but not everyone can afford a personal trainer. These fitness influencers give us a glimpse into their own workout routines, so we can make 2023 the year we finally get in shape:
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-American, 22.9 million followers.
- Kayla Itsines, Australian, 15.3 million followers.
- Michelle Lewin, Venezuelan-American, 15.1 million followers.
- Chris Bumstead, Canadian, 14 million followers.
- Ulisses Williams Jr., American, 8.8 million followers.
- Simeon Panda, English, 8.2 million followers.
- Kai Greene, American, 7.3 million followers.
- Eva Andressa, Brazilian, 6.2 million followers.
- Andrei Dieu’, Romanian, 5.9 million followers.
- Joe Wicks, English, 4.5 million followers.
Entertainment Influencers (By Instagram Followers)
Our top 10 overall influencers all fall into the sports or entertainment category, but here are ten more musicians and actors with massive followings:
- Beyonce, American musician/businesswoman, 290 million followers.
- Jennifer Lopez, American musician/actor, 230 million followers.
- Nicki Minaj, Trinidadian musician, 207 million followers.
- Miley Cyrus, American musician/actor, 192 million followers.
- Zendaya, American actor/musician, 163 million followers.
- Kevin Hart, American comedian/actor, 162 million followers.
- Cardi B, American musician, 148 million followers.
- Demi Lovato, American musician, 146 million followers.
- Rihanna, Barbadian musician/businesswoman, 139 million followers.
- Ellen DeGeneres, American comedian/TV personality, 130 million followers.
Sports Influencers (By Instagram Followers)
If you ever wanted to know what your favorite basketball player thinks about NATO or what type of bottled water a soccer superstar drinks, social media gives you a personal insight into previously inaccessible celebrities. Here are ten more of the most followed athletes worldwide:
- Virat Kohli, Indian cricketer, 231 million followers.
- Neymar, Jr., Brazilian footballer, 201 million followers.
- Lebron James, American basketball player, 141 million followers.
- Kylian Mbappe, French footballer, 94.2 million followers.
- David Beckham, English footballer (retired), 76.9 million followers.
- Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, Brazilian footballer (retired) 70.9 million followers.
- Marcelo Vieira, Jr., Brazilian footballer, 60.8 million followers.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Swedish footballer, 57.4 million followers.
- Paul Labile Pogba, French footballer, 56.6 million followers.
- James Rodriguez, Colombian footballer, 50.3 million followers.
Tech Influencers (By YouTube Subscribers)
If you’ve ever been your family’s go-to for resetting the router or debugging a computer, congratulations, you’re a tech influencer. Here are people who do that on a larger scale:
- Mark Rober, American, 23.3 million subscribers.
- Unbox Therapy (Lewis Hilsenteger), Canadian, 18.2 million subscribers.
- Marques Brownlee, American, 16.5 million subscribers.
- CrazyRussianHacker (Taras Kulakov), Russian-American, 11.6 million subscribers.
- Linus Tech Tips (Linus Sebastian), Canadian, 15.1 million subscribers.
- MrWhoseTheBoss (Arun Rupesh Maini), English 12.9 million subscribers.
- Wylsacom (Valentin Petukhov), Russian, 10.2 million subscribers.
- Tech Burner (Shlok Srivastava), Indian, 10 million subscribers.
- Austin Evans, American, 5.35 million subscribers.
- JayzTwoCents (Jason Langevin), American, 3.82 million subscribers.
10 Influencers To Watch In 2023
Like everything digital, the world of social media influencers is in a constant state of flux. Today’s top dog may be forgotten tomorrow, while someone else could use a viral video to propel themself into superstardom.
Here are some of the social media influencers we’re keeping an eye on as up-and-comers.
- Ashley Quiroz, American beauty influencer.
- Olga Ferrara, Ukrainian fashion influencer.
- Jeffrey Gitomer, American sales influencer.
- Andy Anneville, American fitness influencer.
- Eric Rubens, American travel influencer.
- Justina Blakeney, American lifestyle influencer.
- Techno Ruhez, Indian tech influencer.
- Brittany Dawn, Canadian lifestyle influencer.
- Nicolo Cesari, Italian fashion influencer.
- Max Klymenko, Ukrainian-British business influencer.
Using Social Media Influencers To Market Your Brand
The internet has given rise to a new type of celebrity, the social media influencer. And because their audiences find them relevant or humorous, or knowledgeable, they trust them.
When an influencer recommends a product or service, you can be sure their fans are listening. And that makes them an incredibly powerful marketing tool.
But don’t think you have to partner with someone with tens of millions of social media followers to benefit your brand.
Micro-influencers, or those with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, are often a lot more accessible – and can be extremely effective, particularly if your brand falls into a niche.
Have an idea for a social media influencer who could work with your brand? Don’t be afraid to DM them.
That’s how they make their living, and they’re sure to love hearing from you.
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Featured Image: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock