The Different Types Of Social Media Influencers

Social Media Influencers Examples Campaigns Lists Guide

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Everything You Need To Know About Social Media Influencers

Social media platforms now claim 2.2 billion users globally—that’s nearly one-third of the earth’s total population (Statista).  As the prevalence of social media grows and the effectiveness of traditional advertising methods (i.e. television, print, radio) erodes, brands are now discovering that collaborating with top social media influencers (also called “digital influencers” or “digital stars“) is the best way to reach massive social audiences and “influence” the purchasing decisions of millions.

What Is A Social Media Influencer?

Social media influencers are digital personalities who have amassed large followings across one (or sometimes several) social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, or on their personal blogs. Often, these social media stars are regarded as trendsetters within a specific niche—popular categories include fashion, gaming, healthy living, travel, lifestyle, and food—and publish content that relates to their “area of expertise.”

Related Post: The Top Social Media Influencers For 2016: A Brand Guide

Social media “influencers” are called such because they produce original digital content that enables them to connect with audiences in an authentic way. Because they have spent years cultivating relationships with their followers/subscribers, digital influencers are considered tastemakers who have the power to sway purchasing decisions and influence the opinions and actions of their social media audiences.

Related Post: Why Are Social Media Stars So Popular With Audiences?

How Social Media Influencers Differ From Celebrities & Brand Ambassadors

As social media stars achieve more notoriety, the lines between digital stars, celebrities, and brand ambassadors are blurring. Salient differences still exist between the three types of digital entities, however, and it’s important for brands to know each entity’s role and how each functions within a comprehensive marketing strategy.

One of the key differences between social media influencers, traditional celebrities, and brand ambassadors is the source of their popularity. Unlike celebrities, who have earned fans through professional careers as actors, models, or performers, social media influencers have amassed large followings by creating content for the internet/social media platforms. Brand ambassadors, too, are different from social media influencers in that they are tapped by a brand to function as an expert about a particular company, product, or service.

Related Post: Celebrities vs. Brand Ambassadors vs. Influencers: Who Wins?

Social media influencers are also different from traditional celebrities in the way they engage directly with their audiences through social media comments, contests, and follower-suggested content. Because social influencers have spent years developing meaningful relationships with fans, audiences find social media influencers be more accessible, genuine, authentic, and trustworthy.

Related Post: Why Millennials Trust Reviews From Top YouTubers

The Different Types Of Social Media Influencers

Social media influencers are often categorized by the platform where they produce the most content or have achieved the most notoriety. The most popular types of social media influencers are:

The Instagram Influencer Or “Instagrammer”

With over 500 million active users, photo-sharing app Instagram is now one of the best platforms for brands to develop influencer marketing campaigns. Because Instagram influencers, or “Instagrammers,” are adept at creating beautiful, aspiration content and organically integrating products and/or services into their posts, many brands are now collaborating with top Instagrammers to target large niche audiences (including fashion and beauty enthusiasts, travelers, men’s lifestyle audiences, fitness gurus, foodies, and more).

Related Post: 5 Steps For Creating An Instagram Marketing Campaign With Influencers

The YouTube Influencer Or “YouTuber”

Top YouTubers are able to attract millions of followers (called “subscribers”) and generate billions of video views by creating content that is engaging, humorous, shocking, informative, and/or educational. Like Instagrammers, YouTubers often occupy a specific niche and appeal to a specific audience segment, though some of the platform’s most famous digital stars (like YouTube gamer PewDiePie) now attract a wide range of viewers. Some of the most popular ways brands can partner with YouTubers include:

Related Post: 5 Different Types Of Influencer-Driven YouTube Marketing Campaigns

The Snapchat Influencer Or “Snapchatter”

With over 150 million active users, Snapchat has quickly become the go-to social media platform for teens, Millennials, and, increasingly, older social media audiences (Adweek). Snapchat influencers now generate millions of videos views (which disappear after 24 hours) by creatively and authentically sharing every aspect of their lives with audiences.

Related Post: The 10 Best Snapchat Influencers To Follow

The Vine Influencer Or “Viner”

Vine may be losing ground to up-and-coming social media offerings like Snapchat and Facebook Live, but the platform’s top digital stars still attract millions of video views (called “loops”) by creating content that succinctly conveys a message or tells a story in unique, humorous, and engaging ways.

Related Post: The 10 Best Sponsored Vine Videos From The Most Popular Viners

The Blog Influencer Or “Blogger”

Bloggers attract large social media audiences by regularly publishing articles that appeal to a specific audience (i.e. fashion, travel, family, tech, etc.) and offering value in the form of entertainment, information, tutorials, and/or advice. Because bloggers are considered “experts” within their niches, recommendations from these social media influencers are often highly influential.

Related Post: 7 Top Tips For Working With Blog Influencers

Also See Our Posts On:

Why Social Media Influencers Will Help Brands Win In 2016

How Brands Can Reach New Audiences With Micro-Influencers

Our 10-Step Guide To Developing An Influencer Marketing Strategy

How To Find The Right Social Media Influencer For Your Next Campaign