Content creators are taking over the internet.
Everywhere you go, you see digital creators and social media influencers pushing out content on the web.
More than 50 million people consider themselves influencers, and as of 2022, the influencer marketing industry is worth $16.4 billion.
That's a big deal when more than 48% of the world's population is active on some type of social media channel, like TikTok, YouTube, or Twitter.
Influencer marketing is a great way for businesses and brands to generate more website traffic, and increase brand awareness, and overall ROI, especially when collaborating with trusted influencers your target customers already follow.
For every $1 spent on influencer marketing, businesses and brands make a $5.2 ROI, and 61% of consumers trust the product recommendations they get from influencers.
Becoming a content creator or social media influencer is a solid way to make money online as a beginner for people of all ages with little to no money and is a great marketing strategy for businesses and brands.
Keep reading to discover the different types of social media influencers based on follower count, lifestyle industry/niche, content creation, and social media platform, plus, where to find influencers and a list of the most famous social media influencers and content creators of all time.
This blog post will cover:
- How much do influencers make? How do influencers make a living?
- Influencer marketing safety tips
To start off, let's go over what it means to be an influencer.
What Is A Social Media Influencer?
Hey Siri, define social media influencer.
A social media influencer is an online creator or social media power user who uses their knowledge, personality, and skills to influence the buying habits of others.
An influencer is typically considered anyone with 1,000 or more social media followers or subscribers and will have some sort of social media presence.
Social media influencers create and post engaging content online, usually around a certain industry or niche, and cultivate highly engaged followings of thousands and millions of raving superfans on social media channels like TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, OnlyFans, Clubhouse, and Pinterest.
Currently, the top social media sites for content creators and social media influencers that offer partnership opportunities are:
One of the main reasons social media influencers are trusted by so many people online is that many influencers will give real and raw life struggles, daily routines, and online reviews.
Their videos will show everything from how well a product is packaged, expose any damages, how well the product works, if it measures up to all the hype, and if they would buy again.
Here's one viral TikTok video example with over 24.4 million views, where macro influencer @krazysarai posts an unboxing video exposing damaged products and cheaply made swimwear from Kylie Jenner's swimwear line.
kylie didn’t understand the assignment unfortunately😐 #kylieswim #fyp♬ The Assignment - Tay Money
Another example of how much impact one TikTok video can have on a restaurant business is this viral Frankensons Pizzeria TikTok video, where TikTok creator and food critic Keith Lee taste tests food from Frankensons Pizzeria and rates the food on a scale of 1-10.
The viral Frankensons Pizzeria TikTok video has over 39.7 million views.
@keith_lee125 Frankensons Pizzeria Taste test 💕 would you try it ? 💕 #foodcritic ♬ original sound - Keith Lee
Within a few days, the TikTok video made it to the local news, where the newscast highlights how the Las Vegas restaurant goes from struggling, with almost no customers to selling out after the TikTok video went viral.
@keith_lee125 3 day life update 💕 Thank you. God Is Amazing, God Bless You 🙏🏽 💕 #foodcritic ♬ original sound - Keith Lee
And the four-day update:
@keith_lee125 Frankensons Pizzeria 4 day update @keith_lee125 💕 2-3 hour wait times ALL DAY , line down the street , him and his family are working 16 hour shifts EVERYDAY 💕 God is amazing, God bless you all 🙏🏽 #foodcritic ♬ original sound - Keith Lee
How Much Money Do Social Media Influencers Make?
How Do Content Creators And Influencers Even Make Money?
If you've ever wondered how social media influencers make a living, you're in the right place.
One of the most popular ways creators and social media influencers get paid is with sponsored posts. A sponsored post is when an influencer gets paid to promote products, programs, and services to their social media followers or online community.
Related: How to make money on social media
For example, mega and celebrity influencers like Chris Ronaldo, the highest-paid influencer on Instagram in 2023, charges brands around $1.6 million for each sponsored post he shares with his followers.
Other mega influencers like Actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, with 338M followers, charge a minimum of $650k per post, and Kim Kardashian receives almost $620K per promotional post.
Here are the most popular ways content creators and social media influencers make money online:
Brand ambassador partnerships
Instagram’s Reels Bonus program
But, how much does the average social media influencer charge for a post?
Usually, the more followers you have, the more opportunities a creator has to make money.
According to eMarketer, and an analysis by Glewee, this is how much creators make on average from brand partnerships on social media platforms:
YouTube: $425 per sponsored video, $250 per sponsored post or product shoutout, and $200 per link in the description
Instagram: $225 per feed post, $175 per Reel, and $100 per Story
Facebook: $175 per feed post and $100 per Story
TikTok: $175 per feed post
Twitter: $175 per quote tweet, $100 per tweet, and $100 per retweet
How much money an online creator or influencer makes depends on a few factors like engagement rates, goals, following size, and how many brand deals, etc, are going on at the same time.
But ultimately, the amount of money an influencer makes is up to them and how much work they are willing to put in.
Pro tip: You can use tools like influence.co to calculate how much you should be charging or paying based on the type of influencer, industry, number of Instagram followers, engagement rate, country, state, city, and gender.
According to influence.co, an influencer with 25k-50k followers should charge brands an average of $207.94 for a sponsored post.
Now, let's dive into the different types of social media influencers!
5 Types Of Social Media Influencers You Need To Know In 2023
Social media influencers are broken down into five categories, each based on their follower count on social media channels like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter.
Social media influencers and creators share content on topics like mental health and wellness, entrepreneurship, diet and fitness, cars, blogging, fashion, NFTs, gaming, interior design, parenting, food and travel, beauty, plants, sports, and art.
There are dozens of categories, niches, and industries that influencers and creators can make content around and nurture an audience around.
Currently, lifestyle content is the most popular influencer category, followed by travel and food.
What's cool about content creators and social media influencers is no two influencers are the same, and every content creator that exists on the internet has their own personality and creates individualized content on whatever niche or type of content they find interesting.
Here are the different types of social media influencers based on the number of social media followers.
5 Types Of Social Media Influencers Based On Follower Count
The five types of social media influencers are:
- 1-10k social media followers = Nano influencer
10k-50k social media followers = Micro-influencer
- 50k-500k social media followers = Mid-tier influencer
- 500k-1 million social media followers = Macro influencer
1+ million social media followers = Mega or celebrity influencer
When looking at social media influencers online, the number of followers a digital creator or influencer has can greatly vary when looking at different niches, especially when looking at Instagram.
Some niches on social media attract millions of followers, while others have much lower followings--just because an influencer or social media account has a lower follower count doesn't negate its value.
Many people consider follower count one of the most important metrics to consider for influencer marketing, but engagement rates are equally important when looking at influencers online.
Engagement rates are the percentage of their audience who attend their live spaces and engage with their content, by liking, commenting, and sharing their content across social media.
Related: How to measure influencer marketing
Sometimes nano influencers and micro-influencers with only a few thousand followers will perform better and have more engaged and active followers than a mid-tier influencer, or mega influencer with millions of followers.
Once you know what to look for online, you'll notice many social media accounts and influencers get little to no engagement and are completely stagnant.
Watch out for those! 👀 #ngmi
Follower count is not as important as you think.— Shamazle 🦁🐾👑🖖💙🧢 (@shamazle) January 19, 2023
Here's what I observed from my timeline today!
I saw 3 "GM" tweet from
1. @AmeerNFTs - 94.5K (F)ollowers
2. @iamlauwolff - 60.9K F
3. @GaryLHenderson - 9909 F
Gary w/ far lesser F count had about similar Views, Comments & Likes pic.twitter.com/TYv5RVhNh2
So, does follower count really matter? 👀
Now, let's look at examples of each of the five different types of social media influencers examples based on follower count.
Social Media Influencers Examples, Plus Top Content Creators In 2023
Note: If you would like to find social media influencers yourself, go to any social media platform and search for specific keywords, phrases, usernames, hashtags, businesses, and brands to discover all types of mega creators and social media influencers online.
Social Media Influencer Examples
1. Nano Influencer
A nano influencer has between 1,000 to 10,000 social media followers.
Nano-influencers are the smallest type of influencers, and these influencers are generally pretty engaged with their followers and care about deepening relationships with their social media followers.
An example of a nano influencer is DashMonograms.
This small business owner is an online creator who makes handmade items like stickers, decals, hats, and T-shirts, and promotes and sells them across her social media channels.
She uses her Instagram profile to collaborate with other Instagram creators, promote her products, show off customer reviews, better engage with previous customers, and cultivate an audience around her personal brand.
Did you know almost half of all influencers are micro-influencers?
Micro influencers can seem like the underdog, but they actually provide some of the best results and have some of the most engaged online communities.
A micro-influencer has 10,000 to 50,000 followers on social media.
When you create the right content marketing and influencer marketing strategy and incorporate affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, endorsements, and other methods, you can make a substantial amount of cash as a micro-influencer.
On average, micro-influencers earn anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 per year.
An example of a micro-influencer on Twitter is Steve Ryan, with 105,000 Twitter followers.
Related: What is a micro-influencer?
3. Mid-Tier Influencer
A mid-tier influencer has 50,000 to 500,000 social media followers.
An example of a mid-tier influencer is lifestyle TikTok creator Sarai Jones with 225.4k followers and 15.9 million likes across her TikTok videos.
4. Macro influencer
A macro influencer is someone with 500,000 to 1 million social media followers.
An example of a macro influencer is popular YouTuber Roberto Blake.
Roberto Blake is a macro influencer on YouTube with 576,000 followers.
Roberto is a popular YouTuber dedicated to growing the creator economy who went from broke and stressed out to making $300,00 per year as a full-time creator.
He posts educational videos online to help creators make money and succeed in the creator economy.
5. Mega/Celebrity Influencer
A celebrity influencer or mega influencer has one million or more social media followers.
Celebrity influencers are usually famous people known across multiple industries who have millions of followers on more than one social media channel.
A great example of a mega influencer and top YouTuber is MrBeast, also known as Jimmy Donaldson.
The MrBeast YouTube channel has 128 million subscribers, and his videos and shorts consistently get millions to hundreds of millions of views.
MrBeast is said to be one of the highest-paid YouTube influencers of all time.
Another popular example is Twitch streamer and famous YouTuber PewDiePie.
PewDiePie is one of the best video creators and most famous Twitch streamers and YouTubers of all time.
PewDiePie ranks at the top of the charts for most influential gamers, with 1111 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.3 million followers on Twitch.
The Pewdiepie YouTube channel has received over 28 billion views (28,863,136,795 to be exact).
Next up, is mega influencer and fitness model, Pamela Reif, bringing in over 9 million followers on both her Instagram profile and her YouTube channel.
Lastly, is mega Instagram influencer and famous athlete, Leo Messi.
The celebrity influencer is one of the most followed people on Instagram, and Messi has the second most followed account with 421 million Instagram followers.
Do you think influencer marketing is important? Will you be using influencer marketing in 2023?
Overall, influencer marketing is on the rise and is a great way to increase brand exposure, speed up growth, and make money online in the creator economy.
Before working with brands or paying an influencer or content creator, make sure to do your research (DYOR).
Here are some simple precautions you can take and major red flags to look out for when working with social media influencers and content creators online:
Take note of how well the influencer engages with their followers and online community, and how fast they respond back to comments, questions, and concerns
Do they post unique comments, or copy and paste responses?
- How consistently do they go live and show up for their community?
How active are their followers and community members?
Try out tools to help you analyze engagement rates, etc