Beauty blogger presenting makeup cosmetics in front of camera
Influencer marketing is a growing marketing strategy. To begin leveraging influencer marketing for your business, here are the top social media influencers across nine industries. — Getty Images/ twinsterphoto

Digital marketing trends continually evolve with fluctuation in the popularity of certain social media platforms as well as the emergence of new ones. Influencer marketing is an important digital marketing consideration for businesses looking for the key to quickly and effectively expanding their reach. In fact, working with the right influencer for a marketing campaign has the potential to save money and increase returns for social media campaigns — without compromising value.

Influencer marketing is about trust. By using an influencer for marketing campaigns, businesses benefit from having their brand vetted — by an influencer — before introducing a product or service to a potential customer base. If an influencer approves, consumers are more likely to trust the brand.

In fact, 63% of 18- to 34-year-olds trust influencer opinions more than messages from brands themselves, making influencer marketing a highly effective strategy to target Gen Z consumers. For other age groups, influencer marketing is still relevant and valuable. Influencer marketing has grown 42% over the past year — worth $13.8 billion in 2021 — with 63% of businesses planning to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year.

[Read: How to Make TikTok Videos That Drive Sales]

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is social media marketing that leverages the influence of individuals with a dedicated social media following. Through the influencer, consumers engage with a business targeting them as potential customers.

Because followers trust influencers as experts in their industries, marketers can collaborate with influencers to promote their brands through recommendations or featured content. This can be explicit, but it’s most effective when it’s subtle, woven into the influencer’s social media content without disrupting style and message. By incorporating an influencer into your marketing strategy, followers may be more likely to believe your brand is aligned with a philosophy or interests they trust, which leads them to engage with your brand.

Top influencers by category

Influencer Marketing Hub defines an influencer as someone who has the power to impact consumers' purchasing decisions because of their "authority, knowledge, position or relationship" with their audience. These individuals typically have a following in a particular niche and actively engage with that following.

So, which social media users are the most influential in your industry? Using a combination of influencer lists and social media platform research, we've identified the top five individual social media influencers across nine major industries, with current follower counts for their top two channels as of December 2021.

Automotive

  • Tim "Shmee" Burton (Shmee150): Automotive vlogger. 2.31M YouTube subscribers, 1.5M Instagram followers.
  • Eric Cook (EricTheCarGuy): Auto repair and tips vlogger. 1.64M YouTube subscribers, 155K Facebook followers.
  • Do It With Dan: Motorcycle vlogger. 1.17M YouTube subscribers, 320K Instagram followers.
  • David Patterson (ThatDudeInBlue): Car reviewer. 1.17M YouTube subscribers, 262K Instagram followers.
  • Matt Farah (TheSmokingTire): Automotive podcast host. 1.03M YouTube subscribers, 293K Instagram followers.

Beauty

  • Huda Kattan (HudaBeauty): Makeup artist and blogger. 49.6M Instagram followers, 4.1M YouTube subscribers.
  • James Charles Dickinson (James Charles): Celebrity makeup artist and vlogger. 24.5M YouTube subscribers, 24.1M Instagram followers.
  • Jeffrey Lynn Steininger, Jr. (Jeffreestar): Makeup artist and cosmetics brand creator. 16.2M YouTube subscribers, 13.5M Instagram followers.
  • Rachel Levin (rclbeauty101): Celebrity makeup artist and vlogger. 14.5M YouTube subscribers, 3.5M Instagram followers.
  • Bethany Mota: Lifestyle, makeup and hairstyle vlogger. 9.68M YouTube subscribers, 4.7M Instagram followers.

Business

  • Richard Branson: Founder of the Virgin Group. 12.6M Twitter followers, 4.6M Instagram followers.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk (GaryVee): Investor and CEO of Vayner Media and Vayner Sports. 9.4M Instagram followers, 2.6M Twitter followers.
  • Grant Cardone: Business author and serial entrepreneur. 6.7M Facebook followers, 3.5M Instagram followers.
  • Martha Debayle: Radio/TV host and founder of MKK Group. 4.2M Facebook followers, 2.5M Twitter followers.
  • Daymond John (TheSharkDaymond): “Shark Tank” investor and founder of FUBU. 1.3M Instagram followers, 692K Twitter followers.

[Read: 5 Business Lessons From Shark Tank's Daymond John]

Fashion

  • Chiara Ferragni: Fashion blogger and entrepreneur. 25.6M Instagram followers, 1.2M Facebook followers.
  • Camila Coelho: Fashion designer and entrepreneur. 9.3M Instagram followers, 1.26M YouTube subscribers.
  • Olivia Palermo: Fashion entrepreneur. 9M Instagram followers, 1.3M Facebook followers.
  • Negin Mirsalehi: Fashion and lifestyle vlogger and entrepreneur. 6.8M Instagram followers, 507K YouTube subscribers.
  • Mariano Di Vaio: Fashion blogger and designer. 6.5M Instagram followers, 239K YouTube subscribers.

It's important to know their followers care about what they share. We’ve found those who have already engaged with [our brand] are more likely to share quality content that will resonate.

Patrina Couling, head of sponsorship and events, Rooftop Cinema Club

Food

  • Jamie Oliver: Chef, restaurateur and TV host. 8.9M Facebook followers, 8.7M Instagram followers.
  • Rosanna Pansino: Baker and food vlogger. 13M YouTube subscribers, 4.3M Instagram followers.
  • Andrew Rea (Binging with Babish): Food/cooking vlogger. 9.39M YouTube subscribers, 1M Instagram followers.
  • Jun Yoshizuki (Juns Kitchen): Food/cooking vlogger. 5.28M YouTube subscribers, 162K Instagram followers.
  • Laura Vitale (Laura in the Kitchen): Food/cooking vlogger. 3.85M YouTube subscribers, 1M Facebook followers.

Gaming and technology

  • Mark Fischbach (Markiplier): Gaming and entertainment vlogger. 30.43M YouTube subscribers, 9.3M Instagram followers.
  • Lia Shelesh (SSSniperWolf): Gaming vlogger. 30.32M YouTube subscribers, 5.2M Instagram followers.
  • Seán William McLoughlin (Jacksepticeye): Gaming and comedy vlogger. 27.7M YouTube subscribers, 7.5M Instagram followers.
  • Evan Fong (VanossGaming): Gaming vlogger. 25.6M YouTube subscribers, 3.6M Instagram followers.
  • Daniel Middleton (DanTDM): Professional gamer and gaming vlogger. 25.7M YouTube subscribers, 3.3M Instagram followers.

Health and fitness

  • Kayla Itsines: Fitness vlogger and entrepreneur. 28M Facebook followers, 13.6M Instagram followers
  • Michelle Lewin: Personal trainer and fitness entrepreneur. 14.4M Instagram followers, 8.7M Facebook followers.
  • Anllela Sagra: Personal trainer and fitness entrepreneur. 13.8M Instagram followers, 1M Facebook followers.
  • Simeon Panda: Fitness vlogger and entrepreneur. 7.9M Instagram followers, 2.58M YouTube subscribers.
  • Cassey Ho (blogilates): Fitness vlogger and entrepreneur. 5.7M YouTube subscribers, 2.2M Instagram followers.

Home and parenting

  • Louise Pentland: Parenting and lifestyle blogger and vlogger. 2.8M Instagram followers, 2.25M YouTube subscribers.
  • Meg Resnikoff and Elle Walker (WhatsUpMoms): Parenting vloggers. 3.36M YouTube subscribers, 125K Instagram followers.
  • Jennifer Anderson (Kids Eat in Color): Public health registered dietician and entrepreneur. 1.5M Instagram followers, 304K Facebook followers.
  • Ildiko Ferenczi: Entrepreneur and family and parenting podcaster. 1.6M Instagram followers, 145K Facebook followers.
  • Amber Fillerup Clark: Lifestyle vlogger and entrepreneur. 1.3M Instagram followers, 214K YouTube subscribers.

Travel

  • Chris Burkard: Photographer and director. 3.7M Instagram followers, 663K Facebook followers.
  • The Bucket List Family: Travel bloggers/vloggers. 2.6M Instagram followers, 1.36M YouTube subscribers.
  • Wil Dasovich: Travel and lifestyle vlogger. 2.74M YouTube subscribers, 864K Instagram followers.
  • Louis Cole (FunForLouis): Travel vlogger. 2M YouTube subscribers, 1.1M Instagram followers.
  • Jennifer Tuffen (izkiz): Travel and lifestyle blogger. 2.8M Instagram followers, 9.8K Facebook followers.

Quality over quantity: Why follower count isn't everything

While the above influencers do have massive followings on social media, you shouldn't necessarily discount micro-influencers (1,000 to 100,000 followers) or even nano-influencers (less than 1,000 followers) for your brand. Many brands, including Rooftop Cinema Club, which provides rooftop, drive-in and park movie viewing experiences, have found great success with influencers who have smaller but very highly engaged audiences.

"For us, it's about their engagement rate rather than follower count,” said Patrina Couling, current head of sponsorship and events and former director of marketing and partnerships at Rooftop Cinema Club. “It's important to know their followers care about what they share. We’ve found those who have already engaged with [our brand] are more likely to share quality content that will resonate."

Couling recommends selecting influencers based on the following criteria:

  • They understand, value and appreciate your brand.
  • They are within your core demographic.
  • Their own brand and audience "fit" and align with yours.

When it comes time to approach the influencer about working with your brand, Couling says it's important to offer them something of value. Then, provide clear guidelines and criteria for what you expect in return (e.g., posting, engaging and sharing).

"Work with them, too,” she said. “Be flexible in finding offers that are enticing for their followers."

For more influencer marketing tips, check out our guide to finding and working with influencers.

[Read: How Big Brands Are Leveraging Micro-Influencers to Spur Growth]

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Published December 09, 2021