5 types of brand influencers: Which one is right for you?

If you’re familiar with influencer marketing, you probably know that finding the right influencers is one of the biggest challenges brands face.

Should you work with a celebrity Instagrammer? What about a trendsetting YouTuber? Or would a blogging micro-influencer resonate best with your customer base? In this post, you’ll learn about some of the different types of influencers, and how to find the right influencers for your brand.

1. The Celebrity Influencer

The celebrity influencer is a famous personality with a large-scale reach. They may be an actor, a musician, a socialite, a sportsperson, or anyone who has influence in mainstream media. There’s no denying that pop culture has a huge influence on consumers’ behavior and decisions. This is why some brands choose to work with celebrity influencers, who have a massive reach in popular media.

Although working with these influencers may be expensive, they can offer a large reach, and major exposure for your brand, as well as high ROI. They’re ideal if you have no specific target audience, and simply want to raise brand awareness amongst the masses. They’re also the perfect influencers for you if you have several target demographics, spanning across various age groups and genders.

The #BestDayEver campaign by Chevrolet is an excellent example of an influencer marketing campaign with celebrity influencers. The brand wanted to lift their reputation and raise positive impressions by promoting a day filled with positivity. The campaign involved celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Olivia Wilde acting as substitute teachers at colleges, and Kelly Clarkson doing a surprise performance in L.A.

2. The Trendsetter Influencer

Trendsetting influencers are most popular in the fields of beauty, fashion, entertainment, and technology. They lead the way in their respective fields, and are often known to set new trends and get others to follow along. These influencers aren’t necessarily individuals, but can also be publishers, like BuzzFeed, Nat Geo Travel, E! Online, etc.

Partnering with a trendsetting influencer is ideal if you’re going to launch a new tech product; line of clothing, accessories, or beauty products; or an entirely new invention. They’re the right type of influencers if you’re mainly targeting an audience of teenagers and young adults online or on social media, where these influencers have a major influence.

Social media stars are some of the best brand influencers to work with. Mercedes Benz did a great job of partnering with Instagram-famous Loki the Wolfdog, who has a following of 1.3 million. Loki and his owner Kelly Lund went on a trip to the snowy mountains of Colorado, driving a 2017 Mercedes GLS. The pair provided users with a 360° experience of their adventure with another camera showcasing the car’s interiors.

3. The Expert Influencer

Experts and gurus are some of the best types of influencers to work with. They are knowledgeable in their area of expertise, and have a massive following of people who are interested in what they have to say.

Their followers look to them for guidance and recommendations regarding their purchases. So they can help you convince your target audience to trust your brand, and buy your products.

The best part is that you can find an influential expert in almost every field – whether it’s technology, gaming, fashion, beauty, food, marketing, or even finance. Their followings are comprised of people who have an interest in their field of expertise, and may even know quite a bit about said field.

This means that partnering with experts or gurus can be ideal if you want to reach an audience who already has some knowledge about your niche, and who is open to new ideas and tips for further learning. When you’re targeting this type of audience, the goal should be to have an expert validate the value or need of your product or service.

For example, you can partner with an influential figure in the marketing industry if you’re promoting some technology or software to help marketers. This influencer will be able to reach an audience of novice and expert marketers, who are most likely to be interested in your product.

Startup beauty retailer Memebox managed to raise their year-over-year revenue by 670% by partnering with popular beauty experts. The influencers helped start a trend for the use of the brand’s makeup products.

Memebox also created a new line of products, Pony Effect, in partnership with Korean beauty vlogger Pony, who has more than 2 million YouTube subscribers, and 3 million followers on Instagram. When Memebox released a new eyeshadow from the Pony Effect line late last year, they sold 20,000 units in just 45 minutes.

memebox pony shine on easy glam

4. The Blogger Influencer

Like influential experts, influential bloggers are also very knowledgeable about their fields of expertise. For example, there are mommy bloggers, who provide fellow mothers and parents with parenting advice, and product recommendations. And style bloggers, who update fans with the latest fashion trends and tips.

Blogger influencers are part expert, part trendsetter. They set trends, and are also considered experts in their niches. Their audiences consider them to be trustworthy sources of advice, and recommendations, which gives them a great deal of influence over the purchase decisions of their followers.

Working with a blogger influencer is ideal if you want to reach a niche audience, and drive more conversions. These influencers can write sponsored posts, and promote giveaways for your products, helping you engage a highly-targeted audience. They can not only help raise awareness about your products, but also validate their need and value through reviews and how-to’s.

Staub promoted a giveaway of their cookware through influential food blogs like Love & Lemons. In the post, the blogger provided readers with a short narrative about why she loves the brand’s cookware. She also posted details about the contest and invited readers to participate.

Staub Love and Lemons

5. The Advocate Influencer

An advocate may be one of your most valuable assets for marketing your brand. People trust recommendations coming from other consumers, so you can build trust in your brand by leveraging your influential customers. Although they may not have as much influence or reach as celebrity influencers or experts, they’re considered trustworthy for purchase recommendations and often have higher levels of engagement than other influencers. In addition to your loyal customers, you can also look for influential fans. These are micro-influencers who are already fans of your brand or products.

They have a significant reach, which can help boost your brand’s visibility. They’re also considered knowledgeable in their respective niches, meaning your target audience will deem their recommendations trustworthy. It’s ideal to work with brand advocates if you’re trying to win the trust of a new audience.

Old Navy uses customer photos as testimonials to tell the stories of influential customers. In this case, the brand was able to combine different types of influencers by working with existing fans, fashion influencers, and trendsetters in the fashion industry.

Old Navy

Now that you know more about the different types of social influencers, you should have a better idea of which of them will resonate best with your brand’s customer base. When choosing an influencer to work with, it’s important to consider your customer base, but make sure you take into account the specific goals of your campaign as well.

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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