You’ve learned that there are many ways to make money as a content creator. One of them is by posting sponsored content on your TikTok or Facebook and becoming a social media influencer.

You read it right. There are millions of people around the world who make a living as influencers. In fact, the influencer marketing industry was worth $13.8 billion in 2022, and it is only going to grow in the years to come. This is a huge opportunity if you want to jump in.

So, what is an influencer? And how do you become one? In short, you need to encourage your followers to use certain products or services.

In this blog post, we’ll learn about the influencer definition. Plus, we’ll explore the different types of social media influencers and how they get paid. So, get ready to learn everything you need to know about influencers on social media!

What Is an Influencer?

An influencer is someone who can get people to do things. They might be doing that on purpose or without even realizing it. That’s because people see the influencer as knowledgeable or reputable in a certain niche.

You can think of Charli D’Amelio as the fashion world’s big name, Gordon Ramsay as the culinary world’s superstar, or any other names with a great reputation in their niche.

Basically, that’s the basic influencer definition we can rely on. In that sense, influencers can be:

  • Industry experts like Neil Patel, Anna Wintour, Hideo Kojima
  • Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Tony Robbins
  • Creatives like David Dobrik, Liza Koshy, and Paul Rand
  • Athletes like LeBron James, Serena Williams, and Cristiano Ronaldo

But things have changed a bit when digital marketing rises. When people do most things online, businesses search for effective ways to promote their products.

That’s when influencers become a powerful resource to reach specific target audiences. A social influencer are expected to persuade others to buy specific products and services.

In this case, influencers don’t just stumble upon recommending products and services anymore. That’s right, influencer marketing has become a huge phenomenon. In 2022 alone, the U.S. influencer market reached a value of 16.4 billion. This is jaw-dropping.

What is a Social Media Influencer?

Social media influencers are people who use their social media accounts to promote products and services to their followers. In short, they are influencers on social media platforms.

A social media influencer often collaborates with brands to create sponsored content. They get paid to post about the brand’s products or services.

Many businesses start to think about it because social media influencers usually have a big following. So, whenever they post about a product, a lot of people will see it. This is awesome for businesses looking to spread the word about their products.

You can find many examples when you check your timeline right now. To name a few, you must have remembered when Justin Tse promoted Sony PlayStation VR on his Instagram, and PewDiePie recommended NordVPN as one of the great VPNs for gaming streamers on YouTube.

Bear in mind, influence is all about trust. This holds true for social media influencers as well. The more credible they are in a specific niche or industry, the more likely people will listen to their recommendations.

But being a social media influencer isn’t always about big names in specific fields. It can be anyone who has the power to influence their target audiences, like:

  • TikTok users who rapidly gain popularity due to originality and trend-catching like Khaby Lame.
  • Local artists who showcase various artwork and support local businesses.
  • Food reviewers who explore hidden gems and share culinary adventures like KarissaEats.
  • Fitness enthusiasts who promote healthy lifestyles and share workout routines like Joe Wicks.

What Does a Social Media Influencer Do?

Social media influencers create content and share it with their followers. That way, they will know about it and consider buying products from the brands. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Build Credibility and Expertise in Certain Topics

This is one of the most important things for a social media influencer. As an influencer, you’ll put in a lot of time and effort to build trust in your chosen niche.

For some creators, this can be tough. You need to create top-notch content, expert insights, and stay up-to-date on trends consistently. But if you can do it, your expertise will become a key part of your personal brand and help you attract a loyal following.

2. Create Content Resonates with Audience

Just remember, being an influencer isn’t just about sharing your knowledge. You also need to connect with your audience. That means matching their interests and values in everything you post, whether a blog post, photo, video, or podcast.

For example, if you’re a fashion influencer, you’d be better off posting short videos and images on Instagram than tweeting about how to do makeup on Twitter.

3. Collaborate with Brands to Promote Their Businesses

As mentioned earlier, modern social influencers often partner with brands to promote products.

But bear in mind that a great influencer knows how to strike the right balance between meeting the brand’s goals and keeping their loyal followers engaged. You can’t sacrifice one for another if you want to build a long-term career as a social media influencer.

Read More: How To Attract More Brand Deals As An Influencer

4. Share Content at the Best Times to Get More Attention

When you work with a brand to promote a product, it’s important to remember that the post is not just about you. You have to make sure the post gets noticed by your audience.

One of the best ways to make this happen is by posting at the right time. For instance, if you’re into TikTok, you can find the best times to post on TikTok.

5. Reply to Comments and Messages

Keeping in touch with your followers is an important aspect of being a social media influencer. When your followers have questions or opinions about the products you promote, make sure to respond to comments and answer direct messages.

Why is this important? It shows your expertise and reflects your responsibility in promoting those products to them.

Type of Social Media Influencer

Now, here’s the question: “How many followers do you need to be an influencer?” Well, it depends on the type of social media influencer you are. Here’s the breakdown:

Nano Influencers

  • Based on: Audience Size
  • Total Followers: 1,000 — 10,000

The total number of followers for any type of influencer may vary. In this post, we’ll use the latest research by AspireIQ.

Nano influencers are considered to have fewer than 10,000 followers. But don’t get it wrong. They actually have a high engagement rate, thanks to their close communities.

So, why do they get such effective engagement for every post? It’s because they’re real, and their followers truly value their recommendations.

You can think of names like Jill Smokler and Chelsea Homer as examples of nano influencers. But, of course, you can easily find many of them in your timeline.

Micro Influencers

  • Based on: Audience Size
  • Total Followers: 10,000 — 60,000

Micro influencers typically have follower counts ranging from 10,000 to 60,000. Although they may not be well-known names, their opinions hold much weight within their niche.

One of the reasons for their influence is that they are often consumers themselves. In fact, nearly 69% of brands today collaborate with micro influencers. Not to mention that they are mostly approachable.

It really depends on your specific area and niche, but Madeline Fricke and Carol Salazar can be awesome examples of micro influencers on TikTok and Instagram.

Mid Tier Influencers

  • Based on: Audience Size
  • Total Followers: 60,000 — 200,000

Some people don’t think there are mid-tier influencers because they just go straight from micro to macro.

Mid-tier influencers have moved beyond the micro level but haven’t reached the macro level yet. They have a considerable following, from 60,000 to 200,000. However, they still maintain a personal connection with their followers.

When it comes to mid-tier social media influencers, Alexandra Hamilton and Carly Rowena are nice examples.

Macro Influencers

  • Based on: Audience Size
  • Total Followers: 200,000 — 1 million

Macro influencers have a massive following on any of their social media accounts. They have earned a name online, attracting followers from various interests. As a result, their influence extends to a larger reaches diverse audience.

When you become a macro influencer, you might not have the same close connection with your audience as before. But, because you’re well-known, you can still influence your followers’ behavior.

That’s why many brands choose to collaborate with macro influencers for product launches. Andrea Alayon, with over 900K followers, is one of the popular beauty macro influencers.

Mega Influencers

  • Based on: Audience Size
  • Total Followers: 1 million and above

Mega influencers are the top tier of social media influencers. They can be famous actors, musicians, athletes, or anyone who has gained offline popularity and brought it to social media.

They have a massive following, which makes them the perfect partner for brands seeking maximum exposure. However, their engagement rates may not be as high as those of micro or nano influencers.

Kylie Jenner and David Beckham are some of the mega influencers out there.


  • Based on: Content
  • Types of Content: Long-form videos

YouTubers are influencers who use YouTube as their platform. They create and share a wide range of content, from vlogs and tutorials to reviews and sketches.

Brands love collaborating with YouTubers because they strongly connect with their audience. Their loyal subscribers are always excited to see their new content.


  • Based on: Content
  • Types of Content: Live Video Streams

Streamers are content creators who go live in front of an audience on platforms like Twitch or YouTube. If you’re a streamer, you can also be a social media influencer.

In fact, there are the highest-paid Twitch streamers who have a loyal audience and become major social influencers. You can think of Ninja, Pokimane, or xQc. Streamers connect with their viewers through live chats, creating an interactive experience that recorded content can’t match.


  • Based on: Content
  • Types of Content: Audio Broadcasts

If you’re a fan of Joe Rogan, you know how much influence a podcaster can have when talking about specific issues. That’s why podcasters can be powerful social influencers.

Podcasters create interesting audio content that covers a range of topics, from news and true crime to self-help and comedy. You must be familiar with The Tim Ferriss Show, 99% Invisible, Invisibilia and more.

The good news is the podcasting industry has been booming. Successful podcasters often collaborate with brands for sponsored segments or ads.


  • Based on: Niche
  • Platform: Instagram, TikTok

Did you know that if you’re a talented musician or know much about musical instruments, you can also become an influencer?

Well, you don’t have to be a mega influencer with millions of followers to get started. It’s all about finding your niche and connecting with the right audience who appreciate your unique talents.

And if you’re not into traditional instruments like the guitar or violin, you can try something different, like using a Launchpad. Take inspiration from creators like Kaskobi, who have gained millions of views on YouTube and are popular on Instagram.

Gaming Influencers

Based on: Niche
Platform: Twitch, YouTube

Gaming influencers are all about sharing their passion for video games with their followers. They post gameplay videos, reviews, and updates about the latest games and gaming gear.

Now, some people might think they’re just doing it for fun, but there’s more to it. The gaming market will be worth US$ 546.99 billion in 2023. That means gaming influencers can greatly impact whether a game or a streaming platform succeeds based on their reviews and recommendations.

Technology Influencers

  • Based on: Niche
  • Platform: Instagram, YouTube, TikTok

Tech influencers on social media might do more than just show off the latest gadgets. Because their followers trust their opinions, their reviews can greatly influence people’s buying decisions.

That’s why tech companies often give influencers early access to new products. This way, they can help boost sales when the product is finally released. The products can be a gaming mic, a DSLR camera for streaming, or any other equipment.

Fashion Influencers

  • Based on: Niche
  • Platform: Instagram, TikTok, YouTube

Fashion influencers are trendsetters who inspire their followers’ styles. They share fashion advice, showcase the latest trends, and collaborate with clothing brands to promote their products.

Their influence is huge in the fashion industry, and their outfit posts often drive up sales for the brands they feature.

If you are a fashion influencer, there’s a chance you may get invited to fashion weeks or local fashion shows. This allows you to give your followers a sneak peek into the exclusive world of high fashion.

Beauty Influencers

  • Based on: Niche
  • Platform: Instagram, TikTok, YouTube

As its name suggests, beauty influencers are makeup experts. They love using social media to create and share makeup tutorials, product reviews, and more. Their followers trust their advice because they know their things.

Beauty influencers on social media can have a significant impact on product success. Their reviews can strongly influence the perception of a product among their followers.

Fitness Influencers

  • Based on: Niche
  • Platform: Instagram, YouTube, TikTok

Fitness influencers are all about inspiring their followers to live healthier and more active lives. They’ve become really popular these days.

As you might have guessed, their social media accounts are filled with workout routines, nutrition tips, and even their own fitness journeys. You’re right. This kind of content can really motivate their followers to reach their health goals.

If you decide to be a social media influencer in the wellness niche, you’ll probably partner with fitness and wellness brands. You’ll promote products that fit with your healthy lifestyle.

Food Influencers

  • Based on: Niche
  • Platform: Instagram, YouTube, TikTok

Who doesn’t love watching a food reviewer enjoying their food? It always makes us crave something delicious.

Food influencers are great at inspiring people to try new dishes and discover amazing restaurants. They share recipes, restaurant reviews, food photography, and even travel content focused on local cuisine.

Just like gaming influencers, they don’t just do it for fun. They may work with restaurants, cafes, food and kitchenware brands to promote their products and services.


  • Based on: Relationship

Affiliate influencers are a common type of social media influencer. They make money by promoting products or services on their social media platforms and earning a commission on any sales they generate.

Yes, they don’t just post content because they’re passionate about it. They intentionally promote brands’ products or services in exchange for a commission on any sales they generate.

Brand Ambassador

  • Based on: Relationship

If affiliates are social media influencers who join affiliate programs, brand ambassadors are selected by brands for long-term partnerships. These partnerships go beyond simply promoting the brand’s products.

Brand ambassadors represent the brand’s image and values, so they must fully understand the brand and consistently feature its products in their content.

If they fail to do so, it can harm the brand’s reputation. For instance, when LeBron James unconsciously tweeted about an issue with his Samsung phone and later deleted it, it could have hurt Samsung’s brand image.

Key Opinion Leaders

  • Based on: Expertise

The last type of social media influencers is key opinion leaders. They are experts in their field and known as reliable sources of information.

People turn to them for advice, so their opinions carry much weight. When they endorse a product, it enhances the brand’s reputation. Some well-known KOLs include Elon Musk in the tech industry and Warren Buffett in finance.

How To Make Money as Social Media Influencer?

If you’re active on social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and more, the door is wide open for you to become a social media influencer. But do you know how to make money as a social media influencer?

Simply put, you need to introduce brands or their products to your followers. Here are the details of the way you get paid as an influencer:

1. Sponsored Posts

Brands will pay you to bring in their products on your social media. It can be through posts, stories, videos, or even tweets. However, it’s worth noting that video content on social media tends to generate 1200% more shares than text and image posts.

That said, if you create video content like a TikTok user or even vTuber, you might have the potential for better pay. How much can you can? Well, it depends on the size of your following, engagement rate, and the type of products.

On top of that, you can post sponsored content for a single post or a series of posts.

2. Brand Partnerships

Working with brands in a partnership is a more long-term commitment compared to a sponsored post. That means social media influencers can potentially earn more money.

This is often seen with influencers who are celebrities or well-known experts in their field. Brands will ask them to regularly post about the product in specific ways according to a contract they agree upon.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing. Mostly, it is a program with a reward-based system that anyone can join, including a social influencer.

As a social media influencer, you make money whenever someone buys something through your posts. When people click your special link and make a purchase, you’ll earn a percentage of the sale.

So, next time you hear a YouTuber say, “Check out the link below,” they might be an affiliate for that product, earning money every time their subscribers buy something.

4. Product Seeding

Certain brands choose to give influencers free products or services, hoping they’ll review, promote, or simply use them in their content.

Product seeding can be a great opportunity for new or micro influencers to start working with brands. The reason is no pressure of a formal paid partnership yet.

As an influencer, you get to try out new products before they’re available to the public. This creates curiosity and a fear of missing out among your followers. That way, it will make them want to grab the product as soon as it’s launched.

Fret not, as a social media influencer, you may also receive compensation through sales commissions or flat fees, too. However, what matters most to the brand is how influencers use and showcase the product to their followers.

Final Thoughts On Social Media Influencers

So, what is an influencer? It’s anyone who can get others to take action based on what they’re doing themselves. On the other hand, social media influencers are users who encourage their followers to try out specific products and services through their posts.

To become a social media influencer, what you need to do is build your credibility or expertise in a particular niche. Then, you can collaborate with brands to promote products on your social media platforms.

We’ve explained a few ways to make money as a social media influencer. You can earn commissions as an affiliate, get paid for sponsored posts or brand partnerships, or even receive free products through product seeding.

Now that you have all the information, are you ready to become the next social media influencer? Wishing you the best!

FAQ On Social Media Influencers

What is an influencer?

An influencer is someone who can make a difference in how others decide things. They have authority, knowledge, or a strong relationship with their audience. Usually, influencers focus on specific areas and have loyal and active followers.

What is a social media influencer?

A social media influencer is someone who has built trust and expertise in a specific niche on social media platforms, from TikTok and YouTube to Facebook and Twitter. They have a large following and can influence others due to their reach.

What does a social media influencer do?

A social media influencer creates excellent content about a specific topic, showcasing their expertise. Most of the time, they grab attention and engage with their followers. Often, they collaborate with brands to promote products or services using their influence. Mainly, it’s all about encouraging followers to buy or sign up for new product launches.

How to become a social media influencer?

To become a social media influencer, you need to find something you’re passionate about. Then, you can start creating high-quality content and engage with your audience consistently. As you go, you’ll gradually gather a loyal following and have the potential to influence others through your words and actions.

How do influencers make money?

Influencers can make money in many ways. Some examples include posting sponsored content, participating in affiliate marketing programs, partnering with brands, and participating in product seeding.


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