Top 9 Instagram influencers by followers in 2023

Oluwatosin Jegede

In the social media world, a select few truly shine. Top influencers have figured it out, transforming posts into profit. They’re not just popular; they’re influential, turning content into impressive paydays. It’s fascinating to see how many began on platforms like Vine, YouTube, or TikTok and then transitioned to Instagram, bringing their vast audiences with them.

Today, we’re zeroing in on Instagram’s elite nine. They’ve honed their skills for years, crafting their brand from the ground up. Let’s explore their journey, understand collaboration dynamics, and uncover what truly defines a mega-influencer today.

What makes someone a top influencer?

When it comes to standing out on social media, what really makes someone a top influencer?

  • Followers count: Every influencer on our list is a mega influencer, boasting over a million followers;

  • Engagement: We scrutinize likes, comments, and shares to gauge real-time interaction;

  • Brand collaborations: Quantity and quality matter. Which brands do they partner with? And are these brands industry leaders?

  • Post patterns: Do they consistently work with specific brands? Are they long-term ambassadors, or do they opt for spontaneous promotions?

  • Partnership nature: What’s the depth of their brand association? Are they event attendees, campaign faces, or collaborators in product lines?

Read also: Tailoring marketing strategies: all about generational marketing in the digital era

The top 9 influencers on Instagram

Are you curious about the Insta elites of 2023? Let’s unravel the top nine.

1. Khaby Lame

  • Followers: 80M (@khaby00)
  • Niche: Comedy, Lifestyle
  • Origin: TikTok

If Khaby Lame being at the top catches you off guard, it’s high time you dived deeper into TikTok! This Senegalese-Italian creator is the reigning champion over there. On Instagram? He’s shooting hoops with NBA legends, chilling with Snoop Dogg, and endorsing big names like Binance, Google Pixel, and Hugo Boss.

2. Huda Beauty

  • Followers: 2.6M (@huda personal account) + 51.9M (@hudabeauty brand account)
  • Niche: Beauty
  • Origin: YouTube

Remember Huda Kattan? She graced the online world with her beauty blog and YouTube channel back in 2010. Fast forward to now, and she’s the genius behind the billion-dollar beauty titan, Huda Beauty. Spot her on Instagram, and you’ll see her using only her brand’s offerings in “get ready with me” videos. This ingenious influencer-business model has skyrocketed her to our second spot.

3. Lele Pons

  • Followers: 50.5M (@lelepons)
  • Niche: Entertainment
  • Origin: Vine

Lele Pons burst into the scene with her comedic chops on Vine. From there, her journey saw musical notes, modeling gigs, and acting roles. Today, her Instagram oozes a blend of sizzling model photos, glimpses of her daily shenanigans, and promos for brands like the Sweat app.

4. Charli D’Amelio

  • Followers: 28.4M (@chiaraferragni)
  • Niche: Entertainment
  • Origin: TikTok

Meet Charli D’Amelio, the 18-year-old dance sensation who began her journey on TikTok in 2019. Topping the charts as TikTok’s highest earner in 2022, Charli isn’t just about dance. She’s got her music, her perfume line, and even clinched victory on Dancing With the Stars’ 31st season. On Instagram, she’s the face for giants like Prada, Amazon, and Spotify.

5. Chiara Ferragni

  • Followers: 28.4M (@chiaraferragni)
  • Niche: Fashion
  • Origin: Blogging

Enter the world of Chiara Ferragni, the Italian fashion icon. A decade-plus since she kicked off ‘The Blonde Salad’ in 2009, her influence remains undiminished. Her feed? A blend of fashion-forward looks peeks into her life as a mom and brand collabs. With her model, designer, and TV presenter hats on, she’s sprinkled her European elegance on brands like Nespresso, Fendi, and Prada Beauty.

6. Sommer Ray

  • Followers: 26.3M (@sommerray)
  • Niche: Fitness
  • Origin: Vine

Flashback to the early 2010s, and you’d find Sommer Ray making waves on Vine. Fast forward to now, and she’s an Instagram fitness guru showcasing her fitness regimens, apparel line, and holistic wellness brand. Partnering with brands like DraftKings, Quest Nutrition, and the James Hotel, Sommer is all about healthy living.

7. Cameron Dallas

  • Followers: 25.1M (@camerondallas)
  • Niche: Entertainment (Comedy)
  • Origin: Vine

Rewind to 2012, and Cameron Dallas was Vine’s comedy star. He rode that fame wave into stage and screen gigs. Come 2021, Dallas was pioneering Fanfix, a platform helping creators cash in on their craft. A year later, with an 8-figure sale to SuperOrdinary, Dallas’s star continues to rise. On the brand front, he’s been spotted with Swarovski and Fendi.

8. Zach King

  • Followers: 24.6M (@zachking)
  • Niche: Entertainment (Magic)
  • Origin: YouTube/Vine

Zach King’s a digital magician. Literally. Known for his “digital sleight of hand” videos, he’s not just about the tricks but also the record-breaking feats. Case in point? He has a Guinness World Record for a TikTok video with 2.2 billion views! Collaborating with brands like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Turkish Airlines, King crafts magical adverts that fit right into his captivating feed.

9. Amanda Cerny

  • Followers: 23.3M (@amandacerny)
  • Niche: Entertainment (Comedy)
  • Origin: Vine

Amanda Cerny is a name synonymous with laughter. Starting off as a model and featuring in Playboy, she soon joined the comedy circuit on Vine, often pairing with fellow comedian Lele Pons. Her Instagram? It is an exciting blend of comedy, model shots, and brand collaborations. From glamorous Playboy shoots to glitzy partnerships with Glamira, she’s got variety in spades.

How to work with top social media influencers

Step 1: Research is crucial

Top influencers are often flooded with endorsement offers. Before approaching them, do your homework. Identify influencers with values that align with your brand and whose followers match your target audience. Study their past endorsements to gauge if your brand would be a good fit.

Step 2: Craft a compelling pitch

After zeroing in on the right influencer, your pitch should be clear, concise, and tailored to them. Highlight how your brand aligns with their values. Specify campaign timelines, key metrics, and deliverables. And remember, top-tier influencers command top dollar. Ensure your budget reflects their worth and that the collaboration would yield a positive return on investment.

Step 3: Choose the right outreach method

Directly messaging an influencer on Instagram might seem easy, but it’s ineffective. Their DMs are often overflowing with similar requests. Instead, if they have a management contact listed on their profile or website, reach out there. Personalize your email, keep it to the point, and reference their past successful partnerships. If direct contact seems elusive, platforms that link brands with influencers can be invaluable.

Step 4: Prioritize collaboration

Once you’ve secured a partnership, approach the campaign as a collaborative effort. Influencers know their audience best. While you’re offering them a platform and a product, they’re offering expertise and a dedicated follower base. Give them the space to infuse their unique touch into the campaign. After all, their authenticity is what built their brand.

By following these steps and ensuring mutual respect and understanding with the influencer, your collaboration stands a high chance of success.

Read also: The top 7 green influencers to follow for great hints about sustainability

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