What is an Influencer?

With more people than ever falling into the “influencer” category nowadays, we thought it might help to dig into what being an influencer actually means. Sideqik is an end-to-end influencer marketing platform to help connect influencers and brands, but many people don’t realize that influencers are more than just people with huge Instagram followings…

So what is an influencer?

An influencer is an individual or group with personal authority, posture, expertise, or relationships that impact the buying decisions of others. An influencer can be a known figure in a particular industry, topic area, or niche that has garnered a following.

The main key to an influencer is that they have built a relationship with their audience either through expertise or experience. In terms of marketing, brands have the capability to partner with influencers to provide mutually beneficial experiences for their audience.

Influencers Beyond Social Media

When most people think of influencers and influencer marketing, they typically think of the traditional social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, maybe even LinkedIn for B2B. However, influencer marketing began long before Instagram became the place for celebrity brand ambassadors.

For as long as marketing and advertising have existed, we have worked with people in positions of power to endorse or promote products or services to people. Some people even believe that the Pope and Queen would endorse medicines to help keep populations healthy during times when the masses were suspicious of medical interventions.

Nowadays, influencer marketing has evolved with the technologies–and we see it across in-person and digital platforms: social media, blogs, game streaming services, and more.

Types of Influencers

Because influencers are integrated into our daily lives now, you may not always realize the clout they have over our day to day decisions. Here are some examples of the types of people who we consider influencers.

You can read more about different influencer types in our Ultimate Influencer Marketing Guide.

Famous Figures

Actors and musicians are some of the most common types of influencers. Along with performing projects, they often take part in celebrity endorsements. In the age of social media, many actors and musicians have amassed large followings on social media. These stars are typically considered mega-influencers.

Sports stars are also big influencers–and are branching outside of working with athletic brands or sports-focused products/services. Along with driving loyalty and selling merchandise and tickets, sports stars can also work with their leagues and their brands to influence followers for travel, non-sports products and services, and other unique elements that target sports fans. Depending on the level of the sports star, they can often fall into mega- or macro-influencer status.

Any celebrity has the potential to build a strong following and partake in influencer marketing. Those types of celebrities that rely on fans are often most likely to have large followings but potentially lower engagement.


Gamers are growing in influence thanks to the rise of esports and streaming platforms like Twitch and Mixer. This means not only can companies sponsor gamers at the top levels, but anyone can be a gaming influencer with enough of a following on a streaming site. Depending on the audiences, these influencers can have very high engagement and are macro-influencers.

Common influencer partnerships with gamers include things like snacks and energy drinks (to fuel hours-long gaming sessions). As gaming influencer marketing continues to grow, there’s more opportunity for partnerships in other areas as well (apparel, retail, beauty, etc.). 


Bloggers were influencers before Instagram became the platform for brand ambassadors. Many brands reached out to have bloggers try their products and offer honest reviews. This model can still work well depending on your target audience. Many bloggers are also on Instagram and other social platforms, as well, so partnering with them can mean extra exposure. 

Bloggers can range from macro- to nano-influencers, but often have very high engagement and a sense of community so it’s worth investigating which can work best with your brand.

Industry experts

In B2B influencer marketing, industry experts can be your brand partners. Industry experts build their audiences by staying ahead of the curve in their areas of expertise. 

People follow them for the latest news, announcements about what’s new in the industry, case studies, and more. Partnering with an industry expert can be a great move for B2B brands looking to branch into influencer marketing. Depending on the expert, their following, and their industry, they can range from mega- to micro-influencer.

The person next door

Because influencer marketing is a word of mouth channel, anyone can be an influencer. One brand that Sideqik works with focuses on influencers with less than 1000 followers. Those are the people who you know and who you can relate to not necessarily someone with an enormous following. 

Brands are finding that working with someone who can activate on a smaller level helps them find more engagement and brand awareness. And tools like Sideqik help them do so at scale.

What other types of influencers have you worked with?

Interested in taking your influencer marketing to the next level? Sideqik’s all-in-one influencer platform takes you from discovery to collaboration and communication through to engagement and measurement. Schedule a live demo to see how it can work for your brand.

Nancy Rothman

Nancy Rothman

Nancy is a passionate, results-driven marketing executive with more than a decade of experience in building robust integrated marketing programs for brands of all sizes, with specific expertise in the martech space. Prior to Sideqik, Nancy held roles at four successful martech startups, each of which received multiple series of fundraising and included two acquisitions. At CallRail, specifically, Nancy served as the director of marketing where she built the company’s brand and established it as a leader in its space. She also held roles at MeetEdgar, where she oversaw the entire sales and marketing practice, increasing the company's user base and annual recurring revenue, as well as PureCars, which was acquired by Raycom Media in 2015. As vice president of marketing for Sideqik, Nancy is responsible for developing and executing on the company's marketing strategy to drive overall business growth.

Share this entry

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

For A Limited Time, We Are Offering

A Free Trial of Sideqik!

Request commitment-free access to our database of over 20 million social profiles across 10+ social networks here. Find the right influencers to build your community of influence and drive real performance for your brand.

Interested in a demo first? Request a demo here.