Top Influencers in 2023: Who to Watch and Why They’re Great (2023)

Table of Contents

What makes someone a top influencer?

The top 10 influencers on Instagram

How to work with top social media influencers

Frequently asked questions about top influencers

When it comes to social media, top influencers have cracked the code. They earn thousands or even millions per year for sharing branded content with their audience. This ability to turn content into cash? Frankly, we think it’s social success at its best.

Many of today’s most popular influencers get their start on another platform (Vine, YouTube, or TikTok) and migrate their followers over to Instagram as their popularity grows.

Today, we’re looking at the top 10 most popular influencers on Instagram. These influencers have cultivated their audience for years to build their brand on social media from the ground up.

In this article, we’ll cover who the top influencers are, how to work with them, and what makes someone a social mega-influencer.

Bonus: Get the influencer campaign template for brandsto easily plan your next campaign and choose the best social media influencer to work with.

What makes someone a top influencer?

To pinpoint what makes someone a top influencer, we’ve broken it down into measurable data and intangible factors.

Measurable data

These quantifiable elements of a top influencer are pretty much indisputable.

  • Total number of followers. All of the influencers we’ve included are technically mega influencers since they have more than 1,000,000 followers.
  • Engagement metrics. We looked at likes, comments, and shares.
  • Brand status. How many brands do they work with? Are these brands well-known/respected?
  • Post frequency. How often do they work with a brand? Are they official brand ambassadors, or do they favor one-off posts?
  • Type of partnership. What kind of work do they do with a brand? Do they wear their pieces to events? Are they the face of an ad campaign? Have they collaborated on a line of products together?

This post announcing the Our Place x Selena Gomez collection has over 51,000 likes.

Intangible factors

The numbers are important, but reputation and authenticity are a little harder to measure. Here’s what we looked at:

  • Connection. Has the influencer fostered a strong relationship with their audience? Does their lifestyle feel aspirational or attainable?
  • Communication. Can this influencer communicate a product’s or brand’s value with their audience without it feeling like a sales pitch?
  • Values. Does the influencer work with brands that align with their lifestyle or values? Do they endorse things followers might view as scammy (weight-loss teas, “get-rich-quick” schemes, etc.)?
  • Authenticity. Do they endorse anything that would make a user stop and ask, “Does this person REALLY use this brand?”

Ski-Doo doesn’t seem like an obvious partner for celebrity chef Matty Matheson, but the resulting content is just weird enough to work.

Our list focuses on social-first influencers, so you’ll notice that our list of top Instagram influencers doesn’t include traditional celebrities — singers and actors who have giant followings on Instagram because of their Hollywood fame. We also left out well-known brands like Nike (264M followers) and National Geographic (257M followers).

(Video) The Influencer Bubble - How Money Works

Finally, our list only includes top influencers who currently partner with brands on Instagram. That’s why you won’t see well-known social media personalities like King Bach (23.6M followers) or James Charles (22.1M followers) because neither of them has any recent partnerships.

The top 10 influencers on Instagram

So, who are the top 10 influencers on Instagram in 2023? Let’s get into it.

1. Khaby Lame

Number of followers: 80M (@khaby00)

Genre: Comedy, Lifestyle

Where they got their start: TikTok

You might be surprised by our number one pick, but that just means that you don’t spend enough time on TikTok! Khaby Lame is a Senegalese-Italian content creator who also happens to be the most-followed person on the platform.

On Instagram, he makes videos with NBA players, hangs out with Snoop Dogg, and promotes Binance, Google Pixel, and Hugo Boss.

2. Huda Beauty

Number of followers: 51.9M (@hudabeauty brand account) + 2.6M (@huda personal account)

Genre: Beauty

Where they got their start: YouTube

Huda Kattan launched her beauty blog and YouTube channel in 2010, followed by her eponymous cosmetic line in 2013. In the past decade, she has grown the Huda Beauty brand into a billion-dollar global beauty empire.

Today, Kattan is the face (literally) of Huda Beauty, frequently posting “get ready with me”-style videos using only her brand’s products.

Turning her influencer work into a closed loop ensures maximum profit, which is why Huda Kattan ranks so high on our list of Instagram influencers this year.

3. Lele Pons

Number of followers: 50.5M (@lelepons)

Genre: Entertainment

Where they got their start: Vine

Lele Pons got her start as a Vine comedian and has since extended her success on the platform to other pursuits, including music, modeling and acting.

Her current Instagram content is a mix of modeling shots, “day in the life” content, and ads for brands such as the Sweat app.

4. Charli D’Amelio

Number of followers: 28.4M (@chiaraferragni)

(Video) How to Become an ✨Influencer✨ before 2023 (STEPS No One Shares)

Genre: Entertainment

Where they got their start: TikTok

18-year-old Charli D’Amelio got her start as a TikTok dancer in 2019. She was the highest-earning personality on the app in 2022. She has recorded music, sells her own perfume, and won Dancing With the Stars season 31.

On Instagram, she reps big-name brands, including Prada, Amazon, and Spotify.

5. Chiara Ferragni

Number of followers: 28.4M (@chiaraferragni)

Genre: Fashion

Where they got their start: Blogging

Italian fashion influencer Chiara Ferragni launched her blog, The Blonde Salad, in 2009, and she’s been a big deal ever since. Her Instagram features outfit inspo, mommy/parent blogger content, and brand partnerships.

The model, designer, and television presenter lends a touch of European glamor to brands like Nespresso, Fendi, and Prada Beauty.

6. Sommer Ray

Number of followers: 26.3M (@sommerray)

Genre: Fitness

Where they got their start: Vine

Sommer Ray got her start on Vine in the early 2010s. Today, she’s a fitness influencer who promotes her own fitness plans, clothing, and health & wellness brand on her Instagram.

Her brand partnerships include DraftKings, Quest Nutrition, and the James Hotel.

7. Cameron Dallas

Number of followers: 25.1M (@camerondallas)

Genre: Entertainment (Comedy)

Where they got their start: Vine

In 2012, Cameron Dallas started his internet career on – where else? – Vine, later turning his online fame into a stage and screen career.

In 2021, Dallas launched Fanfix, a subscription platform that allows creators to monetize their skills. The platform was sold to SuperOrdinary in 2022 in an 8-figure deal.

(Video) 16 Websites Where Rich Or Kind People Literally Give Away Free Money

His recent brand deals include Swarovski and Fendi.

8. Zach King

Number of followers: 24.6M (@zachking)

Genre: Entertainment (Magic)

Where they got their start: YouTube/Vine

Zach King is a skilled video editor who focuses on what he calls “digital sleight of hand.” He currently holds the Guinness World Records title for the most-watched TikTok video (2.2 billion views).

On Instagram, this influencer creates magical content for brands like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kinetic Sand, and Turkish Airlines. The resulting ads blend in seamlessly with his own personal brand.

9. Amanda Cerny

Number of followers: 23.3M (@amandacerny)

Genre: Entertainment (Comedy)

Where they got their start: Vine

Amanda Cerny started her career as a model, appearing in Playboy in 2011. She created comedy content on Vine alongside frequent collaborator Lele Pons (#3 on our list!).

Her Instagram grid is a mix of sexy aspirational content, comedy videos, and brand partnerships with Playboy and Glamira.

10. MrBeast

Number of followers: 22.7M (@mrbeast)

Genres: Entertainment, Philanthropy

Where they got their start: YouTube

24-year-old MrBeast (aka Jimmy Donaldson) is the most-followed individual creator on YouTube with 128M subscribers.

His flashy high-concept videos garner millions of views, and he has leveraged his huge viewership to raise money for environmental causes including the Arbor Day Foundation and the Ocean Conservancy.

His Instagram partnerships with Magic: The Gathering, Nerf, and DraftKings align with his high-energy “cool/nerdy” persona.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by MrBeast (@mrbeast)

(Video) How to speak so that people want to listen | Julian Treasure

How to work with top social media influencers

Top influencers can get millions of eyes on your brand with a single post, but this comes with its own challenge – how do you get their attention when dozens of other brands compete to work with them?

Step 1: Do your research

The influencers on our list have their pick of endorsements and don’t necessarily need your ad dollars. You’ll need to do some research to find the right influencer partnership.

Top influencers select brands based on shared goals and values, so focus on targeting creators who are a natural fit for your brand. Review their current endorsements and figure out how your brand fits in.

Don’t forget to compare the creator’s audience demographics with your own ideal customer profile to determine whether their followers would be likely to buy your product.

Step 2: Finalize your pitch

Once you’ve identified the right influencer, craft your pitch. Find all the connection points and make sure to articulate them clearly throughout your pitch. Make sure to lay out the timelines, metrics, and expectations for your campaign.

Make sure to prepare a budget for the campaign and do a cost-benefit analysis before you proceed. Top influencers come at a price, so the end result needs to be worth your time and money!

Step 3: Reach out via the correct channel

As tempting as it is to slide into an influencer’s DMs, don’t bother – they receive a huge amount of direct messages on Instagram and yours will be buried immediately. You can try, but don’t be surprised if they never respond to your message!

Some influencers have a management company listed on their website or Instagram bio. If you’re emailing their manager, make sure to personalize your email and keep it short and sweet. Include a clear description of your proposed campaign and refer to some of their other brand partnerships to show that you’ve done your research.

If you don’t have a clear way to reach your influencer of choice, consider using a platform that connects influencers and brands.

Step 4: Collaborate to create effective content

When working with top influencers, remember: collaboration is key!

Influencers have often spent years cultivating their audience in order to build their brand on social media from the ground up. You’re not just buying access to a large audience —you’re collaborating with a social expert. They will expect to be able to show off their unique skills as part of the campaign with your brand.

For more tips, check out our blog on how to work with influencers.

Frequently asked questions about top influencers

Who is the top Instagram influencer?

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has 531M followers, making him the top Instagram influencer. He represents brands including Nike, Herbalife, TAG Heuer, Jacob & Co. Jewelry, and Louis Vuitton. His LV partnership with Lionel Messi in November 2022 garnered 8.4M likes on Instagram.

Who has the most followers on Instagram?

The top 5 most followed Instagram celebrity influencers are:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo @cristiano (537M followers)

2. Lionel Messi @leomessi (422M followers)

3. Kylie Jenner @kyliejenner (378M followers)

4. Selena Gomez @selenagomez (372M followers)

5. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson @therock (359M followers)

Other celebrities who just missed the top 5 include Ariana Grande (351M), Kim Kardashian (341M), and Beyoncé (291M).

How much do top influencers make?

According to some sources, top celebrity influencers can make up to $1,000,000 for a single Instagram post. Exact rates aren’t necessarily public, though, and it can be hard to find concrete information about influencer fees.

The social media influencer market was valued at $16.4 billion in 2022, so it’s safe to assume that top-ranking celebs are getting a huge windfall per post.

How much does influencer marketing cost?

The unspoken industry standard is $100 per 10,000 followers + extras for type of post (x # of posts) + additional factors = total rate. For more detail, check out our blog on influencer marketing costs.

Make influencer marketing easier with Hootsuite. Schedule posts, research and engage with influencers in your industry, and measure the success of your campaigns. Try it free today.

Get Started

Do it better with Hootsuite, the all-in-one social media tool. Stay on top of things, grow, and beat the competition.

Free 30-Day Trial

(Video) Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud (Official Music Video)


Top Influencers in 2023: Who to Watch and Why They’re Great? ›

1. Cristiano Ronaldo - @cristiano.

Who is the #1 influencer? ›

1. Cristiano Ronaldo - @cristiano.

Who to follow in 2023? ›

Top Social Media Influencers to Follow in 2023
  • Aditi.
  • Wendy Zock.
  • Trillz B.
  • Alexandra Creteau.
  • Stephen Austin.
  • Olya Mosendz.
  • Nicole Tames.
  • Georgiana Nedelcu.

Is it too late to become an influencer in 2023? ›

While becoming an Instagram influencer in 2023 isn't easy by any means, there are SO many opportunities available to content creators. So if you've wondered, “Where do I even start?” you came to the right place.

Who has the most followers across all social media? ›

The most followed account on the platform is Instagram's own brand account. The most followed person is Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and the most followed woman is American singer-actress Selena Gomez.

Who is the most liked influencer? ›

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has 531M followers, making him the top Instagram influencer. He represents brands including Nike, Herbalife, TAG Heuer, Jacob & Co. Jewelry, and Louis Vuitton. His LV partnership with Lionel Messi in November 2022 garnered 8.4M likes on Instagram.

What is next top influencer? ›

Next Top Influencer is a reality television competition show, where wannabe influencers compete for fame and fortune against one another while living in a luxury penthouse in downtown Del Sol Valley.

What is the popular trend for 2023? ›

The textured tassel trim will be the ultimate party trick come spring 2023 but there's no reason why you need to wait to wear the trend. Tassels and fringe look incredible when incorporated with a neutral sweater, hanging from suede boots, and on the back of a heavy leather or suede jacket.

What are the main trends for 2023? ›

Summer 2023 trends

Trends such as knee-high splits, geometric cut-outs and sheer fabrics all lends themselves perfectly to a sultry skin moment, whereas for the inevitable open-air soirée, amping up the drama is easy with a 1970s It-girl-inspired hooded gown.

What social media trends to watch for in 2023? ›

In conclusion, social media is continually evolving, and staying on top of the latest trends is vital for businesses to succeed. In 2023, authenticity, short-form video content, interactive content, niche platforms, and social commerce will all be essential trends to keep an eye on.

Who is the most followed people on Instagram 2023? ›

Top 10 Most Followed Instagram Accounts in the World in 2023
  • #1. Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • #2. Lionel Messi.
  • #3. Selena Gomez.
  • #4. Kylie Jenner.
  • #5. Dwayne Johnson.
  • #6. Ariana Grande.
  • #7. Kim Kardashian.
  • #8. Beyonce.

What age group follows influencers the most? ›

During a survey carried out among consumers in the United States in March 2022, 75 percent of respondents aged between 18 and 24 said they followed at least one virtual influencer, while 67 percent of respondents aged both 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 said they did so as well.

Who is the most liked person on social media? ›

Who Has the Most Overall Followers on Social Media?
#1Cristiano RonaldoSports
#2Justin BieberMusic
#3Ariana GrandeMusic
#4Selena GomezMusic
6 more rows
May 14, 2021

How much Instagram pay for 1 million followers? ›

An influencer with 1 million followers is considered a mega-influencer, and the earning potential per sponsored post ranges from $5,000 to $25,000 or even more. According to Hopper HQ's Instagram Rich List, most influencers with over a million followers charge between $10,000 and $15,000 per sponsored post.

Who is the most followed person on earth? ›

Cristiano Ronaldo

Who is the biggest influencer on TikTok? ›

The most popular TikTok influencer is Charli D'amelio, who has over 148 million followers.

Who is the most influential person on Instagram? ›

Top 1,000 Instagram Influencers and Instagram User Accounts
1Cristiano Ronaldo @cristiano597.7M
2Leo Messi @leomessi479.9M
3Selena Gomez @selenagomez426.7M
4Kylie @kyliejenner397.9M
6 more rows


1. twenty one pilots: Stressed Out [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
(Fueled By Ramen)
2. The Real Reason Why Most People Don't Produce Content
(GaryVee Video Experience)
3. "This KEEPS 99% of People Single!" - FIX THIS TO FIND LOVE| Joe Dispenza
(Lewis Howes)
4. 50 Cent Reveals Beyonce & Jay Z SACRIFICE People for Fame
(This Happened)
5. 5 Stocks I'm Buying Now!!!!! August 2023
(Financial Education)
6. What Are People Wearing in NYC? Spring/Summer Outfits 2023
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated: 26/07/2023

Views: 5663

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.