As an expert in Instagram marketing, I am excited to delve deeper into the world of social media influencers and explore what it takes to become a top Instagram influencer in 2023.
The rise of social media has created a new breed of celebrity: influencers. These individuals have mastered the art of creating engaging content and building a loyal following on social media platforms.
Many of today’s most successful influencers get their start on other platforms, such as Vine, YouTube, or TikTok, and migrate their followers over to Instagram as their popularity grows.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 most popular influencers on Instagram, including their number of followers, engagement metrics, brand partnerships, and more.
We will also discuss what makes someone a social mega-influencer and provide tips on how to work with top influencers to boost your brand’s reach and engagement.
What Makes Someone a Top Influencer?
To understand what makes someone a top influencer, we’ve broken it down into measurable data and intangible factors.
The quantifiable elements of a top influencer are pretty much indisputable. They include:
The total number of followers: All of the influencers we’ve included in our list have more than 1,000,000 followers.
Engagement metrics: We looked at likes, comments, and shares to determine how engaged their followers are with their content.
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?
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?”
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 (274M followers) and National Geographic (263M followers).
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 (23.9M followers) or James Charles (21.9M followers) because neither of them has any recent partnerships.
The Top 10 Influencers on Instagram
Number of followers: 79.3M (@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 and Google Pixels.
With 80 million followers, Khaby Lame is the most-followed person on Instagram, and his influence extends far beyond social media. In July 2022, he signed a deal with LeBron James’ production company, SpringHill, to develop and produce content across multiple platforms.
Khaby Lame’s meteoric rise to fame is a testament to the power of social media, and his success has paved the way for other content creators to follow in his footsteps.
Number of followers: 52.2 M (@hudabeauty brand account) + 2.7M (@huda – personal account)
Where they got their start: YouTube
Huda Kattan is a self-made beauty mogul who has built an empire worth over a billion dollars. She 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 global beauty empire, offering a wide range of products including lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, and false lashes.
Today, Kattan is the face (literally) of Huda Beauty, frequently posting “get ready with me”-style videos using only her brand’s products. Her brand partnerships include collaborations with fashion brands like Balmain and luxury beauty brands like Kayali.
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.
Number of followers: 51M (@lelepons)
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 rise to fame was nothing short of meteoric, and in 2016, she became the first Viner to reach one billion loops.
Her current Instagram content is a mix of modeling shots, “day in the life” content, and ads for brands such as the Sweat app. In 2021, she launched a podcast with her friend and fellow influencer Hannah Stocking, which has quickly become a fan favorite.
Lele Pons’ success has shown that influencers don’t need to be one-trick ponies. With the right strategy and a willingness to diversify their content, influencers can extend their reach far beyond social media.
Number of followers: 48.3 M (@charlidamelio)
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 and has since expanded her reach to other platforms, including YouTube and Instagram.
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. Her massive following and impressive reach have made her one of the most sought-after influencers in the industry.
Number of followers: 28.9M (@chiaraferragni)
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. Ferragni also leverages her influence to promote social and environmental causes. In 2020, she collaborated with the Italian Red Cross to raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts.
Sommer Ray (@sommerray)
Number of followers: 26.2M
Sommer Ray is a fitness influencer who got her start on Vine in the early 2010s. She has since built a large following on Instagram, where she promotes her own fitness plans, clothing, and health & wellness brand.
Her content includes workout tutorials, modeling shots, and lifestyle posts. Her brand partnerships include DraftKings, Quest Nutrition, and the James Hotel.
Cameron Dallas (@camerondallas)
Number of followers: 25.4M
Cameron Dallas is an entertainer and comedian who got his start on Vine in 2012. He has since turned his online fame into a successful 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. His recent brand deals include Swarovski and Fendi.
Zach King (@zachking)
Number of followers: 24.7M
Zach King is a digital entertainer who focuses on what he calls “digital sleight of hand.” He got his start on YouTube and Vine, where he gained popularity for his creative and visually stunning videos.
He currently holds the Guinness World Records title for the most-watched TikTok video with over 2.2 billion views.
On Instagram, King 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.
Amanda Cerny (@amandacerny)
Number of followers: 23.3M
Amanda Cerny started her career as a model, appearing in Playboy in 2011. She then went on to create comedy content on Vine alongside frequent collaborator Lele Pons. On Instagram, Cerny’s content includes comedy videos, sexy aspirational content, and brand partnerships with Playboy and Glamira.
Number of followers: 23.9 M
Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, is an entertainer and philanthropist who got his start on YouTube.
He is the most-followed individual creator on the platform with over 129 million 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.
Many of the strategies used by top influencers to grow their following – such as buying followers or using engagement pods – are available.