It is commonly said that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Instagram is a highly visual social media channel, and therefore is in many ways the perfect medium for brands to tell their tale. All they need to do is to ensure that people actually see their Instagram images.
A few well-known brands have built up sizeable Instagram followings themselves - National Geographic with 77.2 million followers and Nike with 72 million followers have done an amazing job with their own accounts. However, this is well beyond the capabilities of most brands. The average company can reach a much higher audience by working with one or more influencers.
Finding influencers on social media can seem daunting to brands. That is the reason that influencer platforms were first set up - to simplify the influencer search process for brands.
It is not a simple process determining who top Instagram influencers are, and it would be impossible to categorically state who were THE top 25 Instagram Influencers. Influence very much relates to the niche that a person operates in. You certainly can’t go by followers alone - the Instagram accounts with the most followers tend to belong to celebrities, and any influence they have is because of their celebrity status, rather than their Instagram prowess. There are many non-mainstream niches which have people operating Instagram accounts who are recognized as experts in their field but have smaller follower numbers, simply because of the limited support for that genre.
Of course, relying on follower numbers is not a good indication of influence, even within a particular niche. In reality, to be an influencer you need to be engaged with your audience, not simply a broadcaster.
Despite the limitations just mentioned, we have come up with a list of 25 Instagrammers who we believe are influential in their niches. Although it doesn’t include people who have gained celebrity status off the net, our list does include a few people who can be considered internet personalities.
1Huda Kattan - @hudabeauty
Back in March the New York Times published an article, Is Huda Kattan the Most Influential Beauty Blogger in the World? As with many of these top influencers, Huda is firstly and foremostly a blogger who also operates on Instagram (albeit having a huge Instagram following in its own right).
Instagram is an ideal medium for the makeup and beauty sector, being a perfect way to show off examples of good (and not so good) makeup applications.
Huda is very strong at showing makeup trends, reviews and how-tos. She mixes static images and video in her Instagram feed. She is a businesswoman herself and has her own range of makeup.
2Cameron Dallas - @camerondallas
Genre: Internet Personality
Cameron Dallas is one of the new breed of internet personalities, who has built up a celebrity status due to his internet activities. He is probably even better known online on Vine and YouTube than he is on Instagram (although he does have a tremendous following).
His Instagram snaps, appear to be mainly of him and his friends enjoying themselves in a wide variety of settings.
Somewhat appropriately for an internet personality, he has followed a backward celebrity route, having moved from internet fame to having his own television show - Chasing Cameron - although even that is on Netflix - which is, of course, delivered over the internet.
3Zach King - @zachking
Genre: Internet Personality
Zach King is another film-maker and personality who found fame on the internet. As with Cameron Dallas, his main channels are Vine and YouTube, although he also has a huge Instagram following.
Considering that he is a filmmaker, it is no surprise that most of Zach’s Instagram postings are videos.
4Michelle Lewin - @michelle_lewin
Initially a Venezuelan model, Michelle Lewin is a South Florida-based star of the fitness world. She increases her followers across all of her social media channels by an astounding 20,000 per day.
She promotes a variety of workouts, products, and ways for her fans to get fit. She is clearly fit herself and encourages her supporters to exercise as well.
5Nash Grier - @nashgrier
Genre: Internet Personality
As with many of the other internet personalities in this list, Nash Grier came to fame making videos, in this case on Vine, beginning in 2013 when he was still a 15-year-old freshman at high school. For a while, he shared a house with fellow internet personality, Cameron Dallas.
Nash has released mobile games and social media apps including Cash Dash, Mobli, and Challenged. He his own website, where fans can buy his merchandise and an Aéropostale clothing line called "UnitedXXVI", which he partly designed.
He has taken his fame off the internet and now makes live tours, having been as far afield as New Zealand and Australia in April this year.
6Chiara Ferragni - @chiaraferragni
Chiara Ferragni is an Italian-born, but New York-based, blogger and fashion designer. She has worked for Guess as a model and spokesperson. She runs a fashion blog named The Blonde Salad and her Instagram postings are an offshoot of that.
She has collaborated with a number of leading fashion designers, including Steve Madden, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Max Mara, Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger, J Brand, and Seven for All Mankind.
Chiara was the first blogger to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine, featuring on the cover of the Spanish edition of the magazine in April 2015.
7Nikkie De Jager - @nikkietutorials
Nikkie De Jager’s Instagram channel’s name states exactly what it provides - pictures of different makeup combinations, along with links giving more details about how to put together the makeup looks.
Nikkie is a Dutch vlogger from North Carolina who creates videos about makeup and lifestyle. Her main focus is on her YouTube channel, however, with 7.8 million Instagram followers, she is clearly very popular there too. Although Dutch, she presents her videos in English and uses an American accent.
8Jake Paul - @jakepaul
Genre: Internet Personality
Jake Paul gained his fame on Vine before moving off the internet to star in Disney sitcom, Bizaardvark. He has also built up a strong presence on YouTube.
His specialty is making comedy videos. Although he does have some videos on Instagram, most of his images appear to be shots of him going about his everyday life, including posing with a few fans.
Jake has recently launched TeamDom, an influencer marketing management and creative agency based around teen entertainment.
9Kayla Itsines - @kayla_itsines
Kayla Itsines is a personal trainer, author, and entrepreneur, based in Australia. Time Magazine has named her one of the 30 most influential people on the internet, mainly because of her ability to use social media to promote her brand.
She has created the BBG (Bikini Body Guides) program for women which has been hugely successful. Her Instagram posts tend to feature her or other women on the BBG program, commenting on exercise done and food eaten.
10Camila Coelho - @camilacoelho
Camila Coelho is a Brazilian beauty and makeup blogger. Both her blog and her Instagram account provide posts in English and Portuguese.
She also provides travel tips to promote the beauties of her native Brazil and other South American countries.
Camila clearly works with brands, as a number of her posts are marked “Sponsored”. Her Instagram images depict the people and places she encounters in her daily life.
11Mariano Di Vaio - @marianodivaio
Mariano Di Vaio is an Italian blogger, fashion designer, and actor. His MDV Style blog is highly popular. The posts cover topics like new male fashion trends, how to dress for particular occasions, and even current hairstyles.
Mariano promotes these posts, along with fashion products, on his Instagram and other social media accounts.
Mariano has worked with brands like Hugo Boss, Maserati, Omega, and Calvin Klein.
12Jay Alvarrez - @jayalvarrez
Genre: Adventure Travel
Jay Alvarrez is a model, who was born and grew up in Hawaii. He loves surfing and the outdoor life, and his Instagram posts certainly reflect this. Many of his posts show him surfing or engaged in some form of daredevil activity, such as skydiving.
He is probably best known for documenting his travel and extreme sports activities, although he also produces music.
13Joanna Gaines - @joannagaines
Genre: Renovations / Design
Joanna Gaines is known for being a host on HGTV’s Fixer Upper. This show allows her to show off the renovations that she and her husband, Chip, have done as owners of renovation business, Magnolia Homes. While Chip has the real estate knowledge and experience, Joanna brings design flair to the team.
Joanna’s Instagram account is a natural partner to the tv show and her renovation work. She uses it as a photographic record of her television filming as well as renovation processes.
14Murad Osmann - @muradosmann
Murad Osmann is a Moscow-based Russian photographer.
He is probably best-known for an extensive range of “Follow Me” images, which he has been producing since 2011. The vast majority of the images on his Instagram page are Follow Me pictures. Each of these images depicts a woman from behind, who is dragging the viewer along through some scenic location.
15Julie Sarinana - @sincerelyjules
Genre: Fashion and Lifestyle
Julie Sarinana started the Sincerely Jules blog in 2009, initially as a creative outlet. Before long, though, its popularity grew, and it turned into a very popular fashion and design blog.
Julie’s aim is to create beautiful content to inspire and help her readers achieve their goals.
The topic of Julie’s blog meant that Instagram, with its highly visual nature, was a natural social media channel for her to focus on as a way to promote her blog.
16Marcus Butler - @marcusbutler
Genre: Internet Personality
Marcus Butler is an English YouTube vlogger, known for his comedy videos. While he is probably best known for his Marcus Butler TV YouTube channel, his fame has spread wider, including a very popular Instagram channel. Britain’s The Telegraph has also named Marcus as one of Britain’s most influential tweeters.
Marcus’ internet success has led to him having some success offline. He has made a few television appearances, including being a contestant in 2016’s Celebrity Masterchef. He proudly proclaims in his Instagram bio that he was once mentioned in an episode of Family Guy.
17Chris Burkard - @chrisburkard
Genre: Nature Photography
Chris Burkard is a photographer and artist from the California Central Coast region, who focuses on landscape, lifestyle, surf, outdoor, and travel subjects. He approaches his projects from a photojournalistic viewpoint, with a focus on using natural lighting techniques.
Despite hailing from California, Chris prefers to concentrate his photography on covering cold subjects (even when depicting surfing) and has made many trips to countries with harsh environments.
This has given him the chance to put together some exceptionally vivid images to share on his Instagram account.
18Dr. Mike Varshavski - @doctor.mike
Mikhail Varshavski, better known as Doctor Mike, is a third-year family medical resident at Overlook Medical Center focusing on family and preventative medicine.
A Buzzfeed article in mid-2015 described Doctor Mike as “the hottest man on Instagram”, and in November that year People magazine named him the “Sexiest Doctor Alive”.
He joined Instagram in 2012 to document his life going through medical school, residency and then becoming a doctor.
The media have called him the real-life version of Grey’s Anatomy character, Derek Shepherd.
19Tai Lopez - @tailopez
Genre: Entrepreneurship / Motivation
Tai Lopez works with over 20 multi-million dollar businesses as an investor, partner, consultant, and advisor. He uses the internet to help motivate businesses and people towards financial success. This includes operating a book club with a Book of the Day email and producing podcasts.
He created a Business Mentorship program to act as an alternative form of self-learning for those wanting to discover what is taught in business courses without going through a university degree.
He uses his Instagram channel for promotional purposes, for instance at the moment he is using it to give away $10K, cars and laptops.
20Emily Skye - @emilyskyefit
Emily runs her self-titled fitness website, where she writes blog posts on fitness topics and sells what she calls the F.I.T. program aimed at improving women’s health. Her F.I.T. program comes in three phases: Phase 1 - Full Body, Phase 2 - Legs & Butt, and Phase 3 - Abs & Core.
Her daily blog posts cover health topics like breathing during exercise, how to make your coffee healthier, and reasons why you might not be getting enough sleep.
Like many successful bloggers, Emily recognizes the importance of building a following on social media, and she encourages her supporters to follow her on all of the major social networks.
Her Instagram images appear to be a mix of healthy, fit people, along with videos of people working out, doing some of her routines.
21James Charles - @jamescharles
Known professionally simply as James Charles, 18-year-old James Charles Dickinson is in the somewhat unusual situation of being a male spokesmodel for cosmetics and beauty products. Indeed he was CoverGirl’s first male spokesmodel, working alongside Katy Perry.
Being part of Generation Y, James has very much embraced social media, particularly Instagram and YouTube.
His Instagram posts are mainly photos of himself wearing different types of makeup.
22Joe Wicks - @thebodycoach
Joe Wicks is an English fitness coach who has embraced many different types of media. He has written a number of best-selling cookery books and presents a television show on Britain's’ Channel 4 called The Body Coach.
He operates a The Body Coach website associated with the tv show, where he promotes his Shift, Shape and Sustain fat loss plan.
The Body Coach Instagram account promotes the website, healthy eating, and fitness.
23Ingrid Nilsen - @ingridnilsen
Ingrid Nilsen is probably even better known for her YouTube channel where she goes by the handle Missglamorazzi. She began her YouTube channel in 2012 to help her overcome her fear of public speaking. She used that channel to become a beauty guru, building it up to over 4 million subscribers.
As a result of her YouTube success, and with her being clearly much more comfortable with speaking publicly, she began working with CoverGirl. She has even appeared as a judge on reality television show Project Runway: Threads.
Despite YouTube being her main channel, Ingrid Nilsen has a very strong presence on Instagram, where she describes herself as having a curious mind, adventurous heart.
24Louis Cole - @funforlouis
Genre: Travel & Adventure
Louis Cole is another onliner best known for his YouTube videos. He posts a daily vlog documenting his life and travels, adventuring all over the world. He encourages his viewers to “Peace out, enjoy life and live the adventure”. By late May this year, he had released more than 1,400 daily vlogs.
He uses his Instagram account to post vivid images documenting his globe-spanning travels.
25Meghan Rienks - @meghanrienks
Genre: Food & Life
22-year-old Meghan Rienks has embraced the internet for six years, sharing the highs and lows of her life since she was 16. She has a wide online exposure with her own blog, along with popular accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr, and Spotify, as well as Instagram.
Her Instagram images tend to depict various aspects of her life, including delectable looking food images (with a bias towards baked sweet foods like cake). Her blog includes the recipes to a number of these mouthwatering creations.