Instagram is unlike any other social media platform. It’s a place for people to connect and browse each others’ pictures and media, but it’s also an incredible advertising vehicle for brands and companies. Although not everyone is excited about the idea of product placement, Instagram does have an advantage in this department over Facebook.
Instagram floods users with much less targeted ads than, say, Facebook or Twitter. Instead, brands that advertise over Instagram tend to raise brand awareness by paying influencers and celebrities to promote their products. It’s a much more transparent and less invasive form of advertisement and one that works well in the Instagram world.
Influencers vs. Celebrities
- Influencers vs. Celebrities 
- Top Non-Celebrity Influencers of 2021 
- Lele Pons 
- Jay Alvarrez (@jayalvarrez) 
- Alexa Chung (@alexachung) 
- Dr. Mike Varshavski (@doctor.mike) 
- Huda Kattan (@hudabeauty and @huda) 
- Zach King (@zachking) 
- Aimee Song (@aimeesong) 
- Demi Bagby (@demibagby) 
- Joanna Gaines (@joannagaines) 
- Cameron Dallas (@camerondallas) 
- What’s In The Influence Game? 
- Becoming an Instagram Influencer 
It can be hard to make a distinction between these two terms. Why? Because celebrities like famous artists, athletes, and actors, are also influencers to some degree.
What is an influencer? An influencer is someone with a huge following, someone who can reach a wide audience, and offer advice on what products or services to use and what lifestyle choices to make. Of course, if the followers trust the person offering the advice, then the term influencer can be used.
With that in mind, not all celebrities are influencers – and vice versa. There are plenty of popular influencers that only have followings of a few hundred thousand users or maybe in the low millions.
Which of them is more reliable is debatable. While A-list celebrities can certainly reach a larger demographic, everyday influencers are considered more trustworthy. It is one thing to get a piece of advice on fitness products, and beauty products by someone who’s considered an expert in that niche, as opposed to getting that same advice from someone you know is getting paid top dollar to showcase products and services.
Celebrities are often unique brand ambassadors while influencers, as more regular folk, will often promote more than one brand, which is why they’re often viewed as more trustworthy and knowledgeable. They also make sure to promote lesser-known brands
Top Non-Celebrity Influencers of 2021
Here’s a list of some popular and up-and-coming influencers on Instagram who became famous mostly because of their expertise. These might not be the most popular people in their fields, but they’re all up-and-coming or established influencers who have amassed quite the following within their own niches.
Lele Pons 
Lele Pons is a Venezuelan/American influencer who became famous thanks to Social Media! Gaining stardom with the now-extinct Vines, Lele has managed to maintain her supporters on Instagram. With millions of dedicated followers, this singer, model, and actress certainly gained the support necessary to grow her audience. She is also a well-known ambassador for Tarte Cosmetics and teams up with a number of brands to make the perfect content.
If you’re looking for adventure travel and exotic destinations, Jay Alvarrez is a must-follow. A 24-year-old Hawaiian model, photographer, and social media personality, he’s made a name for himself on Instagram and YouTube through his exotic, jealousy-inducing photos and videos of his travels and adventures. Featuring daredevil activities such as skydiving and scuba diving, his feed is an adventure lover’s paradise. Apart from his exotic travel pics, you can find him promoting his model work for Calvin Klein and Express, among other brands. For someone looking to get away from home and immerse themselves in a paradise from their couch, Jay Alvarrez is a must-follow.
Beauty and fashion hobbyists alike look to Alexa Chung as one of the most prominent Instagram influencers in their niche. With close to 4 million followers, she’s hustling the Instagram scene with professional and attractive beauty and fashion photography. Having established her own clothing line and YouTube channel, her influence in the fashion world is far-reaching, allowing her to promote her own products as well as those of her sponsors to millions of people every day. Her relentless pursuit of further success in this area has earned her a dedicated and quickly growing following. For people looking for fashionistas on their feed, Alexa Chung is never a bad one to follow.
If you’re looking outside of the foodie and fashionista scenes, one man making a name for himself with his profession is Doctor Mike Varshavski. With his expertise in the medical industry and career as a physician, he frequently posts medical tips and information for his millions of followers, alongside more lifestyle content such as pictures of his dogs. Especially with recent events, his influence is rising more than ever, as he posts relevant and important information for people going through medical emergencies and situations. With more than 3.5 million followers, he is the most influential doctor anywhere on social media, and is a must-follow for people looking for a daily dose of medical advice.
With more than 48 million followers across her Instagram accounts, Huda Kattan has made a name for herself in the makeup world. Initially starting with simple makeup and product tutorial videos, she skyrocketed in popularity after starting her own beauty products line, Huda Beauty, and having several celebrities including Kim Kardashian West wear them. With her viral beauty hacks and tips and a cult-like line of beauty products, it’s safe to say that the once-modest entrepreneur has established a self-made beauty empire that rivals none. With so much influence over the beauty world, she was named as one of the top-earning Instagram influencers of 2017, being able to charge exorbitant rates for the occasional and rare advertisement on her accounts. With a beauty empire worth more than $1 billion, she is a must-follow for anyone looking to get into the beauty sphere.
A viral sensation who made a name for himself on Vine and TikTok, Zach King is no stranger to the influencer game. With over 40 million followers on TikTok and 24 million on Instagram, this platform might not be anywhere near his main focus, but it’s still gained him an enormous amount of popularity. Boasting some of the best magic tricks and optical illusions in the world, Zach King’s regular videos go instantly viral, marking his places as the world’s most popular magician and illusionist, as well as giving him an impressive platform to advertise on. While he shies away from doing frequent brand deals and advertisements, he earns hundreds of thousands for every single one he does, and you can be assured that he believes in it as a quality, well-made product because of his pickiness in choosing brand deals. If you’re looking for a daily dose of magic and humor on your feed, Zach King is unparalleled in terms of his content.
One of the foremost lifestyle, interior decorating, cooking, and fashion influencers in the world, Aimee Song has made a name for herself in multiple niches. With more than 5 million followers on Instagram, her frequent interior decoration and fashion posts rack up hundreds of thousands of impressions and views, allowing her to establish her own beauty brand, Song of Style, and an apparel collection, Two Songs. With her influence, she has been able to collaborate on campaigns with the likes of Armani, Dior, Revolve, and Levi’s and was featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2016. In terms of the beauty and decoration niches, her influence and content are nearly unparalleled, making her a must-follow in this area.
One of the youngest influencers on this list at 19, Demi Bagby has made her way up into being one of Instagram’s foremost fitness gurus after a heartbreaking back injury nearly ended her gymnastics career. Confined to a wheelchair for more than three months, she looked into other ways to work out, such as CrossFit and board sports. As she recovered from her injury, she began to post her workouts on social media, slowly amassing and inspiring a following of millions of fitness junkies who looked to her for their fitness plans, routines, and advice. She’s seen as one of the most genuine influencers on Instagram, only wanting to inspire her followers and push them to improve their own fitness, and being genuine to the people she meets and works with. If you’re interested at all in working out and fitness, there is no better person to follow than Demi Bagby.
A well-known lifestyle and interior design influencer, Joanna Gaines made a name for herself by giving a breath of fresh air to real estate shows on TV. As one of the hosts (alongside her husband) of the hit TV show Fixer Upper, she rose to fame with her work on improving homes around the country. With her own umbrella of brands, Magnolia, she owns interior design businesses, home renovation companies, real estate companies, and even a quarterly magazine. She frequently posts about her ventures on Instagram, including aesthetic interior design pictures and her very own tips and tricks on how to liven up a home. For any aspiring home design enthusiast or entrepreneur, Joanna Gaines is a must follow.
Cameron Dallas is the definition of internet success. Before YouTube, Vines, and Instagram, no one had ever heard of this creator. Now, he has his own show on Netflix, posts of his travels and adventures frequently on Instagram. With over 21 million followers, this self-starter is certainly worth mentioning here because he has fans all over the world and there’s no indication of slowing down.
What’s In The Influence Game?
While our list might not be made of the most-followed or most popular influencers you can find across Instagram, there’s no denying that people from any industry can succeed at hustling the Instagram game. Our list is just nine of the people who’ve had the most success at making a living off the social media scene, and there’s no telling who else will emerge as a big-name influencer in the near future. Whether it’s fashion, beauty, technology, marketing, cooking, or travel, there’s always room to grow in the niche you love.
Becoming an Instagram Influencer
Influencers have become a massive advertising tool for brands in almost any niche. They’re often experts in their fields, which is why people trust them and look towards the products they choose to promote. Additionally, they often have enough influence and authority in their fields to be able to pick and choose what they promote, ensuring a high level of quality in their promotions.
Trying to become an influencer on Instagram? It isn’t an easy journey, but maybe we can make it easier for you. Here are some tips on how to look at your Instagram metrics , as well as how to enhance your story  and how to get the username of your dreams . We also highly recommend this awesome book  on how to build your brand and identity on Instagram. Best of luck on your journey towards becoming an influencer!
What Instagram influencers do you follow yourself, and what niches do they fall in? Did we miss any of your favorite influencers that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments below if any influencer has ever steered you towards a product, service, or lifestyle change that really helped you turn things around for the better.