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4 Top Paid Influencers You Probably Never Heard Of—But Can Learn From

Brian Peters

Oct 10, 2019

What does an influencer look like—and act like? You might be surprised. While you've got to keep an eye out for fake influencers, you also have to be creative in finding the right influencers for your brand. For a comprehensive guide to influencer marketing, download our ebook on influencer marketing, full of recent examples from brands who are doing it right.

The world of influencer marketing can be a lucrative one for both the influencer and the brand.

Kylie Jenner, for example, earns a reported $1.2 million per post on Instagram with her 141 million followers. While Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, earns roughly $975K per post with more than 176 million followers.

But brands don’t need to land a top-tier celebrity and dish out nearly $1 million per post to find top paid influencers that will move the needle.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of 4 top paid influencers that you’ve never heard of on social media. Hopefully this will provide some inspiration to go out and find your own!

4 Top Paid Influencers You’ve Probably Never Heard of on Social Media


Chelsea Yamase (Influencer and Ambassador, Chelsea Kauai)

Travel influencer and model Chelsea Yamase has a vast network of people who love to travel and stay in amazing places around the world. That’s why it’s no surprise her picture-perfect posts leads to thousands of engagements and the attention of top brands such as Canon. 

Brands such as Canon are sparing no expense to get the perfect Instagram shot through the lens of influencers like Chelsea. And why wouldn’t they? The content is delivered in a down-to-earth, authentic way.

This is just one example in a larger trend. Much like press tours, brands are putting together Instagram influencer getaways, sending influencers like Chelsea Yamase on vacations across the globe—inviting them to relax, hang out with their friends, and, of course, post all about it.

Yamase has more than 750K followers and earns up to $10,000 per post on Instagram. Her attention to detail and uncanny ability to capture the perfect moment are exactly why brands continue to work with her.


Although influencer marketing isn’t as popular of a topic as it was just a few short years ago, it remains a key strategy for B2B brands promoting their business and products on social media.

Here we see that the topic of influencer marketing has dipped in the past 12 months compared to the previous 12 months in traditional media. Data supplied by Meltwater media monitoring. 

Ann Handley (Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs)

Ann Handley has been named by Forbes as the Most Influential Woman in Social Media and one of the Top 20 Women Bloggers. She is the chief content officer of MarketingProfs, and her book Everybody Writes is a bestseller.

Most importantly, she has a community of more than 50K loyal followers on social media that know and trust her.

It’s unclear just how much Handley makes from being an influencer in the B2B space, but she’s doing quite well for herself.

She is a prime example of how authentic and engaging individual influencers can be for your brand.

“I value three things: quality over quantity, great writing, building an audience over stuffing a pipeline until it bursts at its seams with so-called leads. I value other things, too. But those three things are top of mind.” – Ann Handley

In B2B marketing, it’s not only about finding influencers with the most followers. It’s about finding influencers that are thought leaders in their space. In other words, influencers that truly influence the minds, hearts, and actions of your target customers.


To find influencers that fit your business, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your own brand and how you want to be perceived. Perhaps this statement is no more true than in the fashion industry where image and perception is everything.

Alexa Chung (Founder, Alexa Chung Clothing Line)

With a net worth of more than $12 million, a following up nearly 4 million people, and earnings of up to $15K per post, Alexa Chung is a superstar that you may never have heard of on Instagram.

What makes Chung’s content so effective as an influencer is her ability to “talk” like her audience and customers would on social media (even if there is an entire team behind it).

The most important thing to remember with influencer marketing is that it’s not about you or your brand, it’s about the consumer. And more importantly, about building trust with the consumer so that they buy from you more than just once. 

Identifying an influencer like Alexa Chung that can build trust with her words is like finding a needle in a haystack.


Studies show that 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions over brands. Micro-influencers such as Sweat&Tell with between 10,000-50,000 followers are behind much of that influence online.

Sweat&Tell (Jo and Jacqs, Cofounders)

Sweat and Tell is an Instagram blog run by best friends Jo and Jacqs. They’ve formed a community of over 30k health-focused women online. Each of their posts reviews a new workout class or routine, centered around health tips and trendy wellness locales in Southern California.

How to Find Top Influencers

There are really 3 places to find influencers for your brand. Search enginesdatabases, and networks.

  • Search engines: A manual process of typing keywords, scanning webpages for contact info, and then keeping track of the info in spreadsheets. I would also lump social media into here – manually searching social channels and hashtags for relevant influencers for a given topic.
  • Databases: Do website scraping for you, pulling publicly available data. This is one of the best places to start as you’ll immediately gain access to a variety of qualified influencers.
  • Networks: In the middle of Google/social and databases. A network is like an agency that has relationships with the influencers, but will require that you go through them to reach out.

Learn more about how to find the right influencers to partner with.

So, what does an influencer look like? That just depends on the audience you are trying to reach. It could be someone with huge follower numbers, it could be someone with much smaller numbers. Either way, their audience is exactly who you want to get at. For a comprehensive guide to influencer marketing, download our ebook on influencer marketing, full of recent examples from brands who are doing it right.