Social media has been a part of our landscape for quite some time now. Some may say it started with Orkut, followed by MySpace, the predecessor of Facebook. Then Twitter came along in 2008 and since then there’s been no going back.

Today, interactions and trends on social media are vastly inspired by social influencers and key opinion leaders. In fact, the Importance of Key Opinion Leaders in Influencer Marketing can’t be understated.

There used to be a significant distinction between brand ambassadors and social media influencers, but those lines are quickly blurring.

So who are a few of today’s leading KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) and influencers, and what brands are they affiliated with?  

Here’s a rundown on a few of the most notable key opinion leaders in influencer marketing.

Kate McCulley - Most of the top social influencers that you know today started very early. Kate launched her travel website way back in 2002 and since then there has been no looking back for her. She now has a brand persona, and many of her followers know her by the name ‘Adventurous Kate’.

Kate specializes in female solo travel and frequently collaborates with tourism boards of countries like Malta and Finland. All of 33, Kate has more than 53 thousand followers on Twitter.

Grumpy Cat - If you thought that social media influencers could only be men or women, then perish that thought immediately. Grumpy Cat, was and probably still is one of the hottest social media sensations. The sadness on his face makes him a potent social media force. Grumpy has lapped up several brand endorsements, many of them belonging to the pet food category. Keen to know about Grumpy’s stats? Twitter-1.42 million, Instagram- 2.4 million. Grumpy has clearly taken Influencer Marketing to a new level.

Megan Resnikoff and Elle Walker - This mom duo gets more than 35 million hits on their YouTube channel. But what did they do to notch up such a tremendous success in the social media space?

It so happened that the two onetime classmates from Stanford fell pregnant at the same time. Realizing that there is no credible solution to help soon-to-be moms, Resnikoff and Walker decided to go the YouTube way. Their brand ‘What’s up Moms’ is the number 1 parenting channel on YouTube. If you’re looking out to learn some valuable lessons in key opinion leader marketing, then follow this fantastic duo.

Lilly Singh - It wasn’t an easy journey for Lilly Singh on YouTube towards becoming a self made KOL and Influencer. She had first learned about the channel when she was a college sophomore. Her first brush with YouTube generated just 70 views. Over the years, she learned the tricks of the trade and today her channel IISuperwomanII generates more than 11 million views! That is some terrific KOL engagement.

For those who do not know much about Lilly Singh, here is an amazing fact that might surprise you - she is one of the top social media influencers in the entertainment vertical.

Christen Dominique - Who says that you have to be single and without a child in order to be a beauty blogger? Meet Christen Dominique who started as a Vlogger way back in 2009. Over the years, Christen, who is a brand by herself, is a formidable force in the beauty blogging business. She has a combined audience of more than 4 million across platforms, and partners with L’Oreal, Sephora, and Urban Decay.  

To conclude

Like brand ambassadors, opinion leaders and social media influencers boast a large following, the only difference being that their followers are restricted to an online presence.

Considering the digital audience today, having followers on just online platforms does not seem to be an unwise move. Most of these influencers started pretty early and are regarded today as strong business partners by some of the world’s biggest brands.