Social Influencers

- June 18, 2021
Can they continue to shape American culture?
Photo of fashion model and influencer Luka Sabbat in New York City on September 24, 2020. (Getty Images/Gotham/Contributor)
Social influencers are extending their reach in American society, filling roles ranging from entrepreneur to muse to thought leader. They are posting on Instagram and other social media to promote products — and to spur conversations on everything from the Black Lives Matter movement to fashion. The influencer industry is seeing explosive growth and is expected to be worth nearly $15 billion by 2022, while top influencers with followings of 1 million or more can receive $250,000 per post.

Why are social influencers popular? Have you relied on any when buying a product?

For brands seeking consumer outreach, what are the advantages to using an influencer? What are the risks?

1750s–1950sThe Industrial Revolution introduces a surplus of goods in need of marketing.
1970s–1990sCelebrity endorsements lay the groundwork for the modern influencer industry.
2000s–PresentSocial media opens new ways of communication for influencers through the virtual exchange of memories, stories and ideas.

Has influencer culture hurt the way people build genuine connections?


Alavia Khawaja
Lifestyle Influencer.


Dominika Perek
Fashion Influencer and Co-Founder, Mess magazine .



Can it sustain its global following?

Rebuilding America's Infrastructure

Can Biden and Republicans agree on how to fund it?

Special Education

Can it be reshaped to fulfill its original promise?


Voting Access - 6/25/2021
Is faith in U.S. democracy being eroded?

Women in the Workplace - 7/2/2021
Can government counteract COVID-19's impact on female workers?

Reports are published online 44 times a year. Click here to see the 2021 publication schedule.

What else might you like to see from CQ Researcher? Suggest a Topic

Tweets by our Editor

Follow the Editor in Chief, Ken Fireman, on Twitter

SAGE on Twitter


Read the latest updates to our most popular topics
  • Photo of anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights activists confronting one another during a demonstration outside the Supreme Court on March 4.
    AbortionIs Roe v. Wade in danger of being overturned?
  • Photo of flames and smoke rising from a wildfire in Cherry Valley, Calif., during an excessive heat warning in August.
    Climate ChangeWill Biden succeed in imposing controls?
  • Sign and campus of MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., closed permanently in May because of financial troubles.
    College DebtWill COVID-19 send borrowers’ default rates soaring?
  • Two women mourn their cousin at a vigil for shooting victims in San Jose, California, on May 27, 2021.
    Gun ControlCan the United States reduce gun violence?
  • Photo of people lining up outside a food pantry in New York City in November.
    Health Care PolicyCan the Affordable Care Act be reformed?
  • Protesters hold a vigil outside an immigrant detention center.
    Immigration PolicyWill the pandemic reduce the flow of undocumented immigrants into the U.S.?
  • Photo of Joseph Fons, a supporter of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision banning job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, in June.
    LGBTQ RightsWill a Supreme Court decision prevent a rollback?
  • Photo of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, business person Jonathan C. Brown explaining how to vote for Mississippi’s Initiative 65.
    Marijuana LegalizationWill the industry continue to grow?
  • Supporters of U.S. Army Pfc. Vanessa Guillén protesting, calling on Congress to pass the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill.
    Sexual HarassmentHave workplaces become less tolerant of inappropriate behavior?
  • Mourners leave candles in memory of four people killed and 14 wounded during a Nov. 3 shooting spree in Vienna, Austria.
    TerrorismAre domestic anti-government groups the biggest threat to America?