Ten years ago, if someone had used the word influencer in casual conversation it wouldn’t have made a lick of sense. Social media wasn’t a part of our cultural fabric the way it is today, and people certainly weren’t earning a living posting on social media apps. That said, the idea of an influencer certainly isn’t a new one. All the way back in Ancient Rome, gladiators often endorsed products the way the top athletes of today do. Similarly, the first modern influencer collaboration dates back to the 1760s, when fine china maker Wedgwood conspired with England’s royal family to promote its tea sets.
Today, the influencer market is valued at $13.8 billion. What’s more, there are an estimated 500,000 active influencer accounts on Instagram alone as of 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly had an effect on the industry’s growth, but it also seems, culturally, that we now prefer to be marketed to by people rather than corporations. Whatever the reason for the growth, it’s safe to say that influencing is a field that’s here to stay.
Net Influencer has compiled a list of 10 popular influencers. Using interviews and newspaper articles, we’re taking a closer look at how these individuals got their start and the various methods they’ve used to grow their following and increase their impact. From TikTok’s most famous creator to an up-and-coming travel Instagrammer, these folks all have some pretty interesting stories.