Is Social Media Influencing a Real Profession? [2023 Study]

what Americans think about social media influencers: new study
As seen on:

Social media influencers:

Whether you like them or not, they’re a force to be reckoned with. After all, influencers can make or break trends, sway opinions, and even drive sales.


Is influencing a viable career path?

To answer this question and more, we’ve surveyed 800+ US citizens and asked them to share their unfiltered (pun intended) thoughts and opinions about influencers.

Let’s get to it.

Key Takeaways

  • About 77% of respondents consider social media influencing a real profession.
  • Roughly 63% of Americans claim they’d quit their day jobs tomorrow if they knew they’d make it as influencers in the next 6–12 months.
  • Money (25%), self-expression (20%), and following one’s passion (20%) are the key reasons why people want to plunge into this career.
  • Creativity (35%) was voted the most vital trait to succeed in the influencer game.
  • Over 90% of internet users follow at least one social media influencer.

Social Media Influencing Is Seen as a Legitimate Career

It’s a relatively new thing.

In 2009, there were only a handful of digital creators. Fast forward to today, and we’re looking at 50M+ influencers worldwide, 1.5M of whom are US based.


It isn’t surprising that nine in 10 Americans follow at least one content creator on social media, our research shows.

9 in 10 Americans follow at least one influencer

Note that nearly half of respondents (46%) say they’re subscribed to over 20 influencers across all their social media, and 13% stay connected with 100+ creators.

That’s plenty.

But is it a legitimate career path in the eyes of the public? 

Let’s take a look at the data:

nearly 8 in 10 people consider social media influencing a real profession

It very much appears so.

Influencing Is the Go-To Career Path for Over Half the Population

Being a social media influencer has its allure.

You get to work from (almost) anywhere, have flexible hours, and be your boss.

No wonder, then, that over 60% of our respondents admit they want to become full-time social media influencers.

over 60% of people want to become full-time social media influencers

Similar studies also found that 86% of youngsters, in particular, are set on becoming digital celebrities.

It looks like being an influencer is the new “When I grow up, I want to be a fireman.”

Many Would Ditch Their Jobs to Pursue Influencer Stardom

Imagine you’re given the following offer:

Quit your day job tomorrow, and you’ll make it as an influencer in the next 6–12 months.

Would you make the jump?

For 63% of surveyed Americans, it was a no-brainer. 

63% of Americans would quit their day jobs tomorrow if they knew they’d make it as full-time social media influencers in the next year


To understand what motivates people to pursue a career as an influencer, we gave survey participants a list of reasons and asked them to choose the one that resonated with them the most.

The results are in:

money (25%), self-expression (20%), and following one’s passion (20%) are the key reasons why people want to become influencers

The data shows that money is the winner (25%), which is hardly surprising. 

While the average pay of an influencer is about $60K, some digital celebrities charge an astounding $7K+ per post, according to Shopify’s recent data.

The other top reasons, such as the ability to express oneself (21%) and do what one loves (20%), also suggest that people want to become social media influencers to enjoy creative freedom and follow their passions.

That makes sense.

Creativity Is the #1 Trait for Influencer Success

What does it take to make it in the influencer game?

Let’s hear from the general population:

people consider creativity (35%) the essential trait for becoming a successful social media influencer

The consensus is that you need creativity, good looks, and charisma to stand out from the crowd.

Interestingly, when we later asked survey respondents if they had what it takes to become social media influencers, 41% answered in the affirmative.

over 41% of Americans believe they have what it takes to become successful social media influencers



Stacking It All Up

There you have it—

Insights from over 800+ Americans on how they feel about social media influencing.

Now, over to you:

Is social media influencing a respectable career path? Do you have what it takes to become a successful digital celebrity?

Let us know in the comments below.


We conducted an online survey of 812 US respondents via a bespoke online polling tool in January 2023.

The respondents were 54.2% male, 45.3% female, and 0.5% identified as other. 5% of respondents were 24 or younger, 58% were aged 25–39, 26% were 40–54, and 11% were 55 or older.

This survey has a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 3%. Given the gender and age makeup of our sample size, the study’s findings are statistically significant for the population at large.

This study was created through multiple research steps, crowdsourcing, and surveying. Data scientists reviewed all survey participants’ responses for quality control. ​​The survey also had an attention-check question.

Fair Use Statement

Did our findings help you learn more about social media influencing? If you believe your audience will be interested in this information, feel free to share it. Just remember to mention the source and link back to this page.