Do consumers trust social media influencers? Overcoming barriers to IM success

by | Jun 17, 2021 | Public Relations

Even though there are plenty of communicators who will tell you influencer marketing is overhyped (and we’re not saying it isn’t), the fact is influencers have been proven to boost campaign efforts when used effectively. As businesses adopt digital marketing strategies, social and influencer marketing have become more integral to their multichannel approach.

Now influencers fill people’s social feeds as brands work to capitalize on this marketing trend. New research from text communications firm SlickText examines consumers’ preferences on influencer communications and content.

While an influencer-first strategy has the potential to generate significant ROI, this approach has its own set of barriers. Marketers must hone brand and product awareness and demand through meaningful influencer-consumer conversations in trusted channels: text messaging and social media.

Do consumers trust social media influencers? Overcoming barriers to IM success

The firm’s new study, Do Consumers Trust Social Media Influencers? Here’s What Statistics Show, provides new insights for brands, marketers and influencers about social media’s volatile nature, and offers recommendations on how best to optimize consumer trust. The research examines the influence of influencer reviews on e-commerce, the trust consumers place in the influencers they follow, preferred posting, channel cadence and more.

Do consumers trust social media influencers? Overcoming barriers to IM success

The report separated responses by age and gender, showcasing the generational divide in influencer preferences and the differences between the genders’ purchase decisions. Key takeaways from over 1,000 consumers aged 18 to 54+ include:

The real deal

Of the Gen Z respondents, 31.69 percent named Instagram as the platform with the most genuine influencers, and 28.67 percent identified TikTok. Thirty-one percent of Boomers said Facebook. One-third of respondents said an excess of sponsored posts diminishes their trust in influencers.

Owning the conversation

Nearly half of Gen Z respondents (45.07 percent) prefer text messaging for communicating with an influencer outside of social media.

Do consumers trust social media influencers? Overcoming barriers to IM success

Influence purchase decisions with reviews

Over one-third of respondents (38 percent) said reviews offer the most helpful social media content—and 52 percent of online shoppers conducting research before buying start by reading online reviews. To win their trust, 34 percent of consumers expect unbiased reviews.

Gen Z women are a notable exception to this trend, with 23 percent ranking how-to’s as the most valuable, followed by motivational posts—not reviews. But nearly 40 percent of this demographic say a brand’s most effective way to win their trust is through direct interaction from the influencers.

Do consumers trust social media influencers? Overcoming barriers to IM success

The more the merrier

One out of three respondents said they would prefer to see content from an influencer they follow several times per day.

Value is driving sales

Influencers able to successfully articulate and promote value inspire nearly 40 percent of survey respondents to make the purchase because they feel they “need” the product.

“Social and influencer marketing has grown exponentially over the past few years, because brands continue investing more and more in this strategy,” said Meg Scales, CMO of SlickText, in a news release. “However, it’s critical brands don’t lose consumer trust by over-promoting products and creating unauthentic sponsored content. Consumers expect real, valuable reviews in channels they trust, like text messaging Influencer marketing truly impacts purchase decisions when done properly.”

Read the full report here.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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