Do You Trust Social Media Influencers?


It seems as though everyone is dabbling in influencer marketing these day, and there's a good reason for it. From the social media stars doing the promoting to brands paying influencers for a promo, it's a win-win situation for parties involved.

The results and royalties of this activity are proof that influencer marketing works, but you may still be curious about who's paying attention to those influencer social media posts and placements.

Instagram’s rise, for example, has opened a massive channel to market to an incredible large number of people over the internet—we're talking about a billion users.

That is how the role of social media influencers arrived.


Who Is an Influencer?


An influencer is a person that has the trust of an audience for varying reasons, such as an engaging personality or domain expertise.

Many people want to become social media influencers because of the influence you have over your audience and the pay you can get for promoting brand stuff to that audience. Influencer pay can range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per post.

There are many benefits to becoming an influencer aside from the pay. You can receive free brand merchandise and discounts for many products. Oftentimes, influencers get all-expense-paid trips and networking opportunities at significant social events.

You typically work remotely, which gives you the freedom to move and be located anywhere in the world you want. The influencer lifestyle has many, many perks.


Why Brands Pay for Influencers


On the other side of influencer marketing, brands see a considerable return on investment (ROI) working with influencers. They dish out money upfront in exchange for their products and services to be shared all over social media in preparation for product launches, rebranding, or even events that draw crowds to their business.

Influencer marketing tends to be more effective than traditional marketing methods, like flyers, billboards, and magazine ads. By working with the right social media influencers, you can reach people in different parts of the world cost-effectively that you wouldn't usually be able to access.

Consumers also stand to benefit from influencer marketing because they often get good/relevant product recommendations and reviews from people they trust, and the orders start rolling. Unsurprisingly, brands of all sizes and varying budgets want to tap into this exciting marketing method.

But, do people fully trust influencers, considering that there has also been a rise in fake influencers as well?


Do People Trust Influencers?


We have to address the big question at hand: do consumers trust influencers? Who cares about the sponsored content posted by influencers online?

While influencer marketing is continually growing (currently valued at $4.6 billion and projected to increase by 26% by 2025), it's important to know who is listening to influencers the most.

A study from the University of Padova found that almost half (45%) of consumers state they would trust virtual influencers depending on the context, and 15% would never trust them.

Millennials and members of Generation Z make up the group most attune to influencers. In 2022, 40% of this generation cohort made a purchase after hearing a virtual influencer advocate a good or service.

Meanwhile, the 55 to 64 years-old generation cohort is much less trusting of influencers than the Millennial and Gen Z cohort. This is because social media influencers are typically younger and more relatable to the 25 to 34 age group.

In other words, different demographic traits of people affect their overall trust in social media influencers.


Different Demographic Traits Affect Trust in Influencers


Influencer marketing is different things to different people. For some, it's their livelihood; for brands it's a way of reaching the masses; and for consumers, it's a method that helps discover and determine if a product or service is right for them.

While people are listening to what influencers have to say, it important that you target the right audience and work with the right influencer when considering this marketing approach.

A hazard that is brewing for brands that use influencer marketing relates to problems with trust and genuineness. Only 12% of those surveyed by the Padova study team indicated that they would have the same level of confidence in social media influencers as they would in human ones.

Consumers may not fully trust influencers these days. This comes as many influencers are increasingly advocating stuff they haven't personally tried, which damages consumers' perception of their trustworthiness and genuineness. As such, it is important to work with genuine influencers who are not motivated solely by money. 


Consumers that Trust Influencers the Most


Here's an insightful infographic highlighting which consumers trust influencers by age, gender, and ethnicity to help you fine tune your influencer marketing campaigns for best results:


George Mathews is a staff writer for He is passionate about personal growth and development.