Mixed in with our friends on social media feeds are influencers sharing bits of their lives for our entertainment: furniture rehabbers, makeup artists, cleaning wizards and more. We like watching their lives and work—but how do we feel about them recommending products and services?
Turns out they have more than a little clout. In a survey of nearly 1,500 users of the online platform for women’s voices SheSpeaks, 60% have bought something on the recommendation of an influencer. This went as high as 65% for the 18-24 crowd, versus 40% for those 55 and older.
In fact, slightly more than half of respondents (51%) actively turn to influencers for information before making a purchase, rivaling brand/retailer sites as a reliable source. But that number is once again much higher among younger audiences. While word-of-mouth is the top way people across all age groups get information about products and services, 74% of those 18-24 rely on social media influencers, while only 24% of those over 55 do the same.
When it comes to making a purchase, 90% of respondents of all ages would trust an influencer over a celebrity.
“When you have enlisted content creators who are telling smart stories that focus on why a particular product or service is useful in someone’s life, the audience becomes engaged and doesn’t view it as sponsored content,” said Aliza Freud, CEO of SheSpeaks.
“Instead, they get excited and actually want to share it with others,” she added, noting that 17% of users are even willing to share sponsored content.
There is one caveat, however. Only slightly more than half (51%) of social media users believe influencers appropriately disclose when a post is sponsored.
As for where people are following influencers, Instagram is the most likely platform for those up to age 45, while Facebook is used by more than half of those 35 and older.