An investigatory study into how the perceived trust and authenticity of Instagram’s Social Media Influencers impacts consumer buying habits, specifically in young women aged 18-25
A fairly recent phenomenon is the implementation of Social Media Influencers as a marketing strategy. With little evidence to suggest the significance trust between consumer and influencer plays in the buyer decision process, this research aims to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between consumer and influencer in order to gain further understanding of elements impacting trust, and act as a foundation for future research and marketers alike. This research will examine how the perceived trust and authenticity of Instagram’s Social Media Influencers impacts consumer buying habits, particularly in young women aged 18-25. The research is carried out from the viewpoint of the consumer throughout to gain an understanding of their perspective, with the collection of quantitative data. The exploration of significant areas of pre-existing literature offers a basis for this research which includes consumer behaviour, the buyer decision process, reference groups and opinion leaders alike, social media influencer marketing and several elements impacting the perceived trust and authenticity of influencers. The findings of this research indicate consumer buying habits can be impacted by influencers, however, to a limited extent due to factors such as scandalous behaviour, sponsorship disclosure (or lack of thereof), pre-determined perceptions consumers make regarding influencers and lack of trust. The lack of trust between consumer and influencer impacts the likelihood of purchase as it is perceived influencers are non-believable sources of information. Consumers would far rather make a purchase following a recommendation from a trusted source such as a family member or friend.