The BLOG: Lifestyle

Study: You Trust Social Media Influencers More Than Family and Friends


It’s good news for marketers like me … but bad news for your personal relationships.

A new study has found that more than 90 percent of social media users are convinced to make a purchase after seeing influencers on social media endorse the product … and 33 percent said that those influencers are “trusted sources.”

Here’s what’s even more crazy.  Just 17 percent of those respondents trusted family and friends for shopping decisions.  They also said they trust influencers over traditional celebrities – and it wasn’t even close.  We’re talking seven to one.

The study was done by and Geometry Global.  The 1,000 respondents ranged from Gen Z all the way to Baby Boomers.

When it came to videos on social media, 75 percent of people surveyed preferred consuming video content, saying it was more “enjoyable, relevant, believable and credible” than all other content … ringing in twice as effective as other formats.

There’s big money in social media influencers. Transparently, my agency will spend millions of dollars this year paying social media influencers to endorse products. PROPERLY, of course. It has become such a big market that the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on compliance, making sure that social influencers are properly disclosing what is and is not an ad.

As a matter of fact, this May, the FTC fired off letters to more than 90 brands and celebrities who post sponsored content to give them a refresher about the guidelines.  It’s the first time they’ve ever sent anything like this … showing that they are serious about cracking down on social.

So what exactly do they want to see?  According to Mediakix, here are some of the rules:

  • Clear disclosure like #ad or #sponsored (#sp instead of #sponsored is NOT O.K.)
  • No hiding the disclosure at the end of a long caption, which gets cut off after three lines in Instagram, or in a #forest #of #hashtags #where #no #one #will #notice #ad
  • No using #partner – most people don’t know what that means
  • No simply tagging the sponsor

What does this mean for consumers?  Do your homework.  Research products that you hear about from your favorite social influencers … don’t just take posts at face value.

And what does it mean for brands?  Play by the rules and come up with some seriously creative content … and the right social influencers … and it’s an even more effective play than mom’s Irish guilt.


Kyle S. Reyes is President and CEO of The Silent Partner Marketing. He’s also an acclaimed keynote speaker on entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing and social media. You can follow him on Facebook.