Social Media Influencers Impacting Consumers' Buying Behaviour: Merits & Demerits

Jun 12, 2023
Social Media Influencers Impacting Consumers' Buying Behaviour: Merits & Demerits

Social media influencers, with their carefully crafted images and on-screen lifestyles, create an aspirational halo that surrounds them.

The rise of social media has certainly revolutionised various aspects, including how we connect, share, and consume information. The emergence of influencers is one of the most significant changes brought about by social media in the realm of marketing. However, the influencer is not a buzzword anymore.  Considering macro and celeb influencers, today's new-gen celebs, these individuals can significantly impact the psychology of potential consumers through their recommendations, opinions, and ideas, thereby shaping their purchasing decisions. Furthermore, with their substantial online followings and persuasive skills, they have emerged as critical players in determining consumers' buying behaviour.
One of the key psychological phenomena that emerged in this transformation is the halo effect. From a marketing perspective, this effect occurs when individuals perceive an influencer positively in one area and extend that constructive perception to other aspects of the latter's life. Social media influencers, with their carefully crafted images and on-screen lifestyles, create an aspirational halo that surrounds them. As a result, when they endorse a product or service, their followers are likely to associate it with positive attributes, increasing the chances of a purchase.

Impact Of Social Media Influencers On Consumer Behaviour

Today, social media influencers have become excellent communicators and opinionators, assisting people in perceiving a brand more favorably by providing honest feedback. When users consume influencer content, they assume credibility in the creator's opinions, especially for niche products and brands.
It is safe to say that social media influencers wield immense power, revolutionising consumer behaviour and prompting businesses to embrace unconventional strategies. Their massive online followings and captivating content have become catalysts for boosting brand preferences and the transformation of consumer behaviour as a whole. With their huge fan base, these influencers create brand awareness, acquaint consumers with overlooked products, and pique their inquisitiveness. In addition, by being authentic, these new-age celebs foster trust, resulting in the likelihood of consumers embracing their recommendations. 
However, it is essential to note that the impact of influencers on consumer behaviour is not always positive. Concerns related to transparency, unrealistic standards, and ethics may arise, such as undisclosed sponsorships or misleading content. Thus, to tackle these issues, consumers should approach influencer recommendations critically, discerningly evaluating them and considering multiple sources of information before making purchasing decisions. Having established the impact, let's delve into some of the merits and demerits brought about by the rise of social media influencers in the marketing industry.

Social Media Influencers: Beneficial Or Detrimental?


Enhance Brand Awareness: When it comes to building and enhancing the brand's name, trust and credibility play an important role. Since influencers have amassed a loyal following, their feedback on products is perceived by users as knowledgeable and trustworthy. Furthermore, influencers not only have the power to gain the trust of consumers but also possess the ability to enhance brand awareness among vast audiences significantly. The new-age celebs help brands by promoting products or services to their large and engaged follower base, generating substantial attention and interest. This exposure can increase sales and brand recognition for the products, thereby enhancing brand awareness among consumers. 
Authentic and Relatable: Influencers are perceived as genuine and relatable compared to traditional celebrities or advertisements, as they frequently engage with their followers through comments, messages, reels, live streaming, and vlog sessions. These interactions foster a sense of community and connection, making consumers feel more engaged and personally relatable to their audience. When a modern-day celeb harmonizes with a brand and its users, this connection allows consumers to feel a closer affinity with the influencer, leading them to have faith in their recommendations and make purchasing decisions based on them.
Social Proof and Peer Influence: Influencer recommendations serve as robust validation for the products or services they endorse. When followers witness influencers using or recommending a specific brand, it offers confirmation and assurance regarding the product's high quality and value. This social proof exerts a compelling influence on consumer purchasing behaviour, making them experience the fear of missing out (FOMO) with brands or products endorsed by influencers. Influencers hold the power to shape various stages of the consumer decision-making process; they create awareness and interest in a product, provide information, impacting the evaluation and purchase stages.


Lack of Transparency: The lack of transparency within the realm of influencers raises significant concerns. There are instances where influencers fail to disclose their partnerships and financial arrangements with brands, resulting in potential ethical quandaries and deceptive practices. This lack of openness puts consumers at risk of being exposed to biased or misleading content, eroding trust in influencers and impacting their purchasing decisions.
Unrealistic Standards: Influencers have mastered showcasing idyllic lifestyles with extravagant vacations, opulent possessions, and flawlessly curated appearances. This portrayal tends to set unattainable benchmarks for their followers, fostering a sense of inadequacy or FOMO, birthing an unrelenting desire to attain similar levels of luxury. Consumers may feel compelled to make purchases to emulate the influencer's lifestyle, even if it is not financially or practically feasible for them.
Authenticity and Quality Concerns: While influencers play a vital role in promoting products, there is a risk of compromising authenticity and quality. Influencers may endorse products solely for monetary gain without genuinely believing in or using them. This raises questions about the integrity of product recommendations, as consumers often end up with subpar or unsuitable items based on influencer endorsements. Furthermore, vying for attention and endorsements, the soaring numbers of social media influencers have led to a saturated market. This saturation can result in content overload for consumers, making it challenging for brands to stand out and effectively connect with their target audience. The repetitive nature of endorsements can also lead to skepticism and disinterest among consumers, diluting the impact of influencer marketing.

Social Media Influencers: Changing Future Of Buying Preference

It is undeniably true that, in our digitally dominated world, influencers have made great strides in all spheres of interest. Growing at an unprecedented rate, influencer marketing as a whole is now an essential aspect of strategies executed by contemporary marketers. According to Statista, the influencer marketing industry in India is expected to reach 28 billion Indian rupees at a CAGR of 25 per cent by 2026.
Given how influencers drive the purchasing decisions of new-age customers, both positively and negatively, marketers must build effective campaigns to reach a large audience. Their ability to increase brand awareness, establish trust, and facilitate targeted marketing is undeniable, in addition to challenges such as transparency issues and unrealistic expectations. This is where to favorably and successfully influence consumers' purchasing decisions, brands and influencers must collaborate in order to uphold ethical standards, maintain transparency, and provide consumers with value. 

Source: abplive