Kim, D. Y., & Kim, H. Y. (2021). Trust me, trust me not: A nuanced view of influencer marketing on social media. Journal of Business Research, 134, 223-232.
The authors note that there is an increasing trend in the use of social media influencers. It is further indicated that social media influencers are now integrated in the main marketing strategy for most companies. The authors sought to establish whether the source of characteristics of an influencer can function as relation sources when formulating follower trust. Examples of these characteristics include authenticity, expertise, physical attractiveness and homophily. Social exchange theory and reciprocity principle. According to this theory, people tend to maximize the benefits of a social interaction while minimizing the risks. In this context, social interaction theory is used to describe scenarios such as when an influencer uploads content (text, image or video) that is entertaining, useful, appealing or enjoyable to his or her followers. In return, the followers will express their appreciation and satisfaction through commenting, sharing, liking and subscribing (following) as a reward. The goal was to determine whether followers can trust influencer leads and desirable marketing outcomes. The outcomes listed in this study include product attitude and purchasing intent. After the analysis of the collected data, it was discovered that trust mediated the impact of authenticity, expertise, and homophily were primarily mediated by trust on loyalty and marketing outcomes. On the other hand, physical attractiveness was not significant in building relational trust. The linkages in the authenticity-trust and trust-loyalty were confirmed to have a moderating role of the relationship strength. From these findings, the authors concluded that the strategic use of influencer marketing needs a better understanding of persuasion mechanisms manifested in the relationship between influencers and their followers.