The significance of interpersonal influence in consumer decision making has been acknowledged for decades. Substantial research on interpersonal influence has fixated on opinion leaders. Mainly due to their product knowledge, opinion leaders sway, manipulate, or overall influence consumers in their purchase decisions.
Opinion leaders are usually individuals who are more educated or conversant regarding certain products or services than the average consumer. The internet and social media has created a global platform for opinion leaders to serve as brand ambassadors for products and services. Consequently, consumers are continuously searching the internet for product reviews from established bloggers, vloggers, social media friends, or acquaintances who can offer product knowledge, reviews, or decisions. Opinion leaders can be divided into two categories, formal opinion leaders and informal opinion leaders. Formal opinion leaders are easily identified because of their position, such as doctors, stock brokers, and auto mechanics. Informal opinion leaders are those who have influence because they are perceived by their peers as being an expert or genuine about a subject matter.