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Publication Title

Psychology & Marketing


Article in Press




Within the social media community, influencers engage in a variety of collaborative practices such as tagging, reposting content from, or forming partnerships with other influencers and brands. While such collaborative efforts are a known practice, less is understood about how influencer collaborations affect consumers' perceptions of the partnering influencers, specifically when a status differential exists within the collaboration. We suggest that such collaborative practices, specifically those where the focal influencer has a higher status than the collaborating partner, may help to weaken consumers' perceptions that the influencer's actions are purely self‐focused. A pilot study, analyzing both influencer–influencer collaborations and influencer–brand collaborations, provides evidence that influencers engage in collaborations with other influencers and brands of different status levels. Two studies then support our theorizing that influencers who collaborate with lower‐status influencers are perceived as less self‐serving and more altruistic, while influencers who collaborate with lower‐status brands are only perceived as less self‐serving. This suggests that, for influencers who desire to enhance how consumers perceive them, an effective strategy is to engage in collaborations with either a lower‐status influencer or brand.


© 2023 The Authors.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

Data Availability

Article states: "The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request."


0000-0001-8832-703X (Thomas)

Original Publication Citation

Thomas, V. L., Fowler, K., & Taheran, F. (2023). How social media influencer collaborations are perceived by consumers. Psychology & Marketing. Advance online publication.