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Choosing the right social media influencer

A quasi-experiment to explore the impact of influencers’ different characteristics

Written by A. Brorsson, V. Plotnikova

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Master Thesis: Although we are discussing whether social media belongs to marketing theory or communication theory (Kilgour, Sasser & Larke, 2015; Vernuccio, 2014; Chang, Yu, & Lu, 2015; Vinerean et. al, 2013) social media influencers are mainly communication, because people Information from influencers is generally not considered marketing (Kilgour, Sasser, and Larke, 2015; Yubo and Jinhong, 2008). Social media is a popular method of reaching target groups, communicating with customers, and disseminating brand-related information (Jothi, Neelamalar, and Prasad, 2011). The company needs to formulate three strategies; business strategy, brand strategy and marketing strategy. Business strategy is mainly about vision, business model and specific goals, while brand strategy is about factors that are not easy to grasp, such as customer experience, inspiration, credibility and cuteness. Together these strategies translate into marketing plans (Van Gelder, 2005). The traditional way to reach target groups through marketing is to use media such as television, newspapers, and radio, but now online social networks have changed the rules of the game in the brand field. Obviously, one-way information is replaced by an open dialogue between companies, brands, and customers. The focus is not to pass information, but to exchange information with each other, which brings consumers a better brand experience (Shen & Bissell, 2013). In order to promote this positive experience and increase trust in the brand, it is important to increase the credibility of the source of the news (Wu & Wang (2011)). When searching for products or services, customers most often face different choices, but brands can simplify choices based on specific reasons such as perceived quality or trust. The product itself and accompanying marketing activities will affect the customer experience, but the brand will determine the effectiveness of marketing efforts, such as advertising and channel layout. Brand positioning will set the direction of marketing activities to distinguish it from competitors. It involves tangible product attributes, but it also involves another classic communication model proposed by Shannon and Weaver. It was created many years ago, but it still remains relevant and has laid the cornerstone for many recent studies related to digital communication (Menfors & Fernstedt, 2015; Narving & Nilsson, 2016). The model describes the communication process with six different factors (Figure 2); information source, transmitter, channel (medium), receiver, destination and the sixth is a communication barrier called noise. First, the information source is the individual or organization that generated the original message, and then the sender encodes the message into a signal, and then sends it through a certain channel or medium. Influencers have the ability to share content through their social media channels to strengthen the brand. Results are affected by network characteristics, but it is difficult for companies to identify and approach the best influencers to stimulate the distribution of consumer-generated stories (Gensler, Völckner, Liu-Thompkins, and Wiertz, 2013). Because of all the different aspects that affect the outcome, determining the right influencer is a complex process. These aspects can include many posts, fans, social structure, and the company's goal of using influencers (Neves, Vieira, Mourão, and Rocha, 2015). In addition, Schwartz et al. (2013) emphasized that because everyone has different attributes, the same messages sent by different users on social media will be perceived by people in significantly different ways. These attributes can be summarized as: age, gender, psychology and external characteristics. 2.5.2 Integrity A secret is something that should not be known to others, whether it is about facts, feelings, or observations. People keep secrets for themselves, because information can be sensitive, but sharing secrets with others can reduce the burden and stress, even if it usually makes you more vulnerable. Because secret sharing can strengthen relationships, the group of people determined to benefit from leaking secrets are social media influencers and bloggers. They are likely to publicly disclose personal and sensitive information online for strategic reasons, not to relieve stress. Past research has shown that online influencers share their secrets in exchange for expanding and strengthening their audience, increasing loyalty, and a stronger personal brand (Kim, Pai, Bickart & Brunel, 2014). Seidman and Gwendolyn (2014) describe a modern trend of disclosing and expressing the “true self” on the Internet. The author points out that this kind of open behavior on social media helps to build close relationships with others through the Internet. In addition, Seidman and Gwendolyn (2014) claimed that highly frank and open online users are considered to communicate more effectively than face-to-face partners. Read Less