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A qualitative content analysis of social media influencers' credibility

Written by I. Davidsson, L. Jurgell & I. Nilsson

Paper category

Bachelor Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Thesis: Reputation 2.1.1. The credibility of professional knowledge can be said to be constituted by the perceived professional knowledge of the source. Expertise is related to the source’s knowledge of the topic being discussed or their qualifications to talk about the topic (Hovland, Janis & Kelley, 1953). The assessment of the source's qualifications may involve whether the source is trained, experienced, qualified, and/or informed (Berlo, Lemert, and Mertz, 1969). Eligibility can be defined as “having the skills, knowledge, or ability standards required to do or become something” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2019). According to O'reilly et al. (2016), the source of expertise is the first aspect to be determined when reviewing credibility. They believe that if a lack of expertise is found, they will not continue to review credibility. In addition, Wathen and Burkell (2002) also pointed out that professional knowledge and knowledge, that is, skills, information and facts collected through theoretical and practical understanding of the subject (Oxford Dictionary, 2019), is the user’s perception of credibility. The quality of direct response. Djafarova and Trofimenko (2018) also found that the source must be considered qualified in order to be considered credible. Shan (2016) found that the quality of the source argument has a positive effect on professional knowledge. Research by Copeland et al. (2011) shows that people are more likely to regard sources considered as experts as credible than sources that are not considered experts. Their results show that when checking credibility and listening to suggestions, the view of the source is more important than the logic of source reasoning, that is, people pay more attention to checking the source rather than the argument of the source (Copeland et al., 2011). Celeste Farr (2007) also found that professional knowledge not only comes from possessing knowledge, but also must come from experience, that is, observation of facts or events, knowledge or skills acquired over a period of time (Oxford Dictionary, 2019), which is a strong prediction of credibility index. 2.1.2. Trustworthiness Trustworthiness is about the degree to which you can rely on what you are doing and what you say, and it means other people's perception of your trustworthiness compared to being considered trustworthy (Admin, 2014). The credibility in the context of credibility is related to the perception of the true motivation of the source (Hovland et al., 1953). According to Copeland et al. (2011), if a source is considered honest and credible, then this source is considered trustworthy, and then people are more likely to trust and listen to this source than a source considered untrustworthy. Research by O'reilly et al. (2016) showed that credibility is second only to professional knowledge. Although their research does not say that professional knowledge is more important than credibility, they believe that no amount of credibility can make up for the lack of professional knowledge. 2.1.3. Content When viewing the content of a message, researchers believe that the credibility is affected by factors such as content and information quality, and language strength. The quality of the content can be defined as how well the message is written, and how interesting the message is based on the reader's opinion. In addition, if the message is deemed to be error-free, the quality of the message will be higher (Metzger et al., 2003). According to Li and Suh (2015), the strength of the argument, that is, the strength of opinions involving different viewpoints (, 2019), also has a positive effect on the credibility of the information. The content of the message is also important in the online environment, and the accuracy of the information, that is, information with no or few errors (Cambridge Dictionary, 2019), has been considered to improve the credibility and credibility of the message (Metzger et al. People, 2003). The content of the message can be viewed as language strength, which is related to the language being used, such as how opinionated it is (Metzger et al., 2003). Research has found that stronger and opinionated language is considered less credible than less strong language (Metzger et al., 2003). In addition, Wang, Cunningham, and Eastin (2015) believe that the credibility of information will also be affected by the tone and valence of the information. Their research shows that positive and neutral information is more convincing and credible than negative information (Wang et al., 2015). Yilmaz and Quintero Johnson (2016) also found that the language of information may have an impact on credibility. Their research shows that personalized language, that is, the language that clearly shows the source of words and ideas (Cambridge Dictionary, 2019), has a positive effect on the credibility of a social media platform, and it has a positive effect on the credibility of a social media platform. There are negative effects. Another social media platform. Yilmaz and Quintero Johnson (2016) speculate that this is because depersonalized language conveys accuracy and objectivity, which is positively related to professional knowledge and ability in some forums, but not appropriate in other forums. Therefore, this suggests that how language is viewed in social media and how this affects credibility depends on context (Yilmaz and Quintero Johnson, 2016). For credibility, Weerkamp and de Rijke (2012) identified several indicators when studying blogs. These indicators are divided into two groups, one of which is a secondary indicator, which describes grammatical elements such as spelling errors, correct capitalization, punctuation abuse and document length, as well as the use of emoji (Weerkamp & de Rijke, 2012). Read Less