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Similarity, Familiarity, and Credibility in influencers and their impact on purchasing intention

Written by Z. Al-Darraji, Z. Al Mansour & S. Rezai

Paper category

Bachelor Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Thesis: Online influencer marketing Since this study investigates how trust in influencers plays a role in buying intentions, it is important to understand influencer marketing as a phenomenon. According to Duncan Brown and Nick Hayes (2007), influencer marketing is a new marketing method. Sudha and Sheena (2017) pointed out that influencer marketing is “the process of identifying and activating individuals who have influence on a specific target audience or media in order to become part of brand activities to expand coverage, sales, or engagement”. The authors of this study further pointed out that influencer marketing can be seen as an extension of word-of-mouth, but on a larger scale and focused on social context. This is also a way for companies to expand their audiences and ultimately make them loyal through trust and authenticity, because there is a strong relationship between influencers and their audiences maintained by influencers. This relationship comes from the influencer creating the content that people want and connecting it with the influencer's audience, which in turn leads to the audience "a certain degree of trust in the influencer's opinions" (Sudha, M. & Sheena, K. 2017). In addition, in order to make influential people more convincing, they need to regularly update social media in their areas of expertise (Chen Lou and Shupei Yuan, 2019). The author explained that this was done when the influencer posted "information about product alternatives or other information content" to its fans. Internet celebrities tend to add some personal style to their content to create a pleasant experience for their followers (Chen Lou and Shupei Yuan, 2019). For many years, marketers have used celebrities as a way of marketing and increasing brand awareness because people tend to trust people they admire (Bognar et al., 2019; Sudha et al., 2017). Conceptual influencer marketing has similar goals, but they use celebrities or social media influencers from the social networking world (Sammis, Lincoln, and Pomponi, 2015) instead of using TV/movie stars or famous musicians. In this case, an influencer is someone who has a certain influence on others (Bognar et al., 2019). According to the author, according to the type of business that influencers cooperate with, they mainly profit from Instagram and YouTube. However, influencers also use other platforms for advertising, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat. In an organizational environment based on knowledge, skills, and personality (rather than position), influencers can influence the attitudes of colleagues, but they may also be those who make decisions within the organization (Bognar et al., 2019). In addition, according to Edström et al. (2010), today's influencers are becoming professional. 3.2. Similarity According to Martensen et al. (2018) Similarity is considered to be the similarity between sender and receiver. This means that individuals who have similarities with each other, rather than those who are seen as different, will receive greater interpersonal attraction, trust, and understanding (Martensen et al., 2018; Ruef et al., 2003). The author further explained that in an offline environment, if the receiver feels that the sender is similar to themselves, they are more likely to be persuaded by the sender. The conclusion is that the more similar a person feels to influencers, the higher their trust in them. Some followers see themselves as influencers, some believe that they have much in common with influencers, while others want to be influencers (Hoffner and Buchanan 2005; Kamins et al. 1989; Gräve 2017). 3.3. Familiarity The degree of one person's familiarity with another person depends on the knowledge of the source through contact or past associations (Martensen et al. 2018). This means that familiarity makes the receiver feel comfortable with the sender, and therefore makes the sender look more convincing (Martensen et al., 2018). Ma Tengsen et al. (2018) and Hoffner (2008) explain that when it comes to social media influencers, the relationship between followers and influencers is considered a one-sided relationship, however, followers often feel that they understand influencers. The result will lead them to accept their investment in correct product decisions, product use, and personal consumption (Russell and Puto, 1999; Martensen et al., 2018). This is created by regularly flowing private photos, which creates a sense of intimacy and closeness with followers, especially if followers have been following influencers for longer (Martensen et al., 2018). This means that if followers are more familiar with influencers, it means that it is positively correlated with purchase intentions (ibid.). 3.4. Reputable celebrities are recognized by the public through their talents (Khamis, Ang and Welling 2017), which makes them popular with marketers in promoting their brands, products and services (Alexander et al., 2020). In other words, marketers try to trigger consumers' purchase intentions by transferring the image and characteristics of celebrities to their brands (Atkin and Block 1983). Unlike those celebrities, social media influencers gain their recognition by being authentic (Jiang, 2018) and establishing themselves as experts on social media platforms (Khamis, Ang, and Welling 2017). When consumers value authenticity, when a brand or product is considered authentic, authentic, and authentic, an optimistic attitude will arise (Hoyer., D. etal. 2012). In addition, Hoyer (2012) Read Less