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Social Butterflies

How Social Media Influencers are the New Celebrity Endorsement

Written by Anonymous

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Master Thesis


Business Administration>Communication & Media




Masterarbeit: Social media influencer-multi-step flow theory. Social media and influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a strategy that focuses on using strategic leaders to push brand information to more consumer groups (Keller & Berry, 2003) . Fashion companies such as H&M, Express and Frye cooperate with SMIs to gain virtual word-of-mouth recognition (Wood, 2016) to disseminate information about their brands and attract consumers (Tapinfluence, 2016a). A recent study by Twitter and Annalect found that 49% of consumers said they rely on SMI when making purchasing decisions (Swant, 2016). SMI is an important part of online information on multiple platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, but because people feel the connection of SMI on visual-based platforms through recognition, influencer marketing has recently won more attention from brands on Instagram (Bevins, 2014). Influencer marketing originated from the inability to advertise on social media platforms such as Instagram (Woods, 2016). Although it is now possible to advertise on social media, influencers are still used due to their trustworthy reputation. SMI endorsements are regarded as earning rather than paid media, because influencers are regarded as a trusted source of truth for consumers (Karp, 2016). The annual return on investment created by influencer marketing is 11 times that of traditional advertising (Tapinfluence, 2016b). Consumers are buying, participating and sharing the content published by SMIson social media (Swant, 2016). SMI is a third-party spokesperson who influences a large audience through blogs, tweets and other social media platforms (Freberg et al., 2011). The defining characteristics of SMI include good reputation, high social media activity, unique branding, a large number of followers, and high exposure (Ioanid, Militaru, and Petruta, 2015). Lucy Hart, Head of Influence and Publicity at Mischief PR, explained why consumers are attracted to SMI, “Consumers feel like they are friends of these influencers. Their videos, snapshots and their open policies make consumers feel that they are from One of their colleagues received real advice, tips and recommendations" (Harrington, 2016, p. 9). SMI is an online friend recommending a product they have tried, not a salesperson trying to sell their product at their doorstep. Compared with offline opinion leaders, audiences receive information through SMI (also known as online opinion leaders) through what they consider to be interpersonal communication, rather than directly from the mass media. In the literature of online opinion leaders, the terms "brand ambassador" and "social media influencer" are often used interchangeably; however, there are differences between the two concepts. A brand ambassador is a paying individual who represents a brand identity (Sussman, 2015). On the other hand, SMI can be compensated by brands, but they are different from brand ambassadors because they promote products or services out of support and belief (Sussman, 2015). When SMI releases information about the product in their area of ​​expertise, they have already tried the product and recommended it, just like a friend rather than a salesman. Viewers trust SMI's opinions and use this information to make purchasing decisions, just like offline opinion leaders (Swant, 2016). Despite the differences, both brand ambassadors and SMI were hired because of their "large network, which the company uses to connect to a wider network." And increase their visibility, brand awareness and sales" (Tapinfluence, 2016a). Brands and social media influencers. Brands work with SMI to reach target consumers, promote products, and educate consumers about product launches and create content (eMarketer , 2015). When pursuing influencer marketing campaigns, brands must consider which SMI they want to work with and how to work with SMI. Uzunoglu and Kip (2014) conducted in-depth interviews with public relations practitioners to determine how to encourage SMI to work with them. The strategy of brand cooperation. Give prizes to their followers. Finding the right SMI for the brand is crucial, because the image of SMI and the brand are parallel, and the relationship between SMI and followers will increase consumers’ willingness to buy ( Howland, 2016; Mediakix, 2016). Previous research on SMI focused on how SMI affects consumer behavior (Lu, Chang and Chang, 2014) and how to identify effective SMI (Booth & Matic, 2011; Freberg et al., 2011 As mentioned earlier, SMI’s promotions are understood as profitable media rather than paid media (Karp, 2016), but the public and the FTC are increasingly worried that SMI’s compensation has not been disclosed leading to “false advertisements.” The FTC published a social media The media usage guidelines for promotional purposes in 2013 indicate that the FTC has the ability to supervise the promotion of false advertisements. False advertisements are misleading advertisements, which may include advertising statements or undisclosed content (FTC, 2017; & Myers, 2016). The FTC solved the problem of false advertising and SMI in two major cases: Sony and Lord & Taylor in 2015. Both companies used SMI to promote products, but SMI did not say that it was Paid promotions (Federal Trade Commission, 2016; Federal Trade Commission, 2015). In 2017, the FTC reviewed the Instagram pages of celebrities, athletes, and SMIs, which resulted in 90 letters to influencers and marketers about them. The education of the discloser is mandatory. This is the FTC's first attempt to educate SMI specifically (Steigard, 2017). Read Less