Social Media Influencers: A Route to Brand Engagement for their Followers
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Social media has had a significant impact on current branding practices. As a result of this changing environment, brand managers are no longer sole providers of a brand’s communication messages. Specifically, consumers are now interacting with brands, media, and each other through various social media platforms. A distinct group of people who bring brands and consumers together are Social Media Influencers (SMIs). This research proposes that SMIs act as a route to brand engagement. To study this area, I bring together literature on brand engagement and SMIs and determine if and how, SMIs act as a route to brand engagement for their followers. To explore this idea, I used textual consumer comments from YouTube videos and conducted a mixed methods research design, with a focus on Automated Textual Analysis. Results revealed that SMIs do indeed act as a route to brand engagement for their followers. It is through the trust and honesty that already exists between an influencer and their followers that their followers seek out and consider the Influencer’s specific product recommendations. Their followers then take and use these recommendations when making their own purchasing decisions. These results not only advance theory in this area, but also have managerial implications regarding best practices for brand managers working with SMIs.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorPhillips, Barbara; Delbaere , Marjorie
CommitteeWilliams, David; Vassileva, Julita
Copyright DateJune 2019
Social Media Influencers