The purpose of this paper is to better understand the role of closeness and the relationships between social media influencers and their followers, and, more specifically, how social media influencers can effectively manage their human brands.
Two studies were conducted to explore social media influencers. Qualitative content analysis and modeling with path analysis were used to analyze the data.
Results found attractiveness and likeability to positively predict attitudes toward the influencer, word-of-mouth and purchase intentions, whereas similarity only predicted word-of-mouth from the follower. Closeness served as a moderator but had different effects. Closeness positively moderated the effect of attractiveness on purchase intentions; however, it had a negative effect with similarity on purchase intentions. Moreover, closeness moderated the effect of likeability on attitude toward the influencer.
This study was limited by the student sample as well as the students’ self-identification of a social media influencer. Future research should include experimental design manipulating well-known/followed or fictional social media influencers on different social media.
This paper explores the characteristics of social media influencers as well as the potential outcomes associated with influencers on social media. The implications for marketers and advertisers include a better understanding of how consumers engage with influencers on social media.
The role of closeness is identified as a moderator of consumers’ behaviors toward social media influencers.
Taillon, B.J., Mueller, S.M., Kowalczyk, C.M. and Jones, D.N. (2020), "Understanding the relationships between social media influencers and their followers: the moderating role of closeness", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 767-782. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-03-2019-2292
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