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How influencers’ social media posts have an influence on audience engagement among young consumers

Fei Fan (School of Culture and Creativity, BNU-HKBU United International College, Zhuhai, China)
Kara Chan (Department of Communication Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Yan Wang (School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Yupeng Li (Department of Interactive Media, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Michael Prieler (Media School, Hallym University, Chuncheon, South Korea)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 18 April 2023

Issue publication date: 8 June 2023




Online influencers are increasingly used by brands around the globe to establish brand communication. This study aims to investigate the characteristics of social media content in terms of presentation style and brand communication among online influencers in China. The authors identified how characteristics of social media posts influence young consumers’ engagement with the posts.


The authors analyzed 1,779 posts from the Sina Weibo accounts of ten top-ranked online influencers by combining traditional content analysis with Web data crawling of audience engagement with social media posts.


Online influencers in China more frequently used photos than videos to communicate with their social media audience. Altogether 8% and 6% of posts carried information about promotion and event, respectively. Posts with promotional incentives as well as event information were more likely to engage audiences. Altogether 22% of the sampled social media posts mentioned brands. Posts with brand information, however, were less likely to engage audiences. Furthermore, having long text is more effective than photos/images in generating likes from social media audiences.


Combining content analysis of social media posts and engagement analytics obtained via Web data crawling, this study is, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, one of the first empirical studies to analyze influencer marketing and young consumers’ reactions to social media in China.



Fan, F., Chan, K., Wang, Y., Li, Y. and Prieler, M. (2023), "How influencers’ social media posts have an influence on audience engagement among young consumers", Young Consumers, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 427-444.



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