Social Media Influencers and Consumer Online Engagement Management

Social Media Influencers and Consumer Online Engagement Management

Qiang (Steven) Lu (The University of Sydney, Australia) and Zhen Yi Seah (The University of Sydney, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2897-5.ch004
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Abstract

With the popularity of social media, social media influencers have been playing an increasing role in modern marketing. However, there is little research on the impact of social media influencers on consumer brand engagement. To fill this gap, this chapter develops a conceptual framework to examine the impact of the endorsement by social media influencers on online brand engagement. The authors use social distance theories to construct several propositions to provide a deep understanding. They suggest that traditional celebrities and social media influencers have different social distance, therefore generate different types and degrees of consumer online engagement. And the product characteristics moderate the effectiveness of the different types of celebrity endorsement.
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Background

Celebrity Endorsement

The use of celebrities as endorsers has been a common but expensive practice in the advertising industry since the nineteenth centuries (Choi, Lee, & Kim, 2005). It is suggested that attributes acquired by celebrities, such as trustworthiness, likeability, expertness, dynamism, and objectivity are essential for drawing attention, enhance source credibility, and increase the likelihood of message recall (Ohanian, 1990). Source credibility model (Sternthal, Dholakia, & Leavitt, 1978) and source attractiveness model (McGuire, 1969) are widely used by researchers in celebrity endorsement literature to assess the effectiveness of messages conveyed through celebrity endorsement (McCracken, 1989). Additionally, “match-up hypothesis” is another stream of research on this topic to examine the congruence between a celebrity and the endorsed product (Kahle & Homer, 1985; Solomon, Ashmore, & Longo, 1992). Nevertheless, there are still several disadvantages or pitfalls in utilising celebrity endorsements. For instance, celebrities are costly to be hired as endorsers and sometimes they might overshadow the endorsed products (Erdogan, 1999). Also, results from (Mehta, 1994) study show that there were no statistically significant differences in consumers’ attitudes towards brand and purchase intentions stimulated by celebrity endorsers and other type of endorsers.

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