Social media influencers : En kvalitativ studie om hur konsumenter uppfattar social media influencers och företagssponsrade inlägg
Abstract As the media intensity increases, it becomes more difficult for companies to obtain people's attention, and a risk that the message will pass its target audience arises. Social media has generated new possibilities for companies to be able to profile their message and reach specific target audiences.
Within all groups in society there are certain people who have an ability to influence others. These individuals have become more important on social media. Several names have been used in previous research to describe them, in this paper the term social media influencers, SMIs, will be used. Through collaborations with SMIs, companies can promote their organization or their brand.
During this process, the authors of this paper have found several studies which focuses mainly on how companies should identify the right SMIs to collaborate with and also what distinguishes these individuals. The authors recognize that less research has been dedicated to studying this phenomenon from the consumers’ perspective. Therefore, this study aims to contribute to the research in this specific area.
The purpose of this study is to get an insight in consumers’ attitudes towards social media influencers, as well as how consumers value and perceive corporate-sponsored posts by influencers on social media.
A qualitative approach was used in this study, based on fifteen interviews with consumers who use social media in which they follow one or more SMIs. The empirics have then been analyzed based on the theoretical framework, which mainly consists of theories and previous studies within the field of marketing communication, among others buzz-marketing, sponsorship, product placement and covert marketing.
The conclusion of this paper is that none of the respondents had a positive attitude towards corporate-sponsored posts. The respondents tend to trust SMIs that are genuine and have a sense of humor. The respondents trusts information from other consumers more than they trust information from companies. The credibility for SMIs decreases when they get financial compensation to publish corporate-sponsored posts.
Keywords: SMI, social media, influencer, corporate-sponsored posts, trust, attitudes, credibility
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