2017 #SMSociety Theme: Social Media for Social Good or Evil

Our online behaviour is far from virtual–it extends our offline lives. Much social media research has identified the positive opportunities of using social media; for example, how people use social media to form support groups online, participate in political uprising, raise money for charities, extend teaching and learning outside the classroom, etc. However, mirroring offline experiences, we have also seen social media being used to spread propaganda and misinformation, recruit terrorists, live stream criminal activities, reinforce echo chambers by politicians, and perpetuate hate and oppression (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviour).

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Saturday, July 29 • 11:01 - 12:30
Exploring The Perception Of Influencers Vs. Traditional Celebrities: Are Social Media Stars A New Type Of Endorser? [WIP]

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Authors: Jan-Frederik Gräve

Abstract: The growing popularity of social media networks enables more and more individuals to acquire large audiences of up to several million people on these platforms. Companies are starting to recognize this potential especially for young target groups and hire these so-called influencers as endorsers in social media and sometimes even instead of traditional celebrities in corporate advertising. Therefore, the question arises whether there is a difference in perception between these two types of endorsers and if so, which moderators influence these perceptions. In the present study we explore consumers’ general perception of social media influencers compared to traditional celebrities. We conduct an online survey with 590 respondents who were asked to rate 14 influencers and traditional celebrities in pairwise comparisons regarding their similarity. We apply multidimensional scaling (MDS) and find substantial differences in perceptions between the two groups. Additionally, we apply property fitting with evaluations regarding six different characteristics determining endorser effectiveness. While in total traditional celebrities are evaluated more favorable, this difference diminishes for high levels of familiarity and even reverses for perceived trustworthiness and similarity to oneself. The results indicate that managers should carefully distinguish between influencers and traditional celebrities for endorsements, as systematic differences in perceptions between the groups are likely to have an impact on endorser effectiveness. Further research is needed to investigate which moderators (e.g. advertising type, product category) influence the perception and subsequently the endorsement effectiveness of the two types of endorsers.

Saturday July 29, 2017 11:01 - 12:30 EDT
TRS 1-073 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C4