Excited to have this one done and dusted after many months in the review and revision process! I worked on this with three of our rising PhD stars and it was so much fun to see them in action. The manuscript will be published in the forthcoming special issue of the International Journal of Advertising on “Social Media Influencers and Advertising”.
Title: Why are consumers following social media influencers on Instagram? Exploration of consumers’ motives for following influencers and the role of materialism
Authors: Jung Ah Lee, Sabitha Sudarshan, Kristen L. Sussman, Laura F. Bright, and Matthew S. Eastin
Abstract: Despite the ubiquity of social media influencers (SMIs) and the clear value they hold for marketers, little is understood about the sociopsychological motives that drive consumers to follow them. The current research identified unique consumer motivations for following SMIs on Instagram and examined its association with important consumer behavior outcomes (i.e., trust towards SMIs’ brand-related posts and frequency of purchasing SMI-recommended brands) as well as materialism. Based on survey data, findings revealed four motivations for following influencers on Instagram – authenticity , consumerism , creative inspiration, and envy – which had varying effects on trust and purchase frequency. Additionally, materialism was a significant individual difference variable that was strongly associated with the four motives, some of which served as key mediators underlying materialism’s impact on purchase behavior. Managerial and theoretical implications for marketers and advertisers are discussed as well as suggestions for future research in this burgeoning area.