The Social Media Influencer and Brand Switching.
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to find out which type of informant the Social Media Influencer embodies when consumers voluntarily switch brands after the endorsement of a brand by a Social Media Influencer. To answer the research question, this thesis utilised a quantitative questionnaire which was created with the help of a qualitative pre-study to assess the relevance of dimensions proposed in the literature.The data results of the 190 successful questionnaires indicated that when the consumer switches out of dissatisfaction and a need for variety, the Social Media Influencer foremost embodies the role of an opinion leader. Oppositely, when the consumer switches out of a desire for social identification, the results indicated that the Social Media Influencer functions as an opinion leader, social leader and micro-celebrity. The findings of this thesis provide academics and practitioners with valuable insights into how to the Social Media Influencer can be perceived and analysed, specifically when the consumer voluntarily switches brands.
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