The Role of Citizen Influencers on Instagram

Andrea Gumpinger & Christina Gisela Jaeger

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

As the role of social media marketing rose within the past years, brands increasingly cooperate with citizen influencers to complement their existing marketing strategies. In this way, brands profit from an established relationship between citizen influencer and follower, which enables them to communicate their brand message as well as their products or services about a third, intermediating, party, the citizen influencer. This study places the brand, the citizen influencer, and the follower in a P-O-X model that evaluates the interconnectedness of those three components based on the TEARS model (Shimp, 2010), a match-up proposition (Fleck & Korchia, 2009), and the customer-based brand equity pyramid (Keller, 2013). Based on the conduction of qualitative data, the authors of this master thesis elaborate the key drivers that influence the likability of a citizen influencer on Instagram and subsequently answer the question how a citizen influencer’s likability affects a follower’s attitude towards a promoted brand or a brand’s product. Finally, the effect of a harmonised P-O-X model will be investigated in regard to a follower’s brand attitude. There will be a distinction between three German citizen influencers with a small, medium, and large reach on Instagram. As such, the likability of a citizen influencer is mainly driven by a citizen influencer’s trustworthiness and expertise. Those attributes are likely to impact the other components of the TEARS model. Moreover, a follower’s brand attitude is also mainly affected by a citizen influencer’s perceived level of trustworthiness and expertise. The match-up proposition between brand and citizen influencer is considered to be a relevant construct within influencer marketing, since it can affect a follower’s attitude towards both the brand as well as the citizen influencer. Based on the conducted qualitative data, this master thesis concludes with suggesting an extension of the TEARS model by the component of para-social interaction in order to face the follower’s increasing desire to gain insights into the citizen influencer’s personal life.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages408
SupervisorsAnne Martensen