The Social Media Influencer Reigns Supreme: An Exploratory Study on the Influencer Concept Within Social Media and the Interplay of Consumers Influencers and Brands on Instagram

Simisola Ololade Ojuri

Student thesis: Master thesis


In an ever-changing digital landscape, influencer marketing has proven to be one of the most popular marketing strategies of this day and age. Though a popular method of reaching consumers, brands and marketers struggle to have a full understanding of influencer marketing and how to best use it their advantage. This exploratory study seeks to better understand the influencer concept on social media from a consumer perspective. The study focuses on the consumers’ understandings of and interactions with influencers on Instagram, and it investigates the nature of the relationships between consumers and influencers, between influencers and brands, and then amongst consumers, influencers, and brands. The study also aims to provide brands with suggestions and guidelines on how they can use influencers to best connect with their target consumers. The qualitative study covers nine in-depth interviews conducted with female consumers from 22-28 years old in order to understand and dissect their interactions, as well as relationships with influencers. The results of this study provide insight into: (1) the key characteristics and aspects consumers consider in regards to influencers they choose to follow; (2) the nature of relationships between consumers and influencers; and (3) how brands can approach their relationships and interactions with influencers to ultimately increase their brand equity. The thesis then discusses how these findings compare to existing knowledge in the field of influencer marketing. It concludes with implications for brand and marketers based on the findings of this research and future research recommendations. The thesis contributes to the little explored field of influencer marketing on social media with an emphasis on the consumer. As this thesis provides points of considerations for brands and brand marketers, it can be used as a helpful resource for companies seeking to understand consumers’ perspectives on social media influencers or for companies seeking to create, implement, or alter their influencer marketing strategies

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages70
SupervisorsKarin Tollin