Celebrities of the digital era : conceptualization of social media celebrities as brand endorsers




Choi, Jin-A

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The digital era is full of enhanced opportunities for advertising. A new phenomenon rises as an effective marketing communication strategy: the rise in fame and status of ordinary social media users to “social media celebrities (SMCs).” Despite the interest and demand, there is limited academic scholarship and understanding of SMCs and their potential influence as brand endorsers. Therefore, a series of in-depth interviews were carried out to conceptualize the phenomenon of SMCs. Findings suggest that SMCs are perceived as authentic, have transparent motives, enable consumers with goal-oriented outcomes, and have exclusive recognition and acceptance within a niche and segmented group. Additionally, a definition of SMCs is offered. The findings were triangulated with a secondary set of in-depth interviews which corroborated the findings. Finally, data mining and textual analysis of 135,754 YouTube comments from SMC endorsement videos using SAS Text Miner 12.1 provide a large-scale, quantitative validation to the findings.



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