Is your influence worth it? : an empirical model of Social Media Influencer Capital and its effect on influencer marketing




Sudarshan, Sabitha

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Given the explosion of influencer marketing in general and the significant social impact of YouTube influencers in particular, this dissertation seeks to examine the nature of individual capital wielded by influencers. To this end, a construct of Social Media Influencer Capital (SMIC) is proposed, based on prior theoretical findings. Study 1 examines the construct using a three-factor structure of SMIC consisting of source credibility, opinion leadership, and brand involvement. Using the factor structure that emerges in Study 1, Study 2 utilizes this as a variable of interest and conducts a survey to examine the interaction effects of follower personality (based on the HEXACO scale) and brand (influencer) personality on perceived social media influencer capital, parasocial interaction, intention to follow, and intention to purchase. Four HEXACO traits in particular - Gentleness, Aesthetic Appreciation, Social Boldness and Inquisitiveness, had varying effects on consumer evaluations of SMIC and further marketing outcomes therein. As such, this research extends prior work on influencer studies, adds to the literature on HEXACO, and provides practical implications for marketers and social media influencers.



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