Library Dissertation Showcase

Social media influencers, the new advertising agency? An exploration into ‘social media influencer’ marketing and its impact on the cosmetics industry

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

This dissertation examines the impact of ‘social media influencers’ within the cosmetics industry, with a particular focus toward their role as a marketing agency utilised by businesses to reach their target audiences in a cost-effective manner. In examining this topic previous literature in the field was reviewed, primarily the introduction of Web 2.0. and how it combined with word-of-mouth marketing to produce electronic-word-of-mouth marketing, and thus bring the introduction of social media influencers. Bandura’s (1971) ‘Social Influencer Theory’ as well as the impact of different types of influencer were also reviewed.

This research goes beyond previous literature by examining the under-saturated topic of the negative impact influencers can have over businesses. The research specifically examines the idea that influencers have their own brand image which can contaminate that of the business, causing a decline of sales as consumers do not wish to support brands which they deem immoral. This study was conducted using a quantitative-qualitative, self-conducted questionnaire, in which respondents were asked to rate their opinions regarding a specific statement through use of a Likert scale.

The results show that influencers are able to increase business sales. Primarily, as credibility as a characteristic of influencers was deemed an effective way for influencers to use word-of-mouth marketing. The premise that an influencer could be considered ‘friend-like’ is rejected by respondents. It is also equally accepted that influencers can damage business reputation, as their brand image contaminates that of the business they collaborate with, meaning by representing an ‘immoral influencer’ a business supports immoral activity in the eyes of the consumer. Influencers were also found to damage reputation as many respondents agreed that they engaged in pre-purchase evaluation through watching influencer reviews and could be persuaded not to purchase by a negative one.

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