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As the use of social-media influencers gains traction, marketers face a daunting task of choosing the best-suited ones to promote their brands. Researchers in Germany found that an influencer’s fit with the brand will affect his or her credibility and persuasiveness, but social interactions with fans may tip the balance.
Among the practical takeaways:
- Advertising specialists should select social-media influencers that match the brand. A strong influencer–brand fit increases consumers’ brand attitudes and behavioral intentions, both directly and indirectly through the influencer’s perceived credibility.
- To avoid damaging their credibility, influencers should avoid endorsing obviously incongruent brands.
- Consumers should believe that endorsers who seem to match the brand are promoting it because they like it or use it, not because of an endorsement fee or advertising contract.
- If brand managers want to use an influencer who is not a perfect match to target new potential consumers explicitly or to change their brand image, they should use someone who has a very strong connection with their audience.
- Followers who report strong parasocial relationships are less skeptical.
All four authors are at the University of Würzburg, Germany:
Priska Linda Breves (email@example.com) is a research fellow and doctoral student at the university’s Institute of Human-Computer-Media, Department of Media and Business Communication. Her research interests are strategic and persuasive communication.
Nicole Liebers (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a research fellow and doctoral student in communication. Her research fields are entertainment, advertising, and audience and effects studies, with a focus on parasocial interactions and relationships.
Marina Abt (email@example.com) and Annika Kunze (firstname.lastname@example.org) studied media communication at the university.