Authenticity under threat: When social media influencers need to go beyond self-presentation

Published on Sep 1, 2020in Journal of Business Research
· DOI :10.1016/J.JBUSRES.2018.07.008
Alice Audrezet3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Institut Supérieur de Gestion),
Gwarlann de Kerviler5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Lille Catholic University),
Julie Guidry Moulard10
Estimated H-index: 10
(La. Tech: Louisiana Tech University)
Abstract Social media influencers (SMIs) are increasingly being approached by brands to promote products, a practice commonly called influencer marketing. SMIs can take advantage of their influence to obtain personal rewards by entering into partnerships with brands. However, SMI followers value influencers' intrinsic motivations and noncommercial orientation. Thus, SMI–brand collaborations may result in tensions for SMIs' authenticity management. This research applies a qualitative approach based on SMI–brand partnership observations, SMI interviews, and a comparison of these data sources. Two authenticity management strategies emerged from the analysis: passionate and transparent authenticity. We articulate these strategies to propose a four-path framework that provides the first conceptualization of how SMIs can manage authenticity for themselves to resolve the tensions created by brand encroachment into their content. The results offer guidance for both SMIs and marketers on how to best partner with each other to build win–win relationships while protecting SMIs' authenticity.
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