How influencers’ social media posts have an influence on audience engagement among young consumers

Fei Fan*, Kara Chan*, Yan Wang*, Yupeng Li*, Michael Prieler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Online influencers are increasingly used by brands around the globe to establish brand communication. This study aims to investigate the characteristics of social media content in terms of presentation style and brand communication among online influencers in China. The authors identified how characteristics of social media posts influence young consumers’ engagement with the posts. Design/methodology/approach: The authors analyzed 1,779 posts from the Sina Weibo accounts of ten top-ranked online influencers by combining traditional content analysis with Web data crawling of audience engagement with social media posts. Findings: Online influencers in China more frequently used photos than videos to communicate with their social media audience. Altogether 8% and 6% of posts carried information about promotion and event, respectively. Posts with promotional incentives as well as event information were more likely to engage audiences. Altogether 22% of the sampled social media posts mentioned brands. Posts with brand information, however, were less likely to engage audiences. Furthermore, having long text is more effective than photos/images in generating likes from social media audiences. Originality/value: Combining content analysis of social media posts and engagement analytics obtained via Web data crawling, this study is, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, one of the first empirical studies to analyze influencer marketing and young consumers’ reactions to social media in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-444
Number of pages18
JournalYoung Consumers
Issue number4
Early online date18 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Marketing
  • Communication

User-Defined Keywords

  • Brand communication
  • China
  • Content analysis
  • Influencer marketing
  • Media effects


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