Social media influencer effects on CSR communication: The role of influencer leadership in opinion and taste

Yang Cheng, Flora C J HUNG-BAESECKE, Regina Y R Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

With the prevalence of social media usage among consumers, brands have increasingly utilized paid social media influencer (SMI) endorsements in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication. However, how such practice generates positive consumer responses is not well understood. Drawing from signaling theory, social learning theory, and social identity theory, a structural equation model analysis was conducted to test our hypotheses and proposed model based on the survey data from 592 U.S. consumers. The research results suggest that a brand’s CSR initiatives, when endorsed by SMIs who are perceived as social media leaders in opinion and taste, directly enhance consumers’ CSR communication engagement about the initiatives and do so indirectly via the consumers’ reduced CSR skepticism. Reduced CSR skepticism and enhanced CSR communication engagement ultimately lead to the consumers’ brand loyalty, brand preference, and price premium. The study has implications for CSR advertising/social-mediated communication, SMI leadership, and SMI endorsement effects.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Business Communication
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jul 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • social media influencer endorsement effect
  • CSR skepticism
  • CSR communication engagement
  • brand loyalty
  • price premium

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