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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Effective Influencer Marketing

Published: May 25, 2021


Reto Hofstetter, University of Lucerne; Andreas Lanz, HEC Paris; Verena Schoenmueller, Bocconi University; Christian Schlereth, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management; Jochen Hartmann, University of Hamburg


"Consumers use user-generated content (UGC) networks to serve a range of purposes in their day-today lives. Hence, influencer marketing has become popular among managers to influence preference formations and purchase decisions. A very recent development is that the influencer notion may extend to any individual––even virtual individuals or objects (e.g., chat bots or voice assistants). Along these lines, this special session focuses on research projects that explore different aspects related to influencer marketing, with a focus on UGC networks. “The Rise and Fall of Influencers: Evidence from Social Trading” by Verena Schoenmueller (Bocconi University), Barak Libai (IDC), Shimon Kogan (IDC): Based on the increasing interest in social media influencers and the large majority of past research that investigated influencers in a static manner, we investigate the lifecycle of influencers over time using data from a social trading platform. This dynamic view as well as our access to actual behavioral followership allows to shed light on the life cycle of influencers, its drivers and the relative effect of adoption and churn. “Social Capital Accumulation in Career Networks” by Michael Weiler (Goethe University), Simon Stolz (WHU), Andreas Lanz (HEC Paris), Christian Schlereth (WHU) and Oliver Hinz (Goethe University): Social capital is an important asset, especially for freelancers who rely on their network to acquire new projects. We investigate whether premium memberships in career networks are helping social capital accumulation. Combining experimental and observational insights, we find that premium membership does not help all users equally; it boosts the accumulation for those who are actively engaged in networking. “Conferring Minds to Machines: A Deep Learning Approach to Mind Perception, Trust, and Task Delegation” by Anouk Bergner (University of St.Gallen), Jochen Hartmann (University of Hamburg), and Christian Hildebrand (University of St.Gallen): Based on fundamental research in theory of mind, the current research develops a state-of-the-art deep learning model to classify mind perception of smart objects from unsolicited text data. The findings demonstrate that the extent of mind perception predicts differences in consumers’ trust in smart objects and their willingness to delegate a broad set of tasks to it. “Influencing on Short Leashes: How Contract Design Drives Influencer Marketing Performance” by Reto Hofstetter (University of Lucerne), Andreas Lanz (HEC Paris), Navdeep Sahni (Stanford University), and Martin Faltl (University of St.Gallen): In this work, we challenge the common belief among managers that they should avoid managing and briefing influencers too closely. Our preliminary results suggest that putting influencers on a short leash––by constraining their freedom regarding the post’s visual and caption––may result in lower participation but, at the same time, higher engagement."