Role of Influencers in Digital Marketing: The moderating impact of follower’s interaction
Keywords:social media influencers, para-social relationship, influencer's credibility, brand trust, product knowledge
Extensive research conducted notes that no researchers holistically consider these problems. This research focus on the role of influencers in digital marketing, and the framework consist of a (Hwang, 2018) model with a UGT (User and Gratification Theory), and some variables are influenced by the Persuasion Knowledge Model (Friestad, Wright, 1994). Additionally, researchers have done their research on one YouTube video for a particular brand, so there is a need to research a public domain in which the focus is on all platforms of social media so that the result can be holistic. Further, researchers have conducted their research on generation Y, so there is also a need to conduct this research holistically. The paper used the SEM (Structural Equation Modeling) technique to analyze the data we have collected. The present research is based on a broad framework; this is why the paper has used PLS (Partial Least Square) to evaluate the hypothetical model. The findings reveal that social media users' para-social relationship with the social media influencers has a positive and significant relationship with EWOM by social media users and a negative and not significant relationship with the purchase intention of the social media users. Thus, it shows that para-social relationships increase EWOM, not purchase intention. Moreover, social media users' para-social relationship also depicts a positive and significant relationship between influencers' credibility and EWOM. Moving further, results reveal that para-social relationships with (Parasocial Relationship -> Influencer Credibility -> Brand Trust) and (Influencer Credibility -> Brand Trust -> Purchase Intention) have a partial mediation relationship. Lastly, moderation analysis indicates that there is a two positive (MOD (PR with IC)_ -> Influencer Credibility), (MOD (IC with Willingness)_ -> Willingness to search) and 1 (MOD (IC with PK)_ -> Product Knowledge) moderation relationship. The findings serve as essential evidence for social media influencers that their credibility impacts the purchase intention of the social media user as well as their excellent para-social relationship with the social media users will highly impact their EWOM. This study indicates that the para-social relationship of social media users with the social media influencers enhances the consumers' purchase intention and increases the EWOM (electronic word of mouth) between the social media users.