The mechanism by which social media influencers persuade consumers: The role of consumers’ desire to mimic

Chung Wha ‘Chloe’ Ki, Youn Kyung Kim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

277 Citations (Scopus)


We explore the mechanism through which social media influencers (SMIs) persuade consumers to adopt brands. Guided by the influence framework, we propose and test empirically SMIs’ influence mechanism, which occurs in four principal stages: (a) a SMI's influence attempts (showcasing H1: attractive; H2: prestigious; H3 and H4: expert; H5: informative; and H6: interactive Instagram contents); (b) target consumers’ attitudinal response to the influence exercised (evaluating the SMI as a H7: taste and H8: opinion leader); which, in turn, affects (c) the targets’ desire to comply (the desire to mimic); and ultimately (d) their favorable behavioral outcomes (H9: social media word-of-mouth and H10: purchase intentions). On the basis of the survey data from 395 respondents, we used structural equation modeling to test our hypotheses and proposed model. We verified the robustness of our results using an ordered probit regression model and analyzed the mediating role of consumers’ desire to mimic SMIs in the influence mechanism. Our results confirm that the five aspects of influencing posts affect consumers’ attitudes positively and significantly, which in turn leads to positive behavioral outcomes through their desire to mimic SMIs. We discuss the results’ important implications for both scholars and practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-922
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • desire to mimic
  • influence mechanism
  • influencer marketing
  • instagram
  • purchase intentions
  • social media
  • social media influencers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


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