Consumer Behavior

Identification of Key Attributes of Social Media Influencers: An Exploratory Study

  • Chung-Wha (Chloe) KI (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
  • Leslie M. Cuevas (University of Tennessee)
  • Heejin Lim (University of Tennessee)


SMIs are a new type of third-party endorsers who have amassed a solid base of followers on social media by publicly sharing their personal lives, experiences, and opinions through the creation of social media content. Despite the growing demand for influencer marketing, little effort has been made to understand the genuine factors that affect consumers' perception of SMIs and enable them to exert more influence on audiences. To gain in-depth insight as to why consumers consider certain SMIs as more likable and followable than others, we conducted a focus group interview. Our data analysis revealed six distinct characteristics that determine the brand equity of SMIs: (1) Authenticity, (2) competence, (3) relatability, (4) physical attractiveness, (5) ideality/paragon, and (6) ability to create quality content. We established that the strength in collaborating with SMIs lies in these attributes, of which largely translate personality, lifestyle, and taste via social media content.

Keywords: influencer marketing, social media influencers

How to Cite:

KI, C. & Cuevas, L. M. & Lim, H., (2019) “Identification of Key Attributes of Social Media Influencers: An Exploratory Study”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 76(1). doi:

Download PDF
View PDF



Published on
15 Dec 2019