Social Media Influencer Marketing: Exploring the Dynamics of Follower Engagement


Aamir Shahzad
Hamza Rashid
Atif Nadeem
Muhammad Bilal
Wisal Ahmad


This study explores the dynamic realm of influencer marketing, a transformative force in contemporary digital marketing. Influencer marketing harnesses the power of social media influencers (SMIs) to endorse products, services, or causes, reshaping the consumer-brand relationship. Despite extensive research in this field, a critical aspect remains underexplored: the factors and processes influencing follower engagement. The study utilizes a qualitative research approach, employing triangulation to synthesize existing literature and conduct focus group discussions. This study introduces an integrative framework encompassing "Influencer Content Characteristics," "Source Characteristics," and "Psychological Characteristics." These dimensions shed light on the multifaceted influencer marketing landscape, providing insights into how influencers shape trust, connections, and persuasive impact. The study offers a deeper understanding of follower engagement, empowering marketers to craft more effective influencer strategies in the ever-evolving digital sphere. As the global influencer marketing industry continues its meteoric rise, this research becomes increasingly pertinent, forecasting a promising future for influencer marketing's role in brand engagement and consumer decision-making.


How to Cite
Shahzad, A., Rashid, H., Nadeem, A., Bilal, M. and Ahmad, W. 2023. Social Media Influencer Marketing: Exploring the Dynamics of Follower Engagement. Journal of Policy Research. 9, 4 (Dec. 2023), 1–8. DOI:


  1. Aw, Agnihotri, & Practice. (2023). Influencer marketing research: review and future research agenda. 1-14. DOI:
  2. Aw, & Chuah, (2021). “Stop the unattainable ideal for an ordinary me!” fostering parasocial relationships with social media influencers: The role of self-discrepancy. 132, 146-157. DOI:
  3. Balci, E. V., Tiryaki, S., & Karakuş, (2022). Exploring the transformation of opinion leaders from a traditional to a digital mindset. 11(Special Issue 2022), 36-50. DOI:
  4. Barry, J. M., Gironda, & Practice. (2018). A dyadic examination of inspirational factors driving B2B social media influence. 26(1-2), 117-143. DOI:
  5. Brown, S., Chen, L., & O’Donnell, (2017). Organizational opinion leader charisma, rolemodeling, and relationships. 25(1), 80-102. DOI:
  6. Campbell, C., & Farrell, (2020). More than meets the eye: The functional components underlying influencer marketing. 63(4), 469-479. DOI:
  7. Camputaro, J. (2018). The Role of College Unions in Developing Students' Sense of Community: A Narrative Inquiry of Physical and Organizational Environments. Virginia Tech,
  8. Chalke, A. S., Cheng, B. L., Idris, I., & Chin, J. X. J. e.-A. J. (2023). Brand engagement in self-concept for influencer marketing: The role of product involvement as a moderator. 12(1). DOI:
  9. Cortellazzo, L., Bruni, E., & Zampieri, R. J. F. i. p. (2019). The role of leadership in a digitalized world: A review. 10, 1938. DOI:
  10. Danielson, R., Eriksson, E., & Schongin, H. (2023). Strategies and Crisis Management Concerning the Cancel Culture in Influencer Marketing: A qualitative study on how influencers strategically prevents and tackles the phenomena cancel culture, along with the source for cancellation. In.
  11. De Cicco, R., Iacobucci, S., & Pagliaro, S. J. I. J. o. A. (2021). The effect of influencer–product fit on advertising recognition and the role of an enhanced disclosure in increasing sponsorship transparency. 40(5), 733-759. DOI:
  12. Delbaere, M., Michael, B., Phillips, B. J. J. P., & Marketing. (2021). Social media influencers: A route to brand engagement for their followers. 38(1), 101-112. DOI:
  13. Duffett, R. G. J. Y. C. (2017). Influence of social media marketing communications on young consumers’ attitudes. 18(1), 19-39. DOI:
  14. Dwivedi, Y. K., Ismagilova, E., Hughes, D. L., Carlson, J., Filieri, R., Jacobson, J., . . . Krishen, A. S. J. I. J. o. I. M. (2021). Setting the future of digital and social media marketing research: Perspectives and research propositions. 59, 102168. DOI:
  15. Ebert, C., De Man, J. J. I., & Technology, S. (2008). Effectively utilizing project, product and process knowledge. 50(6), 579-594. DOI:
  16. Evans, J. S. B., & Stanovich, K. E. J. P. o. p. s. (2013). Dual-process theories of higher cognition: Advancing the debate. 8(3), 223-241. DOI:
  17. Gao, X., Xu, X.-Y., Tayyab, S. M. U., Li, Q. J. E. C. R., & Applications. (2021). How the live streaming commerce viewers process the persuasive message: An ELM perspective and the moderating effect of mindfulness. 49, 101087. DOI:
  18. Gensler, S., Völckner, F., Liu-Thompkins, Y., & Wiertz, C. J. J. o. i. m. (2013). Managing brands in the social media environment. 27(4), 242-256. DOI:
  19. Han, K.-H., Lee, E. J. I. J. o. I. M., & Advertising. (2021). Viewer responses to product messages using one-person media influencers. 15(1), 104-122. DOI:
  20. Hanelt, A., Bohnsack, R., Marz, D., & Antunes Marante, C. J. J. o. M. S. (2021). A systematic review of the literature on digital transformation: Insights and implications for strategy and organizational change. 58(5), 1159-1197. DOI:
  21. Jaakkola, E. J. A. r. (2020). Designing conceptual articles: four approaches. 10(1-2), 18-26. DOI:
  22. Katz, E. J. T. P. O. Q. (1987). Communications research since Lazarsfeld. 51, S25-S45. DOI:
  23. Khang, H., Ki, E.-J., Ye, L. J. J., & Quarterly, M. C. (2012). Social media research in advertising, communication, marketing, and public relations, 1997–2010. 89(2), 279-298. DOI:
  24. Koay, K. Y., Lim, W. M., Kaur, S., Soh, K., Poon, W. C. J. M. I., & Planning. (2023). How and when social media influencers' intimate self-disclosure fosters purchase intentions: the roles of congruency and parasocial relationships. 41(6), 790-809. DOI:
  26. Lin, C. A., Crowe, J., Pierre, L., & Lee, Y. J. T. J. o. S. M. i. S. (2021). Effects of parasocial interaction with an instafamous influencer on brand attitudes and purchase intentions. 10(1), 55-78.
  27. Mabkhot, H., Isa, N. M., & Mabkhot, A. J. S. (2022). The Influence of the Credibility of Social Media Influencers SMIs on the Consumers’ Purchase Intentions: Evidence from Saudi Arabia. 14(19), 12323. DOI:
  28. Macnamara, J. R. J. A. P. p. r. j. (2005). Media content analysis: Its uses, benefits and best practice methodology. 6(1), 1-34.
  29. Matthias, M. (2023). Social Media Influencers-A Review of Operations Management Literature.
  30. Moore, S. J. (2020). A Heuristic Narrative Inquiry on the Conceptualization and Cultivation of Relational Trust between Secondary Teachers and Administrators: University of Missouri-Kansas City.
  31. Morgan, N. A., Whitler, K. A., Feng, H., & Chari, S. J. J. o. t. A. o. M. S. (2019). Research in marketing strategy. 47, 4-29. DOI:
  32. Odoom, R. J. J. o. M. C. (2023). Digital content marketing and consumer brand engagement on social media-do influencers’ brand content moderate the relationship? , 1-24. DOI:
  33. Pangarkar, A., & Shukla, P. J. I. J. o. A. (2023). Conspicuous and inconspicuous consumption of luxury goods in a digital world: insights, implications, and future research directions. 1-13. DOI:
  34. Pop, R.-A., Săplăcan, Z., Dabija, D.-C., & Alt, M.-A. J. C. I. i. T. (2022). The impact of social media influencers on travel decisions: The role of trust in consumer decision journey. 25(5), 823-843. DOI:
  35. Rogers, E. M. (2004). Theoretical diversity in political communication. In Handbook of political communication research (pp. 21-34): Routledge. DOI:
  36. Rossi, C., & Rivetti, F. (2023). Virtual Influencer Marketing: Is It Effective in Engaging Younger Generations? Paper presented at the ECSM 2023 10th European Conference on Social Media. DOI:
  37. Sánchez-Fernández, R., & Jiménez-Castillo, D. J. J. o. M. M. (2021). How social media influencers affect behavioural intentions towards recommended brands: the role of emotional attachment and information value. 37(11-12), 1123-1147. DOI:
  38. Santos, Z. R., Cheung, C. M., Coelho, P. S., & Rita, P. J. I. J. o. I. M. (2022). Consumer engagement in social media brand communities: A literature review. 63, 102457. DOI:
  39. Scholz, J. J. J. o. A. (2021). How consumers consume social media influence. 50(5), 510-527. DOI:
  40. Varadarajan, R., Welden, R. B., Arunachalam, S., Haenlein, M., & Gupta, S. J. I. J. o. R. i. M. (2022). Digital product innovations for the greater good and digital marketing innovations in communications and channels: Evolution, emerging issues, and future research directions. 39(2), 482-501. DOI:
  41. Viswanathan, V., & Jain, V. J. J. o. c. m. (2013). A dual-system approach to understanding “generation Y” decision making. 30(6), 484-492. DOI:
  42. Vrontis, D., Makrides, A., Christofi, M., & Thrassou, A. J. I. J. o. C. S. (2021). Social media influencer marketing: A systematic review, integrative framework and future research agenda. 45(4), 617-644. DOI:
  43. Watkins, B. (2018). Sport teams, fans, and twitter: The Influence of social media on relationships and branding: Rowman & Littlefield.
  44. Weimann, G. (1994). Influentials, The: People Who Influence People: State University of New York Press.
  45. Weismueller, J., Harrigan, P., Wang, S., & Soutar, G. N. J. A. m. j. (2020). Influencer endorsements: How advertising disclosure and source credibility affect consumer purchase intention on social media. 28(4), 160-170. DOI:
  46. Wong, L. Y. (2022). Exploring Two Possible Causes of Good Citizenship Development: Moral Agency and Social Network Diversity. The University of Wisconsin-Madison,
  47. Ye, G., Hudders, L., De Jans, S., & De Veirman, M. J. J. o. A. (2021). The value of influencer marketing for business: A bibliometric analysis and managerial implications. 50(2), 160-178. DOI: