University of Oulu

Reinikainen, H., Tan, T. M., Luoma-aho, V., & Salo, J. (2021). Making and breaking relationships on social media: the impacts of brand and influencer betrayals. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 171, 120990.

Making and breaking relationships on social media : the impacts of brand and influencer betrayals

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Author: Reinikainen, Hanna1; Tan, Teck Ming2; Luoma-aho, Vilma1;
Organizations: 1Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, Jyväskylä, Finland
2Department of Marketing, Management and International Business, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Economics and Management, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-07-06


This study considers how the relationships between social media influencers, brands and individuals are intertwined on social media and analyses the spill-over effects of feelings of betrayal. An experimental design with two transgression scenarios (influencer vs. brand) was created, and 250 individuals were recruited to participate in the study. The results show that a perceived betrayal by a brand can negatively affect the perceived coolness of the social media influencer that has endorsed the brand, as well as the parasocial relationships that followers have with the influencer. Accordingly, a perceived betrayal by a social media influencer can negatively affect attitudes, trust and purchase intentions toward a brand that the influencer has endorsed. The current research helps in understanding brand and influencer transgressions and highlights the fact that both influencers and brands should have a sense of collaboration responsibility. It also introduces the concept of influencer coolness, understood here as a desirable success factor for social media influencers, which partly explains their desirability and influence, and a feature that can be endangered through both influencer and brand betrayals.

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Series: Technological forecasting and social change
ISSN: 0040-1625
ISSN-E: 1873-5509
ISSN-L: 0040-1625
Volume: 171
Article number: 120990
DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120990
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (