Brand Communication Through Social Media Influencers: How Organizations Can Advance Effective Relationships with SMIs in Brazil

Andressa Ferreira Gaertner, Brigham Young University


The purpose of this study is to shed light on how brands can build relationships with social media influencers (SMIs). By replicating Pang et al. (2016) research in different cultural settings, the present study identified internal and external influences that are important for SMIs routines in Brazil, generating additional enlightenment into the Mediating the Media model for SMIs and evaluating to what extent cultural differences may impact the proposed theoretical framework. The research was conducted in two major parts. The first replicated the method used previously by Pang et al. (2016), performing in-depth interviews with eight SMIs. In the second part of the research, a qualitative content analysis was pulled of a sampling of the participants' Instagram feeds and assessed whether the strategies exposed by the SMIs during the interviews match what each interviewee revealed. The personal aspects came up as more prevalent in the set of internal influences among SMIs in Brazil. The set of internal and external influences ultimately implied that public relations practitioners should acknowledge that SMIs seek long-term collaborative relationships with organizations. While payments ensure the sustainability of digital influencer activity as a job, interaction with brands without monetary agreements ensures relevant content to followers, creating win-win situations for both brands and SMIs and stating the importance of dialogue between both parties. Therefore, this research provides useful insights for public relations practitioners to approach social media influencers around the world in a holistic and systematic manner and re-evaluate their current media strategies to communicate via social media the brands they represent.