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    Social media influencers’ narrative strategies to create eWOM: a theoretical contribution

    Zhou, S, Barnes, L, McCormick, H and Blazquez Cano, M (2021) Social media influencers’ narrative strategies to create eWOM: a theoretical contribution. International Journal of Information Management, 59. p. 102293. ISSN 0268-4012

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    Social media influencers (SMIs) as significant stakeholders are increasingly collaborating with brands to cultivate marketing campaigns. However, literature concerning the narrative strategies used by SMIs to create electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) to introduce brands and products remains under-theorised. This research takes a theoretical perspective of marketing communication, advances the eWOM theory to develop SMIs’ eWOM model as the theoretical lens, and adopts semiotic and rhetorical approaches to identify SMIs’ narrative strategies to create eWOM to promote brands and products to consumers. By conducting a netnographic study to observe fashion bloggers’ messages concerning Western luxury brands on Chinese social media, this research identified six distinct narrative strategies that are different in linking the purpose of eWOM, assigning brands with roles in eWOM, representing the meanings associated with brands, and using modes of persuasion to convince consumers to accept these meanings. This research also proposes a model to illustrate the structure of SMIs’ narrative strategies. The results of this research have implications for the advancement of social media marketing theories and provide a foundation for future development of knowledge regarding SMIs’ narrative strategies.

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