Exploring the use of social media influencers as a marketing tool for small businesses in reaching the youth in Ghana

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In recent years, the youth’s preference for advertising has changed, forcing businesses to find new and innovative ways of reaching consumers. With the rise of social media, a new form of advertising – social media influencer marketing- emerged. Due to its novelty, especially in Ghana, literature on this topic is underdeveloped. While there have been extensive studies on celebrity endorsement, research on the effectiveness and practices of social media influencer marketing, especially in the Ghanaian context, is limited. As a result, there is a gap in business knowledge. This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of the use of social media influencer marketing to reach the youth in Ghana and the conditions under which product-influencer fit is not necessary for a campaign to be successful. The study used a qualitative exploratory research approach to collect data. Interviews were held with 10 businesses in the fashion industry that had employed social media influencer marketing, and sponsored posts were analyzed using inter-rater reliability rating. This study found that influencer marketing was effective in gaining small businesses new followers and higher levels of exposure. The findings also highlighted the importance of brand fit, pricing, credibility, authenticity, and engagement as factors that affected the effectiveness of a social media influencer campaign. Influencers who were considered trustworthy and attractive were not required to fit with the product they endorsed for a drive to be successful.
Undergraduate thesis submitted to the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems, May 2021
social media marketing, social media influencers, fashion industry