A1 Journal article (refereed)
Making and breaking relationships on social media : the impacts of brand and influencer betrayals (2021)

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, Article 120990. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120990

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Reinikainen, Hanna; Tan, Teck Ming; Luoma-aho, Vilma; Salo, Jari

Journal or series: Technological Forecasting and Social Change

ISSN: 0040-1625

eISSN: 1873-5509

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 171

Article number: 120990

Publisher: Elsevier BV

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120990

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/76996


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.

Keywords: social media; influencing; influencer marketing; brands; image (profile); trust; reliability (general); liability; joint responsibility; credibility; purchase decisions; online communities; reputation management

Free keywords: social media influencers; brand betrayal; influencer betrayal; transgressions; parasocial relationships; influencer coolness; brand attitude; brand trust; purchase intention

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 11:45