1.1Background of the study
Due to the high nature of competitiveness in the Nigerian market, they have been a significant change in marketing strategies and concept of advertisement. According to Singh (2012), various organizations now place focus on the customer preferences because the customers are the consumers of their products.
The advancement in information and communication technology (ICT) have led to the introduction of social media into the system (Booth and Matic, 2011). Social media, platforms which were initially created for the sole purpose of passing messages have now been used as a major source of advertisement. Social media have developed like wildfire in the past decade (Chen, 2017). Different social media platforms are being developed with unique features that make them stand out. Example of these social media platforms are: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snap Chat, Lomotif, WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, Zoom, Skype and so on (Choi and Rifon, 2020). All these social media platforms have helped in connecting people from different locations, ethnicity and races.
Currently, Social media is regarded as an online communication platform that encourages organizations to market their products to billions of people at once (Dân & Nam 2018).
According to Loeper et al. (2014) social media influencers are people with a large community of followers on are actively online, that used their social media accounts to run promotions. These promotions must not necessarily be products for sale. They may also include topics, recent trends, and so on.
Through the post made by social media influencers, they are able to introduce a product being market to the online space by communicating with their followers about the product (Bush et al., 2019). A social media influencer may also carry out a review on a product as a marketing strategy.
According to Munukka et al. (2016), social media influencers create posts that influence the buying decision of a consumer. The nature of the post may entice the reader, follower or customer. In addition to that, social media influencers provide recent and updated information about products that influences the brand preference of consumers (Liu et al., 2015).
Brand preference according to Hellier et al. (2013) is a consumer’s consideration based on the degree of liability for products provided by the company when compared to products from other companies. Brand preference can be used in describing a consumer’s choice of brand based on some personal reasons that are assumed to affect buying behaviour.
According to Uzunoglu and Klip (2014), social media influencers are also regarded as third-party sellers of products via social media handles which may in turn influence the consumer’s behaviour towards the product. Furthermore, Park and Cho (2012) and Wang et al. (2012) showed a positivity between social media influencers and reliability of products. This means that the consumers relied upon the information derived from the post. Thereby, encouraging them to go after the product.
Due to the patronage of social media by influencers to promote products, it is expected that the influence brought by the social media influencers is likely to improve exceedingly in years to come as compared to the present day (Goldsmith et al., 2020).
Increase in the marketing and advertisement of products have led to the increase in influencers (Kahle and Homer, 2015). Besides marketing purposes, some individuals become influencers due to their large fanbase. Also, the fact that they can make some money from influencing products makes it an occupation in the present day (Carter, 2019).