‘Friends’ with benefits: Exploring the Relational Tactics of Social Media Influencers

Helene Gerber, Rune Thorbjørn Jason Clausen, Kasper Trolle Elmholdt

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper/skriftligt oplægForskningpeer review


For social media influencers (SMIs), creating and maintaining a good follower-relationship match is increasingly crucial to ensure the professionalization of their occupation. Navigating in the tension between being friendly and trustworthy to their followers while “selling” their follower-relationships to brands through collaborations is challenging, as it leaves the SMI in a paradoxical nexus which they must balance in order to uphold their career. Existing literature offers, however, little insights into how SMIs manage this inherent paradox in their occupation. Against this backdrop, we conducted a study of how SMIs in Denmark work with their follower relationships. We use the concept of relational work to explicitly trace and map the tactics SMIs use when creating and maintaining follower relationships. Through interviews and observations online, we unfold how SMIs carry out relational tactics to curate themselves to manage relations, uphold close ties to their followers, and manage economical transactions with brands. The tactics are interrelated and depicts the dynamics of influencers as relational workers. Based on our mapping of these tactics, we visualize a model that envisions how SMIs combine different components of a relational package, illuminating how to manage making friends with followers while doing business with collaborating brands.
Antal sider34
StatusUdgivet - 2023
Begivenhed14th International symposium on Process Organization Studies: The Process of Social-Symbolic Work: Understanding the Role of Agents in the Ongoing’ Construction of Organizational Life - , Grækenland
Varighed: 18 jun. 202321 jun. 2023
Konferencens nummer: 14


Konference14th International symposium on Process Organization Studies