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Drawing on push and pull entrepreneurship theory, this research investigates how and why social media users become social media influencers (SMIs), a specific type of digital entrepreneur.Design/methodology/approachAdopting a phenomenological perspective and following a process approach, a total of 35 semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with SMIs of different ages, follower numbers and associated with diverse areas of expertise. Subsequently, via interpretative analysis of interviewees' narratives and reasons for becoming SMIs, relevant motivations and events were uncovered and described.FindingsThe findings showcase two types of SMIs: “Entrepreneurial Influencers” and “Influential Entrepreneurs”. Their motivations and the path they followed on their entrepreneurial efforts were also uncovered. Finally, based on these findings, a new entrepreneurial motivational driver is proposed.Practical implicationsPublic entrepreneurial incentive policies should consider SMIs as a specific type of would-be entrepreneurs with some advantage in terms of prominence and reputation, which might help them to successfully initiate and consolidate traditional entrepreneurial activities.Originality/valueThis paper is among the first to examine SMIs from an entrepreneurial perspective, contributing to the nascent digital entrepreneurship literature.
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 20, 2022
Keywords: Digital entrepreneurship; Social media; Influencer; Entrepreneurial motivations
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