The Influence of Influencers on the Lifestyle of Fans

The Influence of Influencers on the Lifestyle of Fans

1.    Introduction

We exist in a generation faced by a variety of personal and business problems thus we are constantly looking for quick-fix remedies. Unfortunately, quick-fix solutions do not seem to effectively work since the problems are usually created by various causes rather than a single one[1]. Influencers come in handy in confrontations of these problems due to their influence on fans’ lifestyles. Influencers are people with a large following of fans, who have the power to change people’s opinions on various issues willingly.They are change-makers who combine a variety of influential strategies to change fans’ lifestyle by influencing various issues like their fashion styles, music type, and food preferences. Information is thedriver of lifestyle change through the influence of public opinions. The word-of-mouth has been the most common mechanism used in recent years to enable information sharing to a large population separated by a big geographical distance. However, empirical studies (studies based on what have been observed) show that, the difficulty of using this method of influence is the unobservable spread of influence and the bias for observation data towards successful events[2]. This paper seeks to identify and evaluate the strength of influencers to change fan’s lifestyle and how they should focus to maintain positive change. The problem stated in the paper is the incorporation of the new concept to a sophisticated audience and the means to convince influencers to promote brands through social engagements. The main objective of the paper is to identify the role of influencers in people’s interests, behavior orientations and opinions. Lifestyles are determined by demographic variables and psychological factors such as preferences, values and outlooks. The paper shows how influencers should positively change people’s views in matters of health, politics, religion and intimacy. The research design used to acquire data to support the claims is observational design because it is useful in identifying important variables before experimenting with them. It accounts for lifestyle and complexity of fan’s behavior under the influence of influencers’ content[3].

 

1.1.    Problem Statement

Influencers are becoming ineffective due to reasons such as numbers obsession, high competition and hashtags overuse. Majority of influencers get carried away by a large number of followers instead of focusing on engagement quality and follower’s loyalty[4]. Influencers are money-driven rather than being passionate about shaping positive lifestyle fans. The increase in the number of influencers has brought high competitions among influencers, which in turn has led to more focus on getting contracts and endorsements rather than creating a positive audience relationship[5].

1.2.    The objective of The Paper

The main objective of this paper is to channel the influencers influence on the adoption of positive lifestyles by imposing perception change in the popular culture realm. This paper seeks to use show how influencers should change their fans lifestyle in terms by shaping political opinions, health issue matters and buying behaviors. Influencers are a useful tool for influencing positive behaviors because of their power to reach a large number of people. In a world of changing trends, people need influencers to shape their behaviors towards the adoption of positive lifestyles[6].

1.3.    Description of the Research Design

The research was done through a qualitative approach where the observational design was used to acquire emergent data. Direct observation entailed watching over people’s behavior and studying their behavior patterns. Data was collected by obtaining information from scholarly articles relevant to the study selected on basis of relevance and publication year According to this context, the research design is a general plan of how the title has been interpreted. This paper brings forth instances of recurring behaviors and lifestyle changes. It explains and accounts for complex audience behaviors that result from consuming influencers’ information[7]. The paper will have a conclusion that comprises final remarks, limitations encountered and research perspectives.

2. Grundlagen Definitions

2.1. Influencer

Generally, there is a wide variation in what many people define an “influencer”. One definition that seems to describe the context of influencer was developed by WOMMA influencer guidebook. The term influencer is derived from the term influence, which refers to the ability to contribute to a change in behavior. Influencer, therefore, is an individual or group of individuals who have more than the average capability to influence others due to attributes which include personal persuasiveness, the frequency of communication, person’s reputation as held in the society and centrality to a given social network[8]. There are five major categories of influencers, which include[9];

  • Advocate: A person who shows support for, defends a brand or product while not being affiliated to the brand or the product.
  • Ambassador: An individual allied to a certain product or brand or even cause, whereby their actions are to some extent endorsed by the given brand such that there is mutually beneficial endorsement between the individual and the brand or product
  • Citizen: these are citizen influencers who are just average people but have the likelihood to influence through social networks.
  • Professional/occupation: These are individuals, who by their job titles are in a position to influence others through instructive statements.
  • Celebrity: This is an individual whose recognition of his/her name commands a great deal of public interest.

2.2. Lifestyle

While lifestyle is a commonly used term especially in media, it seems as if the concept is largely taken for granted as a majority of people are not aware of its definition. Lifestyle derives its definition from Latin expression modus vivendi which refers to the way or manner of living[10]. The precise definition of lifestyle can be said to be interests, behaviors, and ideologies concerning the way of life held by an individual, culture or a group of people, whereby lifestyle is a combination of tangible and intangible factors. The tangible factors refer to aspects such as a person’s demographic profile, while intangible factors refer to psychological aspects of an individual like preferences, outlooks and personal values[11].

2.3. Fan

A fan is an individual who admires and supports another person or a sports team. Generally, fans are usually motivated to portray their involvement with the area of interest through various behaviors. Fans range from music fans, gaming fans, political fans among others[12].

2.4. Sources of Influence

Influence strategies model is organized in six sources whereby its backbone is founded on ability and motivation. Further categories of the domains are subdivided into social, personal and structural. The three subdivisions show the effect of people in individual choices, ability and motives within an individual and the role played by physical proximity and non-human factors on behavior respectively. The best influencers need to have sufficient knowledge of how the sources operate and identification of implementation obstacles[13].

The sources of influence include:

 

  1. Link to values and missions

This is the personal motivation for an individual to adopt a different behavior. Healthful behaviors are considered uncomfortable, boring and painful whereas unhealthful behaviors are perceived as pleasurable.Asking people to take dramatic improvement efforts creates discomfort, uncertainty and conflict among people. Change of people’s mindsets is achieved by presenting comfortable and less-stressful ideas. Effective influencers do not assume that there is no means of attitude change toward individual behavior. Therefore, they neither threaten nor pressure people to influence personal motivation. They are aware of the human capability of transforming different experiences to gain personal satisfaction[14].

  1. Overinvest in building skills

This source focuses on the personal ability of an individual to learn and act on a behavior. It enables the development of proficiency as well as emotional management to show significant changes in vital behaviors to vital habits. Good influencers should understand that new behaviors are emotional, physically and intellectually challenging. Therefore, they overinvest in increasing personal ability. This source enables people to have skills, knowledge and strength to do engage in the desired behavior[15].

  1. Harnessing peer pressure

As much as people are motivated, they still face social influences that could possibly clump change efforts. People require social motivation from peer groups to create impressions on choices likely to bring prestige and honor. It is important to consider whether people are encouraging the right behaviors anddiscouraging the undesired ones. Additionally, it is important to find out the relationships between individuals and their influencers[16].

  1. Social support creation

The people surrounding an individual not only motivate but also undermine a person’s behavior. Social ability enables a strong relationship network. This source ensures that others readily provide information and resources for help during critical situations[17].

  1. Align rewards and accountability assurance

Unaccountability and poor productivity are commonly related to low incentives focused on rewarding the wrong behaviors. To change a particular behavior, it is necessary to award valuable and realistic incentives. This is the structural motivation source whereby extrinsic rewards are related to vital behaviors. The questions asked by influencers is if rewards are available and how effective they are in are encouraging the desired behavior and discouraging the wrong ones[18].

  1. Change in environment

Structural changes are necessary to amplify the permanent change in behaviors. The environment encompasses a variety of aspects in terms of facilities, tools, policies, reports and physical proximity. The physical world has a profound impact on individual behaviors[19].

3.1. Types of Influencers

Influencers are categorized into three broad grouping which include aspirational, authoritative and peer influencers[20]. There are a variety of influencers with both online and offline personalities with authority and built trust in their passionate areas. They include; Movie stars, sports stars and athletes, bloggers and vloggers, social media stars, photographers, editors and authors, musicians, reality Tv stars, entrepreneurs and models. They are commonly used as the face of brands and content creators. Social influencers benefit in brand categories such as beauty care, fashion and cosmetics, sports and entertainment, food and beverages, appliances and technology[21].

3.2.    Roles of Influencers in the Society.

Influencers are content creators with freedom of expression, speech and information to voice their opinions through hypertext, audio and video elements. However, they should be critical on the content they create for the purpose of offering knowledge and discussion for social issues. Influencers have the power to protect people from social neglects and injustices from the public and private institutions and authorities by creating content to address such trivial issues. They debate and provide critical comments on current affairs by providing a platform for expression of independent and different views. Influencers disclose and uncover matters of the society that needs criticism[22].

Influencers create user-generated content that they share and publish without anyone’s approval. They are a trusted voice in society because they shape peer opinions. They exercise authority and influence on important matters affecting the society. Influencers’ existence in the digital communication era has enabled them to be expert communicators through social connection and engagements with their followers. Their engagements in different platforms enable them to know their audience for the purpose of identifying a starting point for coming up with a conversation. Influencers distribute content transparently thus giving brands access to target markets. They craft appeal thus making them information providers on desired information[23].

3.3. Trends in Influencers

Social influencers are transforming loyalty through the creation of virtual friendships among fans. The landscape is rapidly evolving where enormous success is observed from influencer space despite it being a slippery slope[24]. The following trends have been observed recently;

  • The Rise of Micro-influencers

When the word influencer is mentioned, we are automatically wired to get an image of celebrity fame with million followers and views. They bring many opportunities for a brand due to a large fan base, however, challenges of personalization, authenticity and output control are important to consider. The emerging trend is to engage with smaller influencers with higher engagements. Utilizing many micro-influencers is a cost-effective strategy that reaches new and large demographics[25].

  • Seasonal strategies with influencers

For a brand to achieve power leverage for an influencer, there is a need to tie inherent equities to the content created by influencers through seasonal activation connections. Seasonal periods provide natural engagement platforms for consumers, particularly during holiday seasons. Seasonal influencers ensure content gets more impressions and engagements[26].

  • Strengthening influencer involvement in building brands

Influencers are hardworking and naturally-gifted friend-makers. Their path to success is determined by their ability to spark conversations, engage people to generate results. In the previous years, influencers’ primary focus was tapping on tangible assets such as their audience base. Influencers have important assets, guidance and knowledge, which foresees their future where involvement will be done in the early stages of business lifecycles such as strategic planning and product development[27].

  • Importance of Measurement

Measuring influencers’ execution is an important step to identify whether a campaign is successful. Tracking a campaign success is achieved through observing the number of impressions, clicks, comments, likes and shares. Alternatively, deep targets can be done through CTRs, web traffic spikes, creativity awards, social chatter during the campaign period, and brand velocity in social network platforms. Measurement of social influencers should provide answers that show how customer influence[28].

 

4.    Social Media Influence

Social media has become a prevalent platform for social engagements in recent years. Due to their large followings on social media platforms, brands have consequently found the need to be associated with them for the purpose of influencer marketing. The rising demand has led to the growth of intermediary agencies who act as matchmakers between influencers and companies[29].

Influencers speak their mind with passion and are not afraid to express themselves on social media platforms. Their internet popularity is gained through frequent posts that influence and shape people’s opinions. Fans get information from influencers through pictures, videos, tweets and blog posts. Social media has enabled influencers to be an ideal tool for marketing due to their ability to reach a wide audience. It has made influencers earn profits through endorsements[30].

4.1. Characteristics of Social Media Influencers

Influencers have powerful opinions that influence fans behavior through changing perceptions. For one to be a good social media influencer, it is necessary to have qualities of credibility, attractiveness, relatability to the millennials, authenticity and transparency. These are the key indicators that show the ability of influencers to exert influence on their fans[31].

Credibility and proof for social existence: an influencer’s credibility is determined by trustworthiness, attractiveness and expertise factors. For one to be an influencer, there is a need to achieve a high degree of that is easily perceived by the fans. Perceived power results from having expertise on a particular subject. This makes an influencer have more authority to convince people since they are confident that they have sufficient knowledge of what they communicate. Credibility puts influencers in an authoritative position strengthened by many followers who share and like, thus giving viewers social proof. Due to the notion of the majority is always right, viewers’ confidence is built by seeing a large number of people who show value on influencers’ opinions[32].

Attractiveness: human beings are naturally susceptible to good looking people. They attribute attractiveness and charisma to other qualities. A viewer subconscious is easily influenced by opinions from attractive people[33].

Relatability to the millennial crowd: influencers normally post about what they do in their life and directly interact with their followers. Their influence is determined by the ability to relate with a target audience of similar demographics, age groups, behavior and interests. This relates to the social identity theory that says belonging needs are achieved through engagements with individuals from a similar group. While the millennials are a sophisticated demographic, they have strong values that form their unique identity. Teenagers’ behavior is shaped by the role models that they look up to.[34]

Authenticity: it is an important criterion that should be met by an influencer that matches the values to a particular brand. Authenticity enables people to believe an influencer’s message[35].

Transparency: it is a key attribute necessary to avoid misinformation of the public that leads to a change in perceptions. Transparency is necessary to avoid audience deception and animosity towards influencers’ message[36].

4.2. Ethics to Be Considered by Influencers

There are several ethical concerns that should be considered and addressed by influencers for compliance purposes and avoidance of penalties from lawsuits. Influencers are important people in creating public knowledge and discussions. Content created should be relevant and have a truthful representation of facts. Influencers should be honest, fair and respectful towards members of the society. Influencers should have integrity and responsibility for the content they create and must guard and integrity to allow them to act independently of people who might be interested in exercising their influence on editorial matters for economic and ideological reasons[37].

Information sources should always be named unless there is a need to consider and protect the third party. The source choices should be critically made to ensure the information given is accurate. Sources of information should be relevant and diverse. Information provided on a confidential basis should always be honored. Change of influencers’ statements should have limited factual errors and corrections. When errors and inaccuracy occur in a content published, it is important to admit that you are wrong and make immediate corrections.  They should always speak the truth and stay independent to their allegiances[38].

Influencers should make a distinction between factual information and comments. They should respect people’s character, identity, nationality, privacy, race and beliefs. Irrelevant aspects should be ignored. Caution should be taken when using photographs and names that clearly identify a person whose identity is to be founded on the legitimacy of information[39].

Influencers should have disclosures and sigh disclosure agreements particularly when they have a contract with any company to enable their terms of working relationships. Disclosure should be put in the preceding three lines of a published post[40].

5. Conclusion

5.1. Conclusion for the Practice

The research concludes that influencers have an important rolein changing fans’ lifestyles through changing behaviors. However, inappropriate influence could negatively impact behavior through the adoption of undesired behaviors. It is necessary for influencers to realize they have a moral duty to positively use their influence by creating positive changes in fans lifestyles.Influencers should have efficient knowledge of sources of influence to understand how they can impact on positive lifestyle behavior changes[41]. Lifestyle changes can be directly observed in terms of behavior change once people are subjected to influencers influence. Identifying platforms for engagements is crucial for influencers to provide room for more social interactions. To become a positive influencer, it is necessary to have knowledge of qualities of an effective influencer. Ethical considerations should be put in place when creating content for public consumption. The digital world has enabled increase in influencers through blogger engagements[42]

5.2. Limitations

It was difficult to carry out the study due to time limitations since I had limited time to undertake the research project. Data reliability was low because observing recurrent behaviors requires a lot of time thus making data replication difficult. The sample used in the research was random and relatively small, therefore, findings from the research cannot necessarily be generalized to a variety of groups.

With the buzz in social media trends, it has been easy for influencers to gain a platform for fan engagements and interactions. However, changing fans lifestyles is valid for a selected niche of cultures since it is rather a new concept. The audience is sophisticated in nature comprised of mindless stereotypes. A stereotype is a limitation facing the influence of influencers on fans lifestyle in that people only look up to influencers of their choice. Despite the easy reach of the target audiences, they have self-entitlement for control by doing things on their own terms. People are selective in the type of content to be received from influencers. So much important message is filtered due to selective reception of influencer content thus limiting the effectiveness of influencers influence[43].

5.3. Perspective

The perspective of this research paper is inclined to the concept of influencers as agents of change on lifestyle of fans is an important aspect that should be embraced for the purpose of achieving positive behavior change. Technological advancements have made easy social interaction among people around the globe. With a world full of negativities, it is necessary for influencers to use their power to provide hope and motivation for people during uncertain times. Change is easily driven by people we consider as role models because we have confidence and trust in them. Influencers should understand they have an important role in the society and should not take that power for granted. They should maximize the opportunity to create a positive impact on their fans’ lifestyles. Additional research should be done to ensure the influence effectively cuts across people of all demographics. Internet growth and technology assortments provide a better platform to access information through social interactions.

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