Is it profitable to market products on Twitter

The influence of Instagram posts on the purchasing behavior of consumers with regard to sports products

Table of Contents

II. Acknowledgments

III. Abstract

IV. List of Figures

V. List of tables

1 Introduction
1.1 Topic relevance
1.2 Aims of the work and research question

2 Theoretical background
2.1 Social Media Marketing
2.1.1 Influencer Marketing
2.1.2 Storytelling
2.1.3 Product placement
2.2 Customer Relationship Management
2.3 Formation of hypotheses
2.3.1 Willingness of consumers to buy
2.3.2 Identification with the author of the article
2.3.3 Willingness of Consumers to Pay

3 methodology
3.1 Research design and sample size
3.2 Stimuli, manipulation and approach
3.3 Measurement of the variables
3.4 Group formation

4 results
4.1 Reliability and validity of the constructs
4.2 Manipulation Checks
4.3 Hypothesis testing

5 discussion
5.1 Summary of the theory
5.2 Interpretation of the hypotheses

6 Implication in practice and answering the question

7 Limitations and Future Research

8 Conclusion

9 Bibliography

10 Appendix
10.1 Questionnaire
10.2 SPSS output
10.3 Tabular literature overview

II. Acknowledgments

At this point I would like to thank everyone who supported me actively during my studies and especially during the preparation of my bachelor thesis.

A big thank you goes especially to Professor Dr. Ursula Scholl-Grissemann, who supervised my bachelor thesis as part of the bachelor seminar. I would also like to thank you for the provided documents and suggestions with regard to the bachelor thesis and the generally very instructive lessons throughout the entire course.

Another big thank you goes to all participants in my survey as part of this bachelor thesis, without this participation, the bachelor thesis in this form would not have come about. Special thanks go to everyone who shared and forwarded the survey.

Last but not least, special thanks go to my family and friends as well as acquaintances who have always motivated me in the preparation of this bachelor thesis and in general during my studies and who gave me the support I needed. Above all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parents, who also supported me financially during this time to enable me to study.

III. Abstract

In times of the increasing importance of social media, marketing through social media plays a huge part, especially in the strategy of promoting products, brands and companies. In consideration of the importance of reputation and likes on social media platforms, this study examines the influence of social media marketing on the general purchase intention of consumers as well as the identification with the creator of a social media post at the example of Instagram. In addition to examining these factors, the theoretical part of this study goes more into detail on the individual marketing channels and opportunities to promote products, brands and companies via social media on the basis of existing literature and studies.

IV. List of Figures

Figure 1: Source credibility model (Ohanian, 1990)

Figure 2: Payne's CRM model (Payne & Frow, 2005)

Figure 3: Dimensions for increasing brand value (own illustration)

Figure 4: Research model and hypotheses (own illustration)

Figure 5: Egg matrix and group formation (own illustration)

V. List of tables

Table 1: Product placement strategies (d'Astous & Séguin, 1999; Panda, 2004).

Table 2: Types of CRM (Buttle, 2008)

Table 3: Stimuli scenarios (own illustration)

Table 4: Scenario distribution

Table 5: Item list (own illustration)

Table 6: Reliability and validity measurements of the dependent variables

Table 7: Manipulation check: post creator

Table 8: Manipulation check: number of likes

1 Introduction

1.1 Topic relevance

Social media has become an indispensable part of everyday life these days. Not only in private life, but also in professional life, social media are becoming increasingly important. In the past few years, social media has become a significant marketing tool that should no longer be missing in any modern and future-oriented company. The advantage of social media lies above all in its influence on the younger target group, which is increasingly distancing itself from the mass media such as newspapers and television (Solis, 2011).

Given the growing number of Instagram and other social platforms subscribers, investing in companies' social media presence seems like a logical consequence. The marketing of products by so-called influencers is becoming more and more popular. Above all, prominent personalities are in focus and receive a lot of media attention (McCracken, 1989, p. 310). According to Miller and Laczniak (2011), using famous people to promote a product is a popular strategy because of its significant impact on brand awareness and consumer loyalty. An important component in advertising with celebrities is the path of communication. This can be done quickly and efficiently using social media. Celebrities who report on certain products and brands via social media platforms are better perceived by their subscribers and seen as co-users of social media, which in turn leads to more credible and trustworthy digital word of mouth (eWOM) for the product than in product marketing through common channels such as television and print advertising (Schaefer, 2011).

In particular, the relevance and importance of Instagram with regard to the marketing and advertising of products, brands and companies allows us to draw conclusions about how important marketing via social media is. Due to the increasing number of users and the popularity of social media and especially Instagram, there are no limits to marketing.

1.2 Aims of the work and research question

The aim of this work is to find out whether different sources of an Instagram post and a different number of likes have an impact on consumers 'willingness to buy, identification with the post creator and consumers' willingness to pay. On the basis of the results obtained in this research work, the aim is to examine how important well-managed social media channels are for companies. Furthermore, this study should show whether and how useful collaborations with sports stars and influencers are for your own marketing of sports products.

The research work is based on the existing study on the influence of Twitter-based word of mouth (Jin & Phua, 2014). The manipulation checks of this work were also partly used from this existing study and adapted accordingly. The dependent constructs of this work were also taken from existing studies and adapted for the purpose of this research work. The construct of willingness to buy is made up of items from two existing studies (Holzwarth, Janiszewski & Neumann, 2006; Maichum, Parichatnon & Peng, 2016). The items of identification with the author of the article were adapted from three existing studies (Hedlund, 2011; Huang & Cheng, 2016; Woisetschläger, Hartleb & Blut, 2008). The willingness to pay construct is made up of two studies (Liao & Hsieh, 2013; Voon, Ngui & Agrawal, 2011). A detailed list of the respective sources for all constructs can be found in the item list in subsection 3.3 Measurement of the variables.

On the basis of the independent and dependent constructs just described and on the basis of the existing literature, the following research questions relevant to this study were selected:

What influence do the source and number of likes of an Instagram post have on the general buying behavior (willingness to buy and pay) of consumers with regard to sports products?

What influence do the source and number of likes of an Instagram post have on the identification of consumers with the post creator?

In the course of this bachelor thesis, an experimental quantitative research design was chosen to check how the independent constructs, in the form of the source of an Instagram post (ERSTELLER) and in the form of the number of likes (LIKES), relate to the respective dependent constructs of consumers' willingness to buy (BUY INT), identification with the post creator (IDE PC) and the willingness of consumers to pay (WILL TO PAY). To test these effects, a fictitious Instagram post with four different scenarios was created and the data from 204 participants in the questionnaire was examined and evaluated. More detailed explanations and representations of the research design can be found in Chapter 3.1 Research design and sample size.

The following chapter is followed by the literature analysis, the explanation of the constructs used on the basis of existing literature and the formation of hypotheses. This is followed by an exact and detailed presentation of the research and study design and the results. The last section of this research thesis deals with the discussion, implications for practice and limitations within the framework of this bachelor thesis and future research opportunities. The appendix consists of the questionnaire, the SPSS output of the data analysis and the tabular literature overview.

2 Theoretical background

2.1 Social Media Marketing

The advent of Web 2.0 created new ways to communicate, work together and share content (Enders, Hungenberg, Denker & Mauch, 2008). Social media is defined as a collection of various software-based digital technologies, mostly in the form of websites and apps, that surround users with a social network in which they can send and receive digital content or information (Appel, Grewal, Hadi & Stephen, 2020) . The simple use of social media via mobile phone or tablet enables mobile use both at home and on the go. The progressive development of social media brings a number of possibilities for using the various applications.

Social media make it possible to maintain contact with friends and relatives, to make new contacts and to form communities based on common interests such as hobbies or religious and political views (Peters, 2012).

The social media platform Instagram in particular has become more and more popular over the past few years and is now one of the most widely used platforms. Based on the increasing relevance and the current state of knowledge, Instagram was used as the basis for this research experiment in the context of this research project. Instagram is a social media application that allows users to collect subscribers, network with different brands and companies, and carry out social interactions between users (Blight, Ruppel & Schoenbauer, 2017).

In addition to private use, social media also became more and more important from a business perspective. In recent years, the importance and influence of social media has increased especially in the marketing industry. For the purpose of marketing products, more and more companies are using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as a marketing tool. Having access to millions of people around the world via social media platforms enables companies to interact with customers from all over the world (Evans & McKee, 2010, p. 3). According to a study by Alalwan, Rana, Dwivedi and Algharabat (2017), there are various marketing practices for companies for use via social media platforms, including advertising, eWOM (electronic word-of-mouth), branding and others Customer relationship management. Above all, the customer relationship management (CRM) system is of essential value in the marketing area of ​​a company. This marketing tool is dealt with in detail in subsection 2.2.

As already mentioned, digital word of mouth is becoming increasingly important in social media marketing. EWOM is understood to mean positive, negative or neutral experiences of a current, former or future consumer about any products, services, brands or companies that are passed on to third parties via the Internet (Hennig-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh & Gremler, 2004). Word of mouth in a general context was widespread well before the onset of the social media age and was used for marketing purposes. With the emergence of social media and the new opportunities and ways of communication, the possibilities of digital word of mouth have also been expanded many times over. The function of large social media platforms such as Instagram makes it easy and efficient to repost content (note: repeat playback of content that has already been shared) and to add hashtags in order to address a broader and, above all, more precise target group. It also enables companies and brands to show exclusive content such as insights into production via Instagram. These insights bring the consumer closer to the company and the product, thus building a stronger relationship between the consumer and the company. With the spread and rapid rise of social media and the opportunities associated with it, especially in the field of marketing, more and more opportunities have been created to market a company, a brand or a product. These new sales channels include influencer marketing, storytelling and product placement. These three marketing options are explained in more detail in the following subsections.

2.1.1 Influencer Marketing

In the last few years in particular, there have been major changes in the use of social media marketing. Traditional advertising placements on social platforms have increasingly been displaced by marketing using influencers. The popularity of bloggers as well as influencers and their user-generated content brought a new form of marketing called "influencer marketing", where brands and companies work with influencers to promote their products (Veirman, Cauberghe & Hudders, 2017). According to a study by Khamis, Ang, and Welling (2017), so-called “social media celebs” are people who gain attention through their presence on social media, as opposed to traditional celebrities who have become famous through movies, music, or television . According to a study by Tran and Strutton (2014), these social media celebrities have closer and stronger ties with their subscribers. Furthermore, they are perceived as more authentic by their subscribers (Stefanone, Lackaff & Rosen, 2010). This authenticity is also reflected in the willingness of subscribers to buy. According to Tran and Strutton (2014), the perceived reality and the deep connection with these influencers lead to a greater willingness to buy the advertised products, as consumers identify with the influencers and try to imitate them. Many brands and companies have a great interest in entering into effective and long-term cooperation with influencers. In order to be able to guarantee this, it is advantageous when looking for suitable influencers and prominent personalities to pay attention to which target group is hit by the advertised content. Furthermore, it is advantageous if the selected influencers correspond to the identity and the mission statement of the brand or company. In this way, a certain kind of identification between the consumer and the advertised product can be created. The source credibility model (Ohanian, 1990) is used to illustrate the effectiveness of influencers more precisely:

Figure not included in this excerpt

Figure 1: Source credibility model (Ohanian, 1990)

Based on the illustration as presented by Ohanian (1990), it can be seen that three properties make up the credibility of a source. On the one hand, this is the attractiveness of the source. This characteristic includes the similarity that the consumer has with the respective influencer, as well as the familiarity and sympathy between influencer and consumer. In the area of ​​expertise, characteristics such as experience, knowledge or qualifications are important for the products or brands. The point of trustworthiness shows that it is important that influencers leave a reliable, honest and sincere impression, among other things. A combination of all these properties increases the influencer's credibility. The importance of trustworthiness is supported by further research results. According to a study by Silvera and Austad (2004), celebrities are seen as more trustworthy when they develop a personal relationship with their audience.

The principle of using prominent personalities or well-known opinion leaders with high social values ​​is a widespread marketing strategy (Knoll & Matthes, 2017).Due to the widespread existence and presence of social media, this type of advertising was carried in ever-increasing dimensions. The value of influencer marketing is shown using the example of soccer and Instagram star Lionel Messi, whose number of subscribers is currently 167 million (as of: 07.09.2020, source: Instagram). In addition to the number of subscribers, the number of likes is an indicator of high advertising value. Likes play a particularly important role in the area of ​​user-generated content, a popular form of influencer marketing, as the value of each individual contribution can be measured directly in the form of likes and comments. However, a high number of likes does not necessarily have to go hand in hand with more positive buying behavior on the part of consumers. According to two existing studies, a high number of likes has no effect on customer attitudes and behavior towards the product (John, Emrich, Gupta & Norton, 2017; Mochon, Johnson, Schwartz & Ariely, 2017)

Influencer marketing has now established itself particularly in the marketing area of ​​companies. Among marketers who have already used influencer marketing, 81% of those surveyed stated that they had found this marketing strategy to be effective; this can be concluded, among other things, from the fact that consumers trust influencers more than conventional advertising (eMarketer, 2015).

In addition to celebrities and well-known personalities in the social networks, there are also influencers with a lower number of followers. These so-called "micro-influencers" are perceived as more trustworthy and authentic than prominent personalities, which means that this form of influencer marketing is becoming more and more attractive for brands and companies (Enberg, 2018). Another positive effect of influencer marketing is the marketing of the product from the first-person perspective, which is generally considered to be more personal and more effective in interacting with customers compared to conventional advertising (Chang, Li, Yan & Kumar, 2019). Another point in promoting the authenticity of influencers is in the live experience. With the help of social media platforms such as Instagram, it is possible to stream using the “Instagram Live” function and to interact with subscribers in real time.

2.1.2 Storytelling

So-called "storytelling" (telling stories) has been widespread and popular in mankind for ages. For a long time, stories have given people a deeper meaning for life (Fog, Budtz & Yakaboylu, 2005). This form of communication has been used more and more for advertising purposes over time. Storytelling is playing an increasingly important role, especially in marketing areas. With the advent and spread of social media, storytelling in the form of a marketing strategy has become more and more effective over time. Using this type of advertising, it is possible to achieve large reach with relatively little effort. From a marketing point of view, storytelling is a holistic co-creative process and an exchange activity that enables social interactions based on shared emotional experiences that are essential for the identity of a social media community (Pera, 2017). The principle of storytelling is seen as an important marketing tool in research. According to several studies, storytelling is essential as a marketing measure for branding a product (Fog et al., 2005; Woodside, 2010). The principle of this advertising strategy gives a brand a certain personality, as it internalizes certain human characteristics such as perseverance, courage and imagination (Herskovitz & Crystal, 2010). In addition, the exciting and customer-oriented telling of a story creates a psychological connection with the consumer. According to existing studies, stories have many points of contact in consumers' lives that enable an emotional connection with the brand (Fog et al., 2005; Woodside, 2010). Telling stories is particularly important with regard to social media, as the recognition value is particularly high with good storytelling. According to a study by Mangold and Faulds (2009), stories are more likely to be repeated and reproduced on social media if the story told leaves a lasting impression and is designed to be exciting. With the help of this marketing strategy, the advertising for a product, a brand or a company is packaged in an appealing and interesting story and is thus intended to increase the attention of the target group.

Consumers are increasingly networking on social media, where sharing personal stories influences their buying behavior (Adams, 2012). In addition to the possibility of communicating and sharing content, social media is increasingly used to search for prices, suppliers, availability and product features (Buhalis & Foerste, 2015). Social media platforms are increasingly developing into important marketing channels (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Instagram in particular emerged as a pioneer in terms of content sharing and product marketing in this regard. With the help of Instagram, it is made easy to share products as well as brands or companies using the functions of the social media platform, such as creating stories or distributing hashtags, and thus generating a large reach. The use of hashtags in the form of a narrative perspective is a particularly helpful tool for creating connectivity between product and consumer. According to a study by Papacharissi (2016), online hashtags are described as an affective public, which serve as narrative structures to maintain the modality of engagement. Product and brand advertisements, which are told in the form of stories, increase the potential for intrinsic motivation among consumers. According to a study by Lambert (2006), sharing stories creates more compassion and humility. In order to leave a lasting impression on consumers, it is essential for companies to use social media to communicate and interact with consumers. According to a study by Kaplan (2012), social media campaigns are most effective when users are directly involved in an interactive story in order to create a shared experience with the product and the company.

2.1.3 Product placement

Product placement means the paid inclusion of products or brands using sound and / or visual means (Fennis & Stroebe, 2016, p. 417). In product placement, the audience involved is exposed to the product during a natural process of a film, television program, or content (Cebrzynski, 2006; Panda, 2004). This content also includes all social media channels such as Instagram. This means that product placement provides access to potential target audiences and shows brands how they are used or consumed in their natural environment (Stephen & Coote, 2005). In addition, the actual product does not necessarily have to be shown, only the brand name or the logo is sufficient to be classified as a product placement (van der Waldt, 2005). Based on two previous researches, product placement can be divided into three different strategies (d'Astous & Séguin, 1999; Panda, 2004):

Table 1: Product placement strategies (d'Astous & Séguin, 1999; Panda, 2004)

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Figure not included in this excerpt

According to a study by Panda (2004), when applied in practice, explicit product placements are more successful and effective than implicit product placement strategies.

In recent years, product placement has been used as the basis for multi-million dollar marketing campaigns with more than 1000 companies specializing in product placement (Balasubramanian, Karrh & Patwardhan, 2006). The continued growth in product placements is due to the increasing skepticism towards traditional TV advertising (do Pago & Reis, 2012; Fransen, Verlegh, Kirmani & Smith, 2015). Advertising in the form of product placement is gaining increasing growth and investment. According to a study by Kowalczyk and Royne (2012), the industry around ProductPlacements is growing by more than 30% per year. Promotion through product placement can be profitable and profitable for businesses. Furthermore, brand awareness can be increased through product placement. Product placement in television shows can increase brand awareness by 20% (Cebrzynski, 2006). As a result of higher brand awareness, further business-promoting mechanisms are set in motion. Liu, Tsai and Liang (2007) found that a higher brand awareness leads to a higher recognition value, more positive attitudes towards the product and a higher willingness to buy. However, if product or brand awareness is not high enough, consumers usually cannot even remember the names of the products being advertised (Williams, Petrosky, Hernandez & Page, 2011). Other potential dangers of dealing with product placement are lack of control, unsuccessful media programming, the possibility of negative character connection, difficulties in pricing product placements, and the ethics behind product placements (Cowley & Barron, 2008).

Another method of product placement that has become more and more popular in recent years is the placement of a product or a brand via social media channels. Especially with complex and fast-moving platforms such as Instagram, product placement is difficult, often does not bring the desired results and, in the worst case, can lead to negative backlashes. According to a study by Cowley & Barron (2008), users perceive advertisements on social media as negative if they are too intrusive. The results of this study are supported by another study, which says that people liked product placements better when there was no obvious advertising context (Chu, Allem, Cruz & Unger, 2016).

2.2 Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a cross-functional organizational process with the aim of acquiring, maintaining and winning back consumers (Parvatiyar & Sheth, 2001; Payne & Frow, 2005). Another goal of CRM is to maintain and maintain existing customer relationships. This is made possible by the sale of other products or services from the brand or company, for example from other product lines. Another important point of CRM is the recovery of lost or inactive customers, for example through time-limited offers. The recovery of lost consumers is proving to be particularly important in research. According to a study by Reichheld and Sasser (1990), the loss of customers over a longer period of time has a significantly negative impact on company performance.

According to the following table, adapted from a study by Buttle (2008), CRM is divided into three different types:

Table 2: Types of CRM (Buttle, 2008)

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Strategic CRM is understood to mean interpreting the economic culture in such a way as to attract profitable and important consumers and to retain them in the long term with the help of qualitative differentiation from the competition (Buttle, 2008). Operational CRM focuses on the activities of sales and marketing management as well as on customer service and everything that is built around these areas. The analytical CRM describes the process that takes place in the background. This involves all evaluations and calculations to enable smooth customer relationship management. The most important requirements for companies in relation to CRM are reflected in Payne and Frow's 5-process model. This model (Figure 2) identifies 5 core processes in CRM. These five core processes include the strategy development process, the value creation process, the multi-channel integration process, the performance evaluation process and the information management process.

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The figure just shown illustrates the importance of CRM and reflects the three types of CRM. The strategy development process and the value creation process are assigned to the strategic CRM. The multi-channel integration process (Multichannel Integration Process) falls under the operational CRM and the information management process (Information Management Process) is subordinate to the analytical CRM. Using the above figures and tables, the complexity of CRM and its various interlocking processes are illustrated and visually represented.

2.3 Formation of hypotheses

This study tests whether external influencing factors in Instagram posts such as the number of likes or the source of the post creator have an influence on certain dependent constructs. In the context of this research project, these dependent constructs include the willingness of consumers to buy and pay as well as the consumers' identification with the source of the contribution. In the following subsections, all variable constructs are explained and dealt with in more detail. Furthermore, two hypotheses are defined for each dependent construct on the basis of the literature analysis.

2.3.1 Willingness of consumers to buy

According to several studies, consumers on social media platforms are more behavioral and perceptual (Alalwan et al., 2017; Kapoor et al., 2018; Kim & Kim, 2018; Shareef, Mukerji, Dwivedi, Rana & Islam, 2019). Social media are particularly important when it comes to customer willingness to buy. In particular, the interaction between users of social media channels, as already mentioned at the beginning of the study, also referred to as digital word of mouth, influences the willingness to buy and has a positive effect on marketing measures. According to two existing studies, social interactions such as recommendations to friends and discussions in online forums have a positive effect on customer acquisition and subsequently on sales figures (Stephen & Galak, 2012; Trusov, Bucklin & Pauwel, 2009).

Another important factor in consumer willingness to buy is interactivity. According to existing studies, consumer interactivity is one of the most important factors mentioned in the social media literature (Alalwan et al., 2017; Sundar, Bellur, Oh, Xu & Jia, 2014). In addition, consumers are influenced by the extent to which advertising on social media can provide appropriate and useful information (Jung, Shim, Jin & Kang, 2016; Lee & Hong, 2016). This assumption is supported by a study by Chang, Yu and Lu (2015), in which the usefulness of information has a similarly high priority with regard to customer preferences. Subsequently, the usefulness of social media advertising also has an impact on consumers' willingness to buy. According to a study by Lin and Kim (2016), this perceived usefulness is important both in terms of customer attitudes towards social media advertising and in terms of willingness to buy.

In addition to the general willingness to buy, interactivity also influences the behavior of customers during an online purchase. According to a study by Wang, Meng and Wang (2013), interactivity plays a crucial role in shaping the online purchasing behavior of consumers. Furthermore, consumers have less confidence in the security of their online purchases when the website they visit is less interactive (Chen, Hsu & Lin, 2010). In the area of ​​online marketing in particular, interactivity plays an important role due to the lack of personal contact. According to a study by Müller and Chandon (2004), interactivity contributes to positive perception and the establishment of an emotional connection between consumers and online brands.

Another important point with regard to consumers' willingness to buy is the trustworthiness of the source. According to a study by Veirman et al. (2017) a higher number of subscribers on Instagram has a positive effect on the credibility of the creator of the post. This also has an impact on consumers' willingness to buy. A study by Gunawan and Huarng (2015) states that if a source of a post is perceived as credible, attractive and experienced, it influences the consumer's willingness to buy. In the context of this research, based on the existing literature, the first two hypotheses are:

Hypothesis (H1a): The football star's contribution increases consumers' willingness to buy.

Hypothesis (H1b): A high number of likes increases consumers' willingness to buy.

2.3.2 Identification with the author of the article

Prominent personalities have always been at the center of society by gaining prominence in industries such as music, film or on similar platforms and they have received a lot of attention from fans.According to Horton and Wohl (1956), media appearances by celebrities encourage people to develop "parasocial" relationships with the celebrities that give the illusion of an apparent personal relationship. In the long run, this type of relationship leads to a strong identification with the media person. Although this intense identification, which goes into imaginary relationships, is often pathologized, Caughey (1984) emphasizes that relationships in this form can have important individual and social advantages, ranging from self-reflection to pro-social values ​​and behaviors.

Due to the popularity and widespread use of social media, it is now easier than ever to interact and be in contact with famous people and influencers as well as companies or brands via social media. Applications such as Instagram in particular create a closeness to subscribers that was not possible to this extent before the times of social media. Marwick and Boyd (2011) examined how celebrities use social media to harness the feeling of intimacy and provide greater opportunities for interaction, and found that social media has changed what fans expect of the behavior of celebrities, now fans expect celebrities interact with and maintain an ongoing relationship with them. With the help of social media, this is much easier than it was years ago. Via Instagram, for example, content from the daily life of celebrities can be shared and published at the push of a button.

Celebrities have always been seen as mentors and individuals other people looked up to. Identification is seen as a persuasive process that occurs through actual or perceived processes in which a person tries to be like another person (Kelman, 1961, p. 63). This form of imitation of famous personalities is particularly noticeable among younger generations. According to a study by Fraser and Brown (2002), fans develop a strong identification with celebrities by taking their values ​​as role models and changing their own lifestyle to mimic the celebrity.

A strong identification on the part of the fans towards the celebrity can, however, also have negative effects, especially from a marketing point of view. This happens especially in the case of collaborations between companies and prominent personalities, in which the prominent person is perceived as part of the brand or the company. Especially brands that maintain a public cooperation with prominent personalities run the risk of receiving negative criticism due to negative events around the prominent personality, since the prominent personality is associated with the advertising brand. This is illustrated by a study by Louie and Obermiller (2002), which states that the perception of a brand is significantly influenced when a prominent personality who advertises a brand is involved in negative public events.

In a study examining the use of Facebook by college students, Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe (2007) found that intensive use of Facebook helps to maintain connections to existing social networks and helps to build a large network of new acquaintances. Networks play a particularly important role with celebrities. In particular, the large reach and platform with which prominent personalities can act and interact can turn out to be very effective if used correctly. Identification with prominent personalities also has an effect on consumers' willingness to buy. According to a study by Jin and Phua (2014), there is an effect of social identification with the celebrity between the type of celebrity (prosocial vs antisocial) and the consumer's willingness to buy. The social nature of the prominent personality and their actions are differentiated, for example, in their appearance in public. Based on this research work, these include, for example, prosocial soccer stars (good public relations, appearances at events for charitable purposes) and anti-social soccer stars (many bans, scandals that reach the public). Furthermore, prominent personalities with a high number of followers are more likely to be seen as brand ambassadors (Jin & Phua, 2014). In view of these theoretical foundations, there is reason to assume that a prosocial soccer star and a high number of likes increase the consumers' identification with the post creator. According to the analysis of the existing literature, the following two hypotheses are therefore:

Hypothesis (H2a): The football star's contribution increases the consumers' identification with the author of the contribution.

Hypothesis (H2b): A high number of likes increases the consumers' identification with the post creator.

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