BusinessExploring the Influence and Impact of Live Stream Influencers in Singapore

Exploring the Influence and Impact of Live Stream Influencers in Singapore

1. Introduction to Live Stream Influencers

While the use of visuals in dramatizing information retention behaviors of humankind has long been established, the introduction of live stream service is a recent development that takes this behavioral absorption of visuals to a new level. Live streaming Singapore has become part and parcel of digital media; the most popular platforms that facilitate live streaming are YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook, to name but a few. The presence of live videos has impacted digital marketing and business engagements on social media platforms. Tapinfluence and Altimeter released recent reports that found 70% of teenage YouTube users trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities.

Introduction In this age of digitalization, social media has become increasingly influential in consumers’ lives. This has allowed the rise of the influencer, who uses his/her position of influence to endorse brands, products, and services in exchange for monetary and non-monetary benefits. This paper explores the extent of influence and impact of a unique breed of social influencer in Singapore. The research serves as an exploratory study to cast some light on the commerce that goes on behind the scene of live streaming influencers. Currently, many adages hold true, including the saying that seeing is believing. They are often used to describe the impact of visuals in this age.

1.1. Definition and Role of Live Stream Influencers

The appeal of live streaming is credited to its high level of authenticity and interaction. Once the word hits the enter key, live content is coming in the way of the viewers, and viewers are able to interact with the live content creator at the same time. The interaction goes beyond live comments from viewers. Live stream is creating opportunities and breaking geographical borders between the content creator and viewers. Viewers are able to take part in the live content by asking questions, requesting a specific song, supporting, or giving feedback in the live chat box. The one-to-many interactions using live streaming cultivate trust and transparency. With repeat viewers, popular live streaming users or Live Stream Influencers (LSIs) are effectively establishing a greater influence over their viewers. Viewers are able to take part in the live content by asking questions, requesting a specific song, supporting, or giving feedback in the live chat box. The one-to-many interactions using live streaming cultivate trust and transparency. With repeat viewers, popular live streaming users or Live Stream Influencers (LSIs) are effectively establishing a greater influence over their viewers.

Live streaming is a social media video function that has recently gained international recognition and popularity. According to a report, more than half of online users in the US aged 16-24 and 35-64 are watching live streams. Live streaming is not new and has its historical roots in early webcasts of the 1960s, but the rise of live streaming is led by some of the top social media platforms in the world, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

2. The Rise of Live Streaming in Singapore

There are a rising number of live stream influencers in Singapore hawking different types of goods, from social media services to Korean beauty products, and even crayfish from Guangxi. In May 2018, Lazada held an online campaign and the top three most popular live streamers were from Singapore. Many live stream influencers command a six-digit following and have agreements in place with marketing firms. However, in order to reach their audience, they have had to transition to other more popular platforms such as MeLive. Despite being a fairly new development in the Singapore market milieu, live streaming has gained traction from fresh graduates who are social media savvy. Furthermore, with the rise of affiliate marketing, live stream influencers earn their crust through commissions derived from affiliate sales.

2.1. Growth and Popularity of Live Streaming Platforms in Singapore

In Singapore, the popular live streaming platforms are BeLive, Bigo, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Streamago, Tapatalk, and Twitch. The various types of content that can be expected during live streaming include Gaming, Personal Share, Travel, Comedy, Music and Performance, Hosting and Fashion, Cooking and Dining. The target audience for the live stream influencers is mainly youths and young adults as they tend to be more tech-savvy and independent, having greater autonomy in making their own decisions but with little regard for their future. This segment of the audience is also seen by live stream influencers as active seekers of live streaming content and they are the main consumers, supporters, and encouragers who follow and support the live stream influencers in acknowledging their work, subscribing to their live stream accounts, recommending, and liking the live streaming content.

The rise in the number of social media platforms in the modern digital space contributes to the varied influences and capabilities of social media in people’s lives. Live streaming platforms, which enable real-time interaction and instant consumption of audio-visual content, have grown in popularity in Southeast Asia in recent years. In November 2011, YouTube Live was launched as a live version of YouTube and it has since seen considerable success. According to an official article from Google published on 4 February 2017, YouTube Live has live-streamed US Presidential Debates, the London 2012 Olympic Games, and The Hunger Games Movie Premier among many others. In 2014, Meerkat, a live streaming application, was released and was named the SXSW runner-up. It was quickly followed by Periscope that was subsequently acquired by Twitter for $100 million. At the start of 2016, Facebook Live was introduced and by the end of 2016, it was already being used by individuals, celebrities, and businesses. The trend of live streaming content is unmistakable. At the heart of live streaming are the content creators or live streamers who are called “live stream influencers”.

3. Key Characteristics of Successful Live Stream Influencers

To be effective, a live stream influencer must exhibit certain social factors that appeal to their followers, such as reciprocity, interaction and engagement, and a “value proposition” found within the persuasive features of the stream. Other than that, successful live stream influencers should also exhibit emotional appeal, authenticity and integrity, language and communication abilities, consistency, and loyal supporters in order to increase the reach, build positive brand associations, and grow their influence and authority.

It is evident that the current trend of thriving on social media popularity is largely contributed by the increasing prominence of live streaming as a vehicle for influencers to engage and interact with their audience. In Singapore, it is reported that approximately 4% of people watch live streams every day, and 31% watch live streams at least once a week. The instantaneous and real-time interactions which are intrinsic to live stream content assist in creating strong connections with their viewers, which subsequently increase the popularity of the streamers. This paper aims to discover and appraise the significance of the various attributes and characteristics of live stream influencers on their followers in the intensely growing live stream market in Singapore.

3.1. Authenticity and Relatability

At the same time, viewers yearn for a personal connection with the influencer. There is also an intimacy that comes from shared understanding and experiences. The relationship with the influencer works the same way friends speak to each other. The originality and uniqueness of live stream influencers distinguish them from others. In terms of perceived self, a live stream influencer is not only seen as someone they can admire, follow, and learn from, but also a normal person capable of understanding and empathizing with their followers’ hard times. Data collected indicated that about 60% preferred real people to celebrities/actors. Influencers in their personal and professional life combined their personal struggles and successes as a means of discussing questions concerning and relating to their audiences. To garner greater connection and engagement with their followers, revealing personal challenges, family back-story, and the progress of what goes on behind the backdrop of the virtual living of the live streaming is critical.

Building upon the disclosure of self, the concept of authenticity is often portrayed by live stream influencers. Live stream as a platform privileges imperfections and immediacy, use of raw materials, not carefully curated, and edited content. The platform allows for a more seamless performance of self in which audiences can access the personal and private lives of influencers. As an intimate platform, audiences do not demand perfection out of the influencer. Instead, they accept whatever behavior they see, allowing imperfection in the performance. To gain maximum trust, influencers display themselves as normal everyday people. The greatest appeal for viewers is the human side seen during the live interactions.

4. Case Studies of Top Live Stream Influencers in Singapore

Liv was introduced to Taobao live stream in 2016 and quickly became popular with her natural and ethical marketing style for fashion merchandise. Despite hiding her product identity during live streams and slowly revealing it to tease her fans, Liv also emphasizes that honest product information is more important, as fans feel cheated when purchasing based on the live streamer’s recommendation. She has also been invited to share her secret formula for her live stream business success at live streaming seminars and is also an advocate for proper regulations in Singapore. In terms of engagement and influence, Liv is always passionate about her fans’ comments in her live stream chatroom and sings whenever she receives a kind proportion of gifts from her fans. As for interaction, she practices welcoming each new follower with a personal touch by replying to whoever enters her chatroom. She also conducts a mini-quest for each live stream, which requires participants to answer questions based on the previous live stream content, and rewards the participants with her best merchandise.

In this section, we will provide a brief introduction to Singapore’s top live stream influencers and explore their engagement and impact with their followers. Singapore’s top live stream influencers are typically identified through their strong follower base, high engagement with their followers, as well as solid commercial deals through their live stream broadcasts. In the following section, we will explore three popular Singapore live stream influencers and their impact and influence on their followers. Due to the interest in these live stream influencers, we have concealed their real names and only use their live stream IDs for discussions or interviews, unless it is already publicly available to their fans.

4.1. Influencer A: Profile and Content

80% of the time, there would not be any interaction.

Engagement Rate (Number of Interactions): Low A small percentage of them would compliment me or indicate that they hope to see me stream again soon.

Engagement: Unruffled, She Sails Through At high tide, Influencer A has almost 10% of viewers interacting with her. Her conversation style is depersonalized, low-energy, and focuses mostly on carrying out instructions. For example, during the live stream, Influencer A instructs her viewers to type “000” if they like her look and change the outfit if they don’t, or ask if they want her to give them a spin.

Content: Styles Diverse – High Fashion/Low Fashion/Off the Chromosome This influencer, with the fewest shows (53), has an average of ‘only’ 500 viewers, of whom 1.86% interact with her. Her remarks: Overall, I keep my visuals constantly refreshed with different looks – short hair, colored hair, chic or street styles. This is the only element that they are anticipating for, style visually, alongside perceived engagement. I get a fair number of interactions. Due to my lively and good looks, some viewers would interact frequently. A small percentage of them would compliment me or indicate that they hope to see me stream again soon.

Profile: Influencer A 29-year-old Influencer A, known as @YYY, has been in the scene since 2010 and has amassed a loyal following of over 28K followers to date. With a penchant for glam and grace, she streams mostly solo. A housewife and mother to two children, streaming helps Influencer A to step out of her comfort zone and rekindle her passion for fashion.

5. The Future of Live Stream Influencers in Singapore

Despite the bright future, multiple threats may also affect the future growth of live stream influencers. Takes advantage of 3 trends in the digital era: “the consumers’ need for narrative, the attractiveness of creating content, and high internet traffic. There is no doubt that this market is a trend in the digital era. However, this market is among the survivors. There is very little assurance as seen in failed live streaming experiments in losers. The exploratory case study reflects that one managed to successfully set up a live streaming channel as an alternative self-marketing channel in times of adversity. Each case seems to be unique and cannot be the key to replication. Despite the small success, the limitations of live streaming shape insights into the technical barriers. If the technical barrier is too low, entry barriers are low.

New influencers are to take this career seriously and abide by the law, delivery of performance, and effective life coaching without deviating from the spirit of live streaming and fans’ expectations. The increase of new entrants may lead to increased regulation on live streaming platforms. Similar other online economic activities such as P2P sharing economies (Uber, Airbnb) which attract competition that can be destructive and may dilute the spoils of victory. Online talent management and market achievement platforms may emerge to help professional influencers create a consistent image, narrative, presence, and outreach that benefits both influencers and fans.

The future of live stream influencers appears bright as it continues to thrive in key success factors such as advertising interest, advertising effectiveness, leveling up business, and strong platform support. Japan provides a glimpse of how influential live stream influencers can be. Influencers are involved in creating sales targets. Given the increased attention of advertising among influencers in Japan, their role will continue to evolve. It is contested that influencers must effectively reach out to their target market with an authentic image, authentic narrative, and possible impact they are capable of creating connections. As the influencer has become a lucrative career choice for some, more people are interested in starting their career as an influencer.

5.1. Emerging Trends and Opportunities

In 2014, Alibaba first introduced the concept of Single’s Day – Double Eleven e-commerce festival (hereinafter “Double Eleven”) into the world. This event became immensely popular within just a few years. In 2018, the Double Eleven event generated sales totaling 213.5 billion CNY through more than 3.27 billion packages in 24 hours. E-commerce social platforms such as Taobao and Tmall have increasingly begun to play not just a role of simple online sales intermediary platform, but have also become creators. These platforms integrate user-generated content (UGC) and live streaming function to create a personalized shopping experience that integrates “watching, playing, and buying” to maximize circulation and the commercial value of the platform. Among the various forms of online celebrity sales present in 2018, “shaking sound” claims the highest turnover share of the merchant network influencer module and does not rely on physical store operations. This indicates that as the community economy deepens, the Fan Economy plays an increasingly important role and an increasing number of products, channels, and businesses support the utopian narrative that anyone can become a star. The focus of the present research addresses this red hot research area of heightened commodity marketing related to live streaming influencers.

For commercial organizations desirous of operating within the network externality competitive paradigm, it is critical that they engage their customers and increase consumer participation. Not only have customers become more involved in management decisions, but the influence of employees and the effect of their participation in the organization has gained importance as well. With the rapid growth in the use of live streaming platforms and China’s unique politico-economic context, many small commercial ventures and individual entrepreneurs have utilized live streaming to establish their revenue structures. This draws on the social media business model with fee structures related to virtual gold coins and e-commerce store operations constructed to monetize traffic and audience attention.

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