While there are many green movements on Instagram to motivate and influence followers to acquire green consumption behaviours, the evidence so far is yet to be promising. This article has some insights.

Malaysian influencers are actively involved in areas such as fashion, beauty, arts, entertainment, education, food, health, sport, environmental protection, lifestyle, and travel. According to sushivid.com, there are around 11 million Instagram users and 16800
influencers in Malaysia as of January 2020. Zatashah is one of the most famous social media influencers in Malaysia who advocates green consumption. To date, she has more than 80K followers on her account. Apart from sharing her green behaviour, Zatashah also promotes her luxury lifestyle on her account. As a member of the Selangor royal family, she attempts to raise her followers; awareness about environmental issues, particularly pollution caused by plastic usage. For instance, she began the #sayno2plastic campaign to reduce plastic pollution through her Instagram account. 

Some were paid by endorsers to promote certain green products, while others did it for free. Although a lot have been done by the social media influencers, how far it has impacted their followers’ lives is still questionable. And what factors influenced their followers’ behavioural changes toward buying green products?

A survey involving 435 instagram followers of Tengku Zatashah and some other green influencers in Malaysia was done to understand which factors influence green consumption behaviours and the impact on their followers. Factors that were investigated included the green activities of the influencers and the contents of their videos and photographs. Besides these factors, how word of mouth and a green attitude affect the followers’s behaviour were also being looked at.

Video has a significant impact on followers’ attitudes toward the environment. The visual communication intrigued followers’ attention, thus changing their attitude towards green behavior. Followers are also likely to be influenced by the influencers’ reviews of green products. But, the most important factor that could change the followers’ behaviour towards green consumption is the green habits of the influencers. Their lifestyles, which truly promote green behaviour through their postings, are what inspire their followers the
most, thus contributing to positive changes.

This study raised awareness about choosing the right green influencers for marketing campaigns. Investment in good content through photos and videos is also important to drive green behavior. While personalities and good-looking influencers are a feast for the eyes,
it’s their true green lifestyles that influence positive green behaviour among their followers. A genuine green advocate is what we all want.

This article is based on a research paper on: An Empirical Investigation of Instagram Influencers in Malaysia.”

About the author:

Dr. Sanaz Jalali completed her Phd recently in the area of Marketing. Her research interests are in digital marketing and sustainable marketing. More information about Sanaz can be found in  her research page. 

Dr. Haliyana Khalid, is an Associate Professor in Digital Experience Management. She holds a professional certificate in Marketing and a Phd in Human Computer Interaction. Find out more about Dr Haliyana, from http://business.utm.my/haliyanakhalid




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