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Status Leaders, Hubs and their Social Influence

By Dr. Huazhong ZHAO

Department of Marketing
City University of Hong Kong

20 November 2017 (Finished)
Room 14-282, 14/F, Lau Ming Wai Academic Building (AC3), City University of Hong Kong

The prevalence of internet technology and social media has provided marketers new opportunities to identify influencers and utilize their social influence to affect consumer decisions. We introduce "status leaders" as a new type of influencers in contrast to hub consumers in previous literature. We identify the social influence of status leaders, and investigate how the social influence is moderated by personal competitiveness and time. Specifically, we find that (1) the spending of status leaders and hubs both positively influence the total spending of their surrounding social groups; (2) higher personal competitiveness increases a status leader's social influence while decreases a hub's social influence; and (3) a status leader's social influence decreases with time while a hub's social influence increases with time. This paper contributes to the literature of social influence by distinguishing two types of influencers, i.e., status leaders and hubs, and by providing a competitiveness theory framework to explain the underlying reasons. We discuss the managerial implications on how to utilize the social influence of both types of influencers in different scenarios.

Dr. Zhao received his PhD in Marketing from the University of Florida. He obtained his master's and bachelor's degrees from Oxford University and Tsinghua University. His research focuses on advertising, digital entertainment and social media.

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