1Department of Sport Management, Faculty of Physical Education, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Iran
2Department of Sport Management, Faculty of Physical Education, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran
Introduction: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis of unprecedented scale in modern times (Yeo, 2020). which is associated with the prevalence of coronary heart disease and the cancellation of competitions, the closure of the jobs such as sports venues, and the implementation of the law of social distance. The role of influencers in this situation increased. Athletes and other influencers have tried to connect with their audiences using social media platforms and promote ideas or perspectives by sharing the content (Hayes, 2020). The present study aimed to find out how the audiences were influenced by influencers’ corona-related posts.
Methods: The research method was qualitative-quantitative content analysis. Data were collected through 63 semi-structured interviews with followers of sports Influencer on Instagram. Participants were selected by available sampling. Data were first analyzed using open coding and categorization, and then the statistical description of the categories was extracted from the interviews.
Results: The results showed that the types of influencers' posts fall into nine categories, with the second-ranking (47.62%) of pursuing or sharing Corona posts. 65.08% of followers had complete, 28.57% partial, and 6.35% no trust in Corona posts. 58.73% of the Corona influencer's posts were re-posted; 46.03% were shared; 38.10% responded with comments; 23.81% just liked; And about 11% were only visited. Also, the use of masks and alcohol, staying at home, exercising at home, not attending parties, not going on trips, limiting home entertainment, providing health items for the needy, paying attention to personal nutrition, and deciding to get vaccinated, respectively, were the types of effects of influencers' recommendations.
Conclusion: The results showed that during the Covid-19 pandemic, influencers had many effects on the behavior of their followers.