The word "Influencer" has long since become successfully established in linguistic usage. Time and again, people stumble upon the term, which denotes personalities who influence other people via social networks. Diana the Lion is one of them. The 23-year-old lives in Cologne and regularly reaches millions of people via YouTube and Instagram. Her top themes come from the lifestyle sector and deal with fashion and beauty. Diana also reports on growing up from her own personal perspective. In the interview, the young entrepreneur talks about her life as a social media star, about critical viewers and about the media usage behavior of young people.
Diana to the Lion: "My Motivation was the Fashion Week„
When Diana began producing her first videos for YouTube, she was 16 years old. As a young girl, how did she come to document her life online and share it with strangers? Diana: "I got involved with the internet at an early age and was often on blogs. In the meantime, blogs are no longer a big issue in the fashion world because a lot of content appears on YouTube and Instagram. But people used to read blogs to find out about trends. I thought to myself at the time, if so many people can blog, I'm sure I can too."
Through the Internet I met people who shared the same passion.Diana to the lion
With self-timer and tripod she started to take pictures of her outfits and put them on the net. Diana: "Even back then I liked buying second hand fashion. But some of my friends didn't find it so cool. Through the internet I could meet people who had exactly the same passion as I did." Her big goal was to be allowed to sit in the front row at the Berlin Fashion Week. Diana: "That motivated me. For me, the fashion world had a real glamour and magic back then. Now I see it a bit differently. But at that time it was a great motivation for me to be part of that world."
Diana on Löwen's social media career
Two years later, at the age of 18, Diana received her first invitation to Berlin Fashion Week. But this was just the beginning of her steep social media career! In the meantime, the 23-year-old business studies student produces elaborate videos, has well-paid sponsorship contracts with various brands and knows the industry that works with inluencers to market products.
What is their everyday life like between their online existence and real life? Diana: "The nice thing is that every day is different and I enjoy the freedom. Of course my focus is on content production. I have a YouTube channel, I take a lot of pictures for Instagram and I have a podcast called "Growing Up"." For the podcast and the videos, Diana is editorially preparing She thinks about where she wants to take her followers and what message she wants to convey: "I don't just film it, I always think about it and have a digital editorial plan.
Influencerin & entrepreneur
Diana is also regularly out and about at events: "Today I got up at 4:30 am because yesterday I was at an event with a fashion brand and a magazine. I'm also doing consulting projects and I've been asked to speak at a conference." To cope with her workload, Diana has a permanent staff member to help her produce the content, an editor and a management to negotiate contracts.
The studies benefit Diana in her professional activities. She says: "I like the mixture of business studies and being an influencer. And since my content often includes the topic of growing up, I know what makes today's youth tick and what their needs are. This is also very exciting for brands - for example, to make themselves attractive as employers. I know what is particularly important to young people because I get a lot of feedback from my viewers on these topics. This is very valuable for brands and companies.
Target group & awareness
The entrepreneur knows that her awareness is focused on a specific target group. Many teenagers and young adults know Diana. For older people who spend less time in social networks, she is an unknown. How can this be explained? Diana: "Everyone lives in their own bubble. When I compare my parents' lives with mine, I see big differences. My parents regularly watch the news, read the newspaper and listen to the radio. These are all things I do not do. I don't have a TV, listen to music online and I'm on YouTube."
The Cologne-based designer knows that everyone has their own responsibility for which media they consume: "I could only inform myself about fashion but not at all about what is happening in politics. Today, people compile their news and input individually. This gives you the opportunity to stay in your bubble. And that's how it comes about that, for example, as an influencer in a niche, you're huge and everyone else doesn't know you."
New user behaviour
According to the expert, usage behaviour is changing in the sense that people are now looking for content in a much more targeted way and are moving extremely in their niche. Diana: "You get used to this kind of content. YouTube videos, for example, are much shorter than feature films. It's crazy how much this is changing. You can also see that other media like publishers and TV stations have to rethink. They have to think about how they're going to design their products and programs in the future because their media is not so relevant to young people anymore".
Authenticity & Criticism
Diana lets her followers share in her life. This works well, because young people like to be inspired by role models who find themselves in a similar life situation. The magic word is identification. Conversely, this means that Diana must be authentic. However, critical voices keep coming up - for example regarding the brands with which Diana cooperates. She wants to stand for sustainability, but she promotes cosmetic products that contradict this ideal.
How does the influencer manage to find a balance and deal with criticism? Diana: "This is also for me a big rethinking process. There are brands with whom I have annual contracts and for whom I will perhaps not continue to work next year if it no longer makes sense. But I also notice that I can talk to brands and tell them what my viewers don't like at all. And then, for example, I can give tips on how to become more sustainable. This is a huge step for many brands and corporations, but I think I can be a good source of inspiration.
In the second part of her interview, Diana zur Löwen talks about competition within the YouTuber scene, about strengths, weaknesses and about what she would like to pass on to the young generation.