The right way to enhance consumer interactions on Instagram

Image from Hostpapa

Instagram and brands seemingly fit together — in fact, Instagram is one of the most important social platforms for brands to establish both an online presence and identity. For brands, Instagram is a great tool to motivate the development of brand communities and further enhance customer interactions. As Instagram’s adoption rate continues to grow among brands, it has become essential for brand managers to design an appropriate environment for their official Instagram accounts.

For this purpose, this study identifies some factors that may influence greater consumer interactions between brands and consumers on Instagram. By focusing on likes and comments as the two common behaviors reflecting consumer engagement, the study proposes a model to better understand possible consumer interactions within Instagram.

Hedonism and Satisfaction

Due to the specific characteristics of Instagram, all interactions and engagements are typically accompanied by visual storytelling. However, in the context of this research, hedonism, and satisfaction are carefully examined to better explain the human-intentions behind consumer engagement on Instagram.

Hedonism” associates with pleasure, fun, and happiness as the primary pursuits of humans. Since all social network services are modeled on the concept of total anonymity and a way to escape boredom, hedonism can also be characterized as a sense of indulgence, enjoyment or gratification. Hedonism in many ways can be described as the primary motivation of using Instagram.

Similarly, “Satisfaction” is the other intention for users to interact on Instagram. “Satisfaction with an Instagram account would imply the realization of the expected benefits, increasing the user intention to follow this account in the future to continue obtaining these benefits.”

The study considers three additional factors (independent variables) that may affect both hedonism and satisfaction, including originality, quantity, and quality of a new publication. The originality, the quantity, and the quality of a new publication are of great relevance since they are great cues for a brand to initiate conversations with consumers.

Method of testing

An online questionnaire link was shared on the brand’s official Instagram account to gather self-reported data from users. First, respondents were asked to rate on a seven-point scale the quality and quantity of a brand’s publications (social feed or posts). Then, a month later, the number of likes and comments posted by each participant on each publication were measured.

All of this information was coded into quantitative language; If a user “liked” or “commented” on a specific publication, the value “1” was assigned, and a value of “0” if otherwise. An aggregation of these values were obtained and ranged from “0” to “4”, “0” being a user had not liked/commented on any publications and “4” being a user liked/commented on all new publications.

All in all, the data set uses “both subjective (perceptions and intentions) and objective (number of likes and comments) measures” to eliminate any potential bias.

“Suggested Research Model”
This is the proposed model behind the study.

Results

Using originality, quantity, and quality as the independent variables (variables that help explain the apparent relationship), the results reveal that perceived hedonism by a consumer is positively affected by both originality and quantity of the content published. In other words, whenever a new publication was posted on a brand’s official Instagram account, both originality and quantity of that publication provided a hedonic experience for the consumer. The originality of a publication represents a sense of “newness” and “uniqueness” in relation to other content. Likewise, the results also indicate that a more brand-generated content posted on Instagram, the more enjoyable (hedonic) the experience becomes.

Perceived satisfaction was also found to have a statistical significance when measured by the originality of a publication. A sense of perceived satisfaction by consumers was found to influence both consumer interaction intentions and actual consumer behaviors performed on Instagram, such as liking ❤️ ️and commenting 💬 on the photos/videos.

In sum, when consumers perceive a sense of hedonism, a satisfaction-intention-behavior chain develops which may help initiate conversations or interactions with a brand on Instagram.

The study suggests that a proper combination of characteristics of the content posted on Instagram may help develop an overall exciting and more satisfying experience. These findings offer brand managers a general vision of how to design an appropriate environment on a brand’s official Instagram account.