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Instagram & Beauty Micro-Influencers

Strategies of Self-Presentation used for Personal Brand Development

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Master Thesis






Master Thesis: Before the advent of social networking sites (SNS), it was more difficult to find other people's information—which required knowing their phone number or address—and SNS provided a way for people to live online if they wanted to. With the Internet, smart phones and tablet computers and other technical equipment, SNS has become more prominent. The most commonly used websites are YouTube, which was launched in 2005; Facebook, which was launched in 2004; Instagram, which was launched in 2010; Pinterest, which was launched in 2010; and Snapchat, which was launched in 2011 (Pew Research Center, 2018). These sites provide a way for users to create content and share content with a selected group of people (Pittman & Reich, 2016) or anyone who decides to make their account public. Each of these platforms offers different things to its audience, but in general, it's about sharing content with others, the types of shared content, and how "friendships" and "connections" are established have changed. Boyd & Ellison (2007) defined social networking sites as "network-based services that allow individuals to (1) build public or semi-public personal data within a bounded system, (2) clarify a link to other user lists shared with them, And (3) View and traverse their connection list and the list of connections established by others in the system. The nature and naming of these connections may vary from site to site" (page 210). According to this definition, Instagram is a social networking site. In September 2017, Instagram had 800 million monthly active users and reached 1 billion in June 2018 (Instagram and TechCrunch, date unknown). Instagram is a visual platform. It allows users to perform all operations in smartphone applications, from taking photos or videos, to editing, adding filters, and sharing on other platforms such as Instagram or Facebook and Twitter (Alhabash & Ma, 2017). Unlike other SNS, Instagram was originally a mobile application for iOS devices. It allows users to share content to their feeds and their stories, follow, like, comment, save and share. When sharing stories, users with more than 10,000 followers and business profiles can use the "swipe up" feature to link content. This feature also applies to verified accounts. In addition, it also provides brands with the option to create shoppable posts, allowing users to purchase products from within the app. Instagram also has an exploration page that shows users content that they may not follow but may be related to accounts they interact with on the platform. In the summer of 2018, Instagram launched a new feature and standalone application called IGTV. So far, Instagram users can only share a 15-second story or a 1-minute video into their feed, but through IGTV, they can now choose to share an hour-long video. This feature may be how Instagram competes with YouTube (Constine, 2018) In addition to the standard functions mentioned earlier, Instagram also provides users with the ability to set their personal data as business data, "to access features that help build a business image and achieve business goals" (Instagram, nd-a , Paragraph 1)) Must link to Facebook page. When switching to a business profile, more features will be added. In the biospace, users can add calls to action, such as email, call, and get directions. Another feature that can be used for business profiles is Instagram Insights, which "allows you to learn more about your followers and how your content is performing in the audience" (Instagram, n.d.-b, paragraph 1). With the help of Instagram Insights, users can obtain information describing the performance of their posts and snapshots, including impressions, coverage, likes, comments, followings, website clicks, and saves. It also provides information about where your posts were seen and Data on how other users find them (Zantar-Wiener, 2019). The content on Instagram varies greatly, and the classification is not as simple as on other platforms. On Twitter, content is categorized by sampling public timelines (Kelly, 2009). Although there are no defined categories, you can understand the types of accounts valued on Instagram based on the most engaged posts as of April 2019. The most popular posts belong to celebrities such as Beyoncé, Selena, Gomez and Cristiano Ronaldo (Joyce, 2019). The most viewed stories include celebrities like Neymar Jr. and Kim Kardashian, as well as social media influencers like Lele Pons. Pons initially gained attention on another social media app, Vine, but she now has more than 24 million followers on YouTube and Instagram (Spangler, 2018). The content of Pons on Instagram is both video and static. Marketers also found the most profitable segments on Instagram, including health and fitness, beauty, travel, business, and fashion (Darma, 2018). According to Instagram, the fashion and beauty community “is the top producer of feeds, stories and IGTV videos” (Rao, 2018, paragraph 9). Like other SNS, users seek to satisfy certain needs when using Instagram. Instagram research identified five main motivations for using Instagram, social interaction, archiving, self-expression, escapism, and peeking (Lee, Lee, Moon, and Sung, 2015). The second study determined that surveillance/knowledge of others, documentation, calmness, and creativity are motivations for Instagram use (Sheldon and Bryant, 2016). The average age of the sample in this study is 22 years old. Another study comparing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat investigated the following motivations of users: information sharing, self-recording, social interaction, entertainment, killing time, self-expression, media attractiveness and convenience (Alhabash & Ma, 2017). Read Less