Not only organizations are paying attention to Instagram
Not only organizations are paying attention to Instagram, they are also being attracted to all kinds of social media. Many scholars have already identified the advantages of having an online presence through SNSs, which really has transformed how businesses are managed (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010, Kietzmann et al., 2011, Pereira et al., 2014, Tiago and Veríssimo, 2014, Parveen et al., 2015, Guesalaga, 2016, Weinstein and McFarlane, 2016, Kim and Hull, 2017).
Companies are exploring social media and creating their profiles and fan pages in order to raise more attention to their brands and to build and maintain relationships with customers and potential clients (Parveen et al., 2016). The truth is that these online channels serve several goals for companies and it was already admitted by managers that social media is becoming a crucial strategic tool as it could be used for branding, market research, promotion and advertising, cementing customer relations and in sales (Parveen et al., 2015, Guesalaga, 2016, Song and Yoo, 2016).
Furthermore, when comparing social media to other traditional communication channels, it presents a higher level of efficiency that translates into a low-cost way of establishing connections between the business and the customers through a direct and time saving approach. Consequently, it becomes clear that companies must embrace this new era if they want to succeed (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010).
It is not only about the cost efficiency, building relationships with customers and the advantages mentioned above. Social media has been associated with innovation and entrepreneurial orientation as well. This is an important characteristic because this innovation takes place through the performance and trend analysis (developing new
features according to customer surveys) that are needed to have a competitive advantage and proper use of social media (Sidorova et al., 2016). By having an open communication with customers and paying attention to their opinions and feedback, organizations can be seen as innovative and on their way to being leaders of the market (Parveen et al., 2016).
Regarding Facebook and Instagram, they also serve different businesses goals and achieve distinct objectives. Nevertheless, the most frequently identified by the academics is the engagement that companies can have with their online community (Pletikosa Cvijikj and Michahelles, 2013, Kumar et al., 2016, Lacoste, 2016, Malthouse et al., 2016, Oh et al., 2017). Both SNSs allow brands to connect with their customers and create online communities and stimulate brand advocates. In fact, some managers believe that the truly purpose of social media accounts is to engage with their customers and not to sell the product or service (Kim and Hull, 2017). In their perspective, the financial concern is still present but the main goal and advantage of the use of social media is to create customer engagement and both Facebook and Instagram have the environment and conditions to do it (Coelho et al., 2016).
2.3 Content Marketing
Nowadays, traditional marketing is not sufficient in order for brands to remain competitive, the paradigm has shifted and strategies must be adjusted. This era is known as the new digital era and content marketing is one of the key factors of success and one of the crucial tools of digital marketing. Consequently, is it important for companies to understand what is this concept about and how to incorporate it in their marketing efforts.
Although its relevance has been growing only in the past decade, the truth is that content marketing was already present in the early nineties. In fact, some business owners were developing their brands through this approach. For instance, André Michelin, launched the Michelin Guide which featured information about how to repair tires and a list of hotels and city maps. This magazine instead of being commercialized was given for free. Other examples exist and the common aspect about them is that, these businessmen were already building brand stories as a way of creating an emotional connection that hopefully would result in the sales of their product or service (Patrutiu Baltes, 2015).
The lack of consensus about a universal definition of content marketing is pointed out throughout the literature. However, there are several attempts and inputs regarding the explanation of this concept. One of the most used definition is provided by the Content
Marketing Institute and it is argued that content marketing is used to attract, acquire and engage with a well-defined public through the distribution of relevant content. Additionally, it is stated that the final goal is to lead to a desirable customer action which could be seen as the purchase of the product of service of the brand that employed the content marketing strategy.
Rowley (2008), whose work focus on providing insights about the nature of content marketing, proposed that this concept could be defined as a process conducted by a company with the objective of making profit by using digital content that is distributed through electronic channels. Through this process, companies should determine, examine and satisfy customers. Content marketing can also be seen as a form of providing information and persuading the public through attractive content with the final goal of increasing the awareness of a brand (Angel Wong An and Rashad, 2015).
The difference between content marketing and advertising was also established. It is stated that advertising has its focus on sales and motivating purchase whereas content marketing is more about establishing relationships with the customer and using storytelling in order to fortify their brand messaging and positioning (Angel Wong An and Rashad, 2015, Patrutiu Baltes, 2015)
Moreover, content marketing serves several objectives such as increasing brand awareness, attracting news leads into the business, building relationships with the customer as well as enhancing customer loyalty, among others. Nevertheless, if these advantages for companies aren’t trackable and measurable, they would never know when the goal is fulfilled. As a consequence, some metrics are required in order to validate the approach of content marketing. There are four different types of metrics that could be used, namely consumption metrics, sharing metrics (likes, shares, among others), lead and sales metrics (Holliman and Rowley, 2014, Patrutiu Baltes, 2015). Ahmad et al. (2016) also pointed out that metrics such as liking, hashtagging, retweeting, commenting and sharing the content that brands post online are measures for analyzing the effectiveness of content marketing.
Additionally, Ahmad et al. (2016) also stated that social media platforms are useful tools for gathering such measures. If in traditional marketing it was sometimes difficult to measure the impacts of strategies, in the era of digital marketing it is easier to analyze results. It is thanks to the technology of Web 2.0 that brands can follow the outcomes of their marketing efforts, as it is the case of monitoring the customers’ behavior through their engagement on social media.