As I dive into my research project for BCM325 I continue to question what it takes to become a successful Instagram influencer.
My research project involves personal growth as an Instagram food blogger through the implementation of my Instagram page @foodsfordayss.
Link to previous Blog Post relating to my Instagram account @foodsfordayss.
After having the account running for 2 years only recently have I noticed a fluctuating increase in followers and have received the chance to review and share products sent to me by Australian companies.
In addition to the company sent products I receive, restaurants and cafes have spotted my page, providing the opportunity to come into their store to receive a complimentary meal. In return, these companies ask for social media reviews (Facebook, Zomato, Trip Advisor Reviews), and an Instagram promotional post.
When I hear the words ‘Instagram influencer marketing’ I initially think of Calvin Klein’s #mycalvins campaign. The success of this campaign relied on renowned models, and up-and-coming Instagram stars/celebrities with intimate Calvin Klein lingerie/denim. The #mycalvins campaign resulted in success through a mixture of paid influencer posts and user-generated content (UGC). The hashtag #mycalvins grew and millions of users began following the brand and several users bought their products (Fumo, N 2015).
This campaign relates to research completed by the Influencer Marketing Platform and Custom Content company ‘IZEA’ demonstrating that between 2007 and 2012, trust in earned media; comprising of personal marketing and influencer marketing, increased by 18 percent (IZEA, 2016, p.2). This research stipulates that a rise in social media influencers ‘people who have built a sizeable social network of people following them’ (Veirman, M Cauberghe, V & Hudders, L 2017, p.798) has been developed. Marketers and advertising agencies have noticed a relationship between their consumers and social media platforms, therefore making Instagram the perfect platform to use celebrity or ‘influencer’ product endorsement to sell to niche markets.
Restaurants and cafes utilize social networks to keep up with their competitors and support a consistent evolvement. The evolution of technology has shattered traditional newspaper, and magazine restaurant reviews, the millennials loss of interest has increased a push of online round-ups, social networks, and influencers (Hosie, R 2017). Instagram is a visual medium emphasizing the attention to aesthetics of any object. The influence Instagram has over society has obstructed the hospitality industry crafting photogenic meals a necessity, as well as every fundamental design aspect of a restaurant (Janzer, C 2017). Instagram has a “particularly wide-ranging spectrum of publicness” (Moore et al. 2017) empowering users to project their ideal self through building a public reputation that represents your online persona.
An individual’s online persona is greatly influenced by the implementation of ‘hashtags’. Hashtags move Instagram users beyond their micro- publics (Marshall, PD 2014) to a broader range of users. Hashtags contribute to a user’s presentation self; “an individual’s projection of an online identity” (Schlenker, 1980) enhancing the richness of one’s Instagram experience by broadening their networks. Hashtags will be applied to my project to entice a wider audience base for my posts, and organise/categorise the posts I create. In future posts a set hashtag list for posts will be utilized, alongside relevant hashtags particular to the content I am posting about.
Lev Manovich proposes the structuration of Instagram that attracts the most followers. Using Manovich’s guidelines, I will experiment with my posts to see if the account cultivates. Manovich firstly states a user must develop a style/theme to their Instagram feed e.g. colour theme (Manovich, L 2016, p.13). Secondly, he articulates the importance of structure within your posts, intending no two photos next to each over have similar aesthetics, instead alternate between a few aesthetics in a systematic way (Manovich, L 2016, p.15). Overall these guidelines will supply a “formal temporal rhythm, alternating between compositions” (Manovich, L 2016, p.15) with a diverse range of content.
Spoon University have revealed tips for getting more followers on food Instagram accounts. The university discloses the use of natural lighting and regularly posting as fundamental for success on Instagram (Baird, A Jackmauh, S 2015). Similarly the article Layers of Identity states that “what followers now want is to see ‘real life,’ unfiltered, unmediated, and uncurated”(Abdin, C 2018) posts. The article also justifies that influencers must juxtapose the raw version of themselves against the median and normality of their self-presentation relating to glamour (Abdin, C 2018). This will create and assign value to new audiences and affirm the veracity of their truth-ness. These tips will be employed in my research project thru an aim of at least one post a day and the experimentation of the degree of filters used.
Nicolas Cole’s research classifies two types of Instagram influencers: content creators, and content curators. Cole defines content creators as “influencers who have built audiences around their unique creations, personality, talents, and voice”, and content curators as “someone who, instead of creating things themselves, shares things they feel people would be interested in seeing” (Cole, N 2017). As an Instagram food account I am classified as a content curator through my promotion of company sent products, as well as publicity of restaurant/cafes eaten out at.
An example of a successful content curator is @healthyfitnessmeals run by Rena Awada. Awada shares her own recipes on her account and scours Instagram feeds for other user’s recipes and photos to share on her page. This strategy allows curators to share posts that are uniquely “you”, together with keeping your audience engaged by publishing other people’s content. This is an approach I will use as I experiment with my content (Awada, R 2017). Through the implementation of posts made about recipes I have created at home, this will contrast with the posts I create on the restaurants/cafes I have eaten at.
Following this blog post I will continue to experiment with the content posted on @foodsfordayss. A variety of opportunities have recently been accustomed which will be used as a prodigious content opening.
Consistent user engagement analysis’ will be completed throughout my experimentation. The app ‘Command’ enables the visualization of an Instagram’s account analytics and stats. Using Command enables reflection on what is working to grow and become a successful Instagram influencer.
Abdin, C 2018, Layers of Identity, Real Life Magazine, 16 April, viewed 19 April, <http://reallifemag.com/layers-of-identity/>
Awada, R 2017, Want To Be An Instagram Foodie? Consider Being A Curator, Not A Creator, inc, interview, 26 July, viewed 17 April, <https://www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/want-to-be-an-instagram-foodie-consider-being-a-cu.html>
Baird, A Jackmauh, S 2015, Famous Food Instagrammers Reveal 21 Tips for Getting More Followers, Spoon University, weblog post, 1 September, viewed 17 April, <https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/food-instagram-tips-to-get-more-followers>
Cole, N 2017, Want To Be An Instagram Foodie? Consider Being A Curator, Not A Creator, inc, weblog post, 26 July, viewed 17 April, <https://www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/want-to-be-an-instagram-foodie-consider-being-a-cu.html>
Fumo, N 2015, Unpacking Calvin Klein’s Wildly Successful #MyCalvins Campaign, weblog post, 15 October, viewed 12 April, <https://www.racked.com/2015/10/15/9534325/calvin-klein-mycalvins-justin-bieber-kendall-jenner>
Hosie, R 2017, ’How Instagram has transformed the restaurant industry for millennials’, Independent, weblog post, 11 April, viewed 13 April, <https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/millenials-restaurant-how-choose-instagram-social-media-where-eat-a7677786.html>
IZEA, 2016, What is influencer marketing?, viewed 12 April, <https://aprilverjoustinsky.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/ae36f-whatisinfluencermarketingebook.pdf>
Janzer, C 2017, ‘Uncovering Instagram’s Impact on the Resturant Industry’, Upserve, weblog post, 4 July, viewed 13 April, <https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/instagram-changed-restaurant-industry/>
Manovich, L 2016, Instagram and Contemporary Image, Creative Commons License, November 2016, viewed 16 April, <https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/51080074/Instagram_book_Part_4.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1523884229&Signature=RrOQag2NW2MKYcuQG7HUZiTqvcA%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DDesigning_and_Living_Instagram_Photograp.pdf>
Marshall, PD 2014, ‘Persona Studies: mapping the proliferation of the public self’, Journalism, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 153-170
Moore, C, Barbour, K & Lee, K 2017, ‘Five dimensions of online persona’, Persona Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1–12.
Schlenker, B.R., 1980. Impression Management: The Self-Concept, Social Identity, and Interpersonal Relations. Brooks/Cole, Monterey/California.
Veirman, M Cauberghe, V & Hudders, L 2017, Marketing through Instagram influencers: the impact of number of followers and product divergence on brand attitude, International Journal of Advertising, 36:5, pp.798-828 14 July, viewed 12 April, <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02650487.2017.1348035?needAccess=true#aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cudGFuZGZvbmxpbmUuY29tL2RvaS9wZGYvMTAuMTA4MC8wMjY1MDQ4Ny4yMDE3LjEzNDgwMzU/bmVlZEFjY2Vzcz10cnVlQEBAMA>