Shiva Heidari, Media Management MA student, department of Culture and Media, Arcada UAS
Supervisor: Dr Mats Nylund Examiner: Dr Nathalie Hyde-Clarke
My MA thesis examines the use of social media in marketing, more specifically how Instagram is utilised for social media marketing of photography services. My thesis was based on an intrinsic case study. Due to a confidentiality clause, the company name and recommendations specific to that company are withheld from this summary.
The goal of my research was to find how a photography form can utilize Instagram for marketing and improve its visibility and follower numbers. The subject and research problem of thesis operates in a field of business in which, both, qualitative data and quantitative statistics are vital in determining success. Methods included an interview with the business owner with open answer questions, an online survey of Instagram followers and consideration of the online analytics related to the site.
Social media, marketing and photography are all terms, subjects and themes, which change rapidly. As it was known that during the period of constructing the thesis, these three may and, most likely would, develop and possibly evolve, a decision was made with the subject to conduct the interview twice during the research time-frame. Both interviews consisted of a set of basic information questions, such as the background of the business, the current situation, and the use of social media, and a set of more indepth questions around marketing approach and content selection. The online survey included a total of 19 questions. I chose to use my own Instagram account as the purposes was to understand follower preferences and behaviour overall, and not just how it related to the specific site. It was possible to skip the questions if the respondent was not willing to answer one question. The average of respondents for each question was approximately 75.
It was interesting to see that based on the findings, the content of the account is more important than the number of followers of the account. Based on respondents´ responses, most would pay attention to the photographer´s portfolio on Instagram, meaning shared pictures, and not, for instance, the number of followers. It was also noted that many were not expecting the host of the account to respond individually to their comments – and in fact, more were interested in the image rather than the verbal correspondence overall.
This MA study is relevant to individuals and marketing teams who want to get new insights into how to market themselves, products and services on Instagram.
Writing this MA thesis at Arcada gave me the opportunity to explore more about social media, photography and marketing. I am really pleased with the outcome.
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Tewart, M., 2008, How to Be a Sales Superstar: Break All the Rules and Succeed While Doing It. Publisher: John Wiley & Sons. Page 64.
Tuten, T.L., 2008, Advertising 2.0: Social Media Marketing in a Web 2.0 World. Publisher: Praeger. Pages 6-7.
Are you looking for tools to manage the rapidly changing media industry? Or do you find yourself in the media industry struggling to see the bigger picture? Learn more about our MA in Media Management here: https://www.arcada.fi/en/master/media-management (External link)