Antecedents of consumer intention to follow and recommend an Instagram account

Publication Date13 November 2017
Date13 November 2017
AuthorLuis V. Casaló,Carlos Flavián,Sergio Ibáñez-Sánchez
SubjectLibrary & information science,Information behaviour & retrieval,Collection building & management,Bibliometrics,Databases,Information & knowledge management,Information & communications technology,Internet,Records management & preservation,Document management
Antecedents of consumer
intention to follow and
recommend an Instagram account
Luis V. Casaló, Carlos Flavián and Sergio Ibáñez-Sánchez
Department of Marketing Management and Market Research,
University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of consumersperceived enjoyment and
usefulness on their intention to follow and recommend an official account of a brand community on Instagram
through satisfaction, following a perception-evaluation-intention chain.
Design/methodology/approach The present study suggests that both perceived enjoyment and
usefulness have a positive influence on satisfaction, which in turn affects intended following
and recommendation of an account on Instagram. Data are collected from 548 members of a fashion brand
community official Instagram account. After the validation of measurement scales, the hypotheses are
contrasted using a structural equation model.
Findings Results show that both perceived enjoyment and usefulness have a positive effect on satisfaction
with the Instagram account, which in turn positively affects the intention to follow and recommend the
account. Specifically, satisfaction fully mediates the influence of perceptions on intentions, except for
the influence of perceived usefulness on intended recommendation as these variables are also directly linked.
Practical implications The findings help managers to understand consumersbehavioral intentions on
Instagram and note the relevant role of perceived enjoyment and usefulness in creating a satisfactory
experience in this context.
Originality/value Nowadays, brands and users are continuously joining Instagram and, as a result of its
growing importance, there is a need to better understand consumer behavior in this context. This research
analyses the antecedents of both the intention to follow and recommend an account on Instagram.
Keywords Instagram, Enjoyment, Usefulness, Brand communities, Following intention,
Recommendation intention
Paper type Research paper
The use of social networking sites by consumers is continuously increasing. Among them,
the use and popularity of Instagram, which was created in 2010, has increased rapidly,
especially among young people. Specifically, Instagram allows users to share images and
videos in both a public or private way, and other users can view, comment and click on the
likebutton on them. It also gives its users the option to apply certain photo filters to
the images they want to share. According to its website, it has recently reached 500 million
users ( June 2016) and this number grows day to day. Furthermore, Instagram adoption
among top brands is also continuously increasing (Shively, 2015), and this social networking
site is trying to promote their participation since it offers new features that differentiate
brands from their own users (MarketingNews, 2016).
In spite of its increasing relevance, previous studies have focused on the analysis of
consumersinteractions in brand communities on other social networking sites as Facebook
(Hassan, 2013) or YouTube (Smith et al., 2012). However, taking into account the greater
number of interactions that customers have with brands while they are using Instagram
(as a percentage of brandsfans or followers) when compared to other social networking
sites (Elliot, 2014), it seems reasonable to emphasize the importance of Instagram for brands.
In this respect, only few papers have already focused on Instagram, but most of them draw
attention to the content published on it (e.g. Highfield, 2015) and the motives for using
Online Information Review
Vol. 41 No. 7, 2017
pp. 1046-1063
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/OIR-09-2016-0253
Received 2 September 2016
Revised 16 March 2017
Accepted 9 May 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Instagram (e.g. Sheldon and Bryant, 2016; Lee et al., 2016). This lack of studies is even
greater when we focus on brand communities on Instagram, as previous studies have just
analyzed consumersinteraction behaviors (Casaló et al., 2016a) and the characteristics of
the brand-generated content (Casaló et al., 2016b) rather than usersdecisions to follow and
recommend the brand community account.
More specifically, Sheldon and Bryant (2016) note that there are four motives for using
Instagram: surveillance or get knowledge about others(keeping up with what others
are doing); documentation(post pictures about userslives); coolness/popularity
(tool of self-promotion), and creativity(portray the talents on the published pictures).
In a more elaborated proposal, Järvinen et al. (2016) suggest that performance expectancy
(related to usefulness as it is defined as the extent that using a technology provides
benefits to their users), the hedonic motivations (enjoyment or pleasure generated) and the
habit of the users with this social networking site have a key impact on the intention of
continue using Instagram that, in turn, will affect the final use behavior. Similarly,
Lee et al. (2016) find that both perceived usefulness and playfulness have a relevant
impact on customer satisfaction which is directly related to their intention of continued
usage on Instagram.
Although both hedonic and utilitarian variables seem to be relevant in Instagram,
previous studies have mainly focused on the hedonic perspective when analyzing consumer
interactions in a specific brand community account. For example, Casaló et al. (2016a),
by using a two-step collection of data, show that perceived hedonism has a direct and
indirect influence (through satisfaction) on the intention to interact in a brands official
Instagram account, which is finally related to the actual consumer behavior (i.e. number of
likes and comments). Casaló et al. (2016b) add to these findings by analyzing how the
characteristics of the content published on Instagram are related to perceived hedonism and
userssatisfaction levels. Specifically, perceived originality of the content (regarded as being
new and unique) is the most relevant factor to create an enjoyable and satisfactory
experience which, in the end, influences the intention to interact on Instagram.
Therefore, thereis still a need to better understand consumersbehavior on Instagram and
their relationshipwith brands in this context. Specifically,we focus on two crucial behavioral
intentions. First, we focus on the intention to follow a brand community account and view its
publications, which is a key aspect to guarantee the survival of the community in the long-
term as it serves to maintainthe traffic level in the communityand may promote users active
participationin the future (e.g. Casaló et al., 2011a). Second,we draw attention to the intention
to recommend the brand community account to fellow consumers, which may be related to
electronic word-of-mouth (EWOM). EWOM is conceptualized as performing certain actions
like seeking, giving and passing opinions (Chu and Kim, 2011) about an interesting subject,
and recommendations could be rapidly spread among users through social networking sites.
Therefore, the fact that consumersrecommend an Instagram account to their peers may help
increase the awareness and success of the account.
According to our previous review on Instagram literature both enjoyment and usefulness
may be relevant in this context, so we will adopt a double enjoyment-usefulness approach
(e.g. Van der Heijden, 2003; Ernst et al., 2015) in order to identify some of the factors that
influence the intention to follow and recommend an official account of a brand community
on Instagram. Indeed, previous studies on other social networking sites also suggest that
they can be analyzed as information systems (IS) in which its users get fun with their use
(Hu et al., 2011), and in which members use it because of their usefulness (Alarcón-del-Amo
et al., 2012). Specifically, due to the nature of this visual social networking site and the
creativity that is applied to the photos or videos shared, this study considers enjoyment as
an important factor that can influence consumer satisfaction. In addition, usefulness while
using Instagram is also considered as an antecedent of satisfaction since consumers could
of consumer

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