Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Background: Social media has grown into a prominent marketing and communication tool, and Instagram is a leader in this regard due to its distinctive supports for medial rich contents. Due to the challenges faced by Small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs), they are suggested to embrace social media technology. Previous studies in Interactive value creation theory (IVF) indicated that SMEs-followers co-creation processes enable Instagram engagement. However, little is known of how to promote the value co-creation process via practical Instagram micro-practices that SMEs can employ regarding their constraints. This study is among the first to examine SMEs' practices for Instagram engagement via the process of value co-creation.

Method: We collected data regarding Instagram engagements of 10 Australian SMEs in eight months period using Instagram API. Qualitative analysis is conducted based on 2110 contents in a Poisson regression model. Content analysis and time-series visualizations are employed to investigate the uniqueness of several outliners in the dataset.

Results: Findings imply that SMEs should bank on @Tagging instead of #Hashtags to get more engagement as contents with @Tagging show higher levels of inclusiveness and trustworthiness. Also, customized postings for the loci-specific audience effectively encourage followers to participate in conversations, while commercial intensive posting style shows adverse effects due to its low level of credibility. Rich media contents would not necessarily reel in more engagement; the commitment and consistent postings amassed a considerable number of followers over time, leading to a higher engagement rate.

Conclusions: This study confirmed the benefits of data scraping in building business intelligence and validate the IVF framework as the theoretical background to investigate the effectiveness of Instagram micro-practices. IVF should be considered in designing social media practices to enable SMEs and followers' collaborations for business value generation. This study provides extra interpretations of the interrelationships between IVF, visual-rich contents, and social media engagement.