Instagram is one of the fastest growing online photo social networking services for users to share their lives with other users. Since the site recently decided to expand its advertising platform, this is a focused channel, so Instagram advertising revenue is expected to reach $2.81 billion in 2017 – surpassing US Twitter and Google (Vizard, 2015). Instagram reports more than 400 million monthly active users (Statista, 2016).
The user’s profile is located at the top of the list of most-followed pages on Instagram and is often used to convey marketing messages to their followers. Recently, a celebrity with the most followers has reached 92 million profiles (Instagram, 2016). Consumers believe that individuals with large numbers of subscribers are more attractive and reputable. The more followers an individual has, the stronger their perception of social influence (Jin & Phua, 2014). This is because images are spread to each follower and they may repost the images on their own profile, extending visibility to a wider audience (Scott, 2011).
In the Facebook study by Gonzales and Hancock (2011), the use of social networks will positively influence an individual’s self-esteem. Positive online feedback can enhance a person’s social self-esteem (Valkenburg et al., 2006). Based on some authors (Wilcox & Stephen, 2013; Thoumrungroje, 2014; Khan & Dhar, 2006), higher self-esteem of online individuals may reduce personal self-control, which usually leads to increases of impulse purchases and excessive consumption. Other researchers (Bearden, Netemeyer & Teel, 1989; Bither & Wright, 1973; Kropp et al., 2005; Rhodes & Wood, 1992) explain that people with low self-esteem are more susceptible to the opinions of others. Low self-confidence can motivate consumers to seek more opinion to help in making purchasing decisions (Bearden et al., 2001). When the information is not clear, users with low self-esteem are more likely to “give up” to try to understand the information, and those with high self-esteem would like to search for information further (Rhodes & Wood, 1992). These arguments show that consumers with low self-confidence are more likely to be influenced by celebrity endorsements on Instagram.
Source credibility is the level of awareness of the target audience’s knowledge of the source to gain an understanding of the product/service (Teng et al., 2014; Ohanian, 1990). Source credibility is according to the trustworthy, attractiveness and ability of the communicator (Ohanian, 1990). Kutthakaphan and Chokesamritpo (2013) argue that source credibility also depends on the quality of the arguments and the persuasiveness of the spokesperson. “Quality of argument” refers to the persuasive power of argumentation in informational information (Teng et al., 2014). This had shown that when Instagram’s comments or statements about products and services are valid, consumers will be positive about the brands associated with these reviews (Spry et al., 2011). When an approved product is deemed to be fake and invalid, consumers will form a negative attitude towards the brand and celebrity spokespersons (Cheung et al., 2009).
In terms of relevance on Instagram, this may be through specific issues related to certain celebrities. For example, celebrities who are singer may have more reliable and relevant endorsers of the music-related product. The conversion of images and documents on Instagram’s music products may make recognized products or services more trustworthy, and then celebrities will recognize more credible sources.
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