Web scraping Instagram Pre and During Covid-19: Examining customer engagement on Australian SMEs accounts
Instagram has gained the attention of hundreds of millions of users and evolved quickly into a critical customer engagement tool for businesses worldwide, more so during Covid-19. Impacts of Covid-19 have fundamentally changed the market, and therefore, this paper explores the relationship between Instagram practices and the engagement of 20 Australian SMEs (Small medium enterprises) pre and during Covid-19. This study aims to answer the following questions: (1) How should user-generated content (UGC) and call to act content (CTA) be included as Instagram posts? (2) How to use #Hashtags and @Tagging in Instagram posts to keep a campaign going? (3) How Instagram can be utilised to mitigate the effect of Covid-19? Findings revealed a statistically significant relationship between the number of UGCs to Instagram engagement, while CTA content performance recorded a mixed result. However, both UGCs and CTA positively affect the engagement when used to build a virtual community and engage with followers rather than redirecting customers to online selling locations. Also, diversity in @Tagging and #Hashtag uses are found to be effective drivers of engagement. The results imply that addressing the Covid-19 related concerns of followers while showing genuine brand social responsibility can be rewarded by extra engagement.
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