Engagement/online brand awareness

Creating engagement/online brand awareness on instagram

How do you ensure that people (get to know) your brand and that they also like, share and respond to your Instagram messages? I did research on this for my bachelor thesis. Keep reading for a short summary!

Nowadays, of course everyone knows that social media plays an important role in everyday life. Companies also know that social media is widely used and therefore want to respond to this by being active on social media in order to gain followers and create engagement. What engagement means, will be explained to you in this blog!

Engagement/online brand awareness

Good to know in advance: engagement and online brand awareness can be seen as equal. Engagement is the social or moral involvement or a situation in which you feel involved with another person (Encyclo.nl, n.d.). Engagement plays a central role in the relationship between a person and a brand or organization on social media (Gill, 2013), where it can be measured as the likes and responses to a message. Online brand awareness refers to whether customers can recall the brand from their memory and recognize the brand (Scheinholtz, Holden, & Kalish, 2012). In short: does the customer know the brand or not? But how do you ensure engagement/online brand awareness? This can be done by means of a number of factors, three of which I will go through with you.

1. Influencer marketing

We probably all know what an influencer is, just think of Bram Krikke, Monica Geuze, Kaj Gorgels, the Kardashian-Jenners, etc. Using an influencer is perfect for a number of reasons:

  • To increase your public engagement and campaign reach (Kostygina et al., 2020);
  • Because brand-name content posted by influential accounts extends the reach (Kostygina et al., 2020);
  • Because using celebrity endorsement improves your brand value, which can lead to positive associations with the brand (Kostygina et al., 2020) and to better remembering the product (Ewers, 2017) and the brand (Kostygina et al., 2020), also known as online brand awareness.

2. Shareability of your content

Shareability is especially important with content on your Instagram account. Shareable content may include photos, images, videos, links or statistics. Shareable content is interesting because:

  • Shareable media generates more engagement (Silva et al., 2020);
  • It can increase brand awareness by spreading the content across a platform where people can come across the brand;
  • It is free.

3. Virtual Interaction

Finally, virtual interaction between users and the brand and between users and other users is of great importance (Barreda et al., 2015). Virtual interaction can drive engagement and online brand awareness, as users can more easily remember and recognize the brand after interacting with it (Barreda et al., 2015). One form of virtual interaction is seeing faces in photos on a social media platform.


Barreda, A. A., Bilgihan, A., Nusair, K., & Okumus, F. (2015). Generating brand awareness in Online Social Networks. Computers in Human Behavior, 50, 600–609. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.03.023

Duggan, M., Ellison, N. B., Lampe, C., Lenhart, A., & Madden, M. (2015, 9 januari). Social Media Update 2014. Retrieved on 5 October 2020, from https://media.myworshiptimes22.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2015/07/20140539/Social-Media-Site-Usage-2014-_-Pew-Research-Centers-Internet-American-Life-Project.pdf

Encyclo.nl. (z.d.). Engagement – 7 definities – Encyclo. Retrieved on 13 November 2020, from https://www.encyclo.nl/begrip/engagement

Ewers, N. L. (2017). #sponsored – Influencer Marketing on Instagram: An Analysis of the Effects of Sponsorship Disclosure, Product Placement, Type of Influencer and their Interplay on Consumer Responses. University of Twente, 1–60. https://essay.utwente.nl/72442/1/Ewers_MA_BMS.pdf

Gill, V. (2013, 3 juni). Engagement, wat is het nou écht? Retrieved on 13 November 2020, from https://www.marketingfacts.nl/berichten/engagement-wat-is-het-nou-echt

Kostygina, G., Tran, H., Binns, S., Szczypka, G., Emery, S., Vallone, D., & Hair, E. (2020). Boosting Health Campaign Reach and Engagement Through Use of Social Media Influencers and Memes. Social Media and Society, 6(2). https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305120912475

Scheinholtz, L., Holden, K., & Kalish, C. (2012). International Series on Consumer Science. In Consumer knowledge and financial decisions: Lifespan perspectives.

Silva, M. J. B., Farias, S. A., Grigg, M. K., & Barbosa, M. L. A. (2020). Online Engagement and the Role of Digital Influencers in Product Endorsement on Instagram. Journal of Relationship Marketing, 19(2), 133–163. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332667.2019.1664872