The Power of Customer Engagement on Modern Social Media Platforms: Exploring the Mechanisms of Customer Engagement on Instagram and TikTok to Thrive in Today's Digital Marketplace

Karolina Szewczykowska & Tanja Blomgaard Løyche

Student thesis: Master thesis


Platforms are a new business model which allow organisations and people to connect in an interactive ecosystem where value is created and exchanged. Of the different types of platforms, social media platforms are a significant subcategory; TikTok and Instagram are prominent examples of social media platforms which this paper focuses on. With developments and growth in social media platforms, along came an increased need for and interest in customer engagement. Yet, there are gaps in existing customer engagement literature in terms of the digital aspect of the concept. This paper investigated customer engagement and its significance for a successful marketing strategy with a focus on TikTok and Instagram. The findings were analysed with the use of qualitative survey conducted with TikTok and Instagram users in Denmark and The United States as well as expert interviews with six brands managers who use both platforms in their marketing strategy. Theoretical and conceptual literature of customer engagement and social media platforms were combined to make additions to the existing framework of customer engagement by Pansai and Kumar (2017). Such additions argue that brand managers should focus on facilitating customer-initiated customer engagement through social media platforms to spur online brand communities. Additionally, branded content on social media platforms must be personal, humoristic, authentic, informative and entertaining. Brand managers should learn how to make use of the technical features of social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to evoke emotion and satisfaction among platform users, thus increasing direct or indirect contributions. Other findings show that TikTok is a significant driver of customer engagement due to its algorithms and nature of content but there’s a misconception about the generational audience on the platform. Instagram is a far more popular social media platform but it falls short of TikTok in terms of enhancing indirect contributions. Instagram on the other hand holds more social and promotional aspects and is a great driver of direct contributions

EducationsCand.merc. Customer and Commercial Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages121
SupervisorsAd de Jong