This is part 5 of my Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth blog series. This series is about understanding how audiences respond to Electronic Word of Mouth content within Instagram and TikTok skincare communities, and how these responses differ. Through these blog posts I aim to explore some of the key finding and topics of interest I have encountered.
In this blog post I conclude the Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth blog series and discuss my final thoughts and findings…
In effort of being transparent my preconceived ideas about my question before undertaking any research was that TikTok creators form more authentic personas whereas Instagram is a harder platform for creators to persuade audiences on.
Using ethnographic research methods; including autoethnography and netnographic research, the following observations were made:
- Based upon my own experience and what I observed during my research it seems that skincare communities are increasingly looking for knowledge, research, and science-based expertise.
- I perceived trustworthiness and expertise to be more important than attractiveness in regards to credibilty.
- I found @jadeywadey180’s and @gothamista’s EWoM content to be far less persuasive then @sortofobsessed. On average I rated both @jadeywadey180’s and @gothamista’s content to be 3/10 on my persuasion scale, whilst I rated @sortofobsessed’s content 7.8/10.
- I found that the majority of @jadeywadey180’s audience was more interested in Jade herself rather than the product. Further observations can be found at: https://alinahager.home.blog/2020/11/09/understanding-ewom-instagram-field-notes-part-1/
- I found @sortofobsessed’s content felt the most authentic. Adri always replied to the comments on her post especially any questions about the product. On average Adri 40.6% of comments on the five posts were replies to other users from Adri. Further observations can be found at: https://alinahager.home.blog/2020/11/09/understanding-ewom-instagram-field-notes-pt-2/
- I found that when I was looking at @gothamista’s content I felt as though her recommendations were brief and generic. However, 39% of comments on these five Instagram posts were positive feedback on the content/products. Further observations can be found at: https://alinahager.home.blog/2020/11/09/understanding-ewom-instagram-field-notes/
- On average, I rated @dermdoctor’s content 5.6/10, @skincarebyhyram’s content 6.2/10 and @yayayayoung’s content 7.4/10 on my persuasion scale.
- I found that @skincarebyhyram’s consistent friendly, knowledgeable and helpful persona made me feel like his recommendations were authentic. Further observations can be found at: https://alinahager.home.blog/2020/11/06/understanding-ewom-my-field-notes-part-1-tiktok/
- I found that I related more to @yayayayoung’s content, that I enjoyed funny and passionate persona and that I felt like his was genuinely trying to help people achieve their skin goals. Find further observations at: https://alinahager.home.blog/2020/11/12/understanding-electronic-word-of-mouth-tiktok-field-notes-pt-2/
- I was surprised that I didn’t find @dermdoctor’s content to be more persuasive (as he is qualified in dermatology). However, I did feel as though he was being genuine about his skincare recommendations. Further observations can be found at: https://alinahager.home.blog/2020/11/09/understanding-eom-tiktok-field-notes-pt-2/
Similarities and Differences (respectively):
- Content creators used the #ad or #sponsored hashtags to indicate paid promotions.
- Users asked content creators further skincare related questions.
- Users asked content creators science based skincare questions.
- Humour was used more often within the TikTok skincare community then Instagram.
- Generally the TikTok skincare content felt more authentic then the Instagram content.
- There were more male skincare content creators with over a million followers on TikTok then on Instagram.
The goal of this research project was to better understand how audiences respond to skincare EWoM content and how those responses differ across Instagram and TikTok.
I believe I have further my understanding of the online skincare community both as a member and as an observer. However I recognise that this project has it’s limitations. Some of my recommendations for future research include: exploring a wider variety of skincare content creators, comparing other social media platforms such as YouTube skincare content, and using participatory methods to collect data.
I believe this research has the potential to help inform digital marketing professionals, particularly companies that are interested in engaging in native advertisements, ie. sponsorships. These findings also aid understandings about EWoM content and how online communities respond and interact with it. Based upon my own experience, I think that the perception of ‘authenticity’ is going to continue to be one of the most significant aspects of successful EWoM content and that audiences will be increasingly sceptical of native advertising efforts in the future.
Caine, J, 2020, ‘Illustration Brainstorming’, gif, Giphy, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://giphy.com/gifs/creative-thinking-thinker-VbEuHLBUPQm55MyqJg>
Iven, W, 2015, ‘Scrabble tiles and smartphone’, image, Unsplash, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://unsplash.com/photos/gcsNOsPEXfs>