Sociology Project Topics

The Role Instagram Engagement in Shaping Customer Perception Among Undergraduate Students in Ogun State: a Case Study on Yellow Plate

The Role Instagram Engagement in Shaping Customer Perception Among Undergraduate Students in Ogun State a Case Study on Yellow Plate

The Role Instagram Engagement in Shaping Customer Perception Among Undergraduate Students in Ogun State: a Case Study on Yellow Plate


Objectives of the Study

The study aims to address the aforementioned problems by pursuing the following objectives:

  1. To investigate the role of Instagram engagement, including likes, comments, shares, and direct messages, in shaping customer perception among undergraduate students in Ogun State.
  2. To assess how local businesses, like “Yellow Plate,” leverage Instagram as a marketing tool to engage with customers and influence their perceptions.
  3. To provide evidence-based recommendations for businesses, specifically in the food and beverage industry, on effective Instagram marketing strategies for engaging with undergraduate students.



Conceptual Review

Instagram Engagement

Instagram engagement is a pivotal concept in the realm of social media marketing and customer perception (Jimenez-Castillo & Sanchez-Fernandez, 2019). It encompasses a range of metrics that reflect how users interact with content shared on this platform. These metrics play a fundamental role in shaping customer perceptions and influencing their brand choices.

Likes, often represented by the heart symbol, indicate the number of users who appreciate a particular post. Each like is a virtual seal of approval, conveying user endorsement and interest (Hudson et al., 2022). The more likes a post garners, the higher the level of perceived approval, which can positively influence customer perception (Siddik et al., 2022).

Comments are a direct channel for user engagement. They provide an opportunity for real-time interaction and feedback. Positive comments can reinforce a favourable brand image, while negative comments may necessitate reputation management strategies (Zafar & Rafique, 2022). The sentiment, frequency, and content of comments all contribute to the overall customer perception (Masuda et al., 2022).

Shares, also known as “reposts,” are a measure of the content’s reach beyond the initial post. When users share content, they essentially endorse it by associating themselves with the brand or message (Guruge, 2018). Shares can amplify the impact of a post and expand its influence on customer perception.

Direct messages, or DMs, represent a more private form of engagement. They often involve one-on-one communication between a user and the brand. Personalized interactions through DMs can build a deeper connection with customers, influencing their perception of the brand (Sheth, 2018).

Exploring these various metrics of Instagram engagement is crucial to understanding how each contributes to customer perception. This understanding is foundational for businesses like “Yellow Plate” aiming to optimize their social media marketing strategies and create a positive brand image among undergraduate students in Ogun State.

Customer Perception

Customer perception is a fundamental element in consumer behaviour, significantly impacting their purchasing decisions and brand loyalty (Hermanda, Sumarwan, & Tinaprillia, 2019). It involves how customers interpret and evaluate brands, products, and services. Understanding the fundamentals of customer perception is essential to grasp the complexities of consumer decision-making.

Customer perception is formed through a dynamic interplay of various factors. These include personal experiences, attitudes, beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and exposure to marketing and communication efforts (Chen et al., 2021). The perceptual process begins with the consumer’s exposure to stimuli, such as advertisements, social media content, and personal interactions with brands (Liu, 2021). It then progresses to attention, where the consumer focuses on specific elements of the stimulus, like the visual and textual content of an Instagram post (Gautan, 2021).

Interpretation is the next phase, where the consumer assigns meaning to the stimulus based on their perceptions and previous experiences (Srihadi et al., 2022). Factors such as the aesthetics of an Instagram post, the message it conveys, and the emotional response it elicits all play a role in this interpretation process (Fornell & Bookstein, 2018).

The final stage is memory, where the consumer stores their perceptions, which may later influence their decision-making (Balaban & Racz, 2020). Memory includes recalling previous brand interactions, which can shape future perceptions and preferences (Hutter et al., 2023).

Various factors influence customer perception, and these can vary from individual to individual. These factors include personal values, cultural background, social influences, and the quality of brand interactions (Larkin, 2023). Understanding these influences and how they interact with Instagram engagement metrics is crucial for comprehending how customers form perceptions of brands and products, providing valuable insights for businesses like “Yellow Plate” in shaping customer perception.





The methodology section of this research delineates the approach undertaken to achieve the study’s objectives, emphasizing the selection of a quantitative survey research design to explore the role of Instagram engagement in shaping customer perception among undergraduate students in Ogun State. This chapter provides a detailed account of the research design, population, sampling technique, sources and methods of data collection, data analysis method, and the validity and reliability considerations.

3.1 Research Design

The selection of an appropriate research design is crucial in guiding the investigation process, providing the blueprint for the study. In this research, a quantitative survey research design was strategically adopted to align with the study’s primary objective: comprehending the influence of Instagram engagement on customer perception among undergraduate students in Ogun State. According to Saunders et al. (2019), the choice of a survey research design is particularly fitting when the aim is to collect data from a large population. Given the widespread usage of Instagram among the target demographic of undergraduate students, a survey design is well-suited for capturing a diverse range of perspectives and experiences (Saunders et al., 2019).

This research design facilitates the systematic collection of data, enabling a structured and comprehensive approach to understanding the dynamics of Instagram engagement and its impact on customer perception. The survey format allows for the inclusion of closed-ended questions, providing quantitative data that can be subjected to statistical analysis. The adoption of a quantitative survey research design aligns to uncover patterns and relationships within the dataset, and shed light on the nuanced interactions between Instagram engagement and customer perception among undergraduate students (Saunders et al., 2019). The structured nature of the survey design ensures that the collected data can be analyzed quantitatively, allowing for the identification of statistically significant trends and insights (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). Overall, the chosen research design serves as a methodological framework that not only addresses the study’s objectives but also facilitates a systematic and rigorous examination of the research questions.



Data Presentation



Summary of Findings

The findings of this study shed light on the intricate relationship between Instagram engagement and customer perception among undergraduate students in Ogun State. The study primarily focused on the local restaurant “Yellow Plate” and how it effectively leveraged Instagram as a marketing tool. The research delved into various aspects, ranging from the frequency of Instagram usage to the influence of different engagement metrics on customer perception.

In terms of demographic information, the study revealed that the majority of respondents fell within the age range of 24-26, reflecting the prevalence of Instagram use among the young adult demographic. The gender distribution was skewed towards males, comprising 85.6% of the respondents, suggesting potential variations in engagement patterns between genders.

A significant proportion of respondents reported engaging with brands on Instagram daily or multiple times a day, underscoring the platform’s habitual usage. The preference for engaging with local businesses on Instagram was overwhelmingly high, with 94.2% of respondents indicating that they follow local businesses. This highlights the platform’s effectiveness for local businesses in building an online presence and connecting with their target audience.

The overall experience with Instagram was predominantly positive, as reported by 82.7% of respondents. This positive sentiment is crucial for businesses aiming to create a favourable brand image on the platform. When asked about the influence of Instagram engagement on their perceptions, respondents expressed a strong belief in the positive impact of interactions. Over 80% agreed that Instagram engagement positively influences their perception of a brand’s products or services, and their overall perception of a brand, and enhances their trust in the brand.

Moreover, respondents recognized the importance of specific engagement metrics. The number of likes on a brand’s Instagram posts, meaningful interactions such as comments, and the frequency of direct messages from a brand were identified as influential factors shaping customer perceptions. These findings align with the broader trends in digital marketing, emphasizing the significance of user engagement in fostering positive brand perceptions.

In terms of recommendations, the study identified a need for evidence-based strategies for businesses, particularly those in the food and beverage industry, to effectively leverage Instagram for engaging with undergraduate students. The empirical reviews underscored the importance of understanding Instagram’s role in social media marketing and its impact on customer perception, providing valuable insights for both the academic community and businesses.

The statistical analysis using SPSS27 revealed high mean scores for the perceived impact of Instagram engagement on customer perception. The results of the one-sample t-test further supported these findings, with mean scores significantly higher than the assumed mean of 0. The level of significance was below 0.05, reinforcing the statistical significance of the results. These findings provide robust support for the hypotheses, indicating that Instagram engagement indeed plays a substantial role in shaping customer perception among undergraduate students in Ogun State.

In summary, the study contributes to the growing body of knowledge on the intersection of social media, customer perception, and business strategies. It provides actionable insights for local businesses, especially in the food and beverage industry, to enhance their Instagram marketing strategies. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, understanding and harnessing the power of platforms like Instagram is imperative for businesses seeking to thrive in the competitive landscape of the social media-driven marketplace.


The results of the hypotheses testing in this study unequivocally affirm the substantial impact of Instagram engagement on shaping customer perception among undergraduate students in Ogun State. The high mean scores across various dimensions of Instagram engagement, including likes, comments, shares, and direct messages, reflect a consistent positive influence on how customers perceive brands. These findings align with contemporary trends in digital marketing, emphasizing the pivotal role of user engagement in establishing positive brand perceptions.

The statistical analysis, including the one-sample t-test, further solidifies the significance of the observed effects. With mean scores significantly higher than the assumed mean of 0 and a level of significance below 0.05, the results provide robust evidence of the meaningful impact of Instagram engagement on customer perception. This underscores the need for businesses, particularly those in the food and beverage industry like “Yellow Plate,” to strategically leverage Instagram as a powerful tool for engaging with their target audience.

In conclusion, this study not only contributes valuable insights to the academic discourse on social media marketing but also offers practical implications for businesses seeking to enhance their online presence and influence customer perceptions. As Instagram continues to play a central role in the digital landscape, businesses that understand and harness the dynamics of user engagement on this platform are poised to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.


The following recommendations were made based on the findings of this study:

  1. Enhance Visual Content Quality: Given the significant influence of Instagram engagement on customer perception, businesses, especially in the food and beverage industry, should invest in producing high-quality visual content. Striking images and appealing videos can capture the attention of users, increase engagement, and positively shape brand perception.
  2. Implement Interactive Campaigns: To foster meaningful interactions, businesses should design interactive campaigns that encourage likes, comments, shares, and direct messages. Incorporating contests, polls, or interactive stories can boost user engagement, creating a sense of community around the brand and influencing positive customer perceptions.
  3. Regularly Monitor and Respond: Actively monitoring comments, messages, and interactions on Instagram is crucial. Businesses should respond promptly and thoughtfully to user engagement. This not only strengthens the brand-consumer relationship but also contributes to a positive perception of the brand’s responsiveness and commitment to customer satisfaction.
  4. Leverage Instagram Metrics: Utilize Instagram metrics such as likes, comments, and shares as key performance indicators. Regularly analyze these metrics to assess the effectiveness of marketing strategies. Businesses can identify successful content types and tailor their approach based on what resonates most with their target audience.
  5. Strategic Use of Influencers: Collaborating with influencers can significantly impact brand perception. Identify influencers whose values align with the brand, as their endorsement can enhance credibility and trust. Engage influencers to create authentic content that resonates with the target audience.
  6. Tailor Content to Local Preferences: Recognize the local context, preferences, and cultural nuances of the target audience in Ogun State. Tailor content to align with these preferences, making the brand more relatable and appealing to the specific demographic of undergraduate students in the region.
  7. Optimize Instagram Advertisements: Instagram’s advertising features offer powerful tools for reaching a wider audience. Businesses should optimize their advertising strategies, targeting ads based on user demographics, interests, and behaviours. A well-targeted ad campaign can enhance engagement and positively influence customer perceptions.
  8. Continuously Adapt and Innovate: The digital landscape is dynamic, and trends on social media platforms evolve. Businesses should stay abreast of changes in user behaviour, Instagram algorithms, and emerging features. Continuous adaptation and innovation in content and engagement strategies will help maintain a competitive edge and ensure sustained positive brand perceptions.Contribution to Knowledge

This study significantly contributes to the existing body of knowledge in several ways. Firstly, it delves into the specific context of Ogun State, Nigeria, focusing on the influence of Instagram engagement on customer perception among undergraduate students. While studies on social media marketing and customer perception exist, this research provides localized insights, recognizing the unique dynamics of the Ogun State market. This geographical specificity enhances the applicability of the findings, offering a nuanced understanding of how Instagram shapes perceptions in a particular cultural and regional setting.

Secondly, the case study on “Yellow Plate,” a local restaurant, serves as a practical application of the theoretical framework. By examining a real-world example of a business successfully leveraging Instagram for marketing, the study bridges the gap between theory and practice. It provides actionable insights for local businesses, particularly in the food and beverage industry, offering evidence-based recommendations on effective Instagram marketing strategies. This hands-on approach not only enriches academic discussions but also provides valuable guidance for businesses seeking to enhance their online presence and customer relationships.

Finally, the research expands the discourse on the role of Instagram engagement metrics, including likes, comments, shares, and direct messages, in shaping customer perceptions. By exploring these specific aspects of engagement, the study adds granularity to the understanding of how user interactions on Instagram contribute to brand perception. This nuanced exploration contributes to the refinement of social media marketing theories and provides a foundation for future research endeavours in the dynamic and evolving field of digital marketing.


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