Instagram Social Media Communication in Pandemic Times: A Deductive Qualitative Analysis of a Portuguese Digital Influencer’s Profile


  • Ana Filipa Costa
  • Teresa Gouveia Instituto Politécnico de Viseu
  • Nídia Salomé Morais
  • Rui Raposo



Social Media Communication, COVID 19 Pandemic, Instagram, Digital Influencer


The power of social media as an influential tool is undeniable, and influencer marketing has emerged as a strategic element, introducing innovative methods of communication, promotion, and advertising to support content creators (Brown & Hayes, 2008). In this context, the study aimed to analyze the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the communication strategies of Portuguese digital influencer Helena Coelho. The focus was on the content shared on her primary platform, Instagram, widely recognized for influencer marketing. The epidemiological crisis triggered by the pandemic raised the crucial question of how content creators adapted to new ways of communicating with the public. This period of uncertainty imposed significant challenges, forcing creators to reevaluate their communication strategies. To understand these adaptations, the research presented in this paper adopted a deductive qualitative approach, which enabled an in-depth analysis of the content posted by Helena Coelho, a highly followed Portuguese Instagram influencer. A focus group was conducted and included a convenient purposive sample of five female individuals, aged between 22 and 24 years and all active followers of the influencer's Instagram account. The study also resorted to observational research techniques with which 60 Instagram posts, collected between April 1st and April 31st, 2019, and April 1st and April 31st, 2020. This interval was chosen to identify changes in the influencer's communication strategies, covering both pre-pandemic and active pandemic periods. The results revealed that, although the influencer faced challenges due to the lack of common everyday activities during the lockdown, she was able to adjust her communication strategies, engaging the audience through home-produced content such as live streams and challenges, and effectively utilizing hashtags. As a consequence of these adjustments, the influencer experienced a substantial growth in her number of followers and engagement rate on Instagram in 2020 when compared to 2019. The collected and analyzed data indicate that the changes in her communication strategy, due to limitations derived from the pandemic, had a positive impact on her overall results, contributing to her growth and influence in the digital landscape.