Publication Details

Wally, E. & Koshy, S. 2014, 'The use of Instagram as a marketing tool by Emirati female entrepreneurs: an exploratory study', 29th International Business Research Conference, World Business Institute Australia, Australia, pp. 1-19.

Link to publisher version (URL)

International Business Research Conference


The UAE has an internet penetration rate of over 80% and has utilised social media for social and commercial purposes. This exploratory study is aimed at understanding the experiences of Emirati business women who chose Instagram to market their small businesses. Nine successful businesswomen were identified and their experiences were recorded during in-depth interviews and focus group sessions. The study found that Instagram is extensively used by Emirati women entrepreneurs, especially for home-based businesses. Numerous Instagram specific marketing strategies were created to ensure brand awareness and audience engagement. The respondents favoured Instagram as it was in-expensive and user friendly; it also provided high exposure for their products. Instagram users rely on relatives and friends to spread information about their products and this mirrors Emirati culture that is based on tribal communities. Instagram also provides a secure private platform for Emirati women where they do not have to mix with strangers, especially from the opposite sex, and this allows them to engage in business freely without any social pressures.