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The Social Media and its Effect on Consumer Behaviour:

The Case of the Commercial Banks

Laith Tashtoush

[email protected]

Near East University

Ahmet Ertugan

Near East University

Abstract

There are a number of studies which explored the effect of social media on marketing and consumer behavior.  However, there is still a need to further understand the effect of the social media over all the stages of consumer decision-making process.  This study aims to explore the use of and the effect of social media during the buying decision stages of the commercial banks' consumers.  A qualitative method is envisaged forming focus groups to understand how the banking consumers use social media during the specific stages of purchasing and making use of different banking products and services.

Keywords: Social media, consumer behavior, banking

Introduction

The Internet provided individuals with the opportunity to use social media to interact with others without the necessity for meetings (Gruzd et al., 2011). This was done through a set of applications that transferred the Internet to a social environment through the introduction of social media that enabled individuals to interact and generate content online (Lai & Turban 2008). With the advent of social media on the Internet, people have been able to easily share and access the information they need (Chen et al., 2011a), where consumers can access many different sources of information which facilitated by other consumer information (Senecal & Nantel 2004). Therefore, consumer participation through social media is the main key factor in marketing (Do-Hyung et al., 2007).

Social media provides different values for banks and companies, such as increasing sales (Agnihotri et al., 2012), promoting the brand (de Vries, Gensler & Leeflang 2012), facilitating communication between individuals (Chen et al. 2011b), and sharing information in the business (Lu & Hsiao 2010). The communication between individuals through social media provides common values which in turn lead to a positive impact on confidence because social media has marketing strategies that in turn build confidence and affect the intention of consumers to buy products online. (Wu et al., 2010, Liang & Turban 2011). So to understand the consumer behavior in a rational manner the companies must take into consideration the analysis of consumer's buying decision process (Kotler et al. 2009).

Research Problem

Social media in its modern concept and principles seek to respond to current reality requirements, which have become widespread and rapidly developed by the adoption of this technology by many consumers. In this case, because of the spread of broad social media the banks face a major challenge in how to reach the consumer by social media and how can they affect their buying decisions. Hence, the problem is highlighted in the following fundamental question:

1. How consumer's behavior toward buying through social media has an effect on their buying decision stages?

2. What the procedures must be implemented in order to improve the effect of social media on consumer decision stages?

3. How could Social Media factors ( Source of information, Interactivity and Creditability) have an effect on consumer's buying decision stages?

4. Do social media have an effect of the demographic factors on the consumer behavior (Gender, Age, Educational level and Income)?

Research Objective

1. This study aims to bring out the effect of social media on consumer behaviour in the commercial banks.

2. To identify the most popular social media sites used by the consumers and which affect the buying behavior of the consumers.

3. To identify the role and importance of social media factors those effects the consumers buying decision.

4. Determine whether there are differences in the effect of social media on consumer behavior depending on Age, Gender, Education levels and Income.

5. To help the commercial bank to identify the marketing strategic needs and tools that affect consumer buying behavior.

Literature Review

Social media has picked up a reasonable definition through the contribution of Kaplan and Henlin (2010) where they characterized it as "an arrangement of Electronic applications in light of the ideological and innovative premise of Web 2.0, permitting the creation and trade of client produced content". Also, Sinclaire and Vogus (2011) defined the social media as “a software tools that create content that created by users and can be shared with others”. Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) gave an idea of what social media is and why it's important for the business to let them make decisions and making it more profitable. Therefore, they presented a set of guidelines to guide organizations that decide to use social media. Furthermore, Bogot, Gautam (2013) and Jati and Mohanty (2012) emphasized the need for social media networks in business because it highlights the social technology that connects people in certain ways to exchange information and other things between each other. Conversely, Castronovo and Huang (2012) described the role of social media as an alternative model of marketing communication. They focused on word of mouth, social media and alternative marketing communications as key components of integrated marketing communications. In addition, they developed a conceptual model for alternative marketing communications that can be employed by organization to attain their marketing goals such as growing sales, rising consumer awareness and increasing consumer loyalty.

According to Wen, 2009 the source and the nature of the information is the most critical elements which designing the webpage successfully because when the information is not credible and incorrect and incomplete can lead to negative impact on consumer's confidence over the Internet and affect their decision to buy. Also, Coyle and Thorson, 2001 suggested that the feature of interactivity on social media enables the Internet to facilitate consumers to communicate with each other as they enable consumers to interact freely in choosing what they want and when they need it on the Internet. On the other hand, Yoo and Maclnnis, 2005 proposed that positive or negative emotions toward a web based purchasing which improve creditibility or give a negative assessment of the purchasing.

Social media sites are individual platforms where they are able to communicate with others (Weinberg 2009) and thus serve as a tool to connect users with common backgrounds and interests. All social media platforms play a role in giving, receiving and sharing information without any boundary limitations, where the flow of information can be in two-way and thus the flow of communication not only affects how companies can reach their target groups but also affects all stages of the process decision-making (Smith and Zuck 2011). Therefore, Social media sites are platforms that give users the ability to create interactive and custom features within a limited system but for consumers, they are ports with the potential to create close relationships across fan pages, apps, and groups (Boyd & Ellison 2007). These sites allow individuals to discover sites that have been discovered from a large number of people. Social news sites have changed the concept of the newspaper today (Weinberg 2009), because personal news content puts users in active discussions that interact with how others interact with them (Beckdale 2009). It has been noticed recently that there is a significant impact of the corporate social media sites. It provides an opportunity for companies to engage and interact with potential consumers, foster a growing sense of intimacy with consumers, and build all-important relationships with potential consumers (Mersey et al., 2010). Consequently, companies need to find the differences through which the advantages provided are determined and the positioning of the product. There are many marketers who believe that organizations should promote only one advantage in the respective market and social networks in the online environment allow them to appear more attractive to consumers (Moise, 2011). Also, Social media websites' provide a public place to allow individual consumers the freedom to express their views, opinion and make decisions through access to the product information easily (Kozinets et al., 2010).

Wilkie (1994) introduced a comprehensive definition of consumer behaviour as a full of mental, emotional and physical activities during which people participate once choosing, purchasing, exploitation and eliminating product and services so as to fulfill their wants and wishes. Soloman (2001) and Blackwell et al. (2006) become with a clear definition of consumer behaviour which is an analysis of operations, whether it is a group or individual for the purchase or disposal of the product or service to meet their needs and desires. Therefore, they clarified that the consumer decision is a response to a particular problem where the consumer follows a certain sequence before purchasing the product or service. Thus, Schiffman and Kanuk (2006) have suggested that the decision is to choose from two or more alternative options, which means that there must be another alternative option whenever the consumer makes a decision. In this case, Kotler (2011) noted that consumer behavior has a significant impact on marketing decision making and consumer buying process is a set of alternatives, buying decision and buying evaluation.

According to Hoyer and MacInnis (2010) there are five stages for consumer buying decision which are ‘Recognition of Needs', ‘Search for Information', ‘Evaluation of the Alternatives', ‘Final Choice' and ‘Post-purchase Evaluation '.

 Howard and Sheth (1969) have suggested that buyers' decisions are heavily influenced by many external stimuli that are present in the environment in which they live. In this case, Kotler et al, 2009, recognized that the Recognition of Needs starts from the moment that buyer knows about the problem that he needs or through a set of internal or external motivations. Also, Hoyer, MacInnis, 2010 suggested that social media may lead more needs than mass media through information that can be shared and discussed with friends and that make consumers realize that they have a need that has not been realized.

In the stage of Search for Information Hoyer, MacInnis, 2010 point out that once recognition of needs stage passed, consumers want to look for information. This is related to what Howard and Sheth mentioned it in the buyer's behavior theory (1969) they said that consumers are looking for information because they are surrounded by ambiguity about trademarks and was uncertain and does not have sufficient knowledge of the results of buying for each alternative.

Sternthal and Craig (1982) said that once the choices are identified as the best/appropriate solution according to the consumer's needs after accumulating enough information, they enter to evaluation of the alternatives. Also, Kotler et al. (2009) proposed that even if the consumers evaluate all current alternatives from the information about a product from business sources; however the best information regularly originates from individual sources or open sources. Silverman (2001) asserted that the evaluation of the simplest alternative in use or even derived from the experiences of other users is that because there is a need to confirm whether the information is reliable or not, and verify that the product will work as expected.

 For final choice stage Campbell and Goodstein (2001) recognized that the consumer adjusts and postpones or avoids the purchase decision because of perceived risks. Kotler et al. (2009) asserted that consumers can reduce uncertainty and negative consequences by gathering information from different sources to reduce these risks. Also, Kotler and Keller (2009) suggested that in the context of evaluation, the consumer ultimately forms preferences among products to begin the selection process; however, there are two factors, which can interfere with the intensification of purchase and purchase decision - state of mind of the others and unexpected situational factors.

In the post-purchase evaluation stage, LaBarbera and Mazursky, 1983 suggested that the consumer experiences have certain levels of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, which express the concerns of the buyer by converging the buyer's expectations with the perceived performance of the product. Also, Mitchell and Boustani (1994) clarified the post-purchase evaluation stage through performance and anticipation, where if performance is below anticipation, the consumer will be dissatisfied and will suffer from mismatches and if performance exceeds the anticipation the consumer will be satisfied.

The Internet is a tool for accessing information and has become an interactive tool used by individuals to exchange and share views and information. Thus, consumer behaviors will amendment once consumers act with each other (Heinrich et al., 2011). Therefore, the most important roles of social media on the web are information, views, and the effect among its members (Kemp, Kleinberg and Tardos, 2003). Social media have recognized the web as a perfect tool and providing information for merchandise and services as an indicator of behavior and also the work of people (Subramani and Rajagopalan, 2003).Social media is one of the important communication channels that transforms power between consumers and the traditional way of message and information producers (Denegri-Knott, 2006), providing a mechanism to facilitate interaction with others and join virtual communities based on shared interest and views (Heinrich et al 2011).

Nowadays, consumers have taken a new role and ways to spread their views through social networks such as Facebook, SnapChat, and Instagram rather than being the only recipients of messages from marketers (Sinclaire & Vogus, 2011). Enabling them to share experiences, opinions, and knowledge and thus help them to interact easily with others through social networks (Huang and Chen, 2006). It also influenced these interactions and views on consumer product choices (Senecal and Nantel, 2004). Social media provide a place for consumers to share their views and products (HennigThurau, Gwinner, Walsh & Gremler, 2004). So they can share their views and compare their experiences with other consumers (Kim & Srivastava, 2007).

Monsuwe, et al. (2004) Suggested  that each of the trends of consumers' intention to buy online is not only affected by the ease of use of the Internet, but it is influenced by other factors such as consumer attributes, product characteristics, prior experience of the consumer, availability of trust in online purchasing. Also, Jayawardhena (2004) recognized that self-achievement values, personal values, and achievements of Internet users have a significant impact on positive attitudes towards online purchasing. Constantinides, (2004) focused on the factors that affect online purchasing behavior and he divided it into three groups: functional factors, psychological factors, content factors and marketing mix which each of these groups contains a set of factors that affect the experience of consumers in dealing with websites and thus their behavior on the Internet.

Based on literature, several studies have supported social media from one or two factors or from different perspectives or depended on some models such as Bettman (1979) information processing model's but this model involves a large amount of information and the processing became more tricky and unmanageable because consumers have limited capacity to process information and they use some simplified information processing strategies. Engel, Blackwell and Kollat's Model (1968) the consumer decision model This model failed to explain how factors influence decision making for the consumer as there are many variables that have not been defined which making this model vague and complex to understand. Evans (2008) presented the classical purchase funnel model but this model does not specify the methods to be adopted in order to differentiate between the pre-purchase and post-purchase decision-making stages and how it influencing them. On the other hand, Constantinides & Fountain, 2008 build a new conceptual model which is Input, Processing and Response model but they offered limited empirical evidence. Therefore, this study deals with this gaps by providing conceptual model (Figure 1) to approve confirmation and an empirical proof to link the relationship between social media and consumer behaviour and to spot the factors that affect the consumer buying decision.

Figure 1 Research Conceptual Model

Research Hypothesis

Regarding the conceptual model of this research the following hypothesis are proposed:

H1:  There is a positive relation between social media and consumer behaviour.

H2:  There is a positive relation between social media and social media factors.

H3:  There is a positive relation between Source of Information and Consumer Buying Decision Stages.

H4: There is a positive relation between Interactivity and Consumer Buying Decision Stages.

H5: There is a positive relation between Credibility and Consumer Buying Decision Stages.

H6: There is a positive relation between Consumer Buying Decision Stages and Consumer behaviour.

H7: There is a positive relation between social media and consumer behaviour due to the demographic variables represented by (Gender, Age, Educational level and Income).

Research Methodology

Research Design

This study used a qualitative method as an explanatory and analytical study to test the effect of social media on consumer behaviour which the consumers of the commercial banks formed as a unit of study.

Approach and Questionnaire Development

A quantitative research used in this study as Explanatory, Analytical, and Field study to test the social media and its effects on consumer behaviour. Therefore, this study designed a questionnaire to answer the research questions and testing the research framework and hypotheses. This study describes as, First, Explanatory study; through identify and explaining the actual effect of social media on consumer behaviour. Second,  Analytical study; by clarifying the relationship between the independent variable is represented by social media and its factors which represented by three major factors, namely, (A) Source of information (B) Interactivity (C) Creditability. The dependent variable is represented by consumer behaviour and the consumer buying decision stages.  Finally, Field study; through preparing a questionnaire with the format of a typical Five-Points Likert Scale starting from Strongly disagree, Disagree, Neither agree/ nor disagree, Agree and Strongly agree with nine section of questions regarding the study variables to test the hypotheses of this study.

The initial version of the questionnaire reviewed by universities professors who were they have an expertise in the area of social media and consumer behaviour to detect mistakes or potential sources for misunderstandings. In order to, check the extent of the linguistic integrity and accuracy of statements. Then 20 questionnaires used as a pilot test through reviewed it to a sample of the study population in order to make an adjustment in proportion to their abilities to answer these questions, and based on their feedback on the contents and the format of the questionnaire the questions have edited to be more comprehensibility, accuracy, linguistic clarity, and integrity.

The Study Population and Sample size

The study population, as shown in (Table 1), contain the Jordanian commercial banks which are 14 banks. The study sample as shown in (Table 2) the top 8 banks in 2016 and it selected according to the annual report of Amman stock market depending on the total assets. The consumers of the commercial banks formed as a unit of study.

Analysis and Finding

 Analysis the trends of the study sample according to statistical methods. Regarding test reliability and validity we will use a correlation coefficient to determine the relationship between the variables of this study which will give to us the answer to the research question and hypotheses. Also we will use the Cronbach Alpha to determine how the dimensions of this study work as a group to affect the business performance also to measure the degree of credibility of the answers to the questionnaire paragraphs where this depend on measuring the consistency of the paragraph of the questionnaire for its ability to give consistent result for the responses of the unit of analysis of this study to the questionnaire paragraph. This study will use ANOVA test to test the hypotheses of this study by describing the difference means between the four dimensions with the help by F- distribution and the significant level for this variables will be 0.05. We will use the regression analysis to discuss the hypotheses of this study and determine whether if there a significant relation between the variable or not.

Validity and Reliability

Hypotheses Testing:

Discussion

Conclusion and Impication

This study will extend the research on Social Media by adding empirical test to the literature of the relationship between Social Media and its effect on consumer behavior.

It will be more richness and comprehensiveness to Social Media and consumer behavior literature.

Give a better understanding and describing for social media and consumer behavior through two factors.

Implication, Limitation and Future Studies

This study extends the research on social media by adding empirical test to the literature of the relationship between social media and its effect on consumer behaviour. The results also further confirm some previous studies results and help clarify and explain the inconsistent conclusions from prior studies in the area. In general, this research enriches our knowledge of consumer buying decision process from the consumer's perspective.

This study adds more value of scientific studies and research conducted in the field of consumer buying decision and its relationship with the factors of social media to give a better understanding and describing for social media and consumer behaviour through three factors.

For future studies the data collected from commercial banks so can be broad the scope by collecting data from another sectors. Also, this study investigate the relationship between social media and its effect on consumer behaviour in Jordan so it not clear whether this relationship as the same in the other countries.

Research and future studies

There are some limitations and opportunities for future studies.

 First, the data will be collected from commercial banks so for future studies can be broad the scope by collecting data from another sectors.

 Second, this study will investigate the relationship between social media and its effect on consumer behavior in Cyprus so it not clear whether this relationship as the same in the other countries.

Third, this study focusing on several banks sizes with deferent regions and our conclusion about the relation maybe not at the same for commercial banks size and regions so for future studies can use a field study or comparison study.

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