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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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...Impact of Social Media on Brand Choice

Abstract:

Social media are increasingly popular. The use of social sites increases for different purposes. It is an interaction between people who create, exchange or share information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. These social media or sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn can be used as a source of information and information sharing. We know that social media rely on mobile technologies and on the web and create interactive platforms that allow people and communities to share, create, discuss and modify the content of user creation. These social sites can be used as a source of brand information. People can use these sites to compare different brands and products they buy. So they can compare prices and quality with B2C and C2C e-commerce sites. So the contribution of these social sites increases. This article aims to investigate the attitudes of consumers to use these social sites as a means of selecting and acquiring brand information. To assess the impact of social sites on merit selection, a survey of 50 participants was conducted in the city of Dhaka, more specifically at the University of Dhaka, through a structured questionnaire. The purpose of this study is to investigate the perception of social sites and the use of social sites as a source of information about brand information and use this information to choose a brand. I hope this research helps identify the perceived benefits and risks and the desire of users to use social sites as a source of choice. This article also attempts to discover how consumers evaluate the concept of using social sites for purposes such as shopping. Finally, we assess the implications of these results and take measures for the relevant parties. Keywords: social sites, social media, brand, brand choice, consumer

Introduction:

Now a day's social media has become a part of our day to day life. The number of user of social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ is increasing day by day. On a daily basis in present-day, 100,000 tweets are sent, 684,478 pieces of content are shared on Facebook, 2 million search queries are made on Google, 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, 3,600 photos are shared on Insta gram, and 571 websites are created (James, 2012). Think about a few years ago, when word of mouth could not travel very far, we had to rely on our near friends and peer groups for information about products and services. Advertising and sales promotions had a significant impact on the consumer decision making process. Sure, running from store to store or shop to shop was a regular duty to find out the right product and service or brand. But now, social media gives word of mouth wings. The impact of social media on awareness, brand attitudes, and social norms is so strong we often refer to viral marketing or buzz marketing to reflect tactics designed to stimulate positive word of mouth. Now we can get expert information from our friends, peer groups through social media. Often most people use information on social media as the guideline for their future purchase or planning their future trip. Moreover, marketers use these social media as a medium of advertising. They have marketing strategy to gain more customers through these social sites. It is easy to gain customers attention using social sites, because people often tend to believe in what their friends or peers recommend. Facebook, Twitter, or Linked in, Google plus are some of the most popular social media sites that people use to share their lifestyle, stories, where they went for vacation and even what they are doing or going to do. They post information which could lead their friends to do the same thing or their friends can use their information to make their own decisions. So the brand choice of one friend can be influenced by another friend through social sites.

In today's technology driven world, social networking sites have become an avenue where retailers and even customers themselves can extend their marketing campaigns to a wider range of consumers. Social media marketing can be defined as a 'connection between brands and consumers, while offering a personal channel and currency for user centered networking and social interaction' (Chi, 2011). The tools and approaches for communicating with customers have changed greatly with the emergence of social media. Now the consumers can learn about any product or service form their friends in social sites. The easy interactions among the users of social media allow the users to share their feeling about a brand and/ or service. And these sharing and communications help the users to choose their desired brand from a wide range of brand or products.

Online sales are increasing, cost of customer acquisition is decreasing, and new ways of customer retention are being developed through using social sites. Consumers connect, rate, discuss, and consume product information and reviews like never before. They can get instant recommendations of their friends about a product or service. They make survey before they purchase a product. They learn about different brand and get required information from their friends in social sites. They can compare brands over social sites. When savvy consumers are in the market for something like a new pair of shoes, a DSLR camera, cosmetic products, a fridge or a cell phone they turn to the web, knowing there's a wealth of knowledge and information to be had. They can get all information they need from social sites. They can get expert opinion from a friend who has experience. For luxury products they can get the appreciation and choice of other.  Consumers are much more likely to discover about new products and brands in social media. They now refer to social media before making purchase decisions. People use social media for various purposes. Some of these are to-

' Discover new brands or products through social media,

' Learn about unfamiliar brands or products,  

' Make purchase decisions by taking opinions in social media,

' Refer to social media before making purchase decisions,

' Find coupons or other discounts for local businesses,  

' Compare or check prices social media,

' Refer to reviews for brands/places/services,  

It is therefore clear that the importance of social media for choosing the most feasible product or service is huge and that the importance is growing at a high pace. Consumers now integrate the use of social media with their mobile phone activity. Teenagers and adults who have ever used social media now access the mobile device. As a result, social media is now an option wherever I am integrated into the shopping experience and habits of mobile plus social media users. These media such as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn, bind consumer interactions back to brands and purchase decisions. The faces of social media give brands the ability not only to understand, but also to influence that influence. This movement to mobility in combination with the increasing impact of social media during the purchasing process has major implications for both marketers and consumers.

There are several metrics that take into account the use of social media and effectiveness for people worldwide. Some of the most recent statistics are as follows:

' Consumers spend more time on social networks than on other categories of sites - about 20 percent of their total time online via PC (personal computer) and 30 percent of total online mobile time.

' The total time spent on social media in the US on PCs and mobile devices increased by 37 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012, compared with 88 billion in July 2011.

' Facebook remains the most visited social network in the U.S. via PC (152.2 million visitors), mobile apps (78.4 million users) and mobile web (74.3 million visitors) and is the next largest number of times the largest Social site about each platform.

' 51% of people aged 25-34 used social networks in the office, more than any other age group.

So the use of social sites has a huge impact in consumer brand decision. And so the importance of social media has increased daily.

Literature view:

The impact of social sites on buyer's merchandise behaviour can be in all services or products. Quality, service, advertising or price can affect consumer choice. Brand experience and brand service can be the basis of brand loyalty. In 2003, the University of West Kentucky used a sample of 249 consumer's purchases to analyse the purchased type of product and the cost of the product. The results of this research show that consumers buy cheap or expensive items, and do so based on social media recommendations by their contacts or friends on social media. We can consider the effect and can say that social media influences buying behaviour and their choice of choice. According to recommendations for purchases, 59% of respondents used Facebook as their social media tool when they received a product recommendation. 37% of all users used Twitter. From these results, social media influenced their buying behaviour.

Consumers and companies around the world are more connected than ever before with the presence of the internet. An average Internet user has 669 social links. Facebook has an average of more than 757 million daily active users with more than 1.5 million business pages and 30 billion content shared monthly. About 645,750,000 active registered Twitter users, 58 million tweets are sent daily, with about 9,100 tweets per second. And LinkedIn connects the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. With over 277 million members worldwide, including executives from any Fortune 500 company, LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the Internet. The global average time per person on social networks is 6.9 hours per month. Changes in consumer behaviour by social media are one of the most intriguing aspects of today's marketing.

There is a relationship between social sites and people's choice. The use of social sites effects the attitude of the brands and the purchase of consumer intentions. It's not necessary to affect the consumer's decision, but may have a mediating effect. Social media can make branding attitudes that effects the behaviour of the stores. It can help to build a good image of a brand or product and can decide on their purchases. When the consumer on social sites shares services or praises a brand product, it effects the decision-making process and branding of the buyer. Marketing & Advertising on social media, provided by commercial sources, affects both consumer attitude and purchasing intent. Many marketers use social media for their marketing campaigns because it's easy to communicate with consumers through social sites and it's cheap to advertise brands or services also delivered to direct consumers. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram are better than other advertising capabilities, as it stores information to all users, resulting in the marketing of a specific retailer target. Social media sites are a great platform for retailers to create an experience and retailers can use information stored on social media sites to enhance the user experience with their brand. A study found that indicates that almost 1 in every 13 people in the world is an active Facebook user, indicating the potential to find a product for a product or service. Now that we talk about brand, we can say that Brand is basically the sum of all experiences with regard to the product, service, and companies that make and deliver the product. A brand is more than one product because it may have dimensions that somehow distinguish from other products designed to meet the same needs. Fire perceptions are formed by functional experiences, as well as emotional experiences that the customer associates with the product and company. Brand awareness and perceptions are developed over time through various sources, including:

' Last experience with the brand

' Interactions with target sales, customer service and other employees

' Recommendations from friends and family

' Reviews by known sources

' Advertising

So recommendations from friends and family can act as a source of brand information. Social sites can allow a potential consumer to communicate with a friend or family about a product or brand. The study shows that social media enables consumers and potential consumers to communicate directly with a brand representative. For example, consumers can use the social sites as a tool to search and buy products, brands or services. The online consumer is a flourishing worldwide marketplace; however, it gives a globalized segmentation cross-cultural. If they have issues with products or services, consumers can reach the company through social media, which is an easy way to connect and contact them. Some of the dissatisfied customers will share their feelings and experiences on social sites and also used bad mouth words against the product quality and services. So social site users can get that brand info and they can also get information about good brands. When a customer decides to make the product, each detail can affect their decision making and choice of the customer or consumer.

Consumers have three major pleasures or motives to use the Internet as medium, namely information, entertainment and social aspects. The motivation is in two main groups:

' Rational motives, such as information sharing and advices, and

' Emotional motives, such as social connection and self-expression.

Consumer activities in social media are found on the basis of consumer behaviour online. Today consumers use the internet as their tools to reach their motivations.

The motivation can be related with the best friends, families to support their decision making. Social media reviews are second-hand means to support and motivate the consumer decision because they want value from their money. Social site reviews not only affect expensive items, also for cheap items. People can see reviews on cosmetics, books, mobiles, cars, hotels or even nail polishes. These reviews can motivate purchases and also support the consumer decision making by making it more reasonable to buy the products.

Objective:

The objective of this study are:

' Identifying and understand the how people use social sites to make decisions about brand choice.

' Define the benefits and limitations of these sites.

' Make the use of these sites more acceptable and fruitful.

Impact of Social Sites:

Social media is a broad term that describes software tools that create user-generated content that can be shared. There are some basic features needed for a website to meet the requirements meet as a social networking website. The site's must contain user profiles, content, and a way that users can connect to each other and post comments on each other Facebook pages and join virtual groups based on common interests such as fashion or politics. We will see some of the famous social sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Because more customers use social media (Example Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and relying on them to decide on marketing decisions, promotion's and marketing activity has become important through these social media.

Brand awareness and brand creativity refers to the ability of customers to recall and recognize the brand under different ways and also relates with the brand logo, image and so forth. It consists of both brand recognition and brand recognition. It help customers to understand which product or service category belongs to the particular brand and what products and services are sold under the brand name. It also ensures that customers know which of their brand-related needs is met. Brand awareness are important because customers will not consider your brand if they are unaware.

A study found that 74% of consumers trust social networks to guide purchase decisions. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have enabled the brands to effectively flag to a wider audience. For consumers, these platforms provide easy access to the brands as well as accompanying product decisions and purchases. On Twitter, 53% of consumers gave suggestion to they friends of tweets related the company's products and services in the tweet pages. Of those, 48% follow the intention to buy that product or service.

The most effective platforms for mobilizing consumers to talk about products are Facebook with 86%, followed by Twitter at 65%, blogs and reviews are 55% recorded and videos end 50%. Not only do you have a social presence on these platforms, but you must be sure that you closely monitor your brand or products. Social media always effects the purchasing decisions. Here are some statistics that prove that social media effects our choice.

' Consumers are 80% more likely to make a purchase based on social media refer.

' Social networks influence nearly 50% of all IT decision makers.

' Out of 77% of consumers who said they use Facebook to recommend brands and they products in their pages, 63% bought that product or service.

' Facebook is the No#1 online channel and social site for influencing purchasing decisions surrounding electronics.

' 49% of consumers use Facebook to search for restaurants for dinner.

' 74% of consumers depend on the social networks for guide and suggestion to take the decisions.

' Facebook is the most effective platform to get consumers talking about products.

' 83% of consumers like a Facebook company's page because it offers discounts and bundle offers.

' 81% of US respondents indicated that friends' social media posts directly influenced their purchase decision.

' 65% of women say they're influenced by special offers on Facebook.

' 44% of social media savvy women said their trusted/favourite blogger influences their purchasing decision.

If we talk about Facebook then we have to admit that it has affected the social life and activity of people in various ways. With its availability on many mobile devices, Facebook allows users to continuously stay in touch with friends, families, relatives and other acquaintances wherever they are in the world, as long as there are access to use the Internet. It can also in touch people with common interests and beliefs through groups and other pages, and has been known to re-unite lost family members and friends because of the wide spread reach of its network

Some argue that Facebook is beneficial to one's social life because they can continuously stay in contact with their friends and families, while others say that it can cause increased anti-social tendencies because people are not directly communicating with each other. Some studies have named Facebook as a source of problems in relationships. Several news stories have suggested that using Facebook can lead to higher instances of divorce and unfaithfulness but the claims have been questioned by other commentators.  

Some Benefits of Using Social Media for Brand Choice:

A user of social media or site can get several benefits while using social media for choosing brands. Some of the benefits are given below:

' They can attain information very quickly through social media networks whereas in mass media the situation is quite different in that you have to rely on for instance magazines or TVs and that takes really time  

' They can gather information about customer experiences, word of mouth, going behind the marketing and advertising mumbo-jumbos/polished slogans

' When using social media, one can actually search for the aspects that interest them.

' One can filter the information from hundreds of users' opinion and comments before making the decision of purchasing a brand.  

' In social media one can argue with friends about future purchase, shortcomings and their previous experience with the same products or brands.  

' They are able to make a comment and discuss about brands with others.

For these benefits the use of social media for brand choice is increasing. More and more people are using these media for deciding their brand or are at least checking the brand preview of friends.

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