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Importance of Social Media

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Importance of Social Media and its influence on consumers

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1. Introduction

Companies are now adopting several new methods to attract customers toward there product or services for influencing them to make purchases. Among them social media is most trending options used by majority of companies for promoting their product as well as brand which also support them to achieve competitive advantage. Social media sites provide a platform where marketer can communicate directly with consumers and can provide them personalised services to them by handling their issues separately (Balakrishnan, Dahnil and Yi, 2014). Apart from this it also help a marketer in maintaining a long term relation with customers by sharing the information with them and responding to their queries. Mark & Spence is a well known international brand which uses social media as a major source for promoting and selling its products to customer worldwide. This support in influencing consumer behaviour as they can check all the details of product along with their quality or durability by reading feedback of other experienced users. Social media sites provide the basis through which customer can weight the positive factors of particular product to make up their decision (Berger Paul and et. al., 2012).

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Aim:-

“To determine importance of social media and its influence on consumers' purchases. A case study on Mark & Spencer.”

Objectives:

  • To understand the concept of social media.
  • To analyse the factors that affect the consumers' purchases.
  • To determine the importance of social media in influencing purchasing of consumer.

Questions:

  • Explains the concept of social media?
  • What are the factors that affect the consumers' purchases?
  • Explain about the importance of social media in influencing the purchasing of consumer?

RATIONALE

Main reason behind this study is to determine the importance of social media in influencing the consumer purchasing behaviour. As Mark & Spencer operates its business in dynamic environment where the choice of customers changes on regular basis. Apart from this the increasing competition in market is also influence the choice of customer by providing various alternatives to choose from them (Goh, Heng and Lin, 2013). The result of which sale of Mark & Spencer is declining as there are many options available to customer in marketplace. Because of which company has decided to concentrate on promoting their brand and product through social media sites. As it has now become a major source of interaction and sharing information among people within the society. Therefore this study is conducted to identify the fact that up-to what extent and in which ways the social media influence the purchasing behaviour of consumer. Apart from this, the information collected through this research will also help company to adopt appropriate strategy for marketing its product over Internet. So that it can interact with customers directly and respond to there issues which further support in enhancing the brand image and achieving the competitive advantage over rivals.

2. Literature Review

This is consider as a most essential part for a research because it depict about the knowledge as well as views of different scholars and authors regarding the current topic. Literature Review critically analyse about the positive as well as negative aspect of the topic which support a researcher to determine the effectiveness of its current project.

Concept of social media

According to the Hudson Matthew, (2018) Social media is defines as websites and applications that are created to provide peoples a platform to share content efficiently, quickly and in real time. As per the view point of , social media plays an essential role in defining about what we think about, how we observe things and discussion about various issues prevailing in society. Further they quoted that social media influence the various aspects of society i.e. cultural, social, spiritual, political, economical and religious. Apart from this social media also have a great impact over the thinking level of a person, their feeling and reaction over particular issues. According to the Goh, Heng and Lin, (2013) social media is a way to share information and also created the demand for marketers to market their product online to communicate with large number of people within relatively less time and cost. Hence, social media marketing have a positive impact over the growth of company by increasing its volume of sale through broadening its market base.

But as per the view point of Naylor, Lamberton and West, (2012) Social media plays both positive as well as negative role in marketing of product or services. As customer who uses social media site for purchasing their product or services, generally make up their decision on the bases of reviews from experienced consumers. So, negative reviews from other customers may affect the brand image of company and also influence the choice of visitors.

Factors that affect the consumers' purchases

According to Alton Larry, (2016) customers choose one product over another after weighing a variety of factors which are divided into two categories i.e. product or non product factors. The product factors directly related with the features, benefits, quality or quantity that a particular product poses. On the other hand non product factors include brand name, product placement, packaging, pricing and reputation of that product. So, Mark & Spencer must predict the buying behaviour of consumer on the bases of these factors before marketing or positioning their product in market.

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But as per the view point of Carrasco Irene, (2018) the purchasing behaviour of customers are being influenced by the factors like age, culture, socio-economic level, perception, attitude, trends, personality or experience that a customer have regarding the brand as well as its product. So, Mark & Spencer must try to focus on considering the ideas or feelings of customers before planning to market their product. As per the view point of Goh, Heng and Lin, (2013) the channel of marketing such as TV Commercials, radio, newspaper ads, social media marketing etc. also have an great influence the consumer purchasing behaviour. Because these factors also affect the way in which the information and benefits of particular product are being presented in front of customers. Among all these social media marketing is a more influencing medium and have an huge impact over the choice of customers. So, Mark & Spencer must put more emphases over social media marketing instead of other mediums like banner, newspaper advertisements etc., as it help in enhancing its brand image and expanding customers base.

Importance of social media in influencing the purchasing of consumer

As per the view point of Roesler Peter, (2015) social media is important for marketer as it provide benefits like brand awareness, fan engagement, website traffic etc. which provide a good start to company. It is easier to spread content over social media which influence the people to react in a specific way which generally act positively. According to him, social media works well with millennials as people who use social media during its purchasing process likely to spend more on buying a particular product instead of other who prefer visiting physical store for purchases.

But according to the Ray Linda, (2018) social media websites provide a chance for word of mouth publicity to company which support in enhancing the brand image and recognition among customers at marketplace. As most of people who use social media sites for purchasing product or services generally go through reviews and recommendations provided by other experienced user for making up their own decisions. It influence the choice of customers regarding the purchasing of product or services which may be positive or negative. This help in impressing customers as through social media sites Mark & Spencer can regularly upgrade their information and keep their content fresh, active or alive. This help in keeping customers engaged with organisations because if company regularly upgrade their information, then people show interest on regular visiting and assessing the fresh content or products that are being uploaded by Mark & Spencer over websites.

3. Methodology

It refers to the specific procedure or technique that are used to select a process and method to analyse the information about particular topic. Research methodology is most essential part of a research which let the readers to critically evaluate about the reliability and validity of overall study (Hajli, 2014).

Research techniques

Methodology includes number of research methods and techniques which are generally used to collect information regarding a particular topic. This includes methods used of data collection, statical tool for analysing and interpreting the information etc. Following are the techniques that can be use by researcher for collecting information regarding the influence of social media over purchasing behaviour of consumers:

Interviews:- It refers to the face-to face conversation where journalist ask questions to someone in order to determine the collect the information regarding particular topic.

Questionnaire:- It is defined as a research technique that contains a set of questions which aims toward collecting information from the respondents. Questionnaire can be both quantitative and qualitative in nature which is used in survey for identifying the reviews of people belongs to particular sample size.

Modelling:- It refers to the process of analysing and collecting the data from different models or theories in order to support the specific topic within the study.

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These all are the research techniques that are generally used for collecting the information regarding particular topic. But out of which questionnaire is used under this research as it help in collecting information in a concise and accurate way up-to extend that is required by researcher (Hudson and Thal, 2013).

Data collection procedure

It refers to the process of collecting and measuring the information in an systematic manner which enables a person to answer research questions, test the hypotheses and then be able to evaluate the outcome. There are generally two types of data collection procedures that can be better understood using following description:

Primary data: It refers to the fresh data that has been collected directly by the researcher for the first time in order to evidence its topic of research. Primary data can be collected through different sources but most commonly used techniques are interviews, experiments, questionnaire, self administrative survey. This process is time consuming and expensive as compare to secondary data collection method but it provide accurate and relevant information (Hutter and et. al., 2013).

Secondary data: It refers to the process of gathering information which is already being collected by some another person for their research over relevant topic and has already undergone with statistical analysis. This information can be collected through several sources like books, journals, organisational records, censuses etc.

From conducting this research both the data collection method will be helpful as secondary data is collected through literature review which support in critically evaluating and determining the reliability of current research. On the other hand primary data will be collected through questionnaire which support researcher in collecting the information in a concise form by asking question to respondent over particular topic of fact of concern.

Analytical technique:

It is a procedure or method which is generally used by a researcher for analysing the problems, facts or status. Analytical techniques are generally time bound & task limited and are used once to solve the specific problem. Under this, investigator use the thematical analysis as analytical technique. Among all these gap analysis will be used under this research in order to evaluate the gap between the planned and actual result if any, after the research has been completed and reason behind those gap.

4. Timelines Of Research Activities

This section help researcher to determine the starting and ending time of each activity in involve within the research which in turn also support in performing operations in systematic and timely manner that provide positive result (Lim, Chung and Weaver, 2012). For presenting this information Gantt chart is used which is horizontal bar chart that provide a graphical illustration of time along with activities. This help in assisting and tracking up particular task or activity within project.

Refernces

  • Balakrishnan, B. K., Dahnil, M. I. and Yi, W. J., 2014. The impact of social media marketing medium toward purchase intention and brand loyalty among generation Y. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences. 148. pp.177-185.
  • Berger Paul, D. and et. al., 2012. The impact of social media usage on consumer buying behavior. Advances in management.
  • Goh, K. Y., Heng, C. S. and Lin, Z., 2013. Social media brand community and consumer behavior: Quantifying the relative impact of user-and marketer-generated content. Information Systems Research. 24(1). pp.88-107.
  • Hajli, M. N., 2014. A study of the impact of social media on consumers. International Journal of Market Research. 56(3). pp.387-404.
  • Hudson, S. and Thal, K., 2013. The impact of social media on the consumer decision process: Implications for tourism marketing. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing. 30(1-2). pp.156-160.
  • Hutter, K., Hautz, J., Dennhardt, S. and Füller, J., 2013. The impact of user interactions in social media on brand awareness and purchase intention: the case of MINI on Facebook. Journal of Product & Brand Management. 22(5/6). pp.342-351.
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