Social media and social media marketing have revolutionised the way Irish companies
promote their brands and talk to their customers, and as a result it has become an extremely
„hot topic‟ within modern marketing.
Through examining existing research, theories and making observations on the Irish
market the researcher created a conceptual to be tested. The conceptual model is composed of
three key stages: the way brands promote themselves and interact with fans on social media,
how these interactions affect customer attitudes, brand loyalty and trust and how these
influences ultimately effect purchase decision.
In order to test the model the researcher surveyed over 160 Facebook and Twitter
users. The researcher also interviewed two senior managers of large organisations in order to
further develop and strengthen the findings. The findings indicated that social media
marketing is extremely effective at influencing customer attitudes, brand loyalty and building
customer trust both in positive and negative ways. The findings also highlighted that the
message communicated and the way organisations interact with fans and followers is vital,
essentially social media must be interactive. Other findings highlighted that there are
differences in the way genders interact with and are influenced by social media, women
interact with brands on social media more than men and there is evidence to suggest that
women understand the benefits of brand pages more than men too, however it was identified
that men‟s attitudes are more likely to be influenced by social media pages.
The paper also identifies certain areas for future research. Investigating what types of
posts are most impactful, bearing in-mind target audiences and demographic would be
extremely beneficial to marketers. Another area that would warrant further investigation
would be social media marketing‟s effect on across genders. Author keywords: Social media, decision making process, consumer behaviour