Like us : social media and its influence on consumer decision making, with reference to high-involvement products in Ireland
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Dublin Business School
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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