An investigation into the use of social media sites by young Irish consumers during the buying process

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Phillips, Lee
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MSc Marketing with Digital Media
Dublin Business School
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Over the last decade Social Media has altered the way consumers live their everyday lives and how marketers get their messages seen. Social Media has changed not only how businesses interact with customers but it has also heightened the level of expected interaction between the business and its customers. It’s no wonder with the increasing number of users on Social Media platforms that businesses are showing so much interest in how they can use Social Media to their advantage. This study aims to discover what Social Media sites are being used by young Irish consumers during different stages of the buying process and what content they interact with during different stages of the buying process. These are important factors for businesses when deciding on how they should target their marketing to reach their customers. Two group interviews were conducted as sources of primary research. Respondents were split depending on their location. Group 1 were respondents living in an urban area and Group 2 were respondents living in a rural area. The study found that different Social Media platforms are being used by young Irish consumers depending on which stage of the buying journey they are in. Therefore, it is important for companies to recognize that having a single online presence is no longer enough. Consumers interacted with different content on different platforms depending on which stage of the buying process they were in. In the early stages customer reviews played an important role and in the later stages interacting with the company directly had an important part to play. Author keywords: Social media marketing, social media influence, consumer behaviour, consumer decision making process, word of mouth, lead users.