Impacts of Social Media on Consumer Behavior: A Case Study of KAPLAN International College
Impacts of Social Media on Consumer Behavior
Impacts of Social Media on Consumer Behavior: A Case Study of KAPLAN International College
Social media entails facilitating people to share opinions, thoughts, and ideas with others. It also enables connection between people in different geographical locations. The growth of social media – Facebook, twitter etc. – has been tremendous in the last decade. Facebook, a very popular social networking site, has more than 1.3 billion users with more than 50% of them logged in each day. Twitter, also a popular micro-blogging site, has more than 225 million users that tweet more than 500 million times in a day. From the above statistics, many people around the globe have access to social media. Consequently, the introduction of mobile gadgets that can be used to access the internet, has made access to social media easier.
Social media has greatly impacted communication in various ways. Firstly, it has removed the time constraints that were associated with traditional communication methods. Secondly, it has provided tools for sharing multimedia content with groups of people. Lastly, it has a user interface that can be easily manipulated even by naïve users. However, there is more use of social media other than just sharing pictures and connecting with friends. Business owners are now using social media as a major tool for marketing due to its enormous benefits. Things are changing from the traditional way of marketing that was conducted through magazines, newspapers and televisions to use of internet. Coca cola’s chief marketing officer believes that with advancement in technology, the era of marketing through mass media is far much gone. Technology has created consumer democracy where people share and seek information through social media. For this reason, marketers are now using social media to relay information to consumers.
Social media places consumers at the center of business world and provides marketers with powerful tools to interact with them and advertise their brands. For this reason, marketers should understand how social media impacts consumer behavior. This research project therefore seeks to investigate the impacts of social media on consumer behavior.
According to the studies conducted, social media has become a very important tool in businesses. As stated in the introduction, it is being employed by many marketers to conveniently convey information to consumers. This research project is therefore very important in helping businesses to understand their consumers – how they use social media to gain information on products. Marketers will also be able to improve on their marketing strategies. For instance, they will know what should be excluded or included in the advertisements made through social media.
Impact of social media on consumer behavior is very important in understanding and refining social media brand advertisements. To understand the impact, data has to be collected from consumers and analyzed to get firsthand information. Though all categories of consumers should be involved, this research only focuses on KAPLAN international college students. It is required to assess the impact of social media on these students as the consumers.
- To investigate the attention of students towards advertisements on social media.
- To analyze the impacts of social media on consumers’ response to advertisements
- To identify ways through which businesses target their customers through social media
- Do students pay attention to advertisements on social media?
- Does social media impact customer’s response to brand advertisements?
- How does businesses target their customers through social media?
This section targets available literature related to impacts of social media on consumer behavior. A critical analysis of the literature is given and its relation to the study identified. Several studies appertaining to impacts of social media on consumer behavior have been conducted. Apparently, social media has proved to have a great impact on the success of businesses. In fact, nowadays many organizations have moved to internet marketing and selling of products. Most of the websites have several ads for business organizations. Social media is a very powerful tool in information sharing. The content spread or shared through social media can either positively or negatively impact a business. Therefore, the kind of information shared through social media and how it is structured either attracts or chases consumers. Consumers are people who either consume or purchase products and services. The remaining part of this section discusses available literature on social media and consumer behavior.
Social media and web 2.0 are terms that are used interchangeably by some researchers. However, the emergence of web 2.0 technologies came with the introduction of social media. Web 2.0 can be defined as move to dynamic computer applications to assist in easy sharing of content. Social media, on the other hand, is an interconnection of social interaction, communication media and content. This interconnection has made spreading of information to many online audiences easy. There are several types of social media – blogs, Microblogs, social networking sites, content communities, consumer review websites etc. In all the known social media, social networking sites are the most common and widely used. In fact, in United Kingdom, more than 50% of the adults are on at least one Social networking site.
Understanding consumer behavior is very important to both consumers and business industry. It helps marketers to clearly identify the reasons behind poor or good performance of their businesses. Through this, a business is in a position to come up with ways of influencing consumers into buying their products. Consumer behavior, in itself, is a sub discipline in marketing that aims at generating knowledge on a certain form of human behavior. Understanding the evolution of consumer behavior is very important in describing consumer behavior. Consumer behavior was first studies in the 1930’s. At that time, scholars used the concept of economic man to understand consumer behavior in market places. Consumers were considered as the rationales of decision making. They were the ones that made decisions about their spending thus they had a greater impact in the business world. However, later in 1950’s, scholars started investigating effects of non-economic factors on consumer behavior. In this case, consumers were considered irrational. In the 1980’s, with increase in market orientation as a form of attracting consumers, researchers ventured into consumer information processing. They were now more interested in how consumers receive, search, store and interpret information. This is important because a consumer’s behavior largely depends on his or her decision process.
Decision process involves five stages – problem recognition, information search, alternatives evaluation, final decision and post purchase decision. Problem recognition involves identification of a problem that requires purchasing of a product. The second stage is about identifying the various options available and searching for information about them. In this case, the marketers’ relay of information really matters. Evaluation of alternatives involves identification of the best option or product depending on the information gathered. A final decision is made but the attitude of other customers may also affect the choice. Lastly, there is post purchase decision where a consumer evaluates his or her choice of product. In this case, a consumer may be satisfied or dissatisfied. If dissatisfied, he or she may opt to begin the search again. All the five steps summarize consumer behavior (Yildiz et al. 2016). Clearly, consumer behavior not only depends on the quality of product or service but also on how information is relayed to customers. Since social media proves to be the most common platform used by businesses to relay information to consumers, it is good to understand how it impacts consumer behavior.
This section describes the research design and methods used in data collection.
The data collection method used in this research is quantitative method. Quantitative method is the most appropriate for research on impacts of social media on consumer behavior. The research process consists of the following activities:
- Literature review
- Preparation of questionnaires
- Distribution of questionnaires
- Analysis of data
- Report writing
The study will be carried out in KAPLAN international college to find out how social media impacts students as consumers. The population of the study will comprise all the students that use social media. A sample of 200 students will be chosen using random sampling methodology. Data will be collected using structured questionnaires that will be distributed to the students. The data collected will be analyzed to answer the research questions.
The project is set to take nine weeks as shown below:
|Preparation of questionnaires|
|Distribution of questionnaires|
Yildiz, S, Yildiz, E, & Tehci, A 2016, ‘Influence of Facebook Applications on Consumer Purchase Intention: A Case Study of Generation Y’, international interdisciplinary-economics advancement conference, Florida, USA, pp. 161-166.