The networks, weblogs, blogs, podcasts, video casts, wikis, Face

The emergence of Web 2.0 is
one of the most formidable development in the history of commerce. Social
media, another buzzword that came along with, is an evolution based on the
Web 2.0, where not only it encourages user-generated contents, but also extends
the focus to the users by allowing them to exhibit contents to share among
networks.

This particular technical revolution during the last decade has
drastically revolutionized the traditional marketing approaches and brought
marketers to a new era. In the new marketing era, the social media has likely
to revolutionize the relationships marketers have with retailers,
channels of distribution, their ultimate consumers, etc. It is an Information
Age, and consumers are inundated with overwhelming quantities of information
each and every day.

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Unlike traditional media, social media impacts a wider audience at a
greater pace. The term social media can be defined as social platforms that
enable users to share information, ideas or interests, and interact, via the
internet or mobile systems. These social platforms include some applications
such as chat rooms, discussion forums, location services, social networking,
social guides, social bookmarking, social status networks, weblogs, blogs,
podcasts, video casts, wikis, Face book and twitter.

In this new order created by new media and communication
technologies, companies have started to integrate systems and adapt social
media programs to meet the needs of their individual organization. The social
media concept, which is the name of the whole social networking sites such as
Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed, Flickr and blogs, has been one of the important
fields for businesses. Companies have designed entire departments committed to
the design and control of social media within their organizational structures
(Miller, 2009; Kelsey, 2010).

Social media is a space in which almost
everyone using the Internet participates. To take place in this area has been a
necessity not only for individuals but also for corporations. This is because
of the necessity to take place where the target mass takes place. To
“be” in this space does not refer only to building a web site for a
company, advertising on the Internet or to have a web site; rather it refers to
conducting marketing activities on social media as a breathing brand. This is
because, social media directly communicates with its target group. The most
important benefit of this communication is the strengthening of brand
perception and brand dependence.

A
company using social media effectively can easily know its current and
potential consumers and determine their characteristics and preferences. As an
area where people share their ideas and suggestions, social media subsequently
gains more importance. Furthermore, user ideas, experiences and thoughts about
companies are available for other users (Van, 2006; Sonia, 2007).

Social
media puts consumers back to the center of the business world and provides
marketers a new set of tools to interact with consumers and to integrate
them into the brands through innovative ways. In essence, marketers have to
understand how the social media has influenced consumer buying behavior.

 

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

 

In the last few years can be noticed a
great influence of the companies on online networks. Social media websites
provide an opportunity for businesses to engage and interact with potential
consumers, encourage an increased sense of intimacy with consumers, and build
all important relationships with potential consumers. (Mersey, et al.,
2010) Organizations need to differentiate by the company or brand image through
which to communicate distinctive advantages and positioning of the product.
Many marketers believe that the organizations should aggressively promote only
one advantage in the market concerned (Moise, 2011) and social networks in the
online environment allows them to appear more attractive to consumers.

Consumers use social networks in daily
life for various reasons. Most of them want to maintain relationships with
relatives or colleagues/friends. Maintaining interpersonal connectivity between
online users of a social media channel has benefits derived from establishing
and maintaining contact with other people in a manner of giving social support,
friendship, and intimacy. (Utpal et al., 2004) These allow users to
connect with peers by adding them to networks of friends, which facilitates
communication, particularly among peer groups (Ahuja and Galvin 2003). Online
groups exert a noticeable influence on the behavior and consumer buying intent
and implicitly on the purchase decision. For example, social media websites
provide a public forum that gives individual consumers their own voice, as well
access to product information that facilitates their purchase decisions
(Kozinets et al., 2010).

Shopping has always been a social
experience and social networking allows consumers to interact with
individuals—many of whom are likely strangers when we talk about online.
Cultural aspects have an influence on consumers’ usage of social networks and a
great impact over the online purchase intentions. (Pookulangaran et al.,
2011) Currently, e-commerce can be done through social media, and it enables to
reach to more potential buyers.

The unique aspects of social media and its
immense popularity have revolutionized marketing practices such as advertising
and promotion (Hanna, Rohm, & Crittenden, 2011). Social media has also
influenced consumer behavior from information acquisition to post-purchase
behavior such as dissatisfaction statements or behaviors (Mangold & Faulds,
2009) and patterns of Internet usage (Ross et al., 2009; Laroche et al., 2012).

Social media is ”a group of internet
based applications that builds on the ideological and technological foundations
of Web 2.0, and it allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content”
(Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010, p.61). Social media has many advantages as it
helps connect businesses to consumers, develop relationships and foster those
relationships in a timely manner and at a low cost as Kaplan and Haenlein
discovered (2010).

Other functions of social media involve
affecting and influencing perceptions, attitudes and end behavior (Williams
& Cothrell, 2000), while bringing together different like-minded people
(Hagel & Armstrong, 1997). In an online environment, Laroche (2012) pointed
out that people like the idea of contributing, creating, and joining
communities to fulfill needs of belongingness, being socially connected and
recognized or simply enjoying interactions with other like-minded members.

The much higher level of efficiency of
social media compared to other traditional communication channels prompted
industry leaders to state that companies must participate in Facebook, Twitter,
MySpace, and others, in order to succeed in online environments (Kaplan &
Haenlein, 2010; Laroche et.al. 2012). Thus, more industries try to benefit from
social media as they can be used to develop strategy, accept their roles in
managing others’ strategy or follow others’ directions (Williams &
Williams, 2008).

Social media websites provide an
opportunity for companies to engage and interact with potential and current
consumers, to encourage an increased sense of intimacy of the customer
relationship, and build all important meaningful relationships with consumers
(Mersey, Malthouse, & Calder 2010) especially in today’s business
environment when consumer loyalty can vanish at the smallest mistake, which can
additionally have online propagation of their unfortunate encounter with a
particular product, service, brand or company.

Some companies are beginning to take
notice of the power of social media. A few corporate social networking websites
already allow consumers to not only exchange information about products or
services, but also engage in co-creating value in online experiences with
offline outcomes, with both current and potential consumers.

Due to the increasing use of the internet, consumers exchange their
ideas within the context of discussion forums that are facilitated by social
networks with the purpose of asking for help, information and suggestions
before buying a product or service. Social networks have become platforms that
businesses consider for their brands, images and sales revenue. Today, people
spend so much time on these platforms that it is normal for businesses to
consider these platforms as advertisement areas and social media users as
potential consumers (Iyengar, Sangman & Gupta, 2009).

Marketers can follow consumers, determine
the factors affecting their ideas and choices and steer their preferences via
social media. It is observed that especially popular social networks provide
large consumption markets and consumers are willing to share their ideas and
demands with companies on these networks (Smith, 2009).

 

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:

 

1. To understand the significance of Social Network
Sites in day to day life.

2. To study about the Influences of Social Network Sites
on consumer behavior.

3.
To study about the changes of Social Network Sites on buying behavior of
consumers.

 

IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY:

 

The relative importance of the several appraising criteria and might
further seek concepts regarding the degree to which they alternate features
that they consider significant. People in the past were confined to sharing
information with their neighbors, family or friends; however, now people are
able to impact the international community by articulating their personal
experiences on the Internet. In accordance with the pertinent researches, the
external resources may be either online or offline (Breiger, 2004).

 

DATA ANALYSIS

S.No

Statement from the Respondents

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

1

 I Use
Social Network only for Contacting.

14

24

12

2

Social media advertising is more informative
compare to traditional advertising.

21

16

13

3

Social media is more reliable than traditional
media

24

12

14

4

I take the opinion of experts on social
networks while considering

19

16

15

5

Advertisement on Social Networking is very
attractive than others.

26

13

11

6

I use Social Network to collect opinion about
product

25

18

7

7

Social Networking is helpful in selecting the
products.

20

16

14

8

I use Social Media to purchase most of the
goods.

21

17

12

 

Findings and Conclusions:

The main aim of the research was to explain social media’s impact on
consumer decision making process. To satisfy the study Research questions were
framed to find down the subject and to help the researcher to identify the
explanations of the problem. To begin with, social media has brought profound
changes to both consumers and businesses. Consumers seek their opinions about
products via social media. Social media has changed the world of advertisement
from  the traditional advertising. It is
agreed that social media is more informative. Interactive and more reliable
that traditional marketing tools. Consumers analyze the past performance of
product through social media by checking likes and dislikes about the product.
Networking through social media lets consumers express their opinions, ideas,
and suggestions, and share their knowledge and experiences with other users.
This feature aids marketers in appealing to potential customers at affordable
price and electronically.