How Social Media Influences Customers’ Purchase Behaviour and Decision Making.
[Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]
Since IT’s inception, the internet has become a significant part of people’s normal life, with online sources becoming the most frequent way that people communicate with others and search for information, especially amongst generation Ys (Noble, Haytko and Phillips, 2008).
Social media is the most significant factor in web 2.0 technology (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). Besides the general development of social media, there are many forms of social media (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010; Lin and Lu, 2011; Chu and Kim, 2011), for example, social networking sites (Lin and Lu, 2011), Content communities (Gill et al., 2007), and Blog (Porter, et al., 2007). YouTube and Facebook are considered to be the most influential social medias in online world. Till 2011, Facebook reached more than 750 million users, more than half of them logged on daily, and more than 700 billion minutes per mouth on the site (Facebook.com 2011).
With the increasing importance of social media in recent years, many social topics are raised, for example, social media’s importance (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010); social network site change users’ online behaviours (Correa, Hinsley and de Zuniga, 2010; Powell, 2009); and the arguments between positive eWOM and negative eWOM (Chu and Kim, 2011). Furthermore, companies also use social media to communicate with customers, and try to achieve better customer relationship (Chu and Kin, 2011).
This research investigates the practical use of social media, different from the previous articles, this research focuses on how social media influence customers’ purchase behaviours and decision making, which can be fully used in business. Moreover, this research takes a qualitative Interpretivist approach, using in-depth interviews.
In order to ensure that the purpose and findings of this research are communicated in a methodical process, this dissertation is structured as follows:
Section 1 – Introduction. This section sets out the background to the research area, and introduces the research.
Section 2 – Literature review. This section analyses the existing literature relevant to the research question.
Section 3 – Research methodology. This gives some background to the general theory of research and focuses on the research method selected – in-depth interviews.
Section 4 – Findings. This section highlights the results arising from conducting the in-depth interviews.
Section 5 – Discussion and Conclusion. This section discusses the implications in terms of addressing the research question, and comparing to the literature review. And summaries the outcomes of the research, highlights managerial implications arising.
Section 6 – Limitations and Recommendations. This section lists some potential limitations of this research that should be considered, and the areas for future research.
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