Consumers and Social Media Dissertation

Excerpt from Dissertation :

social media of hotel industry influence consumer purchasing behavior 24/09/2015

Prominent examples of social media

Business Use of Social Media

Social media and consumer purchasing

Role of Social media in Advertising and Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Evidence of importance of Social Media Marketing

Impact of Social Media Marketing on Consumer Purchasing Behavior

The Herding Effect

Theory of Social Impact

Social Media Influence Factors on Consumers

Social Media in the Hotel Industry

Social media and Thailand Hotels

Approaches to Methodology

Outline of research Method

Sample selection and Size

Questionnaire Design

Obstacles in Research

: Data Analysis

: Ethical Considerations in Research

: Limitations of the study

Results and Analysis

: Results from Survey of Hotel subscribers

: Results from Survey of Hotel Marketing Officials

Inference from the Analysis

Social Media Factors Affecting Customer Purchasing Behavior 39

5.2: Recommendations for Managers for Use of Social Media 40

References 43

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Virtual internet-based communities, networks and groups that develop between users of computer-mediated tools and which enables users to create, share and exchange information, ideas, and pictures or videos is defined as social networks (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010).

According to social researcher Dhiraj Murty, social media is:

"Social media has been broadly defined to refer to 'the many relatively inexpensive and widely accessible electronic tools that enable anyone to publish and access information, collaborate on a common effort, or build relationships' (Strippel, 2014).

Social media is completely based on web-based technologies and computer devices and other devices like smartphones, tabs etc. which are used to create highly interactive platforms where members and non-members are able to view, post, share debate, communicate with each other and sometimes even modify content (Kietzmann et al., 2011).

In social media the content is thought of, conceived and created by the user for the user. Social media has become a mode of communication not only for the members and users of a particular group or community but for also provides substantial opportunities for firms, companies, business organizations and not for profit organizations to communicate and share messages and attempt to influence the viewers and users of social media (Atzmueller and Lemmerich, 2013).

In terms of reach, frequency, usability, immediacy and permanence, social media differs from conventional media used for communication. The major advantages of this media is that it allows for two way communication and often simultaneous communications between a number of people and this happens in real time (Todwal and M. Wanjari, 2015).

1.2: Prominent examples of social media

The major forms of social media that are popular among the users include:

Facebook -- a free to use networking website where users can create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.

Twitter -- this is a free for all micro blogging website where users can create a twitter handle or an identity and express their views and react to views expressed by other within a limited number of words. These short posts are called tweets.

Google+ - this is another platform where people can interact for free after registering with Google.

LinkedIn -- this is a social networking site targeted for the business community at large where registered members can create professional profiles and interact for professional reasons.

Reddit -- this website allows stories to be socially created and promoted by site members and the sub-communities, known as "subreddits" have one specific topic of discussion which can range from technology to politics to music to sports.

Pinterest -- this website allows sharing and posting of mages and pictures online with a brief description for each picture but with the primary focus on the visual.

1.3: Business Use of Social Media

Social media is growing and is fast becoming a tool for the business community and organizations to market products and service and promote brands, connect and communicate to the current customers and interact to attract new business and through new customers (King and Li, 2012).

Business organizations can use social media in a number of ways. Business organizations can themselves or through outsourcing and experts, gather data from blogs and social media websites and analyze the data to make business decisions. Mining of customer sentiments to create and register support for marketing and customer service activities is one of the most common use of social media analytics.

Companies and firms can also use the social media networking and various communities to enable the firm to increase brand exposure and extend the customer reach. This is known as social media marketing (SMM) which is aimed to compel users to share promotional or non-promotional content created by the company or firm (Pavlik and McIntosh, 2011).

Business organizations can also create strategies that are able to draw new and unique visitors to a website and increase website traffic through communication of effective and interesting content on social networking sites. This is known as social media optimization. This can be achieved by adding social media links to content and by promoting promotional activities on the social media by making interesting status updates, tweets and blog posts.

The use of review spaces and websites are gaining importance. These are places where users and customers can place their views and experience of various products and services. This is also a place where the business organizations can present their side of a case to refute or applaud a review or post by a consumer (Aaker, Smith and Adler, 2010).

1.4: Social media and consumer purchasing

It is growing trend that customer and consumers follow the social media for brands and knowing and sharing of personal experience and products and services. Consumers use social media with respect to products and services for:

Learning more about products and services

Know and understand the trends in the markets

View, review and post their feedback about products and services

Be a part of fan communities of brands and products

Leverage promotions and sweepstakes

And to finally gain enough data and information to decide on a purchase (Li, 2013)

1.5: Significance of the Study

Social media has gained tremendous popularity especially among the youth and the millennial population. People are glued to social media and with the advent of the smart phones and the enhancement of technologies for internet connection, users can now access social media from anywhere. This has presented an opportunity for the business organizations to use the social media to communicate with the consumers and influence the consumers to make purchases. This study deals with the ways the hotel industry can exert influence on the consumers through communication on the social networking sites. The study assumes importance as this form of customer alluring is becoming more important with the developments in communication technology.

1.6: The Research question

The study would attempt to get answers to the following research questions:

What factors of social media influence the purchasing behavior of consumers of the hotel industry?

How the hotel industry can best use social media to attract and influence customers with specific focus on Thailand?

1.7: Aims and Objectives of the research

The aims and objectives of the research is to find out several concepts regarding the impact of social media on consumers in Thailand hotel industry. One of the aims is finding out the current marketing trends in Thailand hotel industry that make use of social media. The study would try and measuring the scope of social media dominance in influencing customer behavior.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Role of Social media in Advertising and Marketing

Social media is defined as the virtual internet-based communities, networks and groups that develop between users of computer-mediated tools and which enables users to create, share and exchange information, ideas, and pictures or videos is defined as social networks.

Social media is completely based on web-based technologies and computer devices and other devices like smartphones, tabs etc. which are used to create highly interactive platforms where members and non-members are able to view, post, share debate, communicate with each other and sometimes even modify content.

There are three basic points of agreement that have been decided upon by researchers that can define social media, even though a perfect definition of the social media is not possible.

Social media can be defined, based on the three points, as a medium of communication that are web-based technologies enabled through the internet and comprises of content that tare created and provided by the users that tends to emphasize dialogues and relationships among users of a community within a particular social media application (Ghosh, Varshney and Venugopal, 2014).

The sheer number of social media tools that are available to date is a challenge in understanding the social media According to Dijkmans, Kerkhof and Beukeboom, (2015), there was no categorization and structure definition attempt for the social media (Dijkmans, Kerkhof and Beukeboom, 2015) until 2007 when the former Microsoft employee and celebrity blogger Robert Scoble (2007) was the first to try and map the social media landscape (Burke, Martin and Cooper,…

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