107 respondents participated in the study. The study initially investigated the kind of social media platform in which one was subscribed. The mode, which means the social media most people indicated they participated, was Facebook. Actually, 60.7% of the respondents indicated that they had subscribed to Facebook, 45.8% were active in Instagram, and 44.9% were active YouTube subscribers. Only 18.7% of the respondents subscribed to Twitter. 36% of the respondents were subscribed to all the aforementioned social media platforms. Thereafter, the research sought to know how often the respondents were on social media platforms. 48.7% of the respondents said they were present any time of the day, while 19.5% said they were online at least once in the day. The rest said they were online at least once in the week. Further, the study investigated whether the respondents ever shopped online. The following were the findings
87.4% said they had shopped online at least once while 12.6% gave a negative response. From those who responded with a yes, 33% admitted to having purchased fashion products, 57% bought entertainment products, and a mere 10% purchased foods. Asked whether the customers reviewed products online, 73.6% of the respondents said they always reviewed products before purchase, and the rest were not interested in it at all.
In addition, all the respondents were supposed to indicate if social media affected their purchase decisions for particular products. The research found out that, 59.6% were partly influenced, 26.6% were totally influenced while 13.6% were not influenced in any way. As such the research proceeded to determine the co-efficient of correlation so as to understand the strength of the influence. The results indicated a positive correlation co-efficient. This observation simply means, that the more people spent time online, the more they were influenced to purchase goods and services.
In the next step, we determine if people trusted the information manufacturers published on the platforms about their products. 58.7% said they partly trusted the information, claiming much of it is exaggerated. 22.9% fully trusted the information, and the rest 18.3% were not sure. Furthermore, the respondents were asked to indicate how often they had impulse purchases on products that they saw on social media platforms. 66.1% said it happened only once, 21.1% said they had never bought anything without planning, 3.7% said they had done so occasionally, and 9.2% said they did so often. Moreover, the respondents were asked to indicate if there was a site they considered the most reliable for making purchases. 52% indicated they shopped from any social media site, 29.1% said they had a particular site in which they made their shopping. Further, when I asked to name the site, most of them said they preferred Facebook. When asked about their experience with the products they had purchased on social media sites, the respondents were to indicate on a scale their satisfaction levels. Level of 4 for excellent, level 3 for good, level 2 for fair and level 1 for poor. 46.8% said they had been satisfied, 31.2% said it was a good experience, 22% said it was fair. There was no negative response. Calculating the mean, the average rating adds up to a rating of 3.248. Standard deviation from the mean equaled to 2.69. Therefore, most customers have had a good experience online. Finally, the respondents were required to indicate if they would recommend social media as a platform for making purchases. 71.8% said yes and 28.2% said no.
Research Findings
From the study, it can be said that most of the students in the university are active on social media sites. Facebook is the most prominent of the social media sites followed by Instagram. Twitter is the least subscribed and YouTube is considerably accessed by the students. Moreover, the biggest percentage of students are online during any time of the day when they want to access the sites. At least each student accesses the sites once in a week. Generally, the students who accessed the sites did some online shopping with entertainment items being the most purchased. Fashion items are also prominent, with food ranking last. Product reviews are very important to these buyers with most them indicating that they had been influenced to purchase a good unintentionally just by seeing its review. Nevertheless, the students did not trust all the information that was published in the reviews indicating that much of it was exaggerated. The study also discovered that Facebook was the most relied site when customers wanted to do any online purchases. However, this observation was only based on rank as customers viewed different sites for products. Generally, the shopping experience for most customers online is positive, with most of them indicating that they would recommend their friends to make online purchases too.
To sum up, consumer behavior is heavily influenced by social media sites. A very high percentage of internet users are active on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. The biggest percentage has actively participated in making purchases through these sites, making it important for companies to consider heavy capital investments into online business (Tuten and Solomon 141). Moreover, social media is considered a credible source of information for most people who want to make purchases, even though not online (Heymann-Reder 23). Therefore, marketers can positively use social media sites to pursue the goal of product awareness. Users of social media seem to also trust product reviews posted on these online platforms either by manufacturers, friends, and surprisingly, strangers. In light of this, companies should consider using incentives and discounts to have consumers recommend their products to friends online through social media platforms. Since product reviews on social media can dissuade purchasers, complaints and concerns must be dispensed speedily and communications made through social media sites (Saravanakumar and SuganthaLakshmi 23).
Ethical Consideration
The research was conducted in an ethical manner by requiring for voluntary participation of the respondents. Moreover, it ensured there was a high level of confidentiality with regards to the respondents and the information that they disclosed. To enhance the levels of confidentiality in the research, the individuals were not required to indicate their names; however, they had to take an oath in which they vowed to give true information on all the questions. There was no discrimination of any form on the respondents during the research process. work is original and no part of it is photocopied or duplicated from any other place. In instances where the report borrowed from other books, the necessary citations have been provided.
Works Cited
Heymann-Reder, Dorothea. Social Media Marketing. Addison-Wesley Verlag, 2012.
Saravanakumar, M., and T. SuganthaLakshmi. “Social media marketing.” Life Science Journal, vol. 9, 2012, pp. 4444-4451.
Tuten, Tracy L., and Michael R. Solomon. Social media marketing. Sage, 2014.