Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing Strategies: An Exploration of the Impact of Social Validation on Consumers’ Purchase Decision-making Process

Purpose of the Study
In view of the research problem, the purpose of the proposed study will be to determine the effectiveness of social media marketing in shaping purchase behaviour.

 

Topic: Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing Strategies: An Exploration of the Impact of Social Validation on Consumers’ Purchase Decision-making Process

 

Background

The importance of social media in marketing cannot be overemphasized (Hollebeek, Glynn and Brodie, 2014). Through social media, different products or brands have managed to appeal to more customers and subsequently increase their sales. Two of the areas where social media have become extremely important include enhancing and maintaining customers’ emotional engagement towards brands and the facilitation of social validation (Chi, 2011).

 

Research Problem

Although it is clearly known that social media are very important marketing tools (DeMers, 2015), it is not known how they can be used to facilitate social validation and therefore influence the purchase behaviour of customers. More importantly, there is no empirical evidence showing how social media are effective in facilitating social validation and therefore enhancing and maintaining customers’ emotional engagement towards brands.

 

Purpose of the Study

In view of the research problem, the purpose of the proposed study will be to determine the effectiveness of social media marketing in shaping purchase behaviour.

 

Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of the study will be to explore the relationship between social media marketing and consumer decision-making processes. The study’s objectives will include the following:

  1. To ascertain how – and the extent to which – social media enhance and maintain customers’ emotional engagement towards brands.
  2. To determine the role of social media in the facilitation of social validation.
  3. To explore the impacts of social validation on customers’ purchase decision-making process.

 

Research Questions

The study will seek to answer the following research questions:

  1. How – and to what extent – do social media enhance and maintain customers’ emotional engagement towards brands?
  2. What is the role of social media in the facilitation of social validation?
  3. What are the impacts of social validation on customers’ purchase decision-making process?

 

Achieving Research Objectives

In order to achieve the above objectives, the study will focus on measuring three very critical variables. For the first objective, the variable to be measured will be customers’ emotional engagement towards brands. A brand or one of its products will be selected and used as an illustration (preferably Apple or the iTunes Store).

In the second objective, the variable to be measured will be social validation. To achieve this objective, different ways through which the aforementioned brand has been able to facilitate social validation will be explored.

For the third objective, the key variable to be measured will be consumers’ purchase decision-making process. In this respect, different models of consumer decision-making processes will be used. A determination will be made regarding how social validation impacts the decision-making processes of consumers.

 

Research Methodology

Based on the research problem, the proposed study will be qualitative in design. This will be in order to make it possible for the objectives to be achieved. Since the key variables to be measured will require in-depth description as opposed to numerical measures, qualitative as opposed to quantitative research methods will be preferred (Denzin and Lincoln, 2011).

 

Data Collection

Data for the study will be collected through a systematic literature review. This method will involve collecting data from pre-existing documents such as journal articles, books, websites, and other publications. These documents will be obtained by identifying and subsequently searching different databases. Appropriate inclusion and exclusion criteria will be used to ensure that only those documents which are relevant will be included (Denzin and Lincoln, 2011). One of these criteria will be including only current (less than ten years old) documents. To this end, documents older than 10 years will not be included. This is expected to help enhance the validity and reliability of the study’s findings.

 

Data Analysis

The collected secondary data will be analyzed using thematic analysis. This method will involve analyzing data based on the emerging patterns or themes in the data (Braun and Clarke, 2006). These themes will be coded and then linked to the relevant research questions (Guest, MacQueen and Namey, 2011).

References

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Braun, V. and Clarke, V., 2006. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology, 3(2), pp.77-101.

 

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DeMers, J., 2015. The Importance of Social Validation in Online Marketing. Forbes, 19 February. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/02/19/the-importance-of-social-validation-in-online-marketing/#6fdf862435c8

 

Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S., 2011. The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. Sage.

 

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