1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Social media are increasingly influencing and changing the way the consumers behave, and how they make the decision to buy. Social Media will come in handy as a good example of new technological innovation that is making a great impact in the organizations of today. The advancements in the internet in recent years have made new systems available to business: social media such as online communities being a good example (Lu et al. 2010). The general availability of the internet has given individuals the opportunity to use social media, from email to Twitter and Facebook, and to interact without the need for physical meetings (Gruzd et al. 2011). This has been facilitated by Web 2.0 applications. Web 2.0 is a new advancement, which has transferred the internet to a social environment by introducing social media, where individuals can interact and generate content online (Lai & Turban 2008). Web 2.0 has emerged to give users easier interconnectivity and participation on the web (Mueller et al. 2011). With the rise of social media and online communities, individuals can easily share and access information (Chen et al. 2011a). Online communities and social networking sites (SNSs) are an effective web technology for social interactions and sharing information (Lu & Hsiao 2010). Social media sites take centre-stage in e-commerce in the current environment (Fue et al. 2009), where consumers make social connections and participate in cyberspace (Mueller et al. 2011). Today’s consumers have access to many different sources of information and experiences, which have been facilitated by other customers’ information and recommendations (Senecal & Nantel 2004). This is an important point as customer involvement through social media is a key factor in marketing (Do-Hyung et al. 2007). Social media offer different values to firms, such as enhanced brand popularity (de Vries, Gensler &c Leeflang 2012), facilitating word-of-mouth communication (Chen et al. 2011b), increasing sales, sharing information in a business context (Lu & Hsiao 2010) and generating social support for consumers (Ali 2011; Ballantine & Stephenson 2011). In addition, the networking of individuals through social media provides shared values, leading to a positive impact on trust (Wu et al. 2010). Today, with the expansion of social media and sites, a study of consumer behaviour on these platforms is a research agenda (Liang & Turban 2011) because social media are likely to develop marketing strategies in firms through trust-building mechanisms and affecting customers’ intention to buy online products. Human beings are social and nowadays, consumers are participating in variety of activities, from consuming content to sharing knowledge, experiences, opinions, and involved in discussion with other consumers online (Heinonen, 2011). Today, with the growth of Internet, online social networks have become important communication channels and also virtual communities have emerged. Online world has become a new kind of social communication, connecting people to variety of online communities has been growing during past decade. Groups that may never meet in the physical world but nevertheless they are able to affect behaviour including purchasing decisions (Evans, Jamal & Foxall, 2009). Internet is a social place where created new forum for consumers. Virtual communities, blog, and online social networking sites provide a platform to influence consumers’ purchase decisions (OTX research, 2008). The market share of different online social networking websites have been grown for instance Facebook grew by 0.22 percent from November 2011 to October 2011. YouTube has the strongest growth among online social networking site with a 0.67 percent from November 2011 to October 2011. These measurements showed the membership of online social networks websites have been grown (Hitwise, 2011) Everyday people buy things that are relevant to their needs. At the same time they are making purchasing decisions. Specific consumer behaviour is defined as “the activities people undertake when obtaining, consuming, and disposing of products and services” (Blackwell, Miniard &Engel, 2001). Consumer behaviours are influenced by personal and environmental factors (Blyth, 2008). A central part of consumer behaviour is, consumers’ purchasing decision that included several steps. Generally social networks such as groups or individuals who own the power over consumers can affect consumers’ purchase decision (Solomon, Bamossy, Askegaard & Hogg, 2010). The online social networks provided facilities for consumers to interact with one another, accessing to information, comments, reviews, and rates that can help them for purchasing decisions in different ways.
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
As noted in marketing and consumer behaviour literature, information that consumers get from their interpersonal sources invariably influences their decisions towards whether to purchase a particular brand. Even though advertisement commercials and other non-personal messages are also significant in the development of consumer awareness towards brands, products or services, word-of-mouth (WOM)—which is known as an act of exchanging marketing information among different customers—has been seen to play an even more critical role in changing consumer behaviour and attitude toward different products and services. This is mainly because interpersonal sources commonly are seen as more credible and reliable than non-personal or commercial sources. The majority of the online consumers rely on the WOM when they want to purchase a specific product or a service. A study found out that 33% of Twitter users share opinions about companies or products at least once per week. These opinions and views affect other consumers with regards to purchasing products or services. In recent years, social networking has received an increased emphasis on business as well as individuals’ lives. Therefore, this research has originated from the observation that consumers nowadays rely more on WOM than advertisements for buying products and services.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the impact of social media on consumer behaviour for high value agro products amongst urban populace. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the extent of using the social media platform in Nigeria.
2. To examine the factors that determines the user’s intention to buy on social media platform.
3. To examine the impact of social media on consumer behaviour for high value agro products.
4. To examine the relationship between social media and consumer behaviour for high value agro products.
5. To examine how social media can influence consumer behaviour for high value agro products.
6. To recommend ways of enhancing consumers behaviour towards buying through social media platforms.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the extent of using the social media platform in Nigeria?
2. What are the factors that determine the user’s intention to buy on social media platform?
3. What are the impacts of social media on consumer behaviour for high value agro products?
4. What is the relationship between social media and consumer behaviour for high value agro products?
5. How will social media influence consumer behaviour for high value agro products?
6. What are the ways of enhancing consumer’s behaviour towards buying through social media platforms?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no impact of social media on consumer behaviour for high value agro products.
H1: There is a significant impact of social media on consumer behaviour for high value agro products.
H0: There is no significant relationship between social media and consumer behaviour for high value agro products.
H1: There is a significant relationship between social media and consumer behaviour for high value agro products.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It has been suggested by the researchers that the consumers might look for information assisting them in deciding the relative significance 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 neighbours, 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). Many sources of external search include interpersonal search, and media search. Powered by social software and Web 2.0 tools that support social behaviour to create and recreate social conventions and social contexts, the Internet allows consumers to interact, compare experiences, and exchange ideas with other consumers. Social media is the relational connection that motivates consumers to participate and contribute CGC, which becomes an essential digital asset for purchase decision-making and WOM marketing. In future, the study can be carried out to the other areas of consumer markets and also to other cities of Nigeria. Additionally the study could also be extended to other group of people.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the impact of social media on consumer behaviour for high value agro products amongst urban populace, a case study of civil servants in Makurdi, Benue state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Social Media: Social media is becoming an integral part of life online as social websites and applications proliferate. Most traditional online media include social components, such as comment fields for users. In business, social media is used to market products, promote brands, and connect to current customers and foster new business.
Consumer: An individual who buys products or services for personal use and not for manufacture or resale. A consumer is someone who can make the decision whether or not to purchase an item at the store, and someone who can be influenced by marketing and advertisements.
Consumer Behaviour: Consumer behaviour is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services, including the consumer's emotional, mental and behavioural responses that precede or follow these activities.
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