Social media has changed the way how consumers and marketers communicate. Word-of-mouth is more and more shifting from offline to online platforms. Social media websites respond to this shift by providing public forums where individual consumers can show their own voices. Thereby, the consumers have the accessibility to product information from other consumers that could influence their purchase decision. This kind of word-of-mouth increases the way that consumers process information and the way that marketing messages are distributed. Needless to say that this has an impact on consumer decision making and thus marketing strategies.
Why is this paper so important?
This paper is about how an individual becomes socialized through positive interaction on social media websites to use some product or service and what the impact of that is. This paper is important because it is distinguishing itself from existing literature by focussing on peer communication in online socialization processes. Particularly the influence of peer communication through social media web sites on consumers’ purchase decision. This has rarely been investigated and this research tries to fill the gap.
To test the research question, the researchers used the data set of one of the largest Internet portal in China, www.sina.com. The researches placed an extra link on the homepage of the site, asking whether the visitor wanted to participate. To increase the incentive of the visitor, the participants had a chance to win a laptop. A total of 935 participants clicked the survey link, which makes the research quite dependable.
The most important result is that peer communication through social meida positively influences purchase intentions in two ways: a direct influence through conformity and an indirect influence by reinforcing precept involvement. This peer communication can be increased by strengthening individual-level tie strength with peers as well the group-level identification with a peer group.
Main strengths and Managerial Implications
One of the main strengths of this article is their data collection. The article used real life data to test their research, liked already discussed here above. Because of this real-fie data, the validity of the paper can be guaranteed.
This paper divides the managerial implications into three parties: implication for Marketers, implication for Online Advertisers and implication for Social Media Website Operators. I want to address the most important ones. This article can be used Online Advertisers for many reasons. Increasing activity of the users at social media platforms, may encourage visitors to build new kinds of relationships with the sponsoring organization. Besides, an advertiser that can use social media to respond effectively to consumer commentary on review sites gains a great advantage because it can engage customers in conversations to understand their needs and build relationships throughout the purchase and after purchase process.
X Wang, C Yu, Y Wei (2012) “Social media peer communication and impacts on purchase intentions: A consumer socialization framework”. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 26(4), 198-208