Social Networking Sites and Consumer Behavior
Consumer’s purchase decision making process consists of need recognition, search, alternative evaluation and choice (Babin & Harris, 2015). From my personal experience I can say that the SNS or social networking websites have a profound effect on the decision making process in the present time when everyone is glued to their mobile devices and browsing the SNS, uploading pictures and updating statuses. The most influential that I consider is what your friends are doing and what they are buying which might tempt you as well. The things that your friends buy and share on their social media accounts has a definite impact on what you want to buy. For example if a friend of yours has purchased a DSLR camera and posted a picture on his/her Facebook page, you would definitely be tempted to buy the camera and you may start to make money calculations. I have explained the influence of SNS on the purchasing decisions in the following discussion.
I think that we can take the example of seeing something shared by a friend on his/her social media account that tempts you to buy it as well. For example let’s take the example of a DSLR camera forward. A friend who is not a photographer buys a DSLR and posts some pictures that he/she claims are caught with the DSLR. You see the pictures and suddenly the photographer who has been sleeping deep inside you is awake. You suddenly think that you want to do photography and the DSLR is what can help you achieve the goals of becoming the photographer that you always have been. This is a form of need recognition that you have had just because something was posted by a friend on the social media and you think that it is actually what you need to do as well.
A search is also possible with the social media sites. For example in our example of recognizing the need for a DSLR, you can visit countless Facebook sites by different manufacturers of DSLRs like Kodak, Sony, and Canon and so on. On their social media pages, they share the specification information about their products and also post their prices. You can post a comment about any enquiries and they would be happy to help you with it.
When you are searching different social media pages for a DSLR, you can see different products and make a comparison to make your evaluation about which one is the one you want or suits your budget. There would also be many pages that have already done a comparison and could help you make a better evaluation of the specification compared to the prices that you think you can afford.
When alternative evaluation is complete, it would not be a hard task to make a choice. Especially reading the reviews on different products ca help. But one of the issues with reviews could be that they are fake or paid. So you can post comments and ask other pole for guidance. I mean people who have already used the product you are seeking.
In conclusion I would like to say that the role of SNS has been increasing. They are becoming a part of our life that we cannot live with. I think that we should not use them as time wasters but also let them help us in making financial decisions like making a purchase.