One way to evaluate how social media influence customer behavior is to study the correlations between consumer satisfaction and use of social media. According to this research, consumers’ satisfaction with the decision-making process is increased by social media. However, the correlation between the perceived quantity and quality of information on social media and satisfaction with the decision-making process is low. The findings suggest that more information from social media is not always better for the customer.
The study involved retrospective questioning and focused on complex purchases requiring extended problem solving. Consumers were asked to recall their search activities during this decision-making process. When prompted to rate the quality of information, 61% of respondents reported it to be good or acceptable. On the other hand, 13% reported it to be worse than their expectations. The amount of information available on social media also varied, but overall, the quantity was matched or exceeded expectations in 44% of respondents.
Social media is a living document of social proof. Consumers increasingly depend on social proof to make purchasing decisions. Nearly half of consumers read reviews before making a purchase. A single bad review can scare away potential buyers. A high-budget television commercial cannot deliver social media’s authenticity. Consumers use review sites such as Yelp and Twitter to find information about products and services they want to buy. This peer-reviewed information is more trustworthy than brand-sponsored advertisements.
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