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The Role of the Social Media as a Platform for Marketing and Advertising and Attitudes of Students Towards Online Goods and Services (Study of Covenant University Students).

1.0       Introduction

Due to the high nature of competitiveness in the Nigerian market, they have been a significant change in marketing strategies and concept of advertisement. According to Singh (2012), various organizations now place focus on the customer preferences because the customers are the consumers of their products.

The advancement in information and communication technology (ICT) have led to the introduction of social media into the system (Booth and Matic, 2011). Social media, platforms which were initially created for the sole purpose of passing messages have now been used as a major source of advertisement. Social media have developed like wildfire in the past decade (Chen, 2017). Different social media platforms are being developed with unique features that make them stand out. Example of these social media platforms are: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snap Chat, Lomotif, WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, Zoom, Skype and so on (Choi and Rifon, 2020). All these social media platforms have helped in connecting people from different locations, ethnicity and races.

Currently, social media is regarded as an online communication platform that encourages organizations to market their products to billions of people at once (Dân & Nam 2018). Social Media is a popular mode for social communication. The 21st century uses social media networking in their day-to-day life. In the busy urban life, people don’t have time to meet or even call up their near and dear ones. Social media helps to bridge this gap. Millions of youngsters use social media websites to search their friends online and communicate with them, chat, share information, videos and photos. People seek to meet new people through social media, who share common interests and aspirations. Visiting a social networking site has become a habit for most youth, one which they cannot easily give up. This growing importance of social media has translated into its increasing use in marketing also.

With sites like Face book, Orkut, LinkedIn, Twitter, You tube, etc. attracts more than 5 million users every day. Having a presence on these sites is a must for all marketing organisations. Besides attracting a large number of prospective customers, the cost of social media for advertising is comparatively much lower than the other mass media options. Hence it is a value for money proposition.

Social media websites help generate interest in the brand and also to build trust in the company. This goes a long way in the brand building exercise. Besides, one can reach the relevant target audience and avoid clutter. It helps the company stay in constant touch with its customers, know their preferences and upgrade their products and services accordingly. It gives them enough room to receive prompt feedback from them. It thus leads to one on one interaction, leading to customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer spreads positive word of mouth for the brand and thus enhances the brand equity. All in all, it helps a company increase awareness of its brand, generate leads, build its customer base, improve sales and market share. If planned and executed properly, social media becomes a very cost effective mode of online promotions.

According to Blank (2013), Consumer perception applies the concept of sensory perception to marketing and advertising. Just as sensory perception relates to how humans perceive and process sensory stimuli through their five senses, consumer perception pertains to how individuals form opinions about companies and the merchandise they offer through the purchases they make. Merchants apply consumer perception theory to determine how their customers perceive them. They also use consumer perception theory to develop advertising strategies intended to retain current customers and attract new ones.

 

 

Kazmi (2012) posits that consumer usage and buying of any product largely depend upon their perception about the product. The author identified accessibility, availability, and quality, durability regular supply of product and mode of payment as the most important factors that influence consumer perception. Similarly, Wollenberg and Thuong (2014) asserts that brand perception is a term used to describe how consumers experience a particular brand of product; perception can be seen as reality, so brand perception can be seen as real customer’s views based on what was promised. Customers’ perception helps to increase customers’ level of satisfaction which leads to brand loyalty and increases the chance of product repurchase.

 

2.0       Statement of the problem

The rapid increase in the number of Nigerians with internet subscription translates to the maximum possibility of an average internet user in Nigeria being exposed to online advertisements of online goods which in turn plays a key role in influencing the perception and purchase decision of online goods. (Nigerian Communications Commission, 2016). Online goods marketers continuously invest huge budgets in advertising their brands in order to increase awareness and purchase among consumers. In a bid to maximize visibility for their brands, online goods marketers are incorporating online advertising into their strategy (Nielsen 2013). This is in consideration of the fact that more consumers spend time on the internet. Therefore, it becomes imperative to question the return of online advertisements on the investment of online goods makers.

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