Title

USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS AND CONSUMER BEHAVIOR IN E-COMMERCE

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to present the basic ideas and the proposed research model of my PhD thesis. Social Networks have become the fundamental source of information for consumers. Until now academics (Sinla et al, 2008) have been focused on the analysis of the way that a social network operates, and on consumers’ behavior in social network. There are two major schools of thought: on the one side, academics, using social network theory and algorithms, (Kempe et al, 2003) try to understand the relationship between the members of a social network; on the other side, marketers, sociologists and IS people (Cole, 2007) examine the way that members react on a social network. In our research, we try to understand how the use of social networks influences consumer buying behavior. More specifically, being based on the theory of consumer buying cycle and Theory of Planned Behavior, we designed a model which explains the importance of social networks on consumers’ buying cycle. Finally, being based on exploratory research, we distinguish social networks on three types: social networking sites, blogs and forums; for every type we examine the reason why consumers visit it, and how trustworthy it is considered by consumers.

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