Marketing For The Future November 2016 - Page 27

media initiatives, and nearly half of these firms (42.1%) had fully integrated social media into their business strategies. Related research demonstrated that consumers were spending 25% of their Internet time on social networking sites, up from 15% in 2009 (Rapp, Beitelspacher, Grewal, & Hughes, 2013) According to Alfaro & Watson-Manheim (2015), Social Media is defined as a new information technology being adopted by organizations to create value (Alfaro & Watson-Manheim, 2015). There is no better recommendation than the one of Word of Mouth (WOM), one that gives the customers a sense of trust towards the business and its product or service. Barreto (2010) stated that in the last few years WOM has become a more important and interesting subject for businesses. WOM is, in fact, one of the oldest ways of advertising, and it has been proclaimed by academics to be one of the most influential sources of information since the beginning of the human race era (Barreto, 2010). Hajli (2014) maintained that the social relationship that customers generate via Social Media has a significant influence on the perceived trust of these consumers. This means that Social support that is generated through social media has an influence on the trust level of the customer. When customers see positive reactions, comments, feedback and high ratings on products or services, this could also lead to an instant higher stage of trust in a vendor; that is the human logic mindset (Hajli, 2014). 27