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Social media as a marketing tool: a study with reference to first time voters in the university of Colombo

Authors:

R. Chandrasekara ,

University of Colombo, LK
About R.
Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management and Finance
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M.P.P. Dharmadasa

University of Colombo
About M.P.P.
Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management and Finance
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Abstract

Today’s political marketers are successfully driving target voters towards favourable attitude change (Henneberg, 2002). The first time voter group is an important target market in political marketing, and as identified in literature, social media and peer groups play a major role in influencing political attitudes of first time voters.

This study aims to explore how first time voters form their political attitudes, from exposure to social media political campaigns and from online peer interactions. The Processes of Compliance, Identification and Internalization in the Social Influence theory was used as a theoretical lens; data was gathered through 21 semi-structured in-depth interviews, and thematic Analysis was used to analyze data, under an exhaustive coding process.

Research findings indicate that first time voters’ political attitudes were mostly formed and driven on achieving personal goals; that is, individuals were more concerned with the long lasting effects of value congruence (Internalization), rather than the social effect (Compliance) or social anchorage (Identification) of behaviour. Further, online peer interactions on social media was a strong source of influence (for political attitude formation), than mere passive exposure to political campaigns on social media. The most influential peers were ‘high status peers’ with direct political connections, acting as strong opinion leaders. Furthermore, first time voters are influenced due to the perceived credibility of peers (through Internalization), as opposed to their controlling power (Compliance) or attractiveness (Identification).

The Kelaniya Journal of Management, Vol. 3(1); 2014: 42-62

How to Cite: Chandrasekara, R. & Dharmadasa, M.P.P., (2014). Social media as a marketing tool: a study with reference to first time voters in the university of Colombo. Kelaniya Journal of Management. 3(1), pp.42–62. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/kjm.v3i1.7477
Published on 29 Sep 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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