Social Media Advertising and Electorates' Patronage of Political Parties in Nigeria

By Ogbuji, Chinedu N.; Ogbobula, Princewill | Researchers World, January 2018 | Go to article overview

Social Media Advertising and Electorates' Patronage of Political Parties in Nigeria


Ogbuji, Chinedu N., Ogbobula, Princewill, Researchers World


INTRODUCTION:

Traditional media advertising such as print media (newspaper, magazines) and electronic media (TV, radio) have long been adopted by political organizations, government institutions, and other non -profit organization in disseminating information to the public (Pillai, Williams, Lowe, & Jung, 2003). Specifically, these professionally managed media were the primary platforms for both political parties and candidates in not only promoting their personality, but also building their image which reflects on public perception and personality of candidates. In this regard, plethora of studies have demonstrated the impact of these traditional media strategies on public attitude and voter behaviour (Larry, Mary & Richard, 2008; Spiro, 2001; Townera & Dulioa, 2011). Consensus among these scholars suggest that substantial amount of resources have been spent on these platforms which is intended to shape and direct voter behaviour towards patronizing a candidate and committing to political ideologies/parties. Hence, political strategists and campaign managers have one of the biggest challenges to strategically blend the mix of these media in order to project candidates' image with respect to honesty, plausibility, and credibility (Pillai et al., 2003).

However, the increasing importance and usage of the internet technologies, coupled with a highly competitive political environment, has necessitated the adoption of a more elaborate contemporary technology that is in tune with the realities of marketing communication in the 21st century. Hence, the drift towards the wide usage of social networking technologies in disseminating information to a wide range of prospective voters. The paradigm shift according to Tolbert & McNeal (2010), has made political strategists to key into these social media advertising strategies which come in form of online content sharing (Instagram, YouTube and Blogs), live chatts (Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter), status update (Whatsapp and Facebook). More so, Lambrences & Tucker (2013), opined that gone are those days when television and other traditional media were prominently used to target specific groups of audiences. They stressed that social networks have opened countless opportunities for campaign directors to better communicate with voters. The modern advertising media have been suggested to provide a more effective and efficient complement for assessing target audience and several studies have examined the nexus between social media advertising and patronage behaviour and they found a significant and positive relationship between social media advertising and purchase intentions as well as buyer commitments (Ward, 2012, Gerodinos, 2012, Kushins & Yamamoto, 2010, Wong, 2007, Ifukor, 2016). Thus, social media advertising may have proved to be a more efficient and effective strategy in encouraging political involvement, voter education and persuasive referral behaviour.

The examination and conceptualization of social media advertising in impacting electoral patronage is the theoretical journey this study embarked on. It developed a more coherent model that demonstrates the link between these two variables. The study further examined the appropriateness in conceptualizing political parties and their candidates as brands which customers (electorates) are expected to patronize among competing brands (political parties/candidates). Hence, it is against this backdrop, the study soughtss4 to investigate the relationship between social media advertising and political patronage of electorates in Nigeria.

In this current political dispensation where censored and uncensored information filter the social media platform in a second, a call for adequate and thorough sensitization of current and potential voters have been advocated by the government and other non-governmental organizations. Social media have redefined the political landscape of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general, what with the social media anchored political upheavals and dethronements recorded in Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and most recently, Zimbabwe. …

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