An exploration of social media-enabled voter relationships through uses and gratifications theory, psychological contract and service-dominant orientation

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Abstract

The relationship that develops between voters and political entities on social media is under-researched. This study offers insight into this contemporary phenomenon by exploring the factors that initiate and drive social media-enabled voter relationships. Data were collected by conducting three focus groups with young voters. Uses and gratifications theory was used to explore the motivations that stimulate young voters to follow political entities on social media. Secondly, the drivers of the resulting relationship were explained using the concept of the psychological contract. Lastly, the various online interactions that underpin this relationship were investigated using the concept of service-dominant orientation. The findings reveal that social, informational and entertainment gratifications are the primary initiators of this relationship. Further, developmental, individuated, relational and ethical interactions fortify online voter relationships. However, a lack of trust, unmet expectations and an absence of individuated interactions are major challenges. The study recommends humanising politicians through social and emotional content, along with an educational approach towards social media marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-82
JournalAustralasian Marketing Journal
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 2020

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