Facebook Communication and Marketing Influence on Decision-Making and Choice of University Student Representatives: A Student’s Perspective
Facebook has become the main platform for young adults to sustain their social presence as well as expand their social networks. The impact of social media on youth decision-making has attracted much attention in research and academia. The research setting was at University of Fort Hare, a university located in South Africa. Before and during a student representative council (SRC) election at the university, the six student parties contesting for the leadership office utilised Facebook in communicating and marketing their campaign messages to fellow students. This research therefore empirically investigated how Facebook influenced university students’ intention to vote and elect an SRC for the institution. The survey methodology was adopted in collecting data and non-probability sampling, a form of convenience sampling was utilised in selection of suitable participants for the study. A total of 381 students participated in the study responding to questions examining potential drivers of selection of a particular student representative party (SRP). A conceptual model was developed with Facebook constructs that included “medium credibility of Facebook”, “peer communication on Facebook” and “user trust of Facebook” among other factors that influence students’ choice of an (SRP). The main findings established that identification with peers was observed as having the most significant impact on youths’ intention to vote for student representatives. Message credibility was found to have weak impact on student’s intention to vote for a particular (SRC) candidate. Implications emerged from the findings and further research suggestions were provided.
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