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Sustainable Political Social Media Marketing: Effects of Structural Features in Plain Text Messages


  • Byungho Park

    (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Seoul 02455, Korea)

  • Moon Young Kang

    (Department of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, College of Business Administration, Soongsil University, Seoul 06978, Korea)

  • Jiwon Lee

    (Kim & Chang, Seoul 03170, Korea)


The success of Barack Obama’s 2008 U.S. presidential campaign led politicians and voters all over the world to pay attention to social media. Including Donald Trump for his upcoming 2020 re-election, many politicians around the world have used social media for their political campaigns. While some social media can deliver information in various forms (i.e., video, audio, and interactive content), some popular ones, such as Twitter, are still focused mostly on plain text messaging. With political marketing using simple text messages via social media, there is a need to examine ways of creating messages that ultimately help shape voters’ perception of politicians and eventually win the election. Based on communication science, this study attempts to test the limited capacity model of motivated mediated message processing by examining whether this model can be applied to the simplest form of mediated message, which is plain text. In order to do so, structural features of text messages exchanged on social media engaged in political campaigns, namely linguistic formality and network-mediated human interactivity, are manipulated in an experiment. Findings suggest that linguistic formality and human interaction in plain text messages influence perceived friendliness, truthfulness, and dependability of the message source (politicians), as well as the receivers’ (constituents’) behavioral intent to vote for the message source in an upcoming election. This implies that politicians should pay more attention on sustainable political marketing through appropriate manipulation of structural features in social media messages.

Suggested Citation

  • Byungho Park & Moon Young Kang & Jiwon Lee, 2020. "Sustainable Political Social Media Marketing: Effects of Structural Features in Plain Text Messages," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(15), pages 1-10, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:12:y:2020:i:15:p:5997-:d:389887

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    References listed on IDEAS

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