The development of the Internet as a
channel of political communications born a new phenomenon of political
marketing through social media. The new media became not only mass
communication channel but as well an instrument for creating the image of a
political leader and parties. This study found out whether the use of Facebook
can influence the electoral choice in favor of a certain politician. To answer
this question, three dimensions have been reviewed: political participation, level of trust and the use of social media.
As well, three hypothesis have been provided. Firstly, it has been assumed,
that the level of politician participation in social networks is directly proportional to the level
of trust between public authorities and citizens. In addition, it was also supposed
that Facebook use increases the electorates’ trust in public authorities.
However, as results showed social networks, including Facebook, are an integral
part of building bridges between voters, but not the only part. As it has been
mentioned above, personal leaders’ participation
in social media creates trustworthy relationships with
electorate. Such features as softness, patience,
not aggressiveness and honesty are considered as well as the key
characteristics of political leaders to build a high level of trust with voters (Susila, Dean, & Harness,
2015). Social networks including Facebook can contribute to create a positive
image of political leader and thus to make him humanized and trustworthy for voters. In order to answer the main research question, it has been also
assumed that candidate promotion via Facebook increases the chances to win. The
results indicated that Facebook actually might influence chances to win, but as
an additional tool.

The research reported here reinforces
present concerns regarding the influence of Facebook utilization by politicians
and its possibility to influence the electoral choice in favor of a certain
politician and impact on electoral outcomes. The current study stressed that Facebook as an
opinion-building tool and extend existing
knowledge in the field of political marketing. However,
due to time limitations and lack of empirical studies related to the dependency
of factors that might affect the chances to win elections, it could be useful for
future researchers to find out which factors along with Facebook and other
social network usage are considered as those that affect the chances to win
elections in political marketing. As the present survey has
been carried out in certain Russian and German universities with relatively small sample (n=120), it could be interesting to investigate the
differences of Facebook use by politicians in Russia and Germany and to compare
how Facebook use affects election
results in these respective countries.

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