Social Media Popular for CSR Engagement
12 June 2013 at 11:39 am
Social media has emerged as a critical way for companies to engage with consumers around CSR, a new global survey suggests.
The study by Cone Communications and Echo Research found nearly two-thirds of global consumers (62 per cent) used social media for CSR purposes.
The trend was strongest in emerging countries China, India and Brazil, where 90 percent, 89 percent and 85 per cent of the respective populations reported the activity.
The study was based on a sample of 10,000 citizens in 10 of the largest countries in the world by GDP, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, India and Japan.
It follows last year’s SMI Wizness Survey which showed social media use by companies for CSR purposes had been limited, but was on the increase.
In 2010 only 60 major businesses had social media activity centred on sustainability, though by 2012, the number had reached 176.
Cone Communication’s study showed traditional channels such as product packages or news stories were still the most effective way to reach consumers.
However, company websites, social media and mobile phones collectively represented almost one-quarter (24 per cent) of consumers’ preferred means of communication.
The results profile a consumer who is more demanding of CSR action and more inclined to air grievances via digital channels.
Executive Vice President at Cone Communications, Alison DaSilva, said: “they [consumers] are poised to not only engage with companies around vital issues but also serve as CSR megaphones, equally propagating the good and bad.”
While 29 per cent of respondents said they used social media as a learning tool to find out more about specific organisations or issues, a substantial proportion also used it as a forum to broadcast opinion.
Some 26 per cent said they had used social media as a means to share negative information about companies, while 34 per cent had shared positive information.
Ninety-one per cent of consumers want to hear about companies’ CSR efforts and progress, yet 88 per cent believe companies share positive information about their CSR efforts while withholding negative information.
Nine-in-10 global citizens said they would boycott a company if they learned of irresponsible behaviour.
“Companies have a job to do. This research reveals an increasingly social, savvy consumer who is looking for proof of progress,” DaSilva said.