Social media plays greater role in cause engagement
31 May, 2011
African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely than Caucasians
to engage with and learn about social issues and causes through social media
— Nearly one in three African American adults (30%) and four in ten Hispanics (39%) say they are more likely to support a cause or social issue online than offline today — both significantly higher percentages than Caucasians (24%), according to the new Dynamics of Cause Engagement study. Jointly conducted in late 2010 by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, the study examined trends in cause involvement and the roles of a variety of activities in fostering engagement with social issues among American adults age 18 and over. Social Media & Ethnicity by the Numbers
Among American adults, there appear to be some significant differences in how the ethnicities perceive social media and their effectiveness in facilitating cause involvement. African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely to believe that they can help get the word out about a social issue or cause through online social networks (58% and 51%, respectively, vs. 34% of Caucasians). They also subscribe more readily to the belief that social networking sites like Facebook make it easier to support causes today, and that these sites help increase visibility for causes.
While traditional media (print and television) and personal relationships remain the primary ways in which Americans learn about causes, both African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely than Caucasians to look to social media as an additional source of information (31% and 27% vs. 21%, respectively). Similarly, social media are not among the top ways Americans most often support causes—donating money or personal items, talking to others and learning about the issues rank the highest—but again, African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely than Caucasians to engage with causes through promotional social media activities (e.g., joining a cause group on Facebook, posting a logo to a social profile, contributing to blogs). Social Media Overload?
Americans are generally in agreement when it comes to potential cause-related social media overload, though they differ in the degree to which certain tools drive their “cause fatigue” the most. For example, Caucasians are significantly more likely to feel that emails about causes sometimes feel like spam (76%, vs. 66% of African Americans and 69% of Hispanics). Hispanics are significantly more likely to believe that everybody “likes” causes on Facebook and it doesn’t really mean anything. And while half of Caucasians and Hispanics (48% and 51%, respectively) agree that they get too many emails about causes now, a significantly lower number of African Americans (33%) feel this way. Supporting Causes is a Family Affair
Americans are in strong agreement that everyone can make a difference by supporting causes. However, African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely than Caucasians to believe that supporting causes makes them feel like a part of a community. They also are significantly more likely to feel that it is important that their family be involved in causes (55% of Hispanics and 54% of African Americans, vs. 46% of Caucasians), and to have been actively involved in supporting causes when growing up (40% of Hispanics and 45% of African Americans, vs. 32% of Caucasians).
Overall, Americans are in agreement when it comes to the causes in which they are most involved, with supporting our troops, feeding the hungry and health-related causes (e.g., breast cancer and heart disease) topping the list. However, African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely than Caucasians to be involved in several key issues, including diabetes, domestic violence, bullying, childhood obesity, Haiti relief and HIV/AIDS. CONTACT
Julie Dixon, Deputy Director, Center for Social Impact Communication
Phone: 202.687.8552 About the Survey
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication developed the study with the objectives of showcasing trends in cause involvement and evaluating the role of a variety of activities in fostering engagement. An online survey was conducted by TNS Global among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 Americans ages 18 and over. The survey was fielded November 30 to December 22, 2010, and has a margin of error of +/-2.2% at the 95% confidence level. Throughout this report, an asterisk ‘*’ next to a number indicates a significant difference from the corresponding audience at the 95% level of confidence.
Additional key findings will be released in upcoming weeks: June 13
- Cause Involvement by Generation June 30
- Cause Involvement and Behavior Change About the Center for Social Impact Communication
Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC) is the nation’s leading educational resource on social impact communication. Launched in 2008 and housed in the Master of Professional Studies program in Public Relations and Corporate Communications, CSIC aims to elevate the discipline by pioneering industry standards in responsible communication practices and by educating and inspiring the professionals who lead the way in creating positive social impact through their work. For more information, visit csic.georgetown.edu
Twitter: @georgetowncsic About Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (Ogilvy PR) is a global, multidisciplinary communications leader operating in more than 80 markets. For more than two decades, Ogilvy PR has been at the forefront of social marketing—advancing personal and public health and safety and broader socially desirable goals via communications initiatives. We have developed numerous social marketing campaigns to successfully raise awareness, educate and prompt action regarding some of today’s largest and most complex issues, ranging from cancer to cardiovascular health, substance abuse to homeland security, youth violence prevention to disaster preparedness, and much more.
Named Large Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report and PRNews, Ogilvy PR is a unit of Ogilvy & Mather, a WPP company (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of the world’s largest communications service groups. For more information, visit ogilvypr.com