Communicating effectively about CSR on Twitter: The power of engaging strategies and storytelling elements

Abstract

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication is becoming increasingly important for brands and companies. Social media such as Twitter may be platforms particularly suited to this topic, given their ability to foster dialogue and content diffusion. The purpose of this paper is to investigate factors driving the effectiveness of CSR communication on Twitter, with a focus on the communication strategies and elements of storytelling. Using a sample of 281,291 tweets from top global companies in the food sector, automated content analysis (including supervised machine learning) was used to investigate the influence of CSR communication, emotion, and aspirational talk on the likelihood that Twitter users will retweet and like tweets from the companies. The findings highlight the importance of aspirational talk and engaging users in CSR messages. Furthermore, the study revealed that the companies and brands on Twitter that tweeted more frequently about CSR were associated with higher overall levels of content diffusion and endorsement. This study provides important insights into key aspects of communicating about CSR issues on social networking sites such as Twitter and makes several practical recommendations for companies. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-04-2017-0172

Publication
Internet Research