The survey, part of a larger BlogHer Social Media Matters Study co-sponsored by Ketchum, found that although over 40 percent of people say they use social media to discuss a cause or a brand’s support of that cause, less than one-quarter (23 percent) change their purchasing behavior based on that awareness/activism.
How can marketers better translate social activism into sales?
The bottom line, said Melissa Kinch, senior vice president and associate director of Ketchum’s North American Corporate Practice, is to make sure the cause you support aligns with consumers’ personal passions and affects them, their community, or someone close to them.
Among the insights:
- Know your online audience. Understand what your audience is passionate about. Thirty-eight percent of survey respondents cited passion for a brand or cause as the top reason why they have written, blogged or tweeted about it. According to the survey, Americans are most passionate about causes supporting breast cancer initiatives (44 percent), animals (36 percent) and children’s causes (35 percent).
- Keep it simple. Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents are most receptive to programs from which companies donate a portion of sales to a cause; 38 percent want companies to make it easy to support a cause online.
- Think local. Forty-six percent of respondents are motivated to buy a product from a company when it makes a donation to a local school or organization. Among older adults aged 65 to 76, that number jumps to 70 percent.
The study also found that brands interested in cause marketing benefit most from targeting young adults aged 18 to 27.
While one-third of Americans said they told a friend or family member about a brand that was supporting a cause, nearly half of young adults were likely to do so. Further, 36 percent of young adults bought more of a product because the brand supported a cause close to them, and more than one-third said they switched to – and paid more for – a brand supporting a cause that was important to them.
The observation that personal passion drives action is hardly surprising, but the study does give marketers some insight into cause marketing and how social media fits in. Moreover, it reminds us, yet again, that marketers cannot ignore social media channels, especially when targeting young adults.