Social Media for Socially Responsible Firms: Analysis of Fortune 500’s Twitter Profiles and their CSR/CSIR Ratings
The instrumental benefits of firm’s CSR activities are contingent upon the stakeholders’ awareness and favorable attribution. While social media creates an important momentum for firms to cultivate favorable awareness by establishing a powerful framework of stakeholder relationships, the opportunities are not distributed evenly for all firms. In this paper, we investigate the impact of CSR credentials on the effectiveness of social media as a stakeholder-relationship management platform. The analysis of Fortune 500 companies in the Twitter sphere reveals that a higher CSR rating is a strong indicator of an earlier adoption, a faster establishment of online presence (followers), a higher responsiveness to the firm’s identity (replies and mentions), and a stronger virality of the messages (retweets). Incidentally, the higher CSIR rating is also found to be associated with the stronger virality. Our findings also suggest that socially responsible firms can harvest proactive stakeholders’ participation (user-driven communication) without investing more resources (firm-driven communication). As the first study that conceptualizes the social media as a proponent of CSR, this paper contends that “being socially responsible” makes more practical sense for firms with the rise of social media. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013
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