The (sustainable) behaviour change potential of social media | WARC | The Feed
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The (sustainable) behaviour change potential of social media
Three in four people are more likely to take up behaviours to help save the planet after watching social media content about sustainability, new research suggests.
A study* commissioned by two Unilever brands (Dove and Hellmann’s) and conducted by the Behavioural Insights Team found that social media ranks as one of the most influential sources of sustainability information for the consumer.
- 78% of people said influencers have the biggest impact on their green choices today.
- That’s far ahead of TV documentaries (48%), news articles (37%) or government campaigns (just 20%).
- Eight in 10 (83%) think TikTok and Instagram are good places to get advice about how to live sustainably.
Why it matters
Brands can harness and maximise the power of social media influencers to positively impact consumer behaviour.
- Two types of content were tested – ‘pragmatic’ and ‘optimistic’ – and both were effective in nudging people to adopt sustainable behaviours.
- Three-quarters of people said that content made them more likely to adopt sustainable behaviours, including saving and reusing plastic, buying refillable products, and freezing and reusing leftovers.
- As regards actual behaviour change, people valued both facts and practical advice. Of those who watched ‘pragmatic’ content, 69% went on to try something new to reduce their plastic or food waste as a result, with 61% of those who watched ‘optimistic’ content reporting action.
- 77% supported creators encouraging their audience to behave in an environmentally friendly way; 72% supported them selling products or services focused on sustainability.
- 76% were encouraged to act after watching Dove content about reusing plastics, and 82% after watching Hellmann’s content on food waste reduction.
“We are learning what is all likes and no action versus content that makes sustainable choices simple and preferred” – Conny Braams, Chief Digital & Commercial Officer at Unilever.
*A simulated social platform showed people various styles of content, with any resulting behaviour change among 6,000 UK, US and Canadian consumers measured.
Sourced from Unilever
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