Communicating Sustainability on Social Media: A study on leading turkish and global Brands in Turkey.

TUGBA ORTEN TUGRUL, AYSU GOCER

Abstract


Despite an increasing number of companies making use of social media messages to communicate their sustainable business principles and practices to various stakeholders, the academic literature investigating this topic, specifically in an emerging market context, remains limited. To address this gap, this study explores leading brands’ sustainability-themed communication messages on social media, considering the impacts of brand value and industry types from a country of origin and “triple bottom line” perspectives. An analysis of the sustainability content of social media messages was conducted via a content analysis of corporate Facebook pages of random sample of leading 62 Turkish and 31 global brands operating in Turkey. This data was than evaluated by regression analysis, Anova tests, and chi-square analyses. The results show that brand value is not a significant driver of communicating sustainability-themed messages on social media. It also indicates that the social media messages of global brands emphasize economic sustainability over environmental and social issues, whereas Turkish brands highlight social responsibility. Furthermore, analyses reveal differences among industry sectors in terms of communicating messages about economic dimension of sustainability in general, and also within leading Turkish brands. This study raises academic attention on the role of social media in promoting the sustainability content of large companies’ messages, and highlights the need for further research to reveal their approaches to the use of social media accounts. This study implies that, it is important that leading brands in emerging markets understand the connection between the three sustainability dimensions in order to be able to increase the sophistication of sustainability communications with various stakeholders. This study contributes to academic discussions in terms of the different dimensions of sustainability approaches of large companies on their social media accounts, and extends these discussions across different industries.


Keywords


Sustainability, Triple-Bottom-Line, Social Media, Sustainability-Themed Messages, Cross-Industry Sector Study

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