Social Media Communication and Sustainability Perception in Business: The Moderating Role of Social Media Influencers

Social Media Communication and Sustainability Perception in Business: The Moderating Role of Social Media Influencers

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-8681-8.ch007
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Achieving the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) has become very important in the survival of the human race and the earth's ecosystem. The purpose of this study is to see the effectiveness of social media communication and how it influences consumer behavior perception on environmental sustainability and the role of social media influencers. This chapter is a conceptual manuscript. The researcher used literature from good and reliable databases such as Emerald, Sage, Taylor & Francis, Web of Science, Elsevier, and others. Desk research was adopted and literature covering the relevant constructs in the title and model were reviewed and thoroughly discussed and meanings and implications were synthesized.
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Achieving the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) has become very important in the survival of the human race and the earth's ecosystem. Social media platforms have quickly emerged as a formidable communications tool, exerting significant influence not just in urban centres but also in rural areas (Ahmad et al., 2019; Golmohammadi et al., 2023). The digital revolution has affected businesses and how individuals communicate and made the globe more accessible. How people communicate has been profoundly altered by the rise of social media, which has also become an indispensable component of people's everyday life. To ensure the continued health and prosperity of future generations, it is the duty of all of us (businesses and individuals) to ensure the conservation of natural resources and the protection of global ecosystems. Sustainability is also described as preserving and improving environmental quality over the long term to prevent the exhaustion or degradation of natural resources (Bruno & Dabrowski, 2016). Environmental sustainability is, thus, the practice of not compromising future generations' ability to satisfy their requirements while also providing for the current population's needs. Firms that practice activities that are friendly to the environment will eventually will more customers because society is growing in awareness of the environment (Okuah et al., 2019). Social media communication can therefore be used effectively to draw society's attention to the benefits of sustainability practices. The use of social media can make businesses, individuals, and society change their behaviour positively towards brands, products and firms to protect humanity and the environment (Radi & Shokouhyar, 2021).

A new type of consumer influencer that has emerged on the seen in the past few decades and growing rapidly due to the proliferation of social networking sites, social media and billions of users on the internet is called social media influencers (SMIs) (Qalati et al., 2021; Radi & Shokouhyar, 2021). SMIs are social media users who have acquired many followers and achieved a certain level of credibility, both of which can lead to an impact or a level of persuasion in their interactions with their followers (Malik et al., 2023). Based on their popularity, many brands and marketers use them to promote and create awareness of their products and services (Ho & Rezaei, 2018; Malik et al., 2023). Given their popularity and ability to influence their followers, SMI could be an effective tool to help engage with the public to influence their perception to adopt pro-environmental behaviour and buy environmentally friendly products. SMIs have become an excellent source for reaching target audiences credibly and efficiently due to their capacity to grow a considerable number of followers and generate influence, confidence, and trust among followers (Malik et al., 2023). Despite their increasing growth and wide usage among marketers and brands, little is known about how SMIs are used to influence consumer perception towards social and environmentally sustainable products.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Media Influencer: An influencer is a person who can influence the decisions of their followers because of their relationship with their audience and their knowledge and expertise. Influencers in social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic

Business performance: Overall business performance can be defined as the ability of a business to implement a strategy to achieve organizational objectives and is considered as an important tool for businesses to analyze how effective management is at achieving business goals.

Sustainability Performance: It is the harmonization of environmental and financial objectives in the delivery of core business activities to maximize value.

Consumers’ Perception Of Sustainability: This is how consumers perceive sustainability with particular product or service provider engagement.

Sustainability Perception Of Business: This refers to how business firms and their activities are perceived to be eco friendly.

Social media: Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. It is an internet-based form of communication. In 2019, Merriam-Webster defined social media as “forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).”

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