According to a Dynamics of Cause Engagement study, one in three African-American adults (30%) and four in ten Hispanics (39%) are more likely to support a cause or social issue online than offline. The survey was conducted in late 2010 by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and features other interesting finds, crucial for learning how to target the public with various social media campaigns. The survey was conducted online, by TNS Global, among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 Americans ages 18 and over.
For instance, the study reveals that there are significant differences in how the ethnicities perceive social media. African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely to believe that they can help get the word out about a social issue or cause through online social networks (58% and 51%, respectively, vs. 34% of Caucasians). They also subscribe more readily to the belief that social networking sites like Facebook make it easier to support causes today, and that these sites help increase visibility for causes.
Traditional media, however, remains the primary way in which Americans learn about causes, but social media is getting stronger and stronger. Americans are still preferring offline methods to support causes, including donations, but joining a cause group on Facebook, posting a logo to a social profile, and contributing to blogs seem to gain popularity. Among these, the Facebook causes, which require nothing more than the push of a “join” button, are the most popular.
For African Americans and Hispanics joining a social media cause gives them a sense of belonging, of being an active, and meaningful part of the community. The survey found that African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely than Caucasians to be involved in several key issues, including diabetes, domestic violence, bullying, childhood obesity, Haiti relief and HIV/AIDS. Other causes that are popular among Americans include supporting the troops, feeding the hungry and health-related causes (e.g., breast cancer and heart disease).