Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has millions of followers on Instagram. An average Instagram post by Ronaldo uses as much energy as 10 UK households in one year. Why? Because the further an image travels, the more energy it consumes. [Source: Channel 4 Dispatches]
With so many people using social media platforms, every post adds up to have a big collective impact on the planet.
However, social media can also be a powerful behavioural change tool in promoting sustainable lifestyles. A 2023 study by Unilever found that social media is one of the most influential sources for information on sustainability. Influencer content can make people change their behaviour for the better:
- 78% say social media is most likely to encourage them to act more sustainably, much more so than TV documentaries (48%), news articles (37%) and government campaigns (20%)
- 82% were encouraged to act after watching content about food waste reduction from Hellmann’s
- 76% of people polled were encouraged to act after watching content from Dove about reusing plastics.
Social media platforms ranked
What about when it comes to the social media companies themselves? Sustainability mag ranks the top 10 social media sites adopting renewable energy as:
Facebook and LinkedIn are leading the pack in taking responsibility for their carbon footprint and in supporting the environmental education of their users.
How you can help
- Use social media as a tool to inform and inspire followers about sustainable living
- Post content only on appropriate platforms. If you don’t have the resources or the volume of followers to make Tiktok/Twitter/YouTube etc worth it, then don’t post. Consider closing redundant or ineffective accounts down
- Post content according to a content plan and strategy. Every post should be useful or engaging for your followers
- Unfollow accounts that aren’t useful or valuable (from both your personal and business social media accounts)
- Consider the value versus the impact of following celebrities or organisations with huge social media audiences