Special Issue "Social Media Strategy in Sustainable Business"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 August 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gohar Khan
Guest Editor
Department of Management and Marketing, University of Waikato, Hamilton 3216, New Zealand
Interests: digital business; social media; data analytics; network science; technology adoption and use
Dr. Pengji Wang
Guest Editor
Department of Business, James Cook University Singapore Campus, Singapore
Interests: strategy; international business; green marketing; social media marketing
Dr. Jacob Wood
Guest Editor
Department of Business, James Cook University Singapore Campus, Singapore
Interests: social business adoption; non-tariff barriers; WTO dispute resolution; international trade negotiations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the concept of sustainable business has become a popular research topic in both management and organization fields [1,2]. Business sustainability is an executive approach that takes environmental and social problems as corporate objectives along with traditional profit objectives [3]. It is meeting the needs of a firm’s direct and indirect stakeholders (e.g. shareholders, employees, clients, pressure groups, communities, etc.) without compromising its ability to meet the needs of future stakeholders as well [4,5]. In practice, a good number of firms voluntarily evaluate their own corporate sustainability and disclose the impact they make on the environment, society, and the economy [6–8]. Other firms incorporate sustainability into their core business model to explore new business opportunities so as to create shared value together with various stakeholders [9]. Nevertheless, the market outcome of sustainable business is not always positive, with some studies reporting discouraging consumer reaction due to behavioral attitudes, low priority of sustainability [10,11], and low trust from investors due to their concern regarding the authenticity and profitability of businesses’ sustainable efforts [12–15].

At the same time, scholars have noted that the rapid growth of social media allows brands to interact with interested parties and they present opportunities for relationship building [16]. Social media enables organizations to have ongoing and real-time dialog with existing and potential customers [17,18], shape conversations, and influence consumers’ brand perceptions [17], thus empowering word-of-mouth [19] and generating added sales [20]. The use of social media has become increasingly important for consumer engagement [21–23]. Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the impact of social media strategies [24], the optimal design of social media strategies and tactics [21,25,26], and the factors influencing the effectiveness of social media strategies [27–29].

With these two concurrent trends, this Special Issue will discuss the key theoretical, empirical, and contextual mechanisms to bridge social media and sustainable business. We are interested in understanding how businesses leverage the power of social media to enhance their sustainability and competitiveness, as well as how firms’ social media strategy can benefit from their sustainable efforts.

We invite you to contribute to this issue by submitting comprehensive reviews, conceptual frameworks, empirical studies, case studies, or other research articles. Submissions for the Special Issue should be made via the normal submission process.


  1. Mayr, S. Corporate social responsibility in SMEs: The case of an Austrian construction company. J. Bus. Res. 2015, 15, 61–72.
  2. Sasse-Werhahn, L. F.; Bachmann, C.; Habisch, A. managing tensions in corporate sustainability through a practical wisdom lens. Bus. Eth. 2018, 1–14, doi:10.1007/s10551-018-3994-z.
  3. Ussahawanitchakit, P. Corporate proactiveness, business experience, environmental complexity, and firm sustainability: Evidence from information technology business in Thailand. Int. Bus. Econ. 2011, 11, 66–74.
  4. Dyllick, T.; Hockerts, K. Beyond the business case for corporate sustainability. Strategy Environ. 2002 11, 130–141.
  5. Hockerts, K. A cognitive perspective on the business case for corporate sustainability. Strategy Environ. 2015, 24, 102–122.
  6. Amaeshi, K.; Adegbite, E.; Rajwani, T. Corporate Social Responsibility in challenging and non-enabling institutional contexts: do institutional voids matter? Bus. Ethics., 2016, 134, 135–153.
  7. Bebbington, J.; Thomson, I. Social and environmental accounting, auditing and reporting: a potential source of organizational risk governance? Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 2007, 25, 38–55.
  8. Milne, M. J.; Gray, R. W(H)ither ecology? The triple bottom line, the global reporting initiative, and corporate sustainability reporting. Bus. Eth. 2013, 118, 13–29.
  9. Porter, M.E; Kramer, M.R. Strategy & Society The Link between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility. Bus. Rev. 2006, 84, 78–85.
  10. Bhattacharya, C.B.; Sen, S. Doing better at doing good: When, why and how consumers respond to corporate social initiatives. Manag. Rev. 2004, 47, 9–24,
  11. Irvin R.; Naylor R.W. Ethical Decisions and Response Mode Compatibility: Weighting of Ethical Attributes in Consideration Sets Formed by Excluding Versus Including Product Alternatives. J. Mark. Res. 2009, 46, 234–246
  12. Arendt, S.; Brettel, M. Understanding the influence of corporate social responsibility on corporate identity, image, and firm performance. Decis. 2010, 48, 1469–1492.
  13. Capriotti, P.; Moreno, A. Corporate Citizenship and Public Relations: The Importance and Interactivity of Social Responsibility Issues on Corporate Websites. Public Relat. Rev. 2007, 33, 84–91.
  14. Cardamone, P.; Carnevale, C.; Giunta, F. The value relevance of social reporting: Evidence from listed Italian companies. Appl. Account. Res. 2012, 13, 255–269.
  15. Kim, S.Y.; Reber, B.H. Public relations’ place in corporate social responsibility: Practitioners define their role. Public Relat. Rev. 2008, 34, 337–342.
  16. Harridge-March, S.; Quinton, S. Virtual snakes and ladders: social networks and the relationship marketing loyalty ladder. Rev. 2009, 9, 171–181.
  17. Farshid, M.; Plangger, K.; Nel, D. “The social media faces of major global financial service brands”. Financ. Serv. Mark. 2011, 16, 220–229.
  18. Laroche, M.; Habibi, M. R.; Richard, M. O.; Sankaranarayanan, R. The effects of social media based brand communities on brand community markers, value creation practices, brand trust and brand loyalty. Hum. Behav. 2012, 28, 1755–1767.
  19. Luo, X.; Zhang, J. How do consumer buzz and traffic. Manag. Inf. Syst. 2013, 30, 213–238
  20. Kumar, V.; Mirchandani, R. Increasing the ROI of social media marketing. MIT Sloan Manag. Rev. 2012, 54, 55–61.
  21. Chaffey, D.; Ellis-Chadwick, F. Digital Marketing. Pearson: London. UK, 2019.
  22. Dahl, S. Social Media Marketing: Theories and Applications. Sage: Los Angeles, CA, USA, 2018.
  23. Harrigan, P.; Soutar, G.; Choudhury, M. M.; Lowe, M. Modelling CRM in a social media age. Mark. J. 2015, 23, 27–37.
  24. Laksamana, P. Impact of social media marketing on purchase intention and brand loyalty: evidence from Indonesia’s banking industry. Rev. Manag. Mark. 2018, 8, 13–18.
  25. de Ruyter, K.; Keeling, D. I.; Viet Ngo, L. When nothing is what it seems. A Digital Marketing Research Agenda. Mark. J. 2018, 26, 199–203
  26. Harris, J. Cover All the Bases with 21 Winning Content Marketing Techniques, 2017. Available online: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/05/winning-content-marketing-tactics/ (accessed on 28 September 2019)
  27. Brookes, Erika J. The Anatomy of a Facebook Post: Study on Post Performance by Type, Day of the Week, and Time of Day, 2010. Available online: http://vitrue.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Anatomy-of-FB-WP.pdf. (accessed on 17 December 2019)
  28. Keath, J.; Justin K.; Ellie M.; Justin L. Facebook Page Marketing. HubSpot 2011. Available online: http://www.hubspot.com/Portals/53/docs/ebooks/facebook%20page%20ebook2011.pdf (accessed on 24 September 2011).
  29. Lee, D.; Hosanagar, K.; Nair, H. S. Advertising content and consumer engagement on social media: evidence from Facebook. Sci. 2018, 64, 5105–5131.

Dr. Gohar Khan
Dr. Pengji Wang
Dr. Jacob Wood
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • Social media, new opportunities, and operational models of sustainable business
  • Branding of sustainable business and social media
  • Social media and sustainable consumer behavior
  • Corporate social responsibility and social media
  • Social media and sustainable business in different cultures and industries
  • Environmental capabilities and social media
  • Business capabilities for environmentally sustainable use of social media
  • The role of social media in environmentally sustainable business, etc.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Media: Comparison between Developing and Developed Countries
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5255; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135255 - 29 Jun 2020
Social media allow companies to engage with their interest groups, thus enabling them to solidify corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies. The concept of CSR is now well-established for companies in Western countries, and CSR is becoming an increasingly popular topic in developing countries. [...] Read more.
Social media allow companies to engage with their interest groups, thus enabling them to solidify corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies. The concept of CSR is now well-established for companies in Western countries, and CSR is becoming an increasingly popular topic in developing countries. This study investigated differences in the perception of the term ‘CSR’ on Instagram between developing and developed countries. We analysed 113,628 Instagram messages from 38,590 unique users worldwide. The data were recorded between 19 November 2017 and 11 December 2018. In both developed and developing countries, charity and social good were common features. On the contrary, a difference was identified in the area of sustainability, which is an important part of communication in developed countries, and the area of education, which is an important part of communication in developing countries. Community analysis revealed four dominant communities in developed countries: (1) philanthropic responsibility, (2) environmental sustainability, (3) pleasure from working and (4) start-ups with CSR; and three in developing countries: (1) social and environmental responsibility, (2) philanthropic responsibility and (3) reputation management. These results could facilitate the strategic management of CSR to adapt communication to local environments and company contexts. Our findings could allow managers to focus CSR activities on relevant issues in developing countries and thus differentiate their CSR communication from competing organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media Strategy in Sustainable Business)
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