Abstract: Young people are avid users of social media and have appeared as a powerful force for social change, as shown by the ranks of those who have joined Greta Thunberg in the global climate movement. In addition to challenging political institutions and governments, young people today are also holding the corporate world accountable. To respond to young people’s expectations, brands, and organizations have turned to social media to interact and build relationships with them. However, critics have lamented that these attempts often fail and that young people’s trust in institutions, brands, and organizations continues to decline. This article asks how young people perceive organizational listening on social media and whether their perceptions are related to their trust in the information shared by brands and other organizations on social media. Data for the study were gathered through an online survey in Finland and the UK. The respondents (N = 1,534), aged 15–24, represent the age cohort known as Generation Z. The results show that organizational listening is connected to higher levels of perceived benefits from social media as well as higher levels of trust in the information that brands, public authorities, and non-governmental organizations share on social media. The results highlight the role of competent listening on social media, bolstering the previous literature connecting both organizational listening and trust with higher levels of participation and engagement online.
Keywords: brands; organizational listening; generation Z; social media; trust