Social media-savvy people are more likely to be helpful to others offline too, new research has found.

A study of 24,000 consumers across the 16 largest countries found that those who are most connected, living on the cutting edge of social media tend to be more ‘prosocial’ than average, being more likely to do volunteer work, offer their seats in crowded places, lend possessions to others and give directions.

The research was compiled by Let’s Heal, an Amsterdam-based independent non-profit organization which aims to help brands become more prosocial – brands that help others by doing good.

“It’’s no secret that I’’m especially interested in ‘Meaningful Prosocial Brands’ in particular, because rather than just helping others, they facilitate their consumers to help others and in doing this, they can mobilize a  large force for good,” says Let’s Heal founder Mark Woerde. “‘Meaningful Prosocial Brands’ go beyond ‘social responsibility’.  These brands use their marketing power and engage target groups to the max and facilitate  them to help other people by tackling small or big societal issues.”

Woerde gives nappy (diaper) brand Pampers as an example of a prosocial brand, noting how it has committed to ridding the world of tetanus by the year 2013, making the issue key to its brand. For each Pampers pack purchased, one child gets vaccinated.

It appears that these prosocial brands particularly appeal to social media-savvy folk. The study found that 72% of the social media savyy prefer to buy prosocial brands, compared to 61% of people less engaged in social media. Similarly, the savvy folk tend to prefer working for a prosocial company (81%) more than most (61%).

While most prosocial brands are likely to be ‘doing good’ in order to maintain a positive image in the eyes of the public, it seems that doing good correlates closely with use of social media. In short, this study seems to indicate that either social media makes us nicer… or nicer people use social media more

You can draw your own conclusions by downloading the full study from LetsHeal.org.