How to Use Social Media with Your Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts
As a business, it’s time that you consider the role of social media and how it can help you grow your corporate social responsibility (CSR) footprint.
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Throughout 2015, we’ve seen hundreds of fantastic examples of successful corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in a variety of different industries. And while every company approaches their CSR efforts differently, it’s clear that social media plays an important role in the success of these well-intended initiatives.
As a business, it’s time that you consider the role of social media and how it can help you grow your CSR footprint.
Social Media and CSR
While some would argue that CSR shouldn’t be looked at in terms of PR and marketing, the reality is that every business embarks on CSR initiatives with the goal of improving brand image. To say otherwise would be foolish.
Today, that means social media and CSR are intertwined. If a business wants to become involved with an issue, it needs to leverage social media. You can see how large corporations like Molson Coors, Tyson Foods, and Haagen-Dazs have achieved this.
But most brands don’t properly utilize the connection between CSR and social media. For example, Chevron has been involved in a fantastic initiative where it sells millions of gallons of wastewater to farmers in California’s drought regions. This is a wonderful program, yet you wouldn’t know anything about it if you logged on to Chevron’s social profiles. It’s a missed opportunity to casually raise consumer awareness.
5 Tips for Leveraging Social Media
As a business owner, marketer, or social media manager, you should be thinking about how your business can maximize its CSR efforts by effectively leveraging social media. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Engage in two-way communication
The value of social media is maximized when brands invest in two-way communication. By engaging with your followers, you can spark conversation and show people that you genuinely care about the issues your brand is backing.
2. Ask questions and listen
One aspect of social engagement that you must learn to master is the art of asking and listening. Too often, businesses make the mistake of filling their newsfeeds with endless streams of content, without ever taking the time to listen. You’ll learn a lot about your followers by simply hearing what they have to say about your CSR efforts.
3. Respond to comments
Nothing is more frustrating for a social media user than to engage with a brand and never hear from them. It makes the customer feel like the brand is above them. As we’ve stressed thus far, social media is a two-way street. A CSR initiative is only successful if the brand is willing to interact.
4. Be authentic and original
“It’s a mistake for companies to think that they cannot tell the truth and hide anything they do,” says entrepreneur Jeffery Hollender. “Whether it’s a customer, or an employee, or a reporter, someone will disclose a corporation’s dirty little secrets.” There’s no room for dishonesty or a lack of transparency on social. If you’re going to launch a CSR initiative, you must be willing to open up.
5. Never pat yourself on the back
The challenging part about mixing social media and CSR lies in the inconsistencies. While CSR is all about being selfless and charitable, social media is a self-serving, egocentric platform. It’s important that you never pat yourself on the back or make the CSR initiative about your brand. Make subtle inferences and draw attention back to the issue.
The Future of CSR Initiatives
As social media continues to expand its influence over the majority of the population, we’ll naturally begin to see more and more CSR initiatives touted and shared on social networks. This is the future of corporate social responsibility – and you don’t want to miss out.
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