There’s more to building a brand than touting the benefits of your products. Today’s consumers care more and more about issues such as values, social responsibility, and good works. One of the best ways to highlight your good works is via social media. Don’t overlook this opportunity to discuss your charitable actions, community involvement, fundraising, and other good works on your social media pages.
Why CSR is Important
If you have the idea that it’s impolite or unseemly to brag about positive actions and corporate social responsibility (CSR), think again. The fact is, your customers and social media followers want to know about this. People are especially concerned about issues such as corporate responsibility and sustainability. The Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report found that 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands. This is a rising concern among all consumers, but millennials in particular care about these issues.
Once you realize people do indeed care about corporate social responsibility, the next question is how to best communicate your views and actions in this area. Traditionally, this type of information was revealed in CSR reports or by sending out press releases. While these are still valid strategies, it’s now important to add social media to the mix. The 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global Study revealed that 61 percent of global consumers use social media to engage with companies on CSR issues. Social media provides one of the simplest ways to show your audience that you’re committed to socially responsible practices.
Companies that Use Social Media to Showcase Good Works
Social media posts provide an easy way to show your audience that you’re committed to CSR. Here are a few examples of companies that effectively do this.
- Perdue Chicken. Like many food companies, Perdue faces criticism from environmental and animal rights groups. The large chicken company has recently made efforts to improve conditions for its chickens. In one Facebook post, the company actually thanked an animal rights group for pointing out a violation so that it could correct the situation. This is an example of taking a potentially negative situation and using it to showcase its commitment to improvements.
- Ten Thousand Villages. This company specializes in selling fair trade goods. It emphasizes its commitment to helping people on its social media pages. One way Ten Thousand Villages does this is by posting short videos about the stories behind its products. The company’s Twitter feed similarly promotes its message, connecting its products with a vision.
- Ben & Jerry’s. The ice cream company created an ice cream flavor called Empower Mint to support voter’s rights. Social media images of the ice cream coupled with the message allowed Ben & Jerry’s to publicize its social message while also promoting its products.
There are many ways to use social media to promote CSR. The type of issues and causes you promote depend on your audience, of course.
Guidelines for CSR Social Media Campaigns
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when using social media to showcase your good works.
- Tie in good works with your larger story. While it’s always helpful to highlight charity works and good causes, it works even better if you can show that it’s all part of your business’s core values and mission. In the case of a company such as Ten Thousand Villages, this is easy because the whole purpose of the business is to sell fair trade goods. However, any company can make CSR part of its mission statement.
- Be subtle and modest. Avoid grandstanding or coming across as self-righteous. In some cases, it even helps to admit mistakes, as in the example of Perdue. Using humor and reminding your followers that you’re not perfect helps your company avoid coming across as too boastful.
- Recruit your employees. Encourage workers to post their own images and posts to support your campaign. Your campaigns have a more grassroots feel when people can see that your employees are participating.
- Use compelling images combined with hashtags. Images are not only eye-catching, they make it easier to showcase your actions without overtly bragging. Hashtags are another way to do this and make your posts easier to find.
- Get your followers involved. Invite your social media followers to send in their comments, images, and videos related to your mission. Respond to contributions to encourage maximum interaction.
When used correctly, social media is one of the most effective tools for telling the world how committed you are to CSR. You can tailor these tips to your own needs and the kind of customers you’re targeting. The main point to keep in mind is that people today care as much about your values and good works as they do about your products.