Corporate social responsibility (CSR) offers many benefits to companies: it improves their reputation, enhances customer loyalty, attracts and retains employees and builds a community around the company.According to research conducted by the Reputation Institute, 42% of respondents state that their opinion on a firm derives from its CSR practices. For this reason, it’s important for businesses to engage in CSR activities and to know how to communicate to their stakeholders about them. For our world’s sake and their own.
And what’s the most effective tool to communicate with your target audience if not social media?
Social media are increasingly perceived by consumers as a reliable source of information. In turn, they provide great opportunities for companies to establish a deeper connection with stakeholders. While they are generally used to promote services and products; research shows that there is real value in strategically framing and sharing CSR practices on social media. It can convert people’s neutral opinion on a company into a positive one. Discussing CSR on social networks can increase consumer loyalty and trust, educate the public on a meaningful initiative, encourage followers to act and give new life to a company’s image.
For example, consider big energy companies, which now run social media campaigns promoting their sustainability efforts. While in the past a press release about a certain activity would have been enough, now they engage in open conversations on Facebook or Twitter. Besides, corporations benefit from a large follower-base that, if triggered, can turn into a real social movement defending a cause.
The key to making this all happen is social media. So, how can companies harness their potential and share their Corporate Social Responsibility efforts?
Here are 5 tips for business owners, marketers and social media managers to create a sound CSR strategy on social media.
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The value social media can carry for a brand is enhanced when there is two-way communication with consumers. So, companies need to learn to ask and listen to what their followers have to say about their CSR initiatives. By engaging with your stakeholders, you can spark conversation. You can show them that you genuinely care about the issues you are advocating for.
As always, but especially in this case, visual content is key. It helps boost engagement through pictures and meaningful quotes that summarise the CSR mission statement. Being entertaining and creative helps involve your followers and increases the chances they will share the content with their network.
The more transparent you are in telling your CSR activities, the more people will take interest in your message. In this age of digital democracy, creating successful CSR online campaigns requires a transparent strategy. It shows your priority to bring a honest coverage to certain challenges. So, don’t force your hand or try to be something you’re not. Social media users will be able to tell.
Identify the issue you want to address in your campaign and clearly explain it to your audience. Pinpoint the different challenges involved, how you will overcome them and the path to get there. To resonate with your followers, you have to document every step of the way on your social media channels. This way, your accomplishments will feel like theirs, and they will feel involved in the positive impact of your work on society.
Social media are a powerful tool to activate a company’s employees. By showcasing their volunteer efforts or getting involved in their local community, they are a reminder of your commitments. A simple picture of employees volunteering at a charity event goes a long way to prove a firm’s mission statement in the community.
In short, social media are key to Corporate Social Responsibility. They activate your core base of followers, customers and employees to bring real change.