6 Easy Ways to Use Social Media and Corporate Social Responsibility

Social Media and Corporate Responsibility

Social media has become part of our daily lives. Responsible businesses can use social media and corporate social responsibility to help change the world! 

Here are six easy ways to use social media and corporate social responsibility and one pitfall to avoid. 

6 Easy Ways to Use Social Media and Corporate Social Responsibility

1. Start a Program - Prove Your Commitment

Telling the public that you are dedicated to change is one thing. However,  showing it is another. You have to take action.

Starting a program can prove that you are serious about CSR. 

Fortunately, CSR programs don't have to be fancy or expensive. Check out the examples of CSR programs below. 

Examples of CSR Programs

2. Commit to a Specific Post Frequency - Get Your Good Work Out There

Next, promote your CSR initiatives. Make sure people know about the work you are doing!

The taboo of never tooting your own horn has faded in corporate America. Lots of companies use social media campaigns to showcase their CSR efforts. 

For example, the Hess Corporation promotes their CSR efforts on their Twitter page. 

Social Media and CSR Example

Consider posting about CSR at least twice per month or maybe once per week. Use whatever frequency works for you. Consistency is the key to impactful social media and corporate social responsibility.

Also, consider establishing accounts dedicated to the company's CSR efforts where followers expect to hear CSR updates and news.

3. Highlight Results - Demonstrate Your Impact

Now that your CSR program is up and running, it is time to highlight your results! Next, use specific numbers to generate a meaningful response.

Which of the sentences below has more of an impact?

  • "Our employees picked up trash this month at our local park."
  • "From June 6th to June 12th, our employees picked up over 1,000 pieces of trash at our local park."

The second statement is more impactful because it highlights specific results! Even if the number is small, quantifying your CSR efforts will demonstrate your impact.

Example of Highlighting Results

4. Encourage Behavior - Influence Your Customers

Then, encourage the behavior you want to see. Your brand has the power to influence your customers. Make sure they are receiving beneficial messages!

You could:

  • Provide facts supported by science and research,
  • Spotlight members of the community that are making an impact, or
  • Interview guest speakers

It might seem small, but progress is made one step at a time. Influencing or encouraging even one person will make a difference!

CSR Quote

5. Crowdsource Ideas - Involve Your Followers

Social media lets people present concepts, designs, and ideas for new initiatives. Crowdsourcing ideas generates tons of opportunities. 

For instance, General Electric's "Ecomagination" campaign is a classic case study of successful social media and corporate social responsibility. 

General Electric Ecomagination

People from all over the world submitted green and renewable energy ideas. As a result, 75,000 people participated by submitting ~4,000 submissions. Those ideas have advanced sustainability and helped the planet.

6. Create Meaningful Engagement - Allow For Two Way Conversations

Social media allows for a two-way stream of communication. Companies communicate their CSR initiatives and stakeholders provide immediate feedback. 

Social Media and CSR Information Flow

Social media allows customers and other stakeholders to discuss their experiences, satisfaction or dissatisfaction, revealing weakness in process, communication or implementation of CSR initiatives. Subject to stakeholder reviews, companies can reinvent their initiatives and respond directly to feedback.

One Pitfall to Avoid  

Trying to Control the Narrative 

The two-way flow of information between companies and stakeholders makes social media and corporate social responsibility powerful.

On the other hand,  it can generate risk as well.  Negative information can spread quickly on the web. 

However, avoiding engagement on social media is not the answer.

Today everyone has a voice and a platform. Negative information will find its way onto the web no matter how hard a company fights to control its messaging.

Instead, Aim for Absolute Transparency

The trick is to be transparent and genuine on social media. Be consistent. Build trust with your customers and stakeholders. The benefits will appear.

Social Media and CSR Trust - Graphic of two people shaking hands

In conclustion, social media and corporate social responsibility can influence people and inspire them to make the world a better place.

Social Media and Corporate Social Responsibility Empowers People

Additional Resources

Likeable - Social Media Book
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility - Sustainable Value Creation Book

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About the Author Charles El-Zeind

Charles El-Zeind is passionate about communicating environmental issues such as climate change and sustainability. Charles is currently involved in a grassroots community project with the Fiveways and Hollingdean Transition Network and writes regularly for the Sustainable Business Toolkit. He holds a bachelor degree from the University of Brighton in Environment and Media Studies.

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1 comment
Valerie says October 23, 2012

Thanks for the great post! I think you make an important point in showing how the interactivity of social media allows for greater participation and communication around CSR initiatives. Social media can also allow companies to track their progress through metrics, make CSR fun through game elements and competition, and provide a space for employees to encourage each other.

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