Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the total of your business’s actions to operate ethically, or otherwise give back to your community. While there are intrinsic values for these strategies and policies, there’s, even more, value if you can show your efforts to your target audience. Social media is one of the best ways to do that—but only with the right approach.
Types of CSR
What exactly qualifies as corporate social responsibility?
There’s no single right or wrong answer here, but some of the most popular forms include:
- Green operations. These include environmentally friendly practices and efforts, such as pursuing daily activities with fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
- Avoid the disruption of urban or natural environments. This could include a business preventing the destruction of a historical building, or changing operations to maintain the homeostasis of a given environment.
- Charitable donations. Companies could also donate to charity, or to causes they deem worthy, with money or with given time and resources.
- Ethical hiring decisions. Companies can also hire ethically, by pursuing general policies, rewarding internal workers, and treating their employees fairly.
The Rule of Subtlety
The most important thing to remember when showcasing your CSR efforts on social media is the function of subtlety in your strategy. Bragging about your socially responsible efforts can come across as self-promotional and insincere, which can drive more people away than you end up attracting. There’s nothing wrong with making an announcement here, but the more subtle you are in your approach, the more respect you’re liable to earn from your community.
Strategies for Effectiveness
So how can you show off your CSR efforts through social media without coming off as arrogant or self-centered as a brand?
1. Syndicate press releases.
Press releases remain one of the best ways to spread the word about your company, and they hold additional advantages when used for CSR promotions. The idea is to write up an article with some newsworthy update about your business, then deliver that section to hundreds of press outlets, who may or may not publish it on their respective platforms. You’ll get links, visibility, and most importantly for the CSR game—third-party verification. You aren’t the one bragging about your efforts; instead, these news outlets are. When you share these press releases, you’re just promoting what others are saying about you (even if you’re the one who did the actual writing).
2. Work with other organizations.
Another way to get credit for your efforts without bragging is to work with another company or organization. For example, you could partner with a charity to raise awareness for a given issue, then post updates about that issue (along with an explanation of your partnership). Since you’ll be using social media in a constructive and impactful way here, you can’t be criticized for being self-promotional. Plus, you’ll get third-party validation by working with another organization.
3. Encourage individual employees to volunteer and post.
Another great way to showcase your efforts is to get your employees to do some of the postings for you. Have your staff volunteer for a charitable event, and post about their experiences, or encourage them to share their journeys while working for your company. Individual social media posts come with more credibility than branded ones, so you’ll easily start off on the right foot with your audience.
4. Rely on images and video of the action.
Talking about your efforts is good, but showing your efforts is much better. Instead of making written updates about what you’re doing as a company, give people a visual demonstration. If you can, take pictures of your employees and leaders getting involved, hands-on. If you can’t, consider creating infographics or video graphics that demonstrate the impact your company has had in a given area, such as a graph of how much you’ve reduced your carbon emissions.
5. Show live feeds.
In the same vein, consider implementing more live feeds of your work—this is particularly useful if you’re co-hosting an event with a charitable organization, or if your employees are volunteering. Live feeds to make your followers feel like they’re a part of the action, and allow them to witness your efforts firsthand, rather than reading your description of them.
These strategies should help you create better synergy between your CSR and social media strategy. With them, you’ll be able to attract more followers and cultivate a better reputation for your brand at the same time. Depending on your demographics, you may need to adjust these strategies to serve their interests and values better—and of course, your choice in CSR strategies plays a massive role as well. Pay attention to how your audiences respond, and adjust accordingly.