Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is one of those buzz terms people like to throw around, but not really understand how it can be implemented strategically. According to Investopedia, ‘CSR’ is incurring short-term costs in order to promote positive social and environmental change. Now is the time to wake up to CSR and particularly the impact that social media has on the communication of such activities.
My main inspiration for writing this article came from a tweet I saw this month from the CEO of Timpson – James Timpson. On January 1st 2015, the firm announced that they were offering to clean the clothes of any unemployed person for the purpose of attending an interview. This inspirational case of great CSR aims to increase the employability of the disadvantaged.
The principle of this genuine gesture is obviously great, but there is no denying that this campaign run by Timpson has also done wonders for the company’s personal brand. Are the benefits of CSR widely understood? Truthfully – I don’t think so. Many people often view the concept as deflecting management responsibilities from profit-making activities. However, having worked for both a global corporation and an independent business, I have learnt that CSR can provide unique benefits to companies of any size.
So What Can You Get Out Of Social CSR?
Reaching Wider Audiences:
It is human instinct to share something that inspires you. Once upon a time, this would involve meeting up with someone and conversing about it, or more recently, you may have sent a text or email. However, thanks to instant sharing and retweeting, people are seeing more and more of people’s likes (and dislikes). Which means it is more important than ever to get the right message out there. All it takes is one retweet or share and the potential readership of your cause multiplies exponentially.
It isn’t just cat videos that are going viral these days. ‘No makeup selfies’ and ice bucket challenges dominated social media channels in 2014 (and rightly so). The exposure that viral content receives is invaluable. Brand recognition, improved conversion rates, and increased visibility. If you want to get other people involved social media is the perfect place to share charitable efforts.
CSR can also work wonders for your organisational culture. Working as a team towards one common goal provides intrinsic motivators to staff members. Done well, employees will want to share their work experiences across social media. Social amplification is becoming increasingly important for organisations’ digital marketing campaigns. The birth of services such as ‘GaggleAMP’ are making it easier for people within your circle to promote your social activity, and this I see as a major trend for 2015.
Many businesses are doing plenty to help good causes, both local and national, so why not talk about it? Traditionally, businesses have promoted acts of goodwill through conventional PR channels. But with the rise of social media, this practice has become increasingly commonplace on Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn.
Take for example tech giant, Intel Corporation, who at the time of writing this blog had only yesterday posted their latest Facebook post about inspiring a conflict-free tech world. Companies are leveraging their social followers (in this case, all 26,181,611 of them) to promote their latest CSR actions.
So if you’re doing something good – let people know. If not, don’t you think it’s about time you did?