The information age changed the consumers’ behavior. They don’t just seek high-quality products and services from businesses anymore — not even affordable prices. While those factors matter when they make a purchasing decision, they consider one more factor: the business’s social responsibility.
Social responsibility, or corporate social responsibility (CSR), isn’t compulsory. But it’s a crucial aspect of marketing. Without CSR, you may not leave a lasting impression on your customers. In fact, customers could instantly turn their backs on you if they learned that you aren’t socially responsible.
Besides reasonable pricing and high-quality offers, CSR lets consumers view your company as a positive force in society. Since businesses’ can influence people’s lifestyles, consumers expect them to promote responsible practices. For example, to encourage people to be more sustainable, well-known brands swapped out their plastic packaging for biodegradable ones. This taught consumers that every plastic waste is a hazard to our environment.
But sustainable packaging is common practice now. We need another strategy with a big impact, one that can reach groups outside your target audience. And that strategy only requires one tool: social media.
The Role of Social Media in CSR
One example of a CSR program is raising awareness about a specific cause. This allows companies to give voices to marginalized communities that the media doesn’t represent enough. Raising awareness also incites action, such as encouraging customers to make more responsible purchases.
Using social media is the best way for you to raise awareness. And it doesn’t have to cost you money. All you need to do is post frequently about the cause you support. You have to commit to a specific frequency, or your followers could quickly forget about your cause.
Even if you don’t have a specific cause, your social media can still make your business socially responsible. In fact, the act of using social media itself is a major responsibility, as it’s prone to misuse. Even companies, politicians, and other public figures can mess up on social media, causing an online uproar that could last for days. In extreme cases, someone who has misused social media do not recover anymore, as the damage they’ve left is beyond repair.
Social media has become even more present in people’s lives now that there’s a pandemic. As such, businesses were urged to use their social media to engage with their customers. This act alone can be a form of CSR because businesses are supposed to be committed to making their customers’ lives easier. And with the pandemic disrupting the normal cycle of people’s spending, companies used social media to keep themselves relevant in their customers’ lives.
Ways to Use Social Media for CSR Programs
Aside from raising awareness, there are many more ways to use social media to fulfill your CSR. Consider the following for your small business:
Using a Volunteering Platform
If your small company is looking for ways to give back, try using an online corporate volunteering platform. It lets your employees choose a cause they want to support. The platform also enables them to donate, plan CSR events, and post about their activities. Then they can share their experiences on your business’ social media to promote giving back.
Promoting Charitable Programs
Many small businesses give back by donating a part of their sales to charity. Sometimes, they’d release a special collection or limited edition products solely for that purpose. This strategy effectively encourages customers to buy, as it has double benefits.
To pull off a program like this, use your social media to promote it heavily. Consider choosing a sustainable organization as your beneficiary. According to a 2015 survey by Nielsen, over 50% of customers are willing to spend more for a business that promotes sustainability.
Posting About Your Brand Values and Beliefs
Consumers no longer see businesses as separate entities. Since brands started using social media, they’ve become more human in people’s eyes. That’s why consumers are always quick to like, comment, and share posts from a brand’s social media. They also appreciate it when brands act relatable, like Chipotle, which uses memes to engage customers.
To appear more human and relatable to your customers, post about your brand’s values and beliefs. You don’t have to use a formal or serious tone unless your business is targeted toward professionals. The key is to speak your market’s language. If your values and beliefs align with them, you’ll successfully encourage your customers to buy. According to Forrester Research, 52% of consumers — at least in the U.S. — factor values into their purchase choices.
Amid all the hate and “cancel” culture festering on social media, make your business a comforting presence online. Remind all users that more important things could use their attention and that you’re not simply going after profits.