How social media helps to push CSR activities in companies

Key figures on corporate sustainability, philanthropy or sponsorships are often hidden somewhere within annual reports. These numbers are something businesses can be proud and therefor are increasingly embracing social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to directly communicate their efforts.
For a long time companies were practicing CSR without communicating it, but with customers nowadays a click-away, and them being crucial for business survival and growth, social media marketing has become a must have for businesses.

Inspired by these developments, Edie.net, a website on sustainability, compiled a list of the following 5 ways how social media is driving CSR.
– Brand perception is heavily affected by social media
One of the best examples how social media can change brand perception is probably Coca Cola’s PlantBottle. The aim of this campaign was to make young eco-friendly minded customers to see Coca Cola’s bottles differently. With half a million views in 5 days and an engagement rate of 28%, the campaign was a huge success. Following Coca Cola’s social media campaigns in 2014, they saw a 10% increase in positive brand perception and a 66% reduction in random negative comments about the brand.
– Corporate messages can be disguised as a game and shared on social media
With the use of social media, companies can also package their sustainable messages in the form of a game. Chipotle launched in 2013 an app-based game focused on seeking out sustainable food, combined with a YouTube film. The combined campaigns were watched 21 million times and made the Chipotle brand to be seen as a defender of sustainability.
– Social media can create overlap between marketing and sustainability
Using social media, companies can share sustainability messages while reaching a large audience . A report earlier this week proofed this to be a critical point, concluding that practicing sustainability does not translate into business success unless properly marketed.
– Business cannot hide on social media from consumer opinions
In an opposite way, social media also enables large groups of people to engage with businesses. Earlier this year, consumer group SumOfUs launched an international ad campaign striking Doritos and parent company PepsiCo for the destruction of the rainforest and unsustainable use of palm oil. PepsiCo reacted by reaffirming its commitment to 100% sustainable palm oil by 2015 and zero deforestation in its activities.
– Social media promotes debates on a global level
Social media became a platform for global debates and Q&A sessions where concerned customers can directly approach business leaders. For instance, Telecom company BT organized an online discussion named Better Future Forum, bringing in the world’s leading thinkers. The event hashtag #Betterfutureforum had a twitter reach of 670,000 in one day, making the event a huge success.
To learn more:
#Sustainability: Five ways social media is driving CSR

More on the same topic:
Making a difference through CSR
The impact of consumers’ voice on CSR
The future of CSR practices