During these challenging times, businesses have displayed remarkable resilience and innovation in response to the pandemic. Witnessing the multitude of inspiring brands stepping out of their comfort zones and engaging in acts of generosity has been truly humbling. In case you missed it, we’ve compiled a list of five exceptional brands that have been driving innovation during the pandemic. Additionally, we’ll address the question of whether small companies should embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR) or leave it to larger corporations like Coca-Cola and Microsoft. It has been an enlightening experience to observe entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes utilize their resources to innovate and make a positive impact on the world.
The Challenge of Promoting CSR:
However, promoting CSR can be a challenging task. If you’re a large corporation, excessive promotion of your CSR activities may lead to accusations of being profit-driven. On the other hand, for small tobusinesses, it can be difficult to promote CSR initiatives effectively, especially if they are not substantial enough to gain significant recognition. So, how can businesses strike a balance? Is there a middle ground where CSR initiatives can be publicized without sounding self-serving or profit-driven? Let’s explore some key strategies for promoting CSR initiatives without compromising authenticity or diluting their impact.
To Brag or Not to Brag?
Contrary to the famous line from Fight Club, when it comes to CSR, it’s essential to talk about it. Traditionally, CSR has been perceived as a marketing tactic employed by large corporations to showcase their philanthropic side. Such campaigns were often heavily promoted, resulting in companies gaining reputations as benevolent heroes who prioritize humanity over their own bottom line. However, nobody wants to come across as disingenuous or opportunistic. Nonetheless, it is crucial to ensure that your CSR efforts receive the attention they deserve. A well-written article by Social Media Today highlights the paradox of self-promotion and offers valuable tips on maintaining proper social media etiquette while promoting CSR initiatives. Here’s how you can strike the right balance:
1. Assemble a Promotions Team:
Promoting CSR cannot be treated as a task to be squeezed in during a lunch break. To make a lasting impact, it’s essential to allocate dedicated time and resources to publicize and promote your CSR project. This can be achieved by establishing a promotions team or designating a specific individual responsible for raising awareness about your CSR initiatives. This conscious dedication demonstrates your commitment to the cause and significantly influences how your audience engages with your brand, messaging, and the project itself.
2. Involve Employees:
One of the most effective ways to communicate your CSR efforts to the public is through your employees. However, this does not mean asking everyone in the company to post about the initiatives on their personal social media accounts. Instead, involve employees right from the start, fostering a sense of ownership and enthusiasm for the project. When employees genuinely care about the initiative, their organic social reach becomes a powerful tool for promotion. Sharing content on their channels is more likely to generate authentic interactions from their followers. People naturally love to celebrate the efforts of their friends and acquaintances, making this type of promotion the best kind that exists!
3. Share Embedded Content, Not Screenshots:
If you want your CSR conversation to extend beyond a week or two, avoid sharing screengrabbed content. Instead, leverage the organic traffic generated by your team and staff members by embedding content in your posts. By creating evergreen content that people can interact with even after the initiative concludes, you ensure that your CSR content continues to engage and resonate with your audience. Whether it’s your audience, customers, stakeholders, or investors, enabling them to comment, share, and interact with your content leads to a more enduring impact.
4. Share Images of Impact
Visual content reigns supreme, especially when aiming for virality. Regardless of the nature of your CSR initiative, visual content can effectively promote it. Images are X times more likely to be opened compared to other types of content, such as written or data-based. For larger CSR projects, such as The Water Project, images offer an authentic and compelling way to showcase the real impact being made. If your initiative revolves around people, like Levi Strauss & Co’s Worker Well-being initiative, simple images featuring the individuals impacted by the project speak volumes. Remember, it’s crucial to show rather than tell.
Developing a CSR program is a challenge in itself, but promoting it effectively is equally demanding. Winning over stakeholders and capturing the attention of new audiences often requires repeated attempts and a fair amount of trial and error. By following the four holistic tips mentioned above, you can begin promoting your business’s CSR initiatives in a manner that inspires trust and action. If you have recently launched a CSR program, we invite you to comment below or send us a message on LinkedIn to share your experience. We would love to hear your story!