CSR and social media: how to amplify your communication efforts

Blog-CSR-and-SocialMediaWhat is the key to successfully promoting your CSR efforts on social media? Where is the magic button to gain thousands of likes, RT's, followers, increased brand favorability, and greater stakeholder engagement on social media channels? A lot of work goes into planning, executing, and communicating CSR campaigns both internally and externally. The key to doing so successfully is understanding the WHY when integrating social into your communication efforts. Our research at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has shown that CSR efforts are receiving increased corporate investment, and are contributing to company success. This means, as a corporate citizenship professional, you'll have more stories to tell and an increased opportunity to engage your audience in creative ways through technology.
Let's start with the basics and dive into a few social media Q&As to consider—whether you’re building your strategy from scratch or re-evaluating processes already in place:


  • Goal setting is critical to CSR professionals. In social, this is no different. No campaign can get off the ground without first setting measurable and attainable goals. Ensure these goals are quantitative AND qualitative. Are you working to increase brand perception, campaign messaging, or engage the C-suite? Determining what you’re hoping to achieve will set you on the right track to success up front, AND if you feel you've got that box checked, it's not a bad practice to re-review your goals quarterly to ensure you're on the right track. To learn more about how to set goals to advance your CSR strategy, check out our Executive Director’s latest blog.
  • Social media is the perfect forum to connect with other CSR experts on a variety of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics. Sustainability, employee engagement, supply chain–there are many companies (both B2B and B2C) that likely share your ideas and are publishing content that you might find helpful in promoting your own efforts. The Center’s Twitter account—@BCCCC—is one of them!

  • Are employees within your organization engaging with your social media content? They sure should be! Tweet: Are employees within your organization engaging with your #SocialMedia content? They should be! Learn more. http://bit.ly/1CE65EY If not, they may simply need a bit of encouragement or guidance. CSR efforts—and the people promoting them—should not be perceived as behind the curtain. Engagement and transparency can be fostered internally by facilitating sharing across departments and functional roles. Don't forget to have a clear policy that outlines the “do's and don'ts” for your internal stakeholders to set clear expectations regarding how employees should conduct themselves within a socially engaged business. If you don’t have a policy yet, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Intel has an easy to understand policy breaking their social media policy down into three simple steps. Adidas also keeps the policy simple, but reminds employees not to forget their daily jobs: an obvious, yet important, point to make.

  • Are your nonprofit partners on social media? Following and engaging digitally is Step 1; making the most of your online relationships is Step 2. Consider organizing a monthly planning session with your partners to discuss THEIR goals, as well as future initiatives coming down the pipeline. By creating a collaborative network, you can amplify your campaign messages through multiple channels. Plug these dates into your content calendar and share the love. Need some ideas on how to create a content calendar for social media? Hubspot has a fantastic template, customizable to any business.

  • What are you trying to say on social media? First tip: KIR. Keep It Real. "The currency of leadership is transparency," said Howard Schultz, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Starbucks, in a recent piece in the Economist. Social media is one of the most effective tools to transparently communicate your efforts.Tweet: #SocialMedia is one of the most effective tools to #transparently communicate your #CSR efforts. http://bit.ly/17IFQTJ It can act as the voice of your organization, breaking through the clutter to clearly articulate your business goals, reporting efforts, and—most of all—successes. Through social media, you can illustrate the complete arc of an ESG effort—from initial planning through successful execution. You can also demonstrate your commitment to sustainability by providing constant updates on how you aim to get to better.

  • Be the social media expert in your department. Whether your CSR department is a party of one or many, it is important keep abreast of advancements in the digital media space. We all don't have time to follow each and every trend, but if you follow a few key social media influencers—or better yet—influencers in CSR that are active on social media, then all you need to do is log into your twitter to get tips, follow trends, and engage with others leading the way. Buzzsumo is great resource for finding social influencers in your field.

  • The stats are always changing. As long as you’re comfortable with a fast changing environment, social media is the place to be. How do you compose the LinkedIn update? What is the ideal length of Facebook post? Data is everywhere, but only YOU know YOUR audience. Let the data be your guide and never stop learning what your audience responds to. Stay steady in your efforts, don't be afraid to test different tactics—and over time—you'll gain the insight and confidence to be sure you are #winning.

Want more on social media? Watch this on-demand webinar, Harness the Power of Social Media, dedicated to tips, future trends, and quick wins for your CSR social media strategy. Hosted by Tricia MacKenzie (@triciamackenzie), Director of Marketing & Communications at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, and joined by Geoffrey Colon (@djgeoffe), group product marketing manager of emerging media & analytics at Microsoft, and Kari Sherrodd from @msftcitizenship. Click here to watch now (member's only).


You're invited to join the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship for our upcoming course dedicated specifically to CSR communications.

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