November 10, 2015

Three Ways Corporate Social Responsibility Increases Consumer Engagement

It’s no secret that consumers are becoming increasingly focused on business initiatives to help protect the planet. In fact, according to a study conducted by Nielsen, 66 percent of respondents stated they’d be willing to pay more for a product based on certain sustainability factors, including organic ingredients, environmental friendliness and a display of positive social values.

For this reason, businesses should not only stay true to their sustainability commitments but show consumers that they’re doing so through a variety of channels—think social media, email and blog posts. You will increase transparency into your organization’s value proposition (beyond a product pitch), and give your brand a more personal touch when you communicate your message of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to consumers.

Messages about your CSR increase consumer engagement with your brand because they are:

  • Engaging: Your business will attract more consumers when you produce content built around your CSR. No one wants to scroll through Twitter and be bombarded with product-related tweets. On the other hand, tweets or Facebook posts regarding a new business initiative or project geared toward social responsibility are far more likely to capture the attention of consumers. Furthermore, the people who like what they see are also more likely to share that post with others.
  • Transparent: If your business shares its culture, operations and personality with consumers, they become more familiar with your organization, which leads to trust. As well, a high level of transparency makes your business appear more real and human. In turn, people will feel more compelled to engage with your brand and more comfortable sharing their opinions, thoughts and suggestions with you on social media.
  • Different: In today’s day and age, businesses aren’t short on competition. For this reason, standing out isn’t a bonus; it’s a must. Implementing a CSR strategy and promoting it will set your business apart, especially if this is an area that your competition is neglecting. Not only will your CSR-oriented content catch consumer attention, it will display your sense of responsibility in comparison to other businesses. Your business will stand out as a pillar of the community.

Coca Cola is a great example of a company that pays close attention to its CSR and capitalizes off of it at the same time. Last year, the company released a collection of 16 different caps for Coca Cola bottles in Asia. The idea was that when people were done drinking the bottles, they wouldn’t throw them away but instead use them for something else. The caps included fun and useful add-ons such as a paint brush, a squeeze top for condiments, a baby rattle, a whistle, bubble wands and more.

Sounds cool, right? Well it is, and social media users thought so too as the new strategy garnered Coca Cola a lot of attention. The soft drink company successfully breathed new life into its products and did so with a purpose. People were quick to share, reply and get behind this thoughtful, simple and down-right cool new campaign.

So, CSR can provide good fodder from a content stand point, but how can your business go about spreading the word? As mentioned above, try these channels:

  • Social media: Nowadays, social media should be at the heart of any well-constructed integrated content marketing campaign because you can use the platform to direct your audience to your other posts and content. Do you have a cool video? Share it on Facebook or YouTube. Do you have a compelling and thought-provoking blog post? Tweet it. Yet, even a compelling tweet or post by itself will assist in getting the word out. If any of your content goes viral, it will most likely to do so via social media, so make sure that you’re utilizing this channel to its fullest potential.
  • Email newsletters: If you already have an email newsletter (which you should), then consider adding sustainability-related content to it. Emails are a personal approach to keeping your customers informed of your doings. It’s also a great way to share unique content with your key targets. Since much of what you share and post will be available on a variety of public platforms, emails are a great way to give your customers a personal message or treat for their eyes only. This could come in the form of a special report on one of your specific sustainability-oriented projects or maybe an infographic about the impact that your company has had since launching an environmentally friendly campaign. You don’t have to always sell, sell, sell. Sometimes people just want to know that you care—and that’s enough reason for them to stick around.
  • Blog posts: Blog posts are an excellent way to bolster your sustainability efforts because they engender the opportunity to pen well-crafted thought leadership pieces. Use blog posts to expand on your business’s ideals, values and thoughts—and give these messages a personality that will resonate with readers. This isn’t something that can be achieved in a 140-character tweet or email newsletter, so save the longer-form content for your business’s blog.

Social responsibility is a win-win for everyone. Citizens of the earth benefit and will applaud your efforts to improve their world. And from a content marketing standpoint, with your CSR initiative, you’ll have a whole new realm of material for promoting your brand.

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