Corporate social responsibility (CSR) balances public interest with business interests to grow. It's an approach to sustainability that businesses take to create long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing various environmental, social and economic risks. This approach stems from an owness to self-regulate activities due in part to the growing importance that the public, media and special interest groups place on holding business accountable for their actions. This is an important opportunity for an organization to communicate their business reason for being, over and above generating shareholder value.
The production of a dedicated sustainability report adds tangible business value through the presentation of a company's key financial and nonfinancial information. Many companies have them. In Canada, the large Canadian banks come to mind as having some of the best.
The internet affords integrated reporting opportunities that cannot be done on paper. Here are some things to keep in mind when building the conversation about CSR on social media channels.
- Earn the respect of the community through meaningful content. Add something to the conversation rather than simply disseminate "good news" company key messages.
- Be authentic and as transparent and honest as possible. Consult your company's training policy on social media disclosure before diving in.
- Remember the human element in your communications- always be warm, friendly and engaging.
- Talk about the transformation process. Businesses do not become "green" overnight and customers get annoyed when they are presented as such.
- See how people respond to information and include relevant insights in your analysis reports for your senior management team to inform their strategic decision-making.
- Do your best and leave the rest! You can't change everyone's mind but you can share with them what you know.
Food for Thought: Which businesses do you think do a good job of leveraging the social media space in their CSR reporting?