The next couple of years are going to get interesting. Technology is continuing to offer ever inspiring ways of sharing information, especially video; CSR is reinforcing its mainstream foothold and smaller businesses are the incubators of tomorrow’s leaders, innovators and the next Google is in a bedroom, garage or somebody’s head somewhere!
For smaller businesses social networks and social media can provide ideal platforms for getting more from your CSR efforts.
Heres a few tips to get the most from your online opportunities:
They’re called Social Networks for a reason
Many small business spend hours and hours attending local breakfast or evening networking meetings in the belief that they’re an effective way to generate business. Really? Instead of getting up at silly o’clock to meet a small number of the usual suspect local contacts, why not sit at your laptop with a comforting coffee and talk to the millions of business people online? There’s no travelling, so it’s easier on your carbon footprint and a far better use of your time. Social networks are about building relationships so take control, open up your radar and talk to the world instead of the same 15 people at 7am every Monday morning. Don’t forget the endless business cards you’d save and avoid!
CSR best practice is only a few clicks away
Do you need help reducing waste, engaging with employees, greening (or keeping it local) your supply chain or marketing your great ethical efforts? Say hello with ‘#CSR’ (or keyword of your choice after a hash tag) on Twitter for a great community of experts, enthusiasts and leading companies all pretty open to offering tips and links to great CSR / Sustainability information. If you don’t ask you don’t get, so why not ask a few thousand people?
If you’re engaged in CSR you need to ensure you’re talking to all the available audiences on the many CSR theme networks. Check out Justmeans, Development Crossing and Ethical Junction (UK) amongst many, and specific groups on Facebook and Linked In. If your product, service or company is demonstrating environmental or social credibility these are potentially fantastic routes to promote yourself at little or no cost.
Pictures paint thousands of words
Now we’re talking about social media. When Flip video cameras are now £100 and every mobile phone can capture quality pics or video, there’s no excuse for not broadcasting your company on You Tube. Words are good, pictures are better and video is where it’s all heading. Don’t try or expect to be professional, just honest. Raw is often perceived as more trustworthy to polished in the video world. There’s even the new 3BL TV online CSR channel you need to check out! Please, please, please stay well away from badly staged cheque handovers though!
Save paper and go viral
Ever heard of a printed paper flyer ever going viral? Nope, me neither. Here’s a challenge, can you as a small business use your creativity to set an innovative idea loose onto the world via social media? If it’s got that x-factor and people like it and share it with their friends it could get very big, very quick. Take the great CSR work you should be doing and get it online wherever you can.
This is a whistlestop tour of the surface of the exploding world of social media & networks, but continue watching this space, CSR is on the march.