Social Media CSR Tips for Small Businesses

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?

New audiences

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.

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7 thoughts on “Social Media CSR Tips for Small Businesses

  1. Fabian Pattberg

    Great post David. We have not by any means seen the full potential of Social Media. The next years will be so interesting. For everyone involved. From the big corporations to the small business and NGOs.

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    1. davidcoethica Post author

      Thanks Fabian. Appreciate the comment. I’m fascinated by the opportunities that social media is presenting, especially offering a relatively level playing field from SME to corps and NGOs.

      Need to go an upload a new 3BL video – playing catch up!

      David

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  2. Claudia Guzman

    Excellent post! Thanks for sharing your ideas.It is interesting to know how social media can be a very good tool when it comes to business’ corporate social responsibilities.

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    1. davidcoethica Post author

      Hi Claudia

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Social media is just another, albeit high profile, communication tool. Anything that can help spread the word and engage a wider audience should be a productive experience.

      It’s great to watch CSR and social media managed well, merging to provide new opportunities for businesses and information for their stakeholders. Timberland is just one leading example.

      I think we are only beginning to see the tip of the potential iceberg of social media for the CSR agenda as we all understand the communication mechanisms better. I personally think social media has given CSR a creative shot in the arm it despearetly needed.

      David

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  3. Gemma Parmar

    This is such a great point about using social media for companies. Social media and social networking is such a powerful force, no more so than when it’s channeled into being used for something good.

    You should also read this article on how social media can not only help businesses implement CSR, but can help create happy employees in the process> http://www.leapanywhere.com/blog/205-social-media-why-happy-employees-make-the-best-evangelists

    P.S Well done on having such a great blog.

    Gemma.

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  4. Paul Dunn

    I think we need to seriously consider the phraseology too, David.

    My instinct or EQ (call it what you will) tells me that ‘CSR’ just doesn’t ‘connect’ emotionally with SMEs. Why? Because ‘Corporate means BIG business. So we need another phrase to really make a difference.

    As a start, let’s use BSR and see what happens!

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    1. davidcoethica Post author

      For me the name isn’t the biggest issue. It’s how it’s historically presented to SME’s more than anything. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

      I’ve seen a few attempts at jumping the terminology barrier. I’m not a huge fan of the term ‘CSR’ but at least there is a growing body of documentation that can provide credibility and improving guidance. I’ve seen numerous suggestions including better business, responsible business conduct (OECD), ethical business, etc but from experience, at least CSR has a track record.

      I’m always wary of further confusing an already confused SME audience (if they have heard about it at all) and whatever is used needs wide recognition before we damage what is in essence a fragile brand foothold.

      David

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