We all know that it feels good to give back and that doing this as part of our business model can help many different people and projects in many ways, ways that we simply can’t reach as individuals.
But did you know that ensuring your business gives back is potentially great for your public relations, marketing and communications too?
Being seen as a company with a conscience is becoming increasingly important, especially in our pandemic and climate crisis, and has become a key way for customers, clients, audiences and service users to choose between competitors.
And this momentum is only growing.
Which means not only is it important that your company gives back, but also that you tell people about it.
To learn more about the ways your small business can give back, and how to tell your customers about it, here’s our beginner guide to getting started with CSR.
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What is CSR?
CSR stands for corporate social responsibility.
This covers a whole spectrum of ways that business can give back or take part in philanthropic behaviours.
This might include donating a percentage of profits to charity, sponsoring a specific project, having staff volunteer with a particular organisation or supporting good behaviour models at work, including environmental and mental health initiatives.
Of course, we all want to do good things and give back as individuals, because it feels good, but clubbing together to give back as a business, has the potential to be both more powerful and make more of an impact.
Ensuring your company gets onboard and up to speed with CSR can also grow into a key part of your PR, branding marketing strategy too, with many far-reaching benefits.
Social Puffin and CSR
Here at Social Puffin, we founded the company on the belief that we needed to give back.
And luckily, we came across the best way to do this almost immediately!
As a local business, dedicated to helping other local businesses, we knew we wanted to support something local.
Yes making sure our CSR project was on-brand was crucial to our mission as well.
But local wasn’t enough and, more than that, we wanted to make sure our CSR project fully tied in with our puffin name, logo and image.
Puffins are seabirds which annually choose to nest in the island of Jersey, in the Channel Islands, where our company operates from.
As such, we immediately got in touch with the National Trust Jersey who undertake some amazing work in our island to help the puffin population that nest on the northwest coast here each year.
Monitoring, researching and creating better habitats for these beautiful birds, we quickly discovered that the trust’s Coastline Campaign was the perfect fit for our CSR aims.
And so it was that Social Puffin teamed up with the National Trust Jersey’s Coastline Campaign to support puffins in our home island by donating a percentage of our profits each year to this important conservation project.
Choosing the Right CSR
As you can tell from the way we here at Social Puffin chose our CSR project, there are several key things to think about when selecting yours too.
First up, your chosen organisation, project or campaign should fit with your brand ideals; they should clearly reflect key parts of your brand messaging, enhancing them and bringing to light some of your core values.
You also want to make sure you chosen CSR output has clear aims and actionable steps that can be directly evaluated to both monitor and market your success.
Such steps or aims may include the completion goals of a certain project, a certain number of volunteer hours or a pre-determined fundraising goal.
The Value of CSR
Because there’s no question that building CSR into your marketing strategy is becoming an increasingly important way to win customer business and allegiance.
In our climate crisis and pandemic world, now more than ever, clients are looking for businesses that give back, that do more than simply offer the lowest prices or the greatest profits.
Post-materialistic values (values that go beyond economics) are becoming absolutely crucial in customer decision-making processes, as buyers tap into that more human and personal side of your business.
Strengthening brand identity and showcasing company culture, CSR really is a critical way to position yourself as a company with a conscience.
Communicating Your CSR Work
But of course, there’s no marketing benefit to CSR and therefore far less chance of your hard work attracting new customers or keeping old clients, if you don’t let people know what you’re doing.
And that’s exactly why digital marketing and social media should feed so prominently into your CSR work.
If your business is giving back in any way, then communicating what you are doing, how you are doing it and what results you are getting, is critical in maximising the benefit of your CSR work.
First of all, make sure your CSR work is displayed clearly on your website, letting any visitors to your site know who you are working alongside and what you are doing to help your chosen organisations or projects.
As the project unfolds, or the campaign rolls out, or your staff volunteering gets under way, then capturing the moments of this project and telling the story of your CSR work across your social media channels is a great way to go.
This will really help clients relate to what you are doing, bringing them onboard with the project and the results you are gaining in relation to your chosen aim or goal.
Instagram Stories, Reels, Twitter and TikTok are great mediums you can utilise to share behind the scenes content of your staff at work, or how your project is getting underway.
At the same time, Instagram Feed posts, along with LinkedIn and Facebook posts, are a superb way to showcase finished results, or the best pics from the project, once it is completed or has hit a certain milestone.
Using just a few channels, plus your website, to advertise the good CSR work your company does, is a superb means through which to let your customers know how you are giving back.
And that’s where the other benefits to your CSR work (beyond the recipients of the funds, volunteers or projects themselves) will be felt.
Making sure your customer base know about the work you’re undertaking, supporting or sponsoring, shows your business does indeed go beyond just profits and adds prestige as well as professionalism to your brand.
Doing this is also key to showcasing the softer qualities of your company.
For, as we have discussed before on this blog, showcasing that more human, personal and grounded persona of your company works so well across social media – essentially making the best from platforms designed to connect and engage with human lives rather than market products.
So what are you waiting for?
Get planning your CSR strategy today!
And don’t forget, we’re here to help if you’re looking for more advice or greater details on how to go about this.
Just drop an email to [email protected] and we’ll get straight back to you.
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