How can companies more effectively communicate not just their social responsibility commitments, but also their successes? On November 1, some 200 business leaders and organizations gathered at the Justmeans Social Media, Technology and Change conference in New York City to discuss the risks, rewards and best practices.
For companies and organizations that are committed to communicating their social responsibility efforts, several challenges run in parallel to each other.
- Companies need to be able to distribute news and reports about their sustainability efforts to targeted audiences who care about those issues – be they journalists or activists.
- They need to create transparent platforms for community involvement and feedback in their CSR reporting.
- And they need to join and be part of wider community of committed companies to benefit from the halo effect.
A niche social network with sophisticated news and content distribution tools, Justmeans.com is a part of a growing list of Web communities that specialize in serving the communicators, PR pros, and sustainability program administrators of the Fortune 1000.
Perhaps the most engaging session was also the first panel. Dell’s Director of Social Media Adam Brown joined Matthew Bishop of The Economist and Kevin Grandia, new Online Strategy Director for Greenpeace, for a conversation on the “rules” of social media engagement, and how leading companies and effective NGOs can leverage the tools to accomplish core objectives around social impact.
Four Rs of Social Media for CSR Professionals
At Dell, Brown leads their global activities in online communities. He outlined several core principles of social media strategy. First, social media is communication, not broadcast. “The ‘Moses’ method doesn’t work,” he said. “You’re not bringing a message down from on high.” Also, he suggested, fish where the fish are. Dell, he said, participates in conversations not only on their own properties but also as invited guests on others. “And do remember you have been invited,” he cautioned.
It’s ALL about authenticity, said Brown. To help stay on track, he suggested that companies and brands follow “4Rs”:
- Review (listen first)
- Respond (participate with authenticity, genuineness and correct context)
- Record (Make content that truly inspires)
- Redirect (Leverage search engine marketing to make sure people can find it, even as social media.)
VolunteerMatch is a Justmeans member, and we use the service to raise awareness about corporate volunteer engagement. While corporate volunteering is a growing but still little recognized field of CSR, the fundamentals of how to share and report on all CSR programs share much in common. We’ll keep you posted on ideas from the Justmeans community.