Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can take many different forms. Some businesses launch full campaigns that include revamping corporate or manufacturing policies and supporting them with fundraisers, volunteer activities, and charitable donations. Others companies start massive social cause campaigns to give attention to specific issues.
While large CSR initiatives are impressive, there are smaller efforts that all businesses can make to practice social responsibility within their industries.
In this article, I’ll demonstrate how social media marketers can practice social responsibility toward their audience and the businesses or clients they represent.
You can use the information as a guideline for authentic, responsible social media marketing.
Commit to thorough content research
When creating content for social media such as blog posts and articles, thorough research makes a difference. For example, when quoting statistics in your articles, trace the data back to its original source.
In many cases, you’ll discover that social media statistics from 2012 to 2015 continue to circulate in many of today’s articles. In 2012, though, social media was an entirely different environment compared to today’s fast-paced, influencer-based social platforms.
In most cases, social media statistics that are over a couple years old aren’t applicable to today’s marketing strategies.
Take steps to ensure that the content you share on social media is well-researched so your information is valuable and not misleading. You have a responsibility to your audience not to add to the onslaught of disinformation they face online.
Read beyond the headlines
Curating content on social media is an excellent way to build relationships with other brands while keeping your audience informed or entertained.
Reading and sharing content based on headlines alone, though, can cause damage to your brand and harm the trust you’ve built with followers.
Many of today’s publications sensationalize headlines or intentionally mislead readers to earn a greater number of clicks for their websites. Before you share an article, read the content to confirm that its headlines match the story. Additionally, consider avoiding headlines meant to incite anger or fear.
Reading beyond the headlines — before your share someone else’s content — is essential to sharing valuable, responsible content with your followers.
Institute a zero tolerance policy for fake news
Committing to a zero-tolerance policy for fake news helps build trust with your readers and has a positive effect on the world.
Over half of people say that fake news causes confusion about current issues and events, according to a recent report by Statista.
Sharing misleading or fake news can harm your brand’s reputation and your readers’ trust. And if that isn’t bad enough, during emergencies, sharing inaccurate news can also harm people and threaten lives.
For example, during the tsunami of 2018, Indonesian authorities had to invest their time battling false reports of another earthquake, a dam about to burst, and free flights to Palu for victims, all of which were fake news.
Social media marketers should learn how to identify and report fake news, and develop a zero-tolerance policy that applies to their entire team.
Practice authentic social media marketing
As fake news and scams create a greater threat to our society’s well-being, social media users are losing tolerance for manipulative practices and misleading content.
Social media marketers can commit to authentic social and content marketing, which builds trust with their audiences and the social media industry as a whole.
Providing authentic content and genuine value to your followers means avoiding:
- Fake likes — likes or page followers that purchase, traded, or exchanged
- Content paywalls — requiring readers to pay for content before they’re able to view it
- Stock photos — photos that come from free image websites instead of genuine pictures from your office, employees, or customers
- Overbearing self-promotion — constantly pushing people to purchase your product instead of providing value to your audience
Honestly communicating your CSR initiatives in a public setting such as your website is another way to practice authentic content marketing.
Posting CSR policies on your website and distributing them to your team is the first step toward committing to better social marketing.
Social media marketers have the opportunity to lead corporate social responsibility efforts
Most people (71 percent) say it’s important for businesses to take a stand on social movements.
Social media marketers are in a unique position that allows them to contribute to socially responsible publishing by making small changes that ensure their company’s CSR efforts are highlighted.
Through this, they can encourage their networks to embrace their own CSR initiatives.