Why is social media vital to corporate social responsibility?

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(source: Versio2)

Social and corporate shifts are taking place on a global scale.

Gone are the days when companies could do almost whatever they wanted to and control the communication of these activities, both good and bad. Social media has forever changed the way companies interact with their customers, how customers interact with the company and also how customers interact with each other.

Today, a companies image and reputation is heavily reliant on their social media presence. This is linked to the thoughts, conversations and likes from customers online.

In this new age of digital democracy, social media allows companies to constantly influence and simultaneously monitor the customers behaviours to their products or services. A major game changer.

Social media has also now started to play a key role in the way companies construct their corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and show themselves as good corporate citizens. Executed in the right way, this can be greatly beneficial for any company.

A growing number of organisations and companies are taking use of social media to broadcast how they are conducting CRS. Although this may be seen as a chance to boast of their good works, many companies are now gaining more trust and strengthening their good reputations through their social media platforms.

CSR is no longer an obligation that companies feel they need to take on, but has become central to the operations of many of the best companies today. Whether it be cash giving, volunteering hours, employer-matching programs or in-kind services, more and more companies are now doing it, and happy to let others know about it.

Fun fact – not only does CRS help those outside the company, but also those within it. Research is starting to show links between doing good for the community to growth within the business. Companies that are giving back to society have been shown to outperform companies that are not. Go figure.

As a result, more companies are now offering paid time off for volunteering.

Many companies are now taking their CRS publicly through social media sites, and people love it. Companies that previously were doing good for their community are now finding out that others want to know about it. As a result, companies are launching cause marketing campaigns, which is translating into mass increases of their online followers and fans.

For example, Target, dedicates 5 percent of income to charity. Recently it launched a new campaign inviting fans to choose from a list of charities to which the company would donate $3 million. Through this process of voting, users were then able to broadcast their decision to their Facebook friends and invite others to do the same. Within one week, Target gathered 40,000 votes and even more peer-to-peer impressions through people voting. Increasing their fan base and improving their public image.

Are these companies only doing good for the community to benefit themselves?

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.