Corporate responsibility teams are getting more and more interested in the potential of social media.
Often this area of work can be treated with cynicism by traditional media as dismissed as ‘PR stunts’, but social media tools present fresh opportunities for companies to counteract and challenge that perspective.
Through social media, CR teams can discuss more openly and widely the work they are doing; and these new information-sharing tools present innovative platforms to demonstrate the real value and impact of corporate responsibility initiatives.
At a basic level social media is an opportunity to distribute corporate responsibility reports more widely but at a deeper level it is an opportunity to listen and enter into discussions and add value to key stakeholders and their networks.
The more authentic the conversations are and the more unique the content is the better, otherwise corporate responsibility teams will not gain real advantages from the use of social media.
I think corporate responsibility teams need to think hard about how they can be of value to the networks they are involved in: what can they share which will genuinely be of interest.
Whilst coverage of the work of many corporate responsibility teams may have perhaps been held back by the cynicism of traditional media, CR teams also need to be aware of the fact that bloggers are alert to crude propaganda and will be unforgiving if they find content which they feel is straight out of a glossy brochure and which they think does not really add anything of personal value.
At a time when there is increasing pressure on organisations to be more conscious of their impact on communities, the world’s limited resources and the environment, social media presents a great opportunity for progressive and imaginative corporate responsibility teams to engage with key stakeholders through social media sites and to join conversations and listen to feedback to continue to improve the work they are doing.
It will be interesting to see which corporate responsibility teams make the most effective impact through the use of social media. You would hope that it is the ones who are doing the best work.
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