Using social media to promote corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is becoming more important than ever. Customers now expect companies to care about more than just earning profits. And, with the prevalence of advocacy and consumer groups for virtually every interest, companies are now expected to be socially responsible to a standard set by society, whether they agree or not.

The official logo of The George Washington University (www.gwu.edu)
Because of that, a strategy to establish and communicate a company's corporate social responsibility is extremely important. At the same time, the budget that should be granted for this activity should not be too excessive and should blend in with Public Relations and Marketing. Because of the role social media plays in connecting consumers with companies they love, it has become an important place in building trust and portraying the corporate social responsibility to the general public.

Here's how to do it for one of the organization's of which I am currently monitoring on social media, the official Twitter account of The George Washington University's Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Because an institution's corporate social responsibility may play a role in where prospective students choose to end up studying, the account for the Admissions Office should also tweet about the University's core values. For this example, let us assume that the focus is on a "green" school that is mindful of its carbon footprint and water usage. As it has been shown this year, the University cares about its impact on the world and wants to reduce water usage, as seen with the aggressive marketing campaigns it has had throughout the school, challenging different residence halls to use less water than others.

Here's how it would work. Each week, The George Washington University could share how its water usage was for the week, using the hashtag "#GreenGW." It would include a link to a splash page that went in-depth into this core value and how the University is addressing the problem. It could engage users by asking how they reduce their water usage.

It would be low-cost because it's virtually all through social media, a free medium where anyone can post anything free of charge. Yet, people would understand the University's focus on making sure water is not wasted. It also shows prospective students the focus The George Washington University has before they get on campus. While current students can see the University's push, social media allows prospective students not on campus, and the general public, to see that core belief of the University before they come.