Why Social Media Is Vital To Corporate Social Responsibility

Today more than ever, companies are under pressure to be good corporate citizens. They are expected to be at the forefront of change in the world. Consumers now expect these companies to be working alongside them to make the world a better place. And the key to making all this happen is social media. Social media is vital to corporate social responsibility for several key reasons.

Social media is how dialogue happens with stakeholders

Every company has constituents and stakeholders, and it’s important to have transparent, open dialogue with these stakeholders. It’s all about creating an open community, where it’s OK to voice your opinions and make new suggestions. Some of the greatest brands today are those that make their views heard about sweatshop labor conditions, or the state of the environment and global warming, or the need for multicultural diversity. Just name a major issue, and you can find a company supporting it.

And sometimes, these stakeholders are people you might not expect. For example, consider your typical energy company – the stakeholders of that company are more than Wall Street shareholders, they also include people who want to see the world become a greener, more sustainable place. These stakeholders want to see energy companies become the champion of clean, sustainable energy.

So it’s no wonder the biggest energy companies in the world now run extensive social media campaigns, showcasing all the ways that they are trying to make the world a better place. In the past, companies might have just issued a press release about a new wind farm or solar plant they created. Now, they are maintaining an open, thriving conversation on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Social media is about influencing customers to make the right decisions

Companies need to be more than just “following the rules” – they need to be taking active steps to influence customers to make the right decisions. Just think of how many subtle reminders you get throughout the day to convert to paperless billing (it’s better for the environment!), to donate a percentage of every transaction to a charitable cause (every penny counts!), or to donate used, unwanted items for a good cause (you can make a difference!).

With a single hashtag, companies can start entire social movements. With tens of thousands of followers (if not more), corporations have the power to turn people into conscientious consumers. Thanks to social media, even the simple act of buying your daily coffee can turn into a social statement. For example, are you buying “corporate coffee” or are you buying ethically sourced coffee beans from a fair trade coffee vendor? Or think about the clothes you buy. Are you buying your clothing from a company that is pocketing all the profits, or are you buying it from a company that is sweatshop-free and using only recycled or organic materials?

Social media is about turning a company’s own employees into agents of change

Finally, it’s impossible to ignore how social media can help to activate a company’s own employees. Social media offers plenty of reminders of how a company’s employees are participating in local volunteer efforts, or leading the force for change in the local community. A simple Instagram photo of a company’s employees planting a new tree in a local community park goes a long way to demonstrating a company’s real mission statement in the world.

Final Thoughts

In short, social media is now vital to corporate responsibility. It’s more than just a new form of PR to message an audience – it’s about activating a core base of fans, customers and employees to bring real change to the world

The post Why Social Media Is Vital To Corporate Social Responsibility appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

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Responsive Responsibility

Just over four years ago Ethan Marcotte penned the article “Responsive Web Design”, and a year later we published his book by the same name at A Book Apart. It’s no stretch to say that both have gone on to shape the very way we design websites now.

I think Ethan and his work are brilliant. He’s also as gracious and humble as they come, so he’s the first to highlight the ideas and work that influenced him, notably John Allsopp’s A Dao of Web Design. And this is how the web works best; Ethan builds upon John’s ideas, and then shares with us so that we can build on top of his, and on and on.

And build we did! Responsive design feels like an accepted practice most everywhere you look. With that comes the need to make sure we are doing our best to design responsibly so that our sites are available for every person and every device.

Now, building on Ethan’s book, comes Scott Jehl with a new book, Responsible Responsive Design. Scott’s book comes from the heaps of experience found in his work at Filament Group, and serves as a tactical field guide to making responsive design truly perform. From the book description:

Responsive design has immeasurably improved multi-device, multi-browser visual layout—but it’s only the first step in building responsively. Learn how to turn a critical eye on your designs as you develop for new contexts (what does mobile really mean?) and screen features, speedy and lagging networks, and truly global audiences. Serve the right content across platforms, and tune for performance. Scott Jehl tackles those topics and more, ensuring that the sites and apps you build today last far into the future.

It’s already landed a spot on my desk for frequent reference. And as an added treat, Ethan’s book is now out in a fresh second edition! From an A List Apart interview with Ethan about the new edition:

What changes will readers see in the second edition? The second edition’s changed quite a bit from the first, but the table of contents hasn’t: as in the first edition, the chapters revolve around the three “ingredients” of a responsive design—fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries—and how they work in concert to produce a responsive design. But if you look past the chapter headings, you’ll see a slew of changes. As ALA’s readers probably know, tons of people have written about how to work responsively—whenever possible, tips and resources have been pulled in. (I mean, heck: we now have a responsive images specification, which gets a brief but important mention.) On top of all of that, errors were corrected; broken links fixed; figures updated; questions I’ve received from readers over the years have, whenever possible, been incorporated. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have those edits in—it feels like it’s the book it should’ve been.

Wow! Both Responsible Responsive Design and the second edition of Responsive Web Design are both well worth your time.

I’m excited to be working in such a consistently fertile environment for design, and to be able to benefit from the work of smart people like Scott and Ethan, as well as all the fine folks influenced by them. I hope we never stop pushing things forward and sharing with one another.

Jason Santa Maria