A company’s social media campaigns focusing on its CSR initiatives can move social media users from a neutral view into positive territory, according to a new report from IBM and the US Chamber Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center. Over time, companies that increased online promotion of their CSR efforts experienced improvements in how they are viewed by neutral social media users.
However, for social media users who already have a negative opinion about a company, CSR initiatives seem to have little effect.
But the increased positive outlook of social media users depends on how a company frames its online discussions. The report – The CSR Effect – found that posting discussions in ways that encourage a thoughtful and emotional response can elicit more interest from users of social media, and encourage them to write about a company’s CSR initiatives. The report, which analyzed hundreds of thousands of social media mentions, found that the vast majority post in an ineffective flat tone akin to a press release.
To shift neutral sentiment about a company to a more positive view, companies should consider the folling:
- Social media posts should encourage readers to think about something a specific way and use a writing style that elicits a sentiment response when possible.
- Write about education initiatives; in an analysis of CSR projects in the areas of education, disaster response, women’s and economic empowerment, community health, and environment, education dominated the conversation.
- Focus first on news outlets, then Twitter — News outlets accounted for the vast majority of chatter, at 52%. That was followed by Twitter, at 27%.
- Focus less on company website and blogs — Interestingly, though companies tend to spend significant time and expense on blogs on their own sites, those account for just 16% of chatter.
IBM says companies can benchmark the expected volume of social media chatter based on their net income using an IBM algorithm called the CSR Social Media Benchmark.