Using Social Media to Share Your CSR Story

July 9, 2013
Social media is transforming the way in which companies report their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance. Although companies traditionally report on their CSR achievements annually, evidence suggests there is a growing trend moving from one yearly report to releasing multiple digital reports throughout the year, along with frequent posts on a variety of social media channels to share sustainability initiatives.

Recent research found that companies are engaging in a two-way dialog with the digital community at an increasing rate. The Social Media Sustainability Index ranks companies by how successfully they use social media to communicate their CSR activities by telling the CSR story in an effective, transparent, and authentic manner that demonstrates their commitment to material issues. According to the index, the top 100 companies embed sustainability into the fabric of their organization and use social media to encourage open and authentic communication with stakeholders.

The number of major companies with social media channels dedicated to CSR increased from 60 in 2010 to 176 in 2012. In total, 48 of the top 100 companies were based in the United States, 43 in Europe, and seven in the rest of the world. The most popular channels to communicate CSR efforts are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and blogs. Additionally, 70 companies have dedicated sustainability blogs or magazines, 40 have a shareable sustainability report, and four of the shareable reports are accessible with iPad® apps.

Sustainability is no longer the concern of a small set of individuals, but is becoming increasingly important to a growing and diverse set of stakeholders who want an honest dialog regarding progress, goals, and challenges. Rather than burying sustainability information in an annual CSR report that is too often lost on a corporate website, it is critical that companies hold an authentic conversation on important issues.

Various content strategies were applied to reach online stakeholders interested in CSR news and information, in particular the magazine style approach used by companies such as General Electric, Ford, Walmart, Deutsche-Post, Coca-Cola, and Renault.

Oftentimes, data is shared among multiple CSR documents and social media channels. One piece of information may appear in a digital CSR report, a blog, and/or a white paper simultaneously. When drafting these documents, one source of data truth is necessary to eliminate the risk of error with manual updating.

The linking capabilities provided by the CSR Reporting Solution powered by Wdesk allow you to change a data point and update it simultaneously in all of the associated documents, saving time and ensuring accuracy. With Wdesk, you can spend time where it matters most—focusing on telling your story and engaging stakeholders in the online community.

Learn how the CSR Reporting Solution can help you with your CSR reports, or schedule a demo to see it in action.

Yeomans, M., England, R., Coffey, J., & Lanuto, A. (2013). The SMI-Wiziness Social Media Sustainability Index 2012. Retrieved from iPad is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.
Francis Quinn

About the author

Francis Quinn is the Director of Corporate Sustainability Technologies for Workiva. Before joining Workiva, he directed sustainable development for L’Oréal in Paris.