Social media and CSR: a match made in heaven

Shot of young girl from CSR campaigns by Dove #AsEarlyAsFive and IKEA #ArrimarElHombro

Are you using social media to effectively communicate your CSR initiatives and activities?

Still only a handful of brands are leveraging the true power. Often this is because it requires mutuality, empathy, risk, and commitment – a price few brands are willing to pay.

However, there are lots of benefits to using social media for your brand purpose or CSR campaigns:

  • Meaningful communication – maintaining a transparent and open dialogue with your stakeholders.
  • Boosts brand credibility and affinity – gaining the trust of your audience. 
  • Contributing to your industry – remaining competitive and relevant to your stakeholders.

To inspire your next one, our Social Media Manager, Shaneen Olmos, has given her take on two high profile, best-in-class examples of social media CSR campaigns…

Dove #AsEarlyAsFive

#AsEarlyAsFive is one of Dove’s recent impact campaigns for the CROWN Coalition. Since its inception in 2019, the CROWN Coalition has created a movement against hair bias and discrimination. 

In many US states, the law doesn’t protect Black people against race-based hair discrimination. In fact, Black people can be denied professional opportunities, and Black children can be sent home from school because of their natural hair – all without consequence.

The hero campaign film

To raise awareness of the issue and open the conversation, Dove created the above hero campaign video. The film aims to provide a platform for Black women to share their heartbreaking and unjust experiences. 

Based on insight and real-life events, it features three scenarios experienced by one girl at different stages of her life – as a young girl, a teen, and an adult. The result is a powerful and poignant film on the injustice Black women face.

Engaging brand ambassadors

In the beginning, Dove invested in paid social media to boost awareness of the campaign and generate petition sign-ups. This activity featured optimised content focused on increasing reach and engagement – critical metrics for this stage.

Most importantly, though, the paid strategy also amplified the voices of Black women and girls through brand ambassadors. Influencers like @keeundra, @herlifesparkles, and @joyjah shared their widespread reality of the issue, helping Dove to spread the message and build trust among their online communities.

Dove #AsEarlyAsFive Influencer Videos by @keeundra, @herlifesparkles, @joyjah

This is a smart move. When done right, leveraging influencers and ambassadors can have a huge impact in brand campaigns, particularly when it comes to CSR. Nothing is more engaging or persuasive to a consumer than hearing from their own community directly. This meaningful engagement of ambassadors, combined with the power of paid advertising, was key to the success of this campaign.

Social media isn’t just about advertising

The CROWN Coalition’s dedicated social media profile is the primary channel for amplifying the voices of the community. Through tackling misconceptions, educating audiences, and sparking urgency, it aims to make race-based hair discrimination illegal across America.

However, #AsEarlyAsFive is embedded into Dove’s overarching brand strategy too. Their social media approach facilitates the progress and success of The Crown Act petition.

One reason why this works is because the content is so typical of Dove’s social media strategy. Their content reflects their mission to redefine beauty standards and tackle negative body image. It actively educates and inspires through informative content and collaborations with diverse ambassadors, and celebrates the diverse experiences of women, female-identifying, and non-binary people.  

In fact, for Dove, social media isn’t just about marketing and advertising. It’s also about creating a community and engaging with them regularly and authentically through content they value and appreciate.

This approach results in an authentic campaign that yields tangible change and creates genuine relationships with stakeholders, making them feel heard in the fight against hair-based discrimination or inspired to join the movement.

IKEA #ArrimarElHombro

In 2021, IKEA made their products more affordable, in response to the financial impact of COVID-19. The aim was to help people, and in particular families, provide safe and comfortable homes for their children.

To promote the initiative, as well as address the wider issue, they launched a social media CSR campaign, #ArrimarElHombro. The campaign was aimed at Spanish audiences as part of Save the Children’s A Tu Lado initiative (which translates to ‘By Your Side’).

Building positive brand sentiment on TikTok

The aim of the campaign was simple: generate as much engagement as possible. So, they created a branded TikTok challenge which encouraged users to share good deeds to the challenge music. The more people that took part, the larger IKEA’s donation to Save the Children.

The campaign used the hashtag ‘#ArrimarElHombro‘ (which translates to ‘#LendAHand’). It generated over 692 million views, reached over 112 million users, and resulted in over 196,000 UGC videos. According to TikTok, a brand lift study also found an 11.7% increase in ad recall, showing the campaign was memorable too.

IKEA has a strong reputation for understanding its market, and this campaign is no different. The strategy tapped into Spanish pop culture by prioritising community, and leverages sound-first social to create a memorable and engaging experience. In fact, the soundtrack is an iconic Spanish song from the 80s about the rewards of helping each other, covered by the trendy indie band Delaporte.

Above all, the challenge itself was accessible, with low barrier to entry for users. This made it easy for different subcultures of Spanish Tiktok to meaningfully participate and collaborate, building an overall positive brand sentiment.

There is no social media without community

What I love most about this campaign is how it combines human truth (we all go through rough times) with a touch of cultural nostalgia (through the music). The result is a meaningful partnership campaign that not only helps audiences relates to the cause, but one that inspired immediate action from the social media community.

In fact, the supporting content used to promote the challenge puts the community front and centre. For example, the below advert uses UGC to inspire audiences to join the movement of kindness and positivity.

Social media as a force for good

Both of these examples from Dove and IKEA show the power of leveraging social media as a force of good. Each one successfully:

  • Spreads awareness of important and urgent issues through their existing platforms.
  • Engages target audiences in accessible ways, wherever they already live.
  • Boosts brand affinity authentically and organically by embedding their CSR initiatives to overall brand strategy.
  • Compels action beyond the URL and achieve positive changes IRL – large or small.

Most importantly, though, they prove that CSR is not a trend or a one-time campaign – and rarely will success be achieved overnight. Instead, they show that embedding your CSR into your brand strategy, and maximising the role social media plays in your channel mix, can bring long-term benefits.

The key is to think of social media as more than just an advertising channel. Remember: audiences want to feel connected to brands, and building authentic, two-way experiences is the way to go. 

Key takeaways for your social media CSR campaigns:

  • Educate – Use insight and research to change perceptions and tap into human truths.
  • Amplify – Leverage your platform to highlight and celebrate the community you’re impacting.
  • Honour – Don’t just talk about what you are doing. Show the change you’re making.
  • Inspire – As a leader in your industry and community, be the change you want to see.

Looking for a creative way to take your CSR communications to the next level? Get in touch!

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