The social responsibility of companies in the age of internet and social networks
The activities of a company not only have effects on profitability, but on the environment, on the development of its employees, suppliers, customers, distributors and the community in general. It is because of this need to respond to this multiplicity of factors that the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged.
CSR is the responsibility of the highest management level, is part of the ‘core values’, that is, those essential and permanent principles that characterize the culture of an organization, and must be included in the vision, mission, values, commitments and strategies of the organization. organization.
The company, when operating in the community, generates a series of social and environmental impacts, in addition to the financial ones. That is why we talk about the concept of “triple bottom line” to refer to the already traditional “financial result”, adding the “environmental result” and the “social result”.
There are multiple laws and regulations on the subject, such as ISO 26,000, Ethos, GRI 3, AA1000, SA 8,000 and the Global Compact, which parameterize the socially responsible actions of companies and differentiate them from merely philanthropic and punctual actions, that many resemble CSR actions, but that they constitute a very small part of a truly responsible action.
It analyzes the impact that the organization generates for the quality and usefulness of the products it offers, for the remuneration it pays its employees, for the internal climate that is experienced, for the training it offers, for the tax contribution to the treasury, for the promotion of the communities with which it is linked, etc.
This is an integrative management that harmonizes the needs of all stakeholders, where the owners or shareholders, management and management have the conviction that CSR is the right course, manage generating reasonable levels of profitability for owners or investors for ensure the sustainability of the project, justly rewards market values to human resources, and complies with the laws and good management practices.
How the Internet and social networks affect CSR
Generally this link is initiated by the company, which detects each of the interest groups, initiates the dialogue, evaluates the way it is perceived by them and analyzes the policies that must be corrected, to act in compliance with socially responsible.
However, with the growth of social networks, interest groups do not wait as passively before to be spoken, but are more critical and demand to participate in the creation of content or products, and have more communication channels to interrelate with your peers, exerting pressure, which can be positive or negative.
Interest groups are assuming a much more active role, denouncing those practices that they do not like and for this they try different strategies with the same objective: to give visibility to the social issues in which they work and to gain more and more followers.
The existing interactivity with the publications made by companies can lead to a crisis of reputation and image of the company, since negative comments can be seen by thousands of people in a short time and affect the image quickly. And in this decision process, it must be taken into account that the voice of the people weighs, not the brand.
This new stance of the interest groups, often dislocates the company, since it fixes the agenda of issues to be addressed, forcing it to a much more proactive management.
The corporate website and the sustainability report (or Social Report) ceased to be the main channel of contact with people interested in the socially responsible work of the organization. The round trip that social networks allow has relegated to a secondary level the formal, official and static information that can be found in the aforementioned channels.
For these reasons, social networks are essential means for communication and interaction with all the interest groups with which the company is linked, since they are the most adapted to transmit this type of messages, mainly for the democratization of the interactions carried out in these virtual communities.
Benefits of social networks for a correct CSR
Social networks are communication tools that are characterized by their immediacy and their virality, particularities that must be taken into account with rigor when considering a social communication strategy, making public the responsible culture of the company, approaching in a simple way to your target audiences.
They are a powerful tool to build relationships and their usefulness lies in the fact that each company can create its corporate page with information on activities, events, news of its sector and its socially responsible action, in a place that allows interaction with the public, allowing to engage relationships beyond the merely commercial.
They allow the conversation with the public of interest, in a communicational process that ceases to be a monologue and the company knows that what it says or proposes can be answered, approved or disqualified quickly and easily.
At the same time, the company ensures that the message will have greater credibility than in any other medium, since it is located on the same level as the user, and invites the user to participate and propose, thus creating an interesting link.
Finally, people can become fans of the brand and publicize their interest to other people and friends, with the Share feature, which makes the socially responsible message of the company present on the user’s own personal page, thus viralising the messages of that company.
It implies that the company does business in a responsible manner, that constantly trains staff to ensure their employability (even if the company ceases to operate), that is actively involved in the community in which it is a part, enriching it with their knowledge, among other activities of responsible and lasting bonding that exceed mere philanthropy activities.
Through social networks, the diffusion process of the socially responsible actions of the company is accelerated, greater visibility is achieved, the exchange of ideas and experiences with interest groups is made possible, and interaction is gained.
If a company knows how to properly use the feedback (good or bad) of its stakeholders, answer their questions and comments honestly, positive results will occur sooner or later.