More than ever, people expect the brands they support to take a clear stance on social issues.

As a consumer, our purchasing decisions are influenced beyond product specification. We want to see and hear how brands support the causes and tasks that matter most to us.

However, there are potential pitfalls to watch out for as a brand. If you rush to support something “without the receipts” you run the risk of appearing insincere and spurious. A risky PR move for any company.

But if it's done right Brands can make a real difference to a movement they care about – while strengthening your brand identity and values.

In this blog post, we'll look at the many benefits of branding a social cause, as well as the approach in one makes sense and effective way:

Why support a social cause on social media?

This year there has been a growing trend for brands to use their platforms to educate and inspire themselves.

Social media has evolved from a place of simple inspiration and exchange of ideas to a vocal, thought-provoking space.

And the best news is that brands and consumers are coming together to support a common good.

When done successfully, supporting a social cause is one of the most powerful ways to illustrate your brand's values, ethics, and ideals. While building an engaged and supportive social following.

Mission-driven brands often have the most loyal customers as they are united by their shared ideals, not just the latest product offering or flash sales.

A study carried out in 2019 found this 74% of consumers I think brands should take a stand on important issues.

And that's not all. It can even improve affinity in the workplace – with 87% of the employees Finding that companies should take a stand on relevant social issues.

See this post on Instagram

Inspired by last year's Black Friday when all of your dear people helped us send an amazing 36 girls to school for a full year, we are excited to be working with the Fior Di Loto Foundation again! Many of you have asked what happens after the year is up, so here we are … We want to send these 36 girls back for another year AND hopefully more! Let's make it a Pink Friday! 💪⠀ ⠀ This weekend, if you shop with us (online and in store!) From Friday 29 November to Monday 2 December, we will donate 10% of our total sales to the Fior Di Loto School! ⠀ ⠀ For £ 220, Fior Di Loto can raise a girl for a full year, buy her uniform, shoes and books, as well as provide her lunch and transportation (and a nice dress for her Diwali celebrations). That's not a lot of money to change someone's life through education! ⠀ ⠀ Do you just want to donate but not buy anything? We hear you! You can donate directly on our Just Giving page. We will put the link in stories. ⠀ ⠀ We are very excited about the ongoing and sustainable involvement in the communities (the school is located near Ismail's factory and has an impact on the whole city) as we believe this is really and effectively changing people's lives . ⠀ ⠀ We will count how many girls we can sponsor on our website and on social networks. So look forward to the positive atmosphere this weekend! This ⠀ Let's see how much difference we can make together and send even more great girls to school this year! ⠀ ⠀ #DoBlackFridayDifferently

Posted by Lucy & Yak Brighton (@lucyandyakbrighton) on Nov 29, 2019 at 6:00 a.m. PST

However, supporting a social cause on social media should be approached with sensitivity and careful thought.

Brands that succumb to tokenism can experience a negative backlash, especially if their corporate actions are inconsistent with their stance on social media.

Here are our top tips to help you find your voice and make meaningful contribution to a social cause on social media:

How to Support a Social Cause on Social Media # 1: Put Authenticity First

Authenticity may sound like a social media buzzword, but if you want to publicly target your brand on a social cause, you have to believe it with all your heart.

Knowledge Why They support a social cause and help you steer your approach. When you really believe in this thing, it is much easier to speak with passion and conviction.

Likewise, brands that really believe in a social cause are more likely to support it everyone Level of their business.

For example a limited jacket brand Paynter publicly advocates sustainable production.

It doesn't end with a short Instagram post, however. Every part of their business reflects their environmental sustainability, from choosing recyclable packaging and waste-free production methods to using locally sourced buttons.

The ability to “show the evidence” and demonstrate how you support the mission in all facets of your business is critical to building a community that trusts and respects your values.

How to Support a Social Cause on Social Media # 2: Celebrate the lawyers in your community

Supporting a social cause on social media is not just about what you have to say, it's also about listening to the voices in your community and giving them a platform.

Introducing User Generated Content (UGC) into your strategy can be a great way to introduce new perspectives that will help raise awareness of your mission.

This can also be an effective way to share firsthand experiences that provide a deeper context for a social cause.

For example, Patagonia used their 4.5 million strong platform to share the words of Leah Thomas in support of the Black Lives Matter movement:

By showcasing the voices of your community, you also show that you are active Listen to your audienceThis is the best way to drive participation and make your campaign more dynamic.

TIP: Use Later UGC tools to automatically pull all the posts you've mentioned or flagged into one easy-to-use dashboard!

Later, the high quality resolution of the original post is kept (no screenshots required here) and the handle of the user who originally posted it is automatically added.

Source, schedule and re-post UGC in minutes with Later!

How to Support a Social Cause on Social Media # 3: Strive for meaningful change, not PR coverage

If your main motivation is to improve your brand perception, you could be preparing to fail.

The ultimate goal should be to drive meaningful change for your cause – don't get kudos points with your followers.

Avoid the urge to jump straight to an Instagram soapbox – instead, put your values ​​into practice first. This can be done through volunteer days, fundraisers, new hiring guidelines, or educational initiatives – whatever it takes to actually practice what you're preaching.

If you are a brand that is already taking steps to internally support a social cause, e.g. For example, hosting a sponsored run or donating anonymously to the charity you have chosen is great!

Not every action you take needs to be shared on a social level. However, if you're passionate about a mission, there's a good chance some of your community will feel the same way.

So think about how you can use your social media channels to invite your community to join your efforts while actions speak much louder than words.

For example, Instagram is new Fundraising functions are a great way to support nonprofits by donating money.

While Instagram feed posts are great for visual graphics that will raise awareness and share your message:

Video platforms (whether that's the case Tick ​​tock, Pinterest video, Youtube, IGTV or Instagram Live) can be an effective way to delve deeper into your cause, whether through Q&A or storytelling.

There are many ways to share your efforts in support of your mission. However, always remember that the goal is to Build a community around a common goalrather than finding a PR opportunity.

How to Support a Social Cause on Social Media # 4: Be Accountable to Your Community

Even with the best of intentions, it can be difficult to reflect a social mission in any business decision.

For example, environmental advocacy brands can find it difficult to navigate the complex world of supply chains and biodegradable packaging to say the least – especially for small businesses with limited resources.

What is important is that you communicate about it with your audience How You learn and what Actions You take to achieve your goals.

Responding openly to your audience's concerns is one of the most effective ways to grow your brand, even if some questions are difficult to answer.

Recently, in the face of the Black Lives Matter movement, many brands have faced questions about their anti-racism policies.

See this post on Instagram

Hey OUAI Fam. ⠀ In June, we as a team and brand committed ourselves to be actively anti-racist. We will continue to use our platform to make further progress and engage in dialogue about issues facing BIPOC communities. ⠀ What the OUAI striker ➡️ looks like: ⠀ Each month we will dive deep into a topic with content and conversation exploring the complexities of racial injustices. This month our focus is on environmental racism – including education + action in this way. ⠀ ⠀ 1. Handing over our platform to activists, experts and BIPOC developers to share their stories and knowledge. 2. We will continue to donate the US $ 100,000 that we have pledged to organizations that support the black community and highlight these causes in our content ⠀ Our commitment also includes: ⠀ ⠀ Creating change from within – securing different candidates for open roles , DEI training, advisory boards and more ✔️ Hold yourself accountable and create more transparency in our ongoing efforts and commitments ⠀ And yes. We will continue to have pretty shelfies, hair tutorials and lots of OUAI word games … but we will fight for racial justice along the OUAI. ⠀ ⠀ Would you like to get involved? Send an email to change@theouai.com for ideas and feedback.

A post shared by OUAI (@theouai) on Aug 12, 2020 at 10:01 am PDT

Brands that respond openly to tough questions show a real commitment to change, which is critical to building lasting trust in a community.

Remember that part of your social profiles should serve as a place for one-to-one conversation. Your followers should be comfortable asking tough questions, and as a brand, you should respond regularly.

How To Support A Social Cause On Social Media # 5: Plan Campaigns In Advance

Finally, it's important to think about your long-term strategy when it comes to supporting a social cause on social media.

Short-lived endeavors may not get off the ground or, worse, look like a symbolic gesture.

To prevent this from happening, think about how your social campaigns will perform over the next 12 months and beyond.

Your overall campaign goal could be, for example, “Combating climate change” with several sub-campaigns, e. B. "Environmental awareness" and "material sustainability".

This is a great way to consistently work towards a social goal while maintaining an engaging content strategy.

You can also use the key Social media hashtag holidaysB. #WorldEarthDay or #BlackFriday to give your campaigns a new contextual hook.

TIP: You can use a social media planning tool like Later Plan your content strategy in advance! Bookmark important dates to support your campaign and reserve them in your content calendar.

Learning how to support a social cause on social media doesn't happen overnight. For many brands, efforts to support their mission stay “offline” for months, even years before they even approach social media sharing.

However you decide to share and build a community around your mission, you know that supporting a social cause is a long-term project that should go beyond a single post and hashtag.

But if you get it right, you can bring your community together and make a real difference for something important.

In the spirit of learning from our colleagues, we invited Matthew Herman, co-founder of Boy Smells to speak at this year's LaterCon! Join us for the live event on September 23rd to learn how the Boy Smells team approaches marketing in a post-binary world and how they continuously strive to support the Pride community.

Not registered with LaterCon yet? To get your free ticket simply fill out the form below:

Written by

Jillian Warren

Jillian is a content marketer at Later in the UK. She's a lover of London brunch spots and an avid listener of true crime podcasts. You can connect with her on Instagram @ jillwrren.

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