Corporate Responsibility on Social.

How big businesses like Coca-Cola and Tyson are getting the good word out using social media.

Caroline Henley
Caroline Henley
June 10, 2015 - 3 min. read

Corporate responsibility is the intersection of business and impact. Many companies in sensitive industries quickly realize they must address issues about the broader effects and footprint of their operations. They might choose to invest in giving back more than they are taking. And if the right intentions are in place, and there is commitment in the long-term beyond a quick press opportunity, there should be compelling stories to tell.

Let’s take a look at how two huge companies are getting the word out about their corporate responsibility programs through social media.

Coca-Cola’s segmented approach 
Coca-Cola has launched many corporate responsibility initiatives, and no doubt wants to get the messaging out as loud as possible through its various channels. One issue that is very important to the soda company is sustainability. Coca-Cola has created an entire wing in its organization for Sustainability.

How are they using social to push out all of this? Through highly targeted paid ads, says Tim Goudie, Social Media Director for the Sustainability department. Goudie spoke recently at the ClickZ Live conference on how to build corporate responsibility campaigns that will lead to fan growth and increased positive brand perception.

“The days of organic reach died a long time ago. Brands have to find where the strength in their stories lie and find a way to start a conversation about the good you do.”

Tim Goudie, Social Media Director for Sustainability, Coca-Cola

Take for example Coke’s new plant-based bottle. Last year, the company began replacing its polyester-based bottles, which have high carbon footprints, to a plant-based bottle—aptly trademarked the PlantBottle. Coca-Cola has since distributed over 25 billion of the new bottles worldwide. The goal is to make the switch completely in the next five years.

Naturally, Coke wants to tell this story to its fans. They use two voices to get the word out: the company voice, through the corporate social accounts, aimed towards scientists and the media. Then Coke uses its brand voice to get the word out to consumers. Coke even segments its consumer-targeted messaging by demographic—they chose an unbranded, animated video to get the word out to millennials.

Goudie made a conscious strategy shift to get the word out about Coke’s sustainability efforts. In 2013, he made the switch from organic posts to a paid strategy. The returns for the company in terms of impressions and social fan growth were so great that the company now invests about a half million dollars a year to push its sustainability efforts on social.

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Tyson’s dedicated approach 
Tyson Foods is the largest meat producer in the world. The company states that they “believe that big can be good.” Big food companies with innovation and resources need to be a part of the conversation, and they need to be a part of the solution in the effort to feed a growing, hungry world, Tyson maintains.

So how does Tyson Foods get the word out about its programs using social media? The company chooses to devote all of its social media channels to promoting its sustainability programs. There’s not one post promoting in-store specials or new product offerings. A bold move for an entire company’s use of social.

One of the pillars of its sustainability efforts is donation. The company donates meat in hunger relief efforts, donates cash to charities, responds to disasters with food donation, and has set up a fellowship program with farmers in Tanzania. The company’s donation efforts are displayed with heartfelt posts across Tyson’s channels.

corporate social responsibility and social media

With over five million pounds of meat being donated each year, there’s no lacking for social content. There seems to be an endless stream of photos of food bankers in action for Tyson to post.

Bringing sustainability top-of-mind  
As these bigger companies get more acclimated to social, they are discovering new ways to amplify programs that their typical consumer might not know about. Departments that may have been siloed and relying on press releases to get the word out about how they give back now have a voice. With an effective strategy in place, companies now have a way of being top-of-mind by getting the good word out.

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