CSR and Millennials: Corporate Social Responsibility Matters to This Group
When Millennials are part of your target audience, your marketing strategy should be socially focused. But if your mind immediately goes to platforms like Instagram and Twitter, you're overlooking another type of social marketing--one that communicates your corporate social responsibility (CSR).
While it seems a given to use a robust social media approach when engaging this "always connected" generation (born between 1981 and 1996), what may not be as obvious is the appeal and respect gained from socially responsible branding and content. And, yes social media is prime for sharing these efforts with Millennials.
A recent Nielsen study reports that 85 percent of Millennials say it is extremely or very important that companies implement programs to improve the environment, and 75 percent say they definitely or probably would change their purchase habits to reduce their impact on the environment.
Keep in mind that 53 million members of this generation are established in the U.S. workforce, and by 2025 will represent approximately 75 percent of U.S. workers. They're consuming content and making decisions about brands, products, and services through social media. According to a Gartner study, brands that actively and sincerely engage with followers are influencing 62 percent of Millennials.
Here are some of the types of CSR programs Millennials are looking for online:
- Charitable giving and partnerships
- Community activity and volunteering (often demonstrated at the franchisee level)
- Fair trade programs
- Environmental policies like focusing on reducing carbon footprints
- Positive labor policies, including anti-discrimination and anti-harassment practices
Integrate CSR into your marketing
It's not unusual for franchise brands to have a CSR program already in place, but not all brands are integrating the message into their marketing. So while franchise employees, vendors, and the planet may be benefiting from your social responsibility programs and activities, your bottom line could stand to gain more by pulling in consumers' attention and dollars by sharing your CSR success stories on social media.
With 66 percent of U.S. Internet users believing that more brands should take a stand on important social values, and 52 percent spending more money with brands that align with their social values, your message will not fall on deaf ears.
Where to share?
Where should franchises tell their CSR story to Millennial consumers? According to eMarketer, U.S. Millennials are using the following social sites the most:
- Facebook - 65 percent
- YouTube - 61 percent
- Instagram - 55 percent
- Snapchat - 42 percent
- Twitter - 28 percent
A final note about corporate social responsibility messaging: get specific. Blanket statements wanting the world to be a better place and vague comments about making a difference will be lost. Millennials are generally in touch with sustainability and social problems. CSR marketing will resonate better with specifics on what programs you're managing, how they are run, and who they benefit.
To earn their business, give Millennials something to believe in and get behind.
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