(Insert Hashtag) Social Good

By: Victoria Corley

Social good: Two words that easily describe a specific “good” that is shared and beneficial for all (or most) members of a given community.

Other words that may be interchangeable for “social good” are philosophy, ethics, and political science.

These small words make a huge impact in the world of public relations every day. No matter what trends you’re following on Twitter or the types of news an RSS is feeding to your computer, there is always a campaign reaching you, and asking you to help. Regardless of the condition of our economy, Americans are giving back. But how?

In our lifetime, it has become easier than ever to #giveback and help with a cause. No matter where you are, even online, there will be an opportunity to experience a campaign that is targeted to you … the up-and-coming philanthropist.

From tweeting donations to buying songs on iTunes, we have the opportunity to give back, but what does this mean for the PR professional?

Social good has ironically become a hot topic in social media. It is great that giving is now conveniently a click, tap or download away, but it is much more than that.

No longer is “giving-back” just giving; it’s a business. It is easy for people to spend money. But when solicited for funds, they are quick to say no. It’s now the job of a PR professional to market a cause in a way that gives the consumer an urge to spend. Social media has become the modern-day billboard for those marketing objectives.

Social media cause campaigns are similar, but not identical to traditional cause marketing. Where traditional cause marketing involves the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a nonprofit organization for mutual benefit, social media cause campaigns allow for more flexibility.

Blogs like Mashable have helped in giving “social good” a new meaning. If one happens to StumbleUpon a Mashable article about Gaga & Bieber’s newest collaboration, you won’t find it under the entertainment section of the site, but rather under the social good tab.

Social media cause campaigns have created a new outlet where PR professionals develop comprehensive communications plans that are all about “feeling good.” These campaigns provide small businesses an opportunity to gain exposure without breaking the bank, while allowing large companies to reach millions of consumers in a matter of hours.

Social cause campaigns can be run by individuals and nonprofits without big company sponsorships. They provide easier, faster involvement with supporters and require fewer resources.

Obvious examples of “social good” campaigns are the Tide Loads of Hope campaign and the Pepsi Refresh Project. It could also be something as simple as Edge’s Anti-Irritation campaign.

It is safe to say that inflation hasn’t ruined everything. A dime can still be used as a screwdriver, and PR professionals can evoke the public to do “social good.”

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6 Comments

Filed under The Industry, Trends

6 responses to “(Insert Hashtag) Social Good

  1. Maria Sanders

    Great blog! I thought the part about “giving” being a business was interesting. It’s very true, and can be difficult to concinve people to donate.

  2. My first reaction to the Japanese earthquake was that I wanted to help, but I didn’t know how. Ten minutes later, I was inundated with various tweets that allowed me to donate to the relief effort with the click of a button.

    As new technologies offer greater convenience, people refuse to settle for anything less. I think that’s the biggest factor in the rise of cause marketing through social media. Websites like Twitter allow PR practitioners to reach key publics almost immediately, and then those publics are able to donate with the click of a button. That element of immediacy will continue to fuel the rise of social cause marketing.

  3. The author of this post hit the proverbial nail directly on the head.

    “No longer is ‘giving-back’ just giving; it’s a business.”

    This rings true from the nonprofit PR professional soliciting donors to the brand sanctity professional managing an organization’s image. The human interest element is no longer the finish line; rather, it is now a springboard for the PR professional to take their best shot at a cynical, albeit, good-willed general public.

    The post accurately describes the spectrum of PR efforts like the American Red Cross relations professional all the way to the brand awareness professional for the Zac Brown Band’s “Letters for Lyrics” campaign. It seems the author grasps the fact that Americans are willing, but must buy into the philanthropy you’re selling. Because, after all, we’re not the only folks doing good, so it behooves us to act accordingly.

    Well done!
    -Justin Lindsey

  4. Alyson Stewart

    I agreed with everything in this article. It is so true that social media attributes to every business these days. Twitter has pulled me into not only the lives of my friends and peers but celebrities and businesses. News outlets like CNN and Fox News and celebrities keep my linked in to current events. They show me how I can become involved in my community, and how to make donations. Sometimes I get involved with trends, end my tweet with a hashtag and make my opinion known. Therefore, nonprofit organizations can use twitter and social media to keep a tally of their donors. They can also see how many people know about its organization and reach out for help. It feels good to give and tell others about giving, social media has made a way to encourage giving worldwide.

  5. Lauren Bunn

    I think it’s great that social good campaigns have now become a part of the social media world. Now it is easier for younger individuals to get involved in campaigns such as the Pepsi refresh project. The twitter world has definitely changed my involvement in current events, news and social good campaigns. When you see certain tweets from celebrities or for example CNN encouraging people to get involved it makes it more appealing to the younger crowd. Social media helps organizations see the buzz about their campaign. Overall I think it’s a great thing that social media is used to spread news for the social good. I think that it’s a great way to reach not just the younger crowd but people nationwide.

  6. Victoria Corley

    I agree that the idea of social good through social media is great! It is now easier to support a cause, but it is very interesting to think that behind the scenes there are plans in place to get the “social good” campaigns to you. I included a few examples of social good campaigns in the blog, but I would love to see others that have used social media to promote a “social good” campaign.
    -Victoria

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