5 Lessons on giving back within the social media landscape

5 Lessons on giving back within the social media landscape

Shama Hyder, a contributor for Forbes.com, recently touched upon five lessons for family businesses to give back within the social media landscape and why there’s so many benefits to do so.

In today’s ‘social media’ world it’s almost impossible to hide. This mandate also applies to any business – large or small – especially when it comes to finding real, impactful ways to give back and run an organization ethically.

Social responsibility is no longer as simple as purchasing a tree in a company’s name or attending a black-tie benefit. It has become inseparable from a company’s functionality and brand, explains Hyder. When social responsibility is exercised in a meaningful and thoughtful way, it can be a very powerful differentiator for a company or business.

1. It’s more than just about the money

While the Almighty Dollar usually has the last say for any business, throwing money the way of a charity or a non-profit group no longer is enough to sway the public opinion. Hyder says a more developed sense of purpose and investment is critical if a family business wants to be seen as a true advocate for a cause.

2. Get everyone involved

We’ve all seen the obvious set-up photos of a president, CEO or head of a company “working” hard on a Habitat for Homes project or serving meals to the less fortunate. These types of photo opps don’t feel authentic and won’t convince the general public that your company truly wants to make a difference.

For people to feel something, it has to be real and genuine. To effect change and take ownership of issues in your local community, it takes a lot more than just one person.

3. No one is perfect, so don’t try and act like your business is

“One of the most widespread misconceptions among businesses is the public requires them to be perfect. Most people understand businessmen are not superheroes, and don’t expect heroic efforts as much as they do basic decency and a willingness to “give back.” So, making a difference doesn’t mean ending world hunger, or toppling oppressive regimes. It’s not a one size fits all call to action,” says Hyder.

Show the world what you care about in a real, authentic and creative way. Figure out what you and your employees care about, how you can make a real impact, and put your heart and soul into it.

4. Connect legacy with bottom line

Any business can run into many ethical and functional challenges.

“How does one ensure fair succession procedures? How can one offset criticisms of nepotism, or mismanagement?” asks Hyder.

Hyder says a major strength for any business is what Harvard Business Review refers to as “family gravity,” which is a sense of unique identity and charisma, which endows a business with its dignity and vision. In the context of social responsibility, this mode of thinking can propel a business to consider more than its bottom line.

5. Stay humble with any type of community contribution

There’s nothing wrong with publicizing a business’ involvement with a cause. After all, the choice shouldn’t be between being anonymous and noble and being self-involved and public, states Hyder.

Hyder feels the finer distinction is between being solely motivated by personal reward, and balancing genuine needs with the integrity of a personal brand. Leading with one’s passions and commitments — placing the spotlight on the cause and the community — helps bolster one’s personal or corporate brand in a way that simply seeking validation for one’s philanthropic work never can.

Read the full article at Forbes.com here.

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