Businesses who employ socially responsible business practices can enjoy many operational benefits. Many CSR practices lead to increased retention, lower overhead, and reduced risk of penalty — and that doesn't even take PR into account. Consumers are more likely to spend their money at stores who demonstrate concerted efforts in these areas. But effectively communicating what you're doing without appearing to pander is a difficult tightrope to walk.

Find out what is important to your consumers

Modern online shoppers do their research. Sometimes communicating social responsibility is just recognizing what customers want, and putting their beliefs and values into your daily practices.

Analyze consumer trends: As consumers make contact with your online company, you need to track common questions, complaints and suggestions. This may tell you what business practices they value most or it may indicate how they think your organization should give back to the community.

If you have social media monitoring technology, you can also study what social issues people in your target audience discuss the most in public and which content they share.

Ask your costumers: Besides analyzing data from daily operations, you can figure out what consumers think by asking them. Posting customer questions, surveys or polls in public shows you care about what the community wants. A genuine request for insight is an excellent tool companies use to build social responsibility marketing

Get people involved: You can ask your consumers for more than information. By posting opportunities to donate money or volunteer, you can turn your organization from a business marketing social responsibility to a source for opportunities to give back.

Market your actual impact on the world

One of the keys to honest marketing is not to blur the truth. You should avoid hyperbole or other forms of exaggeration in your social messaging.

Make sure your data is accurate: You should only advertise what you can back up with facts. To prevent accidental dishonesty, you need an accurate record of your activities and their effects on the outside word. The better your data collection practices, the more details you can provide when demonstrating social responsibility.

Show, don't tell: You need to use a variety of marketing channels to spread your content to diverse audiences. When talking about a social campaign or eco-friendly operation, you shouldn't just describe the process. You need content that shows customers exactly how your procedures work and what effects they have.

Post video of your green production lines, take pictures of your charity drives and send tweets live from your fundraising dinners.

Give those affected a voice: If you really care about people affected by a certain problem, the help you deliver should have a noticeable effect. Letting the people who benefit from your efforts talk directly to your consumers through email, social media or other channels removes the usual bias indicators from audience messaging.

Stand by your philosophy

You can avoid the appearance of trend hopping when you find a cause important to your business and stick to it.

Prepare for criticism: When you support one cause - no matter how popular it is - you will receive complaints from the opposing side. If you can share examples where you don't back down from consumer pressure, you may indicate you care about social responsibility more than certain sales.

Follow relevant trends: If you share every social movement that you come across online, you'll never rest and your customers won't know what you really believe in. Connecting your company to certain charity holidays or nonprofit events is a great way to capitalize on public opinion, but you need to limit your efforts to relevant campaigns.

A socially responsible company should have more than enough proof it cares about something other than profits. Turning information into marketing requires careful application, relevant channels and intelligent consumer analytics.


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