Throughout the semester, working with the eBay green team was an incredible experience. For me, the experience was especially interesting because our team had the opportunity to work within the fresh field of Social Media and its growing relation to CSR efforts across various companies.
The main goal of our project was to find out how the eBay Green Team could enhance engagement through its social media efforts. The team did extensive competitive benchmarking analysis, and what we discovered among some companies was amazing. I would like to share what I thought were among the top best practices and strategies for utilizing CSR initiatives through social media.
First is the Pepsi Refresh Campaign that challenges consumers and stakeholders everywhere to refresh the world with their own ideas. This social media campaign has proven to be genius and our team walked away from it knowing that, a social media campaign dedicated to challenging and empowering stakeholders can really drive engagement. Specifically for Pepsi Refresh, the fact that they give substantial grants to the winners, says that the company is willing to concretely support ideas that will refresh the world.
Another innovative strategy taken through social media was that of American Express and its Open Forum. At Open Forum, American Express facilitates conversations and interaction among small business owners who share the same everyday problems. And although American Express facilitates the conversation, the business owners ultimately drive the site. Nonetheless, American Express is being praised for creating such an atmosphere and is building their brand strength through what our team calls, “Social Karma”. That is, they are contributing to the community, asking for nothing back, and are receiving great recognition for doing so.
Finally, Seventh Generation’s Million Baby Crawl was another very interesting approach of tackling CSR issues through a social media campaign. By politically advocating for a cause, Seventh Generation has successfully driven engagement through appealing to stakeholders who care deeply about an issue. And although normally, a political campaign can be risky because of the possible reputation consequences, Seventh Generation managed to pick a relatively neutral issue that can only draw support, not controversy.
Overall, this project turned out to be a great success, especially in terms of learning about the various ways social media is creatively being utilized to help address CSR issues. Our team walked away with the knowledge of what some of the best social media efforts look like and were able to come up with creative suggestions for eBay to possibly utilize in the future, such as creating a blog for people to discuss hidden gems they have found on eBay. Two great stories were a stolen wedding ring found on eBay years after it had been taken, and a car found by a son who had built it with his father years before. We were proud to say that interesting ideas like this could help build eBay’s brand story and become closer with their consumers, ultimately completing our project goal of creating additional engagement, which made the project more than worthwhile.
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