In today’s hyper-connected, information-rich marketplace, consumers can easily find out quite a lot about businesses. Many customers search for and choose to patronize companies that embrace a social mission that they believe in, seeking an emotional, personal connection based on shared values.
With e-commerce playing an ever-expanding role in the shopping habits of both consumers and businesses, companies in the space need to find creative ways to make connections with prospective buyers. If your e-commerce business’s brand involves a commitment to one or more social missions, it’s essential to demonstrate that to your target audience. Here, 10 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share effective ways to do just that.
1. Carefully consider the issues to focus on.
To be successful, an e-commerce business should be authentic, transparent and reliable. Consumers — especially younger consumers — purchase from brands that mirror the values that they hold in their daily lives. They are also influenced by social and environmental issues, and to be relevant, businesses should prioritize which missions to focus on. – Shikha Jain, Simon-Kucher & Partners
2. Display your social mission on your landing page.
Display your social mission on the landing page of your company’s website so it’s one of the first things that a consumer sees when they find your brand. It can help to better communicate your brand’s values and engage consumers in your social mission. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
3. Partner with a nonprofit.
Try partnering with a nonprofit that shares your social mission. This is a great way to give back in a transparent manner while also making it clear where your ideals lie. Also, partnerships like this are great for boosting profiles and even better for special events. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency
4. Highlight your team’s work.
Highlight those who work for your business and what they are doing for social impact, rather than what your company is doing. Make it about the power of individual service and sacrifice. People love to hear human stories much more than reading about how much was raised in corporate donations. – Chip Laingen, Defense Alliance
5. Be present locally.
One of the best ways to share your mission is to have a physical local presence. Many e-commerce businesses focus on casting a wide net digitally, but they forget the human element of having an impact on consumers at their local level. These are the causes that often mean the most to customers. – Nathan Scherper, Sherper’s
6. Include your social mission in all communications, and share photos.
Make sure you put your social mission on each page of your site, and include it in all communications. Do not put it just on the home page and forget about it. Also, post photos of checks being hand-delivered to recipients. People look at pictures more than they read written words. – Jim Lane, Lane Technology Solutions
7. Engage in public conversations.
Participating through social media and engaging in conversations about projects you are passionate about helps bring attention to your organization’s “why.” Make yourself and your company a part of the conversations that you care about — discuss the social aspects of what your certifications bring and the impact on the “why.” Make it about the causes. – Jack Smith, Fortuna Business Management Consulting
8. Back up social initiatives with objective data.
Businesses can say they are committed to a social initiative, but they need to back it up with action. Why is the cause important to the company and its stakeholders? What benchmarks have already been hit? What are the goals for the next phase of the initiative? What is the plan to meet them? Without objective data, a company may be accused of “slacktivism.” – Mark Zinman, Zinman & Company
9. Share your mission and service on social media.
Sharing on social media is a great way for a business to demonstrate its social mission to customers. If the mission of the organization is to provide a service, they should provide a form of it for free on social media so that customers have an opportunity to interact and test the service without a commitment. – Mackenzie Toland, A New Leaf Therapeutic Services PLLC
10. Show the measurable impact you’re making.
One of the best ways an e-commerce business can demonstrate its social mission is not only clearly articulating that mission on the website and all marketing collateral but also backing up the statement with the measurable impact, whether that’s related to an environmental or social impact. – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.