Big Brands Are Making Philanthropic Waves, One Pin at a Time

Social media has opened up a very accessible channel for brands to reach their customers, proving to be an extremely powerful tool. As social media becomes increasingly normalized as an accepted means of communication, we’re discovering new ways to play with this ever evolving toy. One such approach is connecting brands and their philanthropic work with customers.

With the internet flexing its new muscles, consumers moved into the new millennium savvier than ever. A noticeable shift in big brands being more charitably transparent gave way to campaigns like Gap’s RED, and Dawn’s commitment to helping marine animal oil spill victims. (Those commercials make me want to want to stock up on dish soap for the next 10 years.)

When choosing where to spend your money, why not pick the company that visibly does good? Social media has made it easier than ever to highlight a company’s philanthropic work and increase reach to a socially responsible customer base. Sony is a great example, blazing new paths on relatively new platform Pinterest, with their new “Pin It to Give It” promotion.

Sony’s holiday season’s campaign was was “Love to Give,” which kicked off in mid-November. The goal was to promote Sony products by engaging influential customers. Part of the campaign involved random giveaways on Twitter using the hashtag #randomsonylove, so the genesis of “Pin It To Give It” seemed like a logical way to incorporate charity into their holiday product campaign.

The way it works is every time a user re-pins something from the Pin It To Give it board between November 27 through December 3, Sony gives a dollar to the Michael Phelps Foundation and they will keep on giving until the end of the year or until a goal of $25,000 is reached—whichever comes first. The money will support their continued work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America through the Foundation’s water safety program, im.

The launch of this super easy, click-to-give promotion happen to coincide with Giving Tuesday, where they joined the ranks of other big names like Aldo and Case Foundation in donating.

Callan Green, Senior Social Media Specialist at Sony behind the Pinterest campaign, had two big tips for brands looking to easily incorporate philanthropy into their social media strategies.

1. Use What You’ve Got

One of her first suggestions was to not look much further than your own backyard. This particular Sony Pinterest promotion is such a great idea because it complements their overall holiday campaign. It reflects other promotions, contests, and campaigns across all channels and platforms. It’s a simple idea, both in creation and implementation. Take a look at current and planned campaigns to generate ideas for giving opportunities that reflect what you’re already executing. Just remember, it doesn’t have to be a big idea, or raise a huge amount of money. Any sized campaign is worthwhile, and especially valuable if it means connecting with your customers to build something together.

2. Discover Uncharted Territory

Using Pinterest wasn’t a random choice. It was a strategic move on Callan’s part because she felt it was a more underutilized space. She recommends “making a bigger splash on other platforms besides saturated Facebook and Twitter.” Callan recognized that Sony already had a loyal following on Pinterest, and thought it would be the perfect place to host a philanthropic campaign, seeing as the competition there was low. Explore what platforms have the most passionate following, and the least amount of noise.

While writing a check and having a building with your name on it is great, brands can actually do more on a smaller scale with social media. Running more frequent smaller, campaigns that engage customers might result in less money, but guaranteed it will be way more meaningful because it involved everyone.

The easiest way to give this year is just one click away, so check out Sony’s Pin It To Give It campaign today and watch out for more brands making small steps toward greater good via social media.

Image (cc) flickr user ryanjzeigler