Practical Ecommerce

Showcasing Social Good through Social Media

Many retailers have chosen to highlight as a competitive advantage their dedication to community and humanitarian efforts. Consumers, such as millennials, increasingly value companies that emphasize improving the wider society, as noted in Deloitte’s recent Millennial Survey 2017.

In this article, I’ll address three businesses that use social media to publicize their efforts toward improving humanity.

Ten Thousand Villages

Ten Thousand Villages is a fair-trade retailer in Akron, Pennsylvania with more than 50 retail locations throughout the U.S. What makes Ten Thousand Villages unique is its dedication to nurturing lasting relationships with its makers-suppliers across the globe, especially in third-world countries.

Since its founding in 1946, Ten Thousand Villages has helped over 20,000 makers in over 30 countries earn over $140 million. Ten Thousand Villages ensures the makers are fairly compensated and have good working conditions.

Throughout the years, the organization has shared in-depth stories of its makers on its Mosaic blog, as well as through social networks, such as Instagram.

Ten Thousand Villages shares stories of its makers on social networks, such as Instagram.

Ten Thousand Villages shares stories of its makers on social networks, such as Instagram.

In addition to including product information on its ecommerce site, Ten Thousand Villages spotlights the makers of those products and provides printable “story cards” for each item.

On its ecommerce site, Ten Thousand Villages spotlights the makers of all products and provides printable "story cards" for each item.

On its ecommerce site, Ten Thousand Villages spotlights the makers of all products and provides printable “story cards” for each item.

OluKai Preserves Hawaiian Culture

OluKai is a Hawaii-based footwear retailer. Its website states, “Years before OluKai was profitable, we were giving back because that is part of our core values.”

OluKai makes handcrafted shoes, boots, and sandals inspired by Hawaii and island culture, while also engaging in events and campaigns, further emphasizing its dedication to community and conservation. In addition, every OluKai item sold helps support a local foundation that focuses on the preservation of Hawaiian traditions.

OluKai uses Instagram to promote The Ama OkluKai Foundation, which focuses on the preservation of Hawaiian traditions.

OluKai uses Instagram to promote The Ama OkluKai Foundation, which focuses on the preservation of Hawaiian traditions.

OluKai’s #AnywhereAloha campaign is an ongoing content-creation initiative celebrating cultural collaboration that pairs Hawaiians with like-minded individuals from different parts of the United States. Each story is shared across the brand’s social media channels, in addition to having a page on its website featuring all collaborations.

Here is OluKai on Vimeo.

Over the past several years OluKai has sponsored Ho’olaule’a, a two-day celebration of paddleboard races and Hawaiian culture, with workshops and music. At the most recent Ho’olaule’a, in April, OluKai shared photos — including races, workshops, and members of the community — across its social profiles during and after the event. Ho’olaule’a has become highly anticipated and is well received in the Hawaiian community due to its focus on preserving culture and tradition.

Photos on Facebook from the ninth annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, in April 2017.

Photos on Facebook from the ninth annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, in April 2017.

West Paw Design: Eco-friendly Pet Toys

West Paw Design makes eco-friendly pet toys. When the company outgrew its facility in 2000, it decided to continue manufacturing its products in the U.S. instead of outsourcing to Asia, which many companies did at the time. Since then, West Paw Design built a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bozeman, Montana, where it currently operates.

There is an abundance of choices for pet owners. However, West Paw Designs founder, Spencer Williams, always had a bigger vision for the company than simply making pet products.

In addition to using eco-friendly supplies like organic cotton, hemp, and IntelliLoft® (an eco-fiber made from recycled plastic), West Paw Design also encourages its shoppers to participate in Join the Loop, which involves sending toys back to West Paw Design so they can be shredded and reused.

West Paw Design on Instagram.

West Paw Design on Instagram.

Benefits to Businesses

Consider the benefits of social consciousness for your business. Sharing such initiatives across social media sites helps consumers understand a company’s value and culture, which can build loyalty and drive sales.

What are some ways you are using social media to showcase your organization’s social good or global citizenship efforts?

Vanessa Penagos-Pino

Vanessa Penagos-Pino

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