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Grow Your Business by Growing Your Social License

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Social investments should be part of how a business operates to help society that enables it to make money

The Internet has put power back into the hands of consumers. With the advent of user-driven sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter; people have learned that they can mobilize easily and quickly to advanced their interests.

Companies must learn to thrive within this shift in power. People can easily google a company’s social reputation and they can vote with their wallets. A dozen people opting to buy a competitor’s greener products is only going to get the middle finger treatment from big business. But when that same group of people starts connecting with similar-minded netizens through Twitter and Facebook, companies are forced to play nice. With Facebook, Twitter and blog sites, people are now the reporter, editor and publisher, in other words they are the judge, jury and executioner.

So what will people find when they look up your company’s social reputation? Here’s a tip, they won’t be going to your corporate website. That’s the last place they’ll go or believe. People will be checking the news, chat rooms, non-profit web sites, groups and their friends in social networking sites to find out what people are saying about your company.

Companies need their social license to continue to operate in the community where they do business. It allows them to enjoy the support of neighbors, goodwill towards employees and patronage of products. This is especially true in markets with various players and people have many options to choose from. Companies with a solid and long history of social responsibility tend to emerge from crises with barely a slap in the wrist, especially in the Philippines where people either have short memories, very forgiving or too busy surviving.

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