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Putting the Social in Social Good

Authors: Harrison Kratz Harrison Kratz
Posted Under: Social Media
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Putting the Social in Social Good
Illustration by Joelle Leung

Guest post. Harrison Kratz is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the new online MBA degree program from the University of North Carolina. Harrison sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive.

Like anything in social media, the need for evolution comes pretty fast and furious. Time and time again, we become enamored with the latest trend, buzz word, or tools and focus on it incessantly until something else comes along or that topic isn’t just no longer bright and shiny, it’s just dull. Being a “social entrepreneur,” it worries me that Social Good is approaching that saturated status.

While it is inspiring to hear all of these different causes and advocates under the umbrella of social good, I feel that often we misunderstand the meaning of social good. While everything remains in good spirits and rarely absent of good intentions, I think there are a few issues to be addressed and solutions that will keep social good on a healthy track and continue to be an engine for positive change not only throughout the world but throughout the social media atmosphere.

Social Good is More Than a Twitter Campaign

Yes, Twitter campaigns have raised millions of dollars for causes around the world and will continue to do so, but a social good campaign is much more than “For every tweet with said hashtag, so and so will donate a dollar.”

Social good is about a social impact that enhances the life of a cause or agenda in addition to just raising money.

Yes having people donate in the form of tweets is great, but we need to start thinking outside the box and understand how we can use these tools to – as Jay says it – not just have social but to be social throughout the cause.

Social Good Cannot Stay Online

I founded Tweet Drive, a social good campaign that brings together social media communities around the world to collect toys for children during the holiday season. When I started this in 2010, I envisioned a campaign where everything would be done through Twitter and our online presence would be the measure of success.

Over 4,000 toys later, we’ve realized that the social in this social good campaign didn’t really mean Twitter and Facebook. It meant bringing together people in real life to meet their social communities and participate in giving back during the holidays.

Yes, we may start online, but to make a difference and understand what it is to be social, we have to understand our success isn’t measured in followers but the change we inspire through these tools.

Social Good Isn’t Simply Charity Work

Most people think that social good means charity work in the digital space. I disagree. Social good is the process of using social media and and social-focused communities to create a positive impact on your surrounding environment. Paying it forward through digital, if you will.

This can mean mentoring young professionals or students. From my experience with MBA@UNC, it can also be changing the way we receive our education. Social good is filling a void by using your social tools and voice to solve a problem or improve the lives of others – that extends much further than generalized philanthropy.

Take Social Good Beyond the Buzzword

Social Good is on a tipping point where it could become much more than a buzzword and a mainstay in our daily lives or it can remain a buzzword and lose momentum because rather than a lasting idea it stays a digital trend. It is up to us to evolve social good to the concepts that we use every day when being social through our brands and businesses, to ensure that it continues to evolve and bring social communities together both and online and off.

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