Recently the team at Sailthru has been discussing what local or national causes we might want to start supporting. This is an important subject because the causes you support as a brand and the way you support them can say a lot to customers and potential customers.

I don’t have to tell you about how volunteering to help others can be a team building exercise, but there are other benefits that perhaps you’ve not thought of.

I really believe that to succeed in today’s social reality, companies must share a little of themselves. A good way to share insight into the corporate culture is to promote a cause. And not just promote it, but actively support it and share with others what you are doing. That support may be in time or resources and of course, financial, but it has to be sincere support. Sharing what you do to help others provides insight into your culture, puts faces with your brand and helps build relationships.

It’s something you should put a bit of thought into. Find a cause which fits your culture and that means consulting your staff. In fact, that’s the best place to start because chances are a few of your people are already involved in some worthwhile charities and supporting one which has a personal connection to a team member, can really increase enthusiasm all around.

I often say that you shouldn’t just talk about what your product can do, but about what people are doing with it – how does it add value to their day? Well, what about the corporation? How do you add value to your day and those around you? How are you making this world a better place? If you are, don’t you think that’s worth a little conversation?

You can use your blog, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to update people on the charity of your choice and tell people how you are helping out and how they can too. You might offer that charity a spot in your newsletter to inform subscribers about what they do. Certainly, you’ll want to have regular updates on your blog about what you are doing to help.

Of course, doing good work is not something new to marketing. It’s certainly nice to know that you can do some good in this world while still doing your job. Just don’t be too shy about talking about it now that you have social media to do it with. In my opinion, as long as you put the emphasis on the cause and avoid shameless self promotion, it’s a great conversation starter!