Using social media for sustainability means finding ways to engage your audience and get them paying attention to you. You could have the best product in the world. However, if people don’t know who you are then they cannot buy your green product or service. Social media engagement was meant to make it easier to engage your customers and there are numerous ways you can use them to achieve that goal.
For starters, shaping brand image and gaining consumer confidence starts within the company’s sphere of influence and control. There's the first element of establishing social proof. Social media can help build authenticity when messages and actions of an organization’s business practices in the “virtual” world are, first and foremost, aligned with their messages and actions in the “physical” world. Corporate communications must compel your stakeholders to action with the language that tells them who you are offline and online.
Aiding this is transparency. By this we mean, unexpected authenticity and disclosure of the sustainable business strategies an organization is taking, the results, and all of the good and bad in between. People have to be able to relate your ideas to something they can understand. By revealing interesting details of key metrics, challenges and innovation, corporate messaging can emotionally appeal to stakeholders in ways that personalize a corporate sustainability plan. Transparency is really about presenting honest assessments and reporting of sustainable business practices in ways that are meaningful.
Additionally, nothing can be accomplished alone. Creating an active community by default increases stakeholder engagement. As we've discussed in a previous post, Key Components of Social Media for Stakeholder Engagement, there is an emerging role of social media for stakeholder engagement and for businesses to communicate their broader corporate responsibility agenda. With preferences shifting as to how we communicate and exchange information, social media is becoming the transparent, engaging, competitive advantage that business sustainability delivers. Brand loyalty is generated when stakeholders feel that they belong to a community with shared values and interests.
The bottom line question is, "What content specifically do consumers need to know about a product?" Waste diversion, carbon footprint and sustainable procurement statistics can provide good content for Tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn updates and more. Consider more responsible advertising via your social media engagement:
- Take a life-cycle approach to product communications
- State how long a product will last
- Note the sourcing of materials
- Include instructions on proper disposal
- Be clear on recycling, compostable conditions
A social media marketing strategy is becoming increasingly prevalent for how companies market and do business. Given content is critical for social media, companies need to find relevant and interesting information to disseminate. Need ideas? At Taiga Company, we offer sustainability and social media training, consulting, and managed services to help breathe life to your social communications.