Building trust through social media for sustainability is more critical than ever. With the dawn of social media, consumers are able to directly connect and voice their opinions to brands publicly amongst hundreds, thousands and possibly millions of people who are connected through the social web. As consumers continue to scrutinize business sustainability actions and new product developments, there remains an increasing need to be transparent with more credible information.
Fortunately, social media engagement between sustainability leaders and stakeholders is addressing this concern. How so? Aside from offering increased transparency, dialog on pressing sustainability issues, a primary role social media plays for sustainability is clearing up the confusion of what sustainability is by educating and informing others. It offers knowledge sharing opportunities to learn best practices and connect with other like-minded professionals in building better businesses and communities. It offers personal brand promotion as it relates to the corporate mission, while simultaneously closing the gap between consumer perception and actual business performance.
Because sustainability concepts and definitions are still subject to interpretation and debate, the ‘active’ engagement and dialog with stakeholders cannot be overlooked when building effective business sustainability programs and communication plans. As a result, how do you close the communications gap? What means are available to personalize sustainability to different stakeholder groups so that the corporate message is clear, relevant, and meaningful to the recipient?
One avenue includes corporate social media engagement. The post, Why Customized Content on Social Media Engages Stakeholders, suggests that corporate marketing teams target users specific to Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to maximize the effectiveness of content as well as social media engagement. Yet the most powerful aspect of social media may be the power of sharing and collaboration. Sharing your company’s sustainability plan, results, and journey helps guide and shape how sustainability takes form in your organization. It helps stakeholders to understand sustainability in meaningful ways. By sharing social media posts, videos, updates, text, and the like specific to your industry, product, service, or program, there exist the opportunity to establish your business programs as a leader in those topics.
Another avenue toward closing the communications gap on sustainability communications is promoting the actual directors, managers, and team members leading the actual programs as brand advocates. Executive sociability provides a multiplicity of benefits:
- “Humanize” the company
- Improve company reputation through employee and customer communications
- Build media relations
- Demonstrate innovation
- Enhance credibility
- Create more effective crisis management
- Unfiltered direct communication with consumers
- Valuable asset for sharing corporate social responsibilities and causes
The big takeaway here is – The sole focus of sustainability and social media communications is value creation. Value for your business, your customers, your partners, your suppliers, your community, and the greater world we all live in. Get on board with social media for sustainability communications – contact us today!