What Role Does Social Media Engagement Play in Sustainability Communications with Stakeholders?

stakeholder communicationsAs global expectations for sustainable businesses practices continue to intensify, many leaders are beginning to view business sustainability as a key component of their long-term business planning process.  In addition, our professional consulting practice finds that executives are embracing a more comprehensive definition of business sustainability.  They are closing the traditional gap between business planning and corporate action through effective stakeholder engagement.  As we follow these actions, we find ourselves asking: What are the keys to effective communication?  Also, what role does social media engagement play in sustainability communications with stakeholders?

Explained in the post, How to Become an Effective Communicator, being able to effectively communicate is a vital aspect for success.  Further offering great insight on the subject, the author offers tips to consider:

  • Get personal:  Understanding what is valuable to those you are working will guide you to make better decisions on their behalf or when relating to them.
  • Get specific:  Simple and concise is always better than complicated and confusing.
  • Focus on the leave-behinds not the take-aways:  While we participate in events to gather information from the other party, we also want to ensure that both parties leave the conversation with a clear concept of what the end goal was at that instance as well as what is next to come.
  • Have an open mind:  Simply put, do not enter into communications guarded or with too many pre-conceived notions.
  • Replace ego with empathy:  There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance so tread lightly.
  • Read between the lines:  The most effective communicator can absorb subtle hints of inspiration simply by having a heightened awareness.
  • Speak to groups as individuals:  Tailoring your message to the audience as best you can in any situation involves knowing something about the audience and what they are expecting from you.

Evidence has shown that stakeholder engagement is critical to a company’s ability to capitalize on its eco awareness, product stewardship, reputation, and overall business sustainability.  The post, 3 Ways Social Media Promotes CSR Communications, shares:

  • The use of social media collaboration technologies can help organizations break down silos and facilitate knowledge sharing across business units and corporate functions.  The Information Week article, What Enterprise Social Success Stories Have In Common, examines the adaptation of social tools and strategies into today’s business improvement efforts. Contrasting the limited success of simple external tool implementation, the true differentiators are implementing social media strategies with purpose.
  • Social media can make CSR more visible. “A Reputation Institute 2011 survey found that a company’s CSR program (in its broadest sense), can be responsible for more than 40% of a company’s reputation, whilst companies with stronger social leadership programs have 55% better internal morale and 43% more efficient business processes.”
  • Social media has an emerging role in knowledge management.  Creating bridges between the corporate world and its stakeholders, social media closes the gap on knowledge management and business intelligence. Specifically so if sustainable communications and performance is valued by your stakeholders.  Social media for sustainability communications has become a risk or an opportunity. Monitoring, listening, and dialoguing with key stakeholders in the social space not only offers a competitive advantage but also provides other key ingredients for successful social media engagement.

In addition, the rise of social media has led companies to form new relationships with their stakeholders.  Stakeholders are increasingly looking for authentic, transparent, two-way communication with executives, leaders, and management. In fact, thought leadership on the social web is becoming the sustainability professional’s new power tool.  Taiga Company’s professional consulting can help your business extract increased value from its stakeholders by enabling your communications with social media strategies.  Contact us today to get started.

About the Author:

Leveraging 15 years of business development, marketing, and communications expertise in the Energy, Medical, and Information Technology industries, Julie now consults and advises clients on purpose driven stakeholder communications in the social space. Specialty areas include a variety of issues intersecting between environmental stewardship, sustainable business practices, and the bottom-line benefits of sustainability strategies. Julie leverages a BA in Political Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and IT studies from Southern Methodist University to meet the social, technological, environmental business objectives of Taiga's clients.