Sharing is caring. Sharing your organization’s vision, sustainability plan, and results with the greater world is caring. Caring in a big way. Why? Because sustainability means different things to different people. How your organization embraces sustainability and the results your business gets from taking eco actions are unique to your business. Sharing your story of sustainability with others, internal and external to the organization, advances sustainability by giving it context, meaning, and example in everyday operations. It clears up muddy misconceptions of what green and sustainability is and shines a bright light on what sustainable business programs are and the benefits they bring.
As advocates of social media for sustainability, we subscribe to the belief that business sharing their sustainability story are rewarded on multiple levels. In fact, according to 2012 Cone Communications Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker, “companies that proactively share the details and results of their CSR efforts, rather than just their aspirations, will be rewarded with increased consumer trust and purchasing. Some 86 percent of consumers are more likely to trust a company that reports its CSR results, and 82 percent say they are more likely to purchase a product that clearly demonstrates the results of the company’s CSR initiatives than one that does not.”
With that being said, What Should Everybody Know About Social Media for Sustainability Storytelling? Overall, social media is an opportunity to amass trust in business sustainability programs. Executives, CFO’s, employees, sales and marketing teams can all leverage it to increase eco awareness of the organization’s social ethics, environmental concerns, and philanthropic deeds. There are opportunities to keep stakeholders informed using openness and transparency as keys to establishing trusting relationships, as well as, letting customers, suppliers, investors and the public know they are dealing with a company that acts responsibly. Discover how the different roles in your organization can leverage social media for sustainability and CSR communications.
- Business Development – Why Social Media Engagement for Business Growth
- Supply chain – Stakeholder Engagement Reducing Risk in the Supply Chain
- Knowledge Management – Why Enhance Knowledge Management with Social Media Strategies?
Employees at all levels in the organization can act as brand advocates of the business and sustainability programs. The key is training employees in social media for sustainability communications.
- Prepare a social media policy from a perspective of what employees can do rather than what they cannot. Restrictions can negatively impact the morale of employees, but suggestions on how to represent the company on social media sites can provide employees with a greater sense of involvement in CSR communications.
- Establish a branded social media training program. Inform, motivate, and actively engage employees in the company’s business sustainability programs and social sharing.
- Be explicit in how you want employees to use social media for sustainability communications.
- Provide ongoing education, training, and knowledge sharing opportunities. Encourage “trained” employees to share best practices and allow for feedback on the training process.
In as much as business sustainability definitions are shaped and given context by a company’s culture, leadership, and programs, so too are social media communications. Need help with your sustainability communications? Contact us today to learn more.