stakeholder engagement on social media If our professional consulting experiences have taught us anything, it is that the pursuit of business sustainability is not generated from the inspiration of a single source.  It is the combined efforts of executive leadership, ground-level employees, customers, suppliers, and all other key company stakeholders with a vested interest in the stability of a business.  Having said this: How does engagement, motivation, and innovation play out in this process?

The initial answer to this question is engaging with stakeholders.

Stakeholders: Usually thought of as a corporate term used to define employees and investors most affected by a decision.  While true, this view only represents a very small slice of the total spectrum.  We find in our sustainability and social media consulting, the business world has come to expand the traditional view of stakeholders to include any group or individual associated with a business and especially so regarding sustainability concepts.  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.   

For instance, when you think of business stakeholders, do you picture company founders, investors, and stockholders in a board room determining the fate of the company?  Do you see a gathering of employees fully engaged in the direction of the company being laid out by the company leaders?  While those images may be true, there are also additional  critical engagements that affect business sustainability.  Something to remember: Anyone who thinks they are a stakeholder – Is a stakeholder.  And, social media engagement with stakeholders invites all players to the table.  

Which brings us to the question at hand: How does engagement, motivation, and innovation play out in the development of business sustainability?

Given that the internet and social media platforms provide  individuals, communities, businesses, and non-government organizations the ability to connect with business in meaningful discussion from anywhere in the world in real time, stakeholder engagement can positively impact the outcome of business sustainability decision making.  

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 to embrace engagement, motivation, and inspiration.  Contact us today to get started.