If you’re having trouble creating a social media strategy centered around your green efforts, I’d like to point you to a couple of pieces in The Guardian that can help set you on the right path.
The first is a roundup of highlights from a live Q&A on using social media to communicate sustainability. The title quote was pulled from an answer given by Lucy Warin of Futerra Sustainability Communications. In developing a social media plan, she draws the distinction between traditional corporate communications and how social media is upending the practice of PR.
Traditional communications start at board level where a message is determined. This is passed down to the communications team who foster journalist relationships and broker press articles. Social media makes this much more of a two way process, and the best strategies consist of 90% listening and 10% activation.
Custom Communication’s co-founder Matthew Yeomans warns against falling into the mindset that social media is yet another channel to flood with your company’s message.
I don’t think social media is a channel at all. On the contrary I would argue that social media is a philosophy – one that is reshaping the way we communicate in general and how companies do business. The problem with thinking of social media as a channel is that it then gets handled like any other channel. Combine social media and sustainability thinking and then you have potential for real change in companies – and good profits as well.
And in Ed Gillespie’s piece, “Five steps towards authentic sustainability communications,” he recommends some good, honest dialog.
Communication via social media is an amazing opportunity to share your aims, experiences and achievements as the values on which it’s built: transparency, ethics, innovation and collaboration, align well with those of sustainability itself. Engage your audiences in genuine dialogue and they will tell your authentic story for you. Of course if you want the ultimate advice on how to manage your brand image online then you could do worse than take the advice of Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales: ‘Make stuff that doesn’t suck’.
All good points. I’m particularly excited by Matthew Yeoman’s advice. Sure, you can use social media to pump out PR-vetted copy, but that gets old, fast. Worse, it’s totally ineffective. We saw this when BP took to Twitter and Facebook during the Gulf oil spill. With BP’s dry, one-way delivery, it’s no wonder that fake, spoof accounts were far and away more popular than the official ones.
Don’t let that happen to you. The only thing worse than not having a social media strategy is one that falls flat.