Sharing via social media is, of course, hotter than ever. But it’s not just an opportunity to showcase your products or services. It’s also opportunity to engage your customers in your green initiatives, which, in turn, should engender more respect, loyalty and love for your brand. Consumers are tired of blatant advertising — they want interaction, evidence and inspiration.
The first step is to understand the various social networks and why and how people use them. Here’s a quick primer. Once you understand the differences, it’s then about using them to better explain your green initiatives and the impact they’re having.
Of course, you need to balance your green messaging carefully: Studies have shown “green” is a secondary concern to most customers. They ultimately care more about whether the product is useful, well-designed and cost effective.
Also, remember that social media isn’t just about relaying information – it should be fun and engaging. Put some thought into how you tell your story and how your environmental sustainability initiatives fit into that.
With that in mind, here’s a look at three ways businesses have used social media effectively to discuss their green initiatives:
Toyota’s Facebook page for its gas-electric hybrid car, the Prius, provides great examples of green-topic-related posts that don’t just tell customers something, but also get them involved in the action. In September, the Prius page had posts such as this:
“How can you maximize your mileage in your Prius? Why is Prius shaped the way it is? Ask one of our famed Prius Experts here: https://www.facebook.com/prius/app_236697543098808”
Or then there’s this gem that garnered more than 400 “likes” and more than 90 comments:
“This past summer, I took the family on a _____-mile road trip in my 20__ Prius to ____ and only spent $___.00 in gas.”
These posts provided great ways for Toyota to converse with customers truly engaged in the Prius brand while helping them better understand the environmental benefits and cost effectiveness of driving a Prius.
Household cleaning products maker Method has been a trendsetter in using social media to engage its customers its ecofriendly practices. Earlier this year, the company launched several music-fueled videos on YouTube as part of its “clean happy campaign” that tried to explain why the company’s cleaning products are less environmentally hazardous than mainstream products.
But instead of blatant advertising, the videos were more suggestive and inspirational. Watch its “clean happy anthem.” The videos were posted on various social media outlets, including Facebook, with some receiving more than 1 million views.
Outdoor apparel maker Timberland announced back in 2008 that it wanted to create a community of one million people dedicated to environmental change – tying the community-building to its Earthkeeper line of green footwear. Four years later, Timberland has more than 800,000 “likes” on Facebook and more than 22,000 Twitter followers.
And environmental friendliness remains part of its overall brand-building. The company posted on Facebook and Twitter about how it uses recycled materials in its shoes, and how it sources its leather from more environmentally responsible tanneries. There is also the company’s tree planting in China and Haiti.
Check out how Timberland wrapped a lot of the themes together into a Pinterest page.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to sell ecofriendly products or be a “green brand” to engage your customers in your green initiatives. Even if it’s steps you’re taking to reduce energy use in your facilities or reduce packaging, you can get the word out to your customers via social media.