CEOs believe social media is useful to accomplish business goals, especially those related to branding and communications.
With the dawn of social media, consumers are able to directly connect to and voice their opinions on brands not in private conversation, but amongst the hundreds, thousands and possibly millions who are connected through the web. No longer can brands hide behind the wall of private communication and continue to push their stakeholder inquiries, concerns, or problems aside. Brands must react, engage and build trust by interacting with their social communities - this means exposing your brand, the good, the bad and even the ugly.
A recent post, Social media as value creation for sustainable businesses, addresses how active engagement and dialog with stakeholders cannot be overlooked when creating shared value. Another great post, Seeing is believing: the need for better sustainability communications, states, "In an increasingly complex world, one full of distractions, it's imperative to break through the noise and communicate what matters clearly, concisely and transparently. Corporations now have more than an obligation to publish their sustainability efforts; they have an obligation to make sure that the information lands squarely in the hands of consumers in a way that they can understand it. Put more simply, if consumers don't 'get it' then companies have an obligation to make sure that they do."
How are consumers making sense of green brands? With countless blogs, commentators, email marketing, and millions of websites pumping out information, the need for a definable message is important. A highly engaging sustainability story communicated consistently across the organization can go a long way in leading the business sustainability conversation and facilitating alignment with business partners and stakeholders.
Social media is an opportunity to amass trust in business sustainability programs. Use it to increase eco awareness of your business’s social ethics, environmental concerns, and philanthropic deeds. Keep stakeholders informed using openness and transparency as keys to establishing trusting relationships. Let customers, suppliers, investors and the public know they are dealing with a company that acts responsibly.
Julie Urlaub is the founder and managing partner of Taiga Company, a sustainability social media consulting firm, where she aids clients to powerfully engage in sustainability-related issues and stakeholder communications in the social space. She can be contacted at www.taigacompany.com | @taigacompany | Facebook/TaigaCompany