Social media is a powerful communication tool for the eco-minded. Green groups on Facebook and LinkedIn allow people to both network and to connect personally. Green blogs and eco-blogger networks provide forums for targeted content to be shared over the Internet. Green Twitter feeds keep time- and attention-pressured users in the loop. Online communities—such as those on Care2.com and Change.org—exist for every eco-topic imaginable and media sharing sites like Flickr and YouTube are flooded with environmental content.
The choice to be green (no matter what the motivation) is most often a personal one and social media is about personal connection. It is no surprise that green-themed social media is thriving.
Start to blog. A blog, short for weblog, is a diary on the web. As a communication tool, blogging can help you network, make sales, and activate your stakeholders and become a thought leader at a fraction of the cost of traditional media. There are two basic ways to blog about your business. You can start your own blog and build a reputation as a green industry expert. A good example of this is the blog Inside Sustainable Packaging, written by Dennis Salazar of Salazar Packaging. Known as a reputable and unbiased source of information, Salazar’s blog is effective because it is more than a repository for press releases. It contains valuable information about industry trends in sustainability as well as product information.
The other way to blog is to become a contributor to an existing blog. This can give you a platform from which to communicate your expertise and often requires less time than writing your own blog. Find a blog that reaches your market and ask if they are looking for contributors. Many blogs actively seek writers. Either option provides an excellent way to communicate your green positioning in a public forum.
The good news about blogging: You can reach a wide and diverse audience. The downside: It takes time and a genuine interest in engaging the community. It is essential to become an active member of your green online community. In other words, don’t use your blog exclusively to promote yourself. Spend time reading posts, comment when you have something to offer, and promote your fellow bloggers. Also, if you want your blog posts to be read, make them personal and insightful. Everyone loves the insider scoop. Finally, submit your blog posts to popular social bookmarking sites like Stumble.com, Digg.com, Reddit.com, and the green category on Tipd.com as well as to green-themed sites like Care2.com.
Open a Twitter account. You can tweet to announce promotions, specials, coupons, and events; make new blog posts; provide customer service; resend (aka. ‘retweet’) links to green content and convey any other information that can be stated in a few words. There is an active green community on Twitter and a plethora of green Twitter streams. Add hashtags such as #green and #eco to tweets to allow other Tweeple find you. Follow #EcoMonday recommendations.
Post events. If you sponsor and hold events, post them on social event calendars as a way to attract new attendees. Most social networking sites (including Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) have event listing applications. Greenbiz.com and SustainableIndustries.com offer free, green-targeted event calendars as well.
How are you using social media to reach your customers?