Are you planning to develop a social media marketing strategy to communicate your company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) or sustainability plan? What are some things to take note of when using social media for sustainability?
As an orientation, the use of social media collaboration technologies can help organizations break down silos and facilitate knowledge sharing across business units, corporate functions and stakeholders. Social media engagement provides individuals, communities, businesses, and non-government organizations the ability to connect with business in meaningful discussion from anywhere in the world in real time. As a result, many businesses have already realized value by incorporating social media into traditional business processes including marketing, sales, PR, customer support, and product development. However, opportunity is frequently met with challenges.
A key challenge within management communication is that not all leaders are aware of the role they play in communicating and demonstrating CSR initiatives. Additionally, there are organizational communication challenges to streamlining sustainability and CSR communications generated from multiple departments in a business.
Is there a way for corporate communications teams to make sense of it all? Yes! The following steps are guidelines to creating a communications roadmap:
- Identifying Knowledge Requirements: Understanding what knowledge is needed for sustainability communications and where it is located is a key building block.
- Reconfiguring or Building a Social Network: Undertake a knowledge and competency audit of each department in order to identify duplication and redundancy and create the knowledge maps and communication streams that will indicate the optimal social communication channels.
- Building Communication Networks: Undertake an audit of existing processes, tools, and systems across the network and identify areas where harmonization and commonality are lacking.
- Culture Change and Building Trust: Build an environment of transparency and open dialogue to explore assumptions and common ground and build trust between different departments of the business.
- Collaborative Innovation with Partners: Collaborating with partners is an inherent feature of social media engagement – embrace and harness the viral nature of the social web for collaborative gains
Prior to engaging on the social web, it’s critical to Get All Roles in the Organization on Board With Social Media for Sustainability Communications. Why? Despite the challenges, the distribution and engagement of sustainable information is becoming a more critical and active dialog. Stakeholder engagement and feedback is being used to solve problems and drive innovation.
Julie Urlaub is the Founder and Managing Partner of Taiga Company and author of The Business Sustainability Handbook. Her popular award winning blog, engaged Twitter following of 53,000+, and her large, loyal following on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ has garnered her recognition as one of the top resources and thought leaders in social media engagement for sustainability. She has been recognized as Twitter’s 10th most influential sustainability voice in America by The Guardian and #25 Top EcoInfluencer on Twitter by Corporate Knights Magazine.