Shannon Valdes Leiderman
Published 4 years ago.
About a 5 minute read.
Image: WOCinTech (via Flickr)
/ This article is sponsored by
Social media thrives on compelling storytelling, and chances are that your sustainability efforts have the capacity to pull on your audience’s heartstrings better than another post promoting your product or service.
When planning your sustainability messaging strategy, social media might not
be top of mind. After all, social media is inherently fun and friendly, whereas
sustainability is traditionally dry, corporate and nuanced. However, as
consumers, employees and investors are increasingly understanding the value of
sustainability, the appetite for these stories — as well as the platforms from
which they are shared — have grown and evolved. Publishing a dense and technical
report that’s buried somewhere on your corporate website is no longer enough —
you must seek out new communication channels and new ways of telling your story
to reach your growing audience, and that includes social media.
We all know that B2C companies can find success in the world of likes and
shares, but what about B2Bs? While B2B companies are a bit late to the game, a
revealed that 79 percent of B2B marketers rated social media as their most
effective marketing channel. Still, one of the greatest challenges B2B companies
face on social media is developing rich, engaging content. Without an
interesting, sexy product to sell, how can a B2B company compete against the
Coca-Colas and Patagonias of the world in the over-saturated social
This is where sustainability content comes into play. For B2B companies, in
particular, sharing your sustainability story on social media is an opportunity
to share compelling content and create an emotional connection with your
audience. It pushes your social media narrative from what you’re doing
to why you’re doing it — which is the story your audiences really want to
Social media thrives on compelling storytelling, and chances are that your
sustainability efforts have the capacity to pull on your audience’s heartstrings
better than another post promoting your product or service. Social media also
gives you a platform to cherry-pick those inspiring stories from your dense
sustainability report and put them in front of an audience who cares. Finally,
talking about your sustainability priorities on social media allows you to join
a larger conversation about the issue at hand, while positioning your company as
a thought leader.
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Below are some tips for creating a social media strategy that sticks.
Don’t just blast your initiatives all over social media and hope it resonates.
Seek out discussions that are already happening surrounding your broader cause
and determine how your company fits into the larger conversation. This will also
allow you to make connections with people who are already engaged.
Just as you should take a holistic approach to your sustainability strategy with
each initiative supporting an overarching goal, every social media message you
publish should ultimately help address a broader issue you are aiming to solve
that is material to your business. A good place to start is by leveraging
can help define your content pillars and help you hone in on how they all fit
together under one focus. Be clear with your overall focus, as wavering between
causes and using non-committal language will weaken your narrative. In this era
audiences are quick to pick up on — and call out — inauthentic content.
Follow the 80/20 rule, in which 80 percent of your content inspires, educates or
entertains your audience, while the remaining 20 percent directly promotes your
business. Instead of focusing only on your own initiatives, share inspirational
stories aligned with your cause, which will help position you as a thought
leader. When you do share your efforts, avoid being boastful and tie it back
to the broader cause. Always remember to communicate the why instead of
While there some exceptions, we typically do not recommend creating separate
social media handles for your sustainability content as this fragments your
messaging and may leave your audience with the impression that it’s not an
important topic. Instead, integrate sustainability with your primary social
media accounts and ultimately, your overall brand narrative. Always remember
that your sustainability strategy should
with your existing business strategy.
Save the statistics and data for your sustainability
Social media is an opportunity to humanize your business by delivering
compelling, human-centered stories that demonstrate your impact. Emotions
trigger engagement, which increases your reach and strengthens the connection
with your audience. The key is to share authentic
and reflect your true emotions.
Social media is all too often perceived as a force for negativity, but it also
presents businesses with a tremendous opportunity to use their influence to
catalyze positive change. Instead of using social media solely as a platform to
promote your efforts, be a leader and seize the chance to inspire a movement and
rally others behind your cause.
Social media and sustainability are both ongoing projects that depend on the
values of community, transparency and collaboration, making them a natural fit.
Sustainability addresses global issues and social media addresses a global
audience, simultaneously allowing companies to share their progress in real-time
and engage directly with those affected. When used effectively and ethically,
social media and sustainability have a collective ability to empower a company
to drive substantial change through garnered stakeholder support.
This post first appeared on the thinkPARALLAX
on March 5, 2019.
Published Apr 5, 2019 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST
Shannon is a wordsmith, storyteller and PR/social media pro at ThinkPARALLAX, driven by the desire to make a positive impact on the planet.
This article, produced in cooperation with the Sustainable Brands editorial team, has been paid for by one of our sponsors.