Sustainability—Fueled by Social Media Part II

Nathan HeadshotBy Nathan Strauss, Green Seal Intern — Spring 2015

If my last blog post proved anything, it’s that social media can have a huge impact on how others perceive your business and what you have to offer. It’s especially effective when what you’re offering—in this case sustainable practices—is generally popular among most audiences. But what about using social media to go beyond communicating with consumers and instead reaching other business or even government? The techniques remain largely the same.

There are a lot of positives to using social media as a tool for business-to-business (B2B) communication. For one thing, Twitter and Facebook help remove a lot of the dry formality associated with letters or email chains. Because you’ve already formed a social media personality it’s easier to be formal and personable in your interactions.

Studies show that 94 percent of B2B buyers do research online before making purchasing decisions—much like traditional consumers would. Because of this, it’s important to maintain a strong social media personality even if your driving interest is B2B communication. Just as you would hope to engage consumers with wit and personality, the same is crucial for bringing in attention from businesses.

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Another way to encourage involvement from other businesses through social networking is to get involved in conversations on topics related to your field. Search relevant hashtags and see who else is tweeting them out. For example, Green Seal often uses industry-relevant hashtags like #greencleaning or #greenbiz. If you’re looking to start a conversation using your own hashtag, consider adopting one of the ones being used most often, but personalizing it. Green Seal tends to use the personalized hashtag of #GScertified. Since the space in a tweet is limited to 140 characters or less, keep in mind that the fewer characters your hashtag contains, the more likely followers are to pick it up for use in their own tweets.

The use of hashtags also translates well into Instagram, which is a more visual medium than Twitter and so often more engaging. In order to be most effective on Instagram, it’s important to spend time on it understanding how fellow businesses use it as a platform and why they are so successful—whether it’s high caliber photography, relatable imagery, or everything in-between.

Take inspiration from all angles and use a healthy mix of user-generated imagery, staff photos, or interesting shots of content that stays to true to your brand. Don’t try to promote yourself or gain followers, at least openly—these actions rarely go over well on platforms like Instagram.

These same rules tend to apply just as well when marketing towards business-to-government (B2G) interactions. It’s important to consider how the end user will receive your content—cater to that perspective while also upholding an image of what your brand represents. In sustainability this may mean any number of things, from reduced-impact packaging to environmentally conscious purchasing.

Arguably, one of the most important aspects when marketing from a B2B or B2G perspective, however, is making valuable information easily available. More often than not, these clients are seeking an efficient solution to a problem in their workplace. In terms of sustainability, this may mean meeting newly imposed standards (such as LEED accreditation) or complying with health regulations.

If your brand can provide an easily understood explanation of your services—partnered with effective social media marketing—it’s more likely that you’ll be selected over a more technical or less recognizable competitor.

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