Authenticity and Engagement: Keys to Effective Social Media Engagement with Stakeholders

Authenticity and Engagement: Keys to Effective Social Media Engagement with Stakeholders

Social and environmental responsibility remains an important part of communication strategy for today’s organizations, and now thanks to social media, there are more tools than ever to engage your audiences and share your message. As mentioned in the post, Communicating Sustainability on Social Media - The Right and Wrong Way, new tools and strategies are changing the way the business world communicates and exchanges information.  Fortunately, social media is becoming the transparent, engaging, competitive advantage that sustainability delivers.   However, to effectively harness the power of social media to create business value, we explore the key components for success.

Social media success is no longer a defined by how well your company communicates its message to the external world.  It is rapidly becoming a critical business sustainability skill and a business sustainability catalyst that is affecting the bottom line.  What are the most frequent derrailers that impact effective engagement?

  • Inauthenticity
  • Impatience
  • Lack of executive/ top level management buy in
  • Improper goal setting
  • Social media as a stand alone program within the organization
  • Lack of stakeholder engagement
  • Success undefined

Coincidentally, these pitfalls are similar obstacles found in business' adopting a company wide sustainability plan.  Bridging that gap are social media engagement tools offering an evolved approach to stakeholder participation.  By expanding the scope of contributors and encouraging increased feedback, a decision maker opens the ‘suggestion box’ to a variety of untapped view points. In building an active social media engagement strategy that yields results and success, there are several things to consider:

  • Begin with a Clear Vision: What are your social media goals? Is it to increase website/ blog traffic? Promote brand image and credibility? Communicate and engage on CSR/ sustainability related topics? Clearly identify your traditional sales objectives combined with your sustainability metrics and design a social media marketing strategy that delivers results to both.
  • Identify Stakeholders and Online Communities: Stakeholders are a bit easier to identify, but online communities can be centered theme based and centered on sustainability concepts such as recycling, CSR, water, energy, social investing. Or, they may be geographically based. Consider shareholders, partners, employees, customers, suppliers, local communities, and NGO's.
  • Social Media is an ‘Always-On’ Platform: This implies being present to the ongoing conversation: listening, contributing to the conversation, providing timely feedback, and incorporating that information into products, services, and ongoing dialog.

The propagation of sustainable information to effectively communicate business sustainability successes is becoming a more active dialog.  Are you engaged in the conversation?