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How to Use Social Media to Communicate Sustainability

vestasCheerios, M&Ms and Walmart are some leading examples of brands and companies using social media to communicate sustainability strategies to their customers, according to Matthew Yeomans, author of the Social Media Sustainability Index.

According to two pieces Yeomans wrote for The Guardian, roughly half of the 475 companies looked at in his index use social media for such purposes, up from just 60 four years ago.

Highlights from the article and Yeomans’ favorite 10 social media sustainability strategies include:

  • Cheerios‘ Spoonfuls of Stories campaign, a long running collaboration with Simon & Schuster and First Book aimed at childhood reading, utilizes the breakfast cereal brand’s Facebook page to gain recognition.
  • M&Ms uses its cartoon characters to convey parent company Mars’ sustainable cocoa initiatives.
  • Walmart has created a green products and services Pinterest page to convey its environmental actions.
  • Ford’s team-up with YouTube action sports star Devin Super Tramp to show how much a Ford Focus can do on one tank of gas.
  • Vestas’ Act of Facts initiative (pictured) uses social media and Google Maps to spread facts about wind turbines.

However, just having a robust social media platform to communicate a company’s sustainability reporting is not enough; firms need to incorporate social media into an overall communications strategy and have top management plug the efforts to boost authenticity, according to a Business of Social Responsibility article by Guy Morgan released in June.

Many companies think that building a comprehensive social media presence is enough to engage with their customers, but just putting the information out there will not guarantee the quantity or quality of stakeholders firms attract, Morgan wrote.

The social media efforts need to be part of a broader strategy and companies need to carefully review the channels the public uses to evaluate its corporate social responsibility efforts and how to reach them through those channels. If not, the elaborate efforts will only result in a big web design bill, he wrote.

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