Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Spreading The Word

As social media becomes a bigger and bigger part of everyone's lives, it's interesting to see how big companies are taking the opportunity to communicate more directly with their customers. I'm not just talking about spam or money-off vouchers. Twitter and Facebook can be a brilliant way to let people know about less tangible benefits--like sustainability.

The second Social Media Sustainability Index, published yesterday in The Guardian, shows some astonishing growth in the use of social media for that purpose since last year. More than double the amount of major companies have an online presence that specifically addresses their ethical and sustainable projects. Blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages are all helping to get the word out as the big corporations realise that it's a great idea to shout about their good deeds. Sustainability, to put it simply, has become sexy.

This can, of course, be more than a simple PR exercise. Companies that are genuinely pushing towards true sustainability, and are communicating about it in a clear and engaging way have a real advantage in social media. Some, like Renault and BBVA are putting together communities of like-minded people through their social media projects. A great example of this is @myurbangreen from M&S, a project that I wrote about last week that's engaging whole communities in taking care of their own green spaces. Even the name has Twitter connotations.

We live in a world where it's straightforward to communicate with your customer base, but tricky to do it in a way that doesn't feel pandering or patronising. Get it right and do it honestly and transparently and there are big rewards to be had.

This blog is, I like to think, a good example of what I've been talking about. And the Pier32 Twitter account, run by Guru Ian, is well worth a look: Pier32UK gives you the very latest news from The Pier.

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