Social media benefits all parts of your business. Yes, we can all agree it’s more work but what better way to connect with customers directly? Social media should also be used in reaching out to customers about sustainability practices in your business.

Many businesses use their websites, annual reports, or menus to communicate sustainability. If you are doing that, please continue. However, the power of social media as it relates to environmental practices should not be overlooked. Read on to get strategies, questions answered, and real-life examples.

Set a Social Media Sustainability Schedule

Just like you have a social media schedule for regular postings, consider creating a sustainability schedule to share specific updates. I recommend either scheduling notifications based on importance or on a set schedule.

To schedule based on importance, post whenever you hit a goal, milestone, start a new program, or something else eco relevant happens on demand. I recommend this to clients with established and loyal followings. This is using sustainability to engage current customers. It will also attract new followers, but the main goal of this strategy is to create a community of involved and excited sustainability customers.

Scheduling means you pick a day every week, two weeks, months, frequency of your choice, and post your sustainability updates then. This doesn’t mean you don’t post milestones, goals, and the suggestions listed above, it just means you have set times to post them instead of posting as they happen.

Scheduled posting could look like a #FeatureFriday every 3rd Friday about sustainability. I recommend this to clients who are looking to increase a follower count. Followers will know to look for sustainability content on certain days, which keeps them consistently following. These followers will then stay and become part of the sustainability community.

Post On Your Existing Platforms

Don’t create or subscribe to a new platform just to post about sustainability. Use an existing platform and incorporate sustainability-minded posts into it. If your customers are on Instagram, use it. Facebook, same deal. Meet customers where they are already following you. A restaurant uses Instagram stories daily to connect with customers. They now add sustainability material to their stories because they know that’s where their highest engagement is.

Another option I’ve had clients use is to create an “Earth Corner” in their monthly newsletter. This is a good example of using an existing platform to share. A newsletter is an example of scheduling, above, and in this just add any sustainability news or actions from the previous month into the newsletter. Including a photo is always a good idea!

Social Media is a Two Way Street

You can also use social media to get feedback from customers, ask their opinion, and have them suggest sustainability options to you. As part of posting about sustainability, or to kick off a series, ask customers what they would like to see from you as it relates to sustainability. Then, of course, show it to them after you’ve enacted it.

Create an Instagram post asking for feedback on new menu items or about removing straws. Reply to all customer comments and feedback on sustainability posts, just like you would any other. Host an Instagram Live detailing your new sustainability goals or systems. One of the best things about Instagram is that it creates a community and can act as a discussion forum. Use it this way to promote sustainability.

Keep It Material

In sustainability, we love to talk about materiality. Materiality means relevance or significance to your business. Restaurants, look at food waste. Breweries, water reduction. Make sure you are sharing material and relevant updates with customers. If it feels fake to you, it will to your customers.

Materiality in sustainability social media also means staying true to your branding, communication style and existing social media strategies. In sharing your sustainability actions, make sure followers will recognize the actions, tone, and colors as your own. The goal is to incorporate sustainability into your existing brand, not the other way around.

This post was originally published on July 25, 2019 here.