Guide to Green Business Social Media Success by Taiga Company

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Are you a small or mid-sized business marketer? Do you own or promote a green / sustainable business? Taiga Company's guide can help you kick start a successful social media program and generate easy …

Are you a small or mid-sized business marketer? Do you own or promote a green / sustainable business? Taiga Company's guide can help you kick start a successful social media program and generate easy social media success.

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  • 1. Guide to Green Business Social Media Success P.O. Box 17508, Golden, Colorado 80402 | 888.824.4220
  • 2. Table of Contents Why Social Media Is Social Media Here to Stay? 4 Why Social Media for Green Business? 5 Building a Foundation Starters 8 The Growing Need for a Social Media Strategy 8 Success Strategies Components of Social Media Success 11 Considerations in Planning Your Strategy 12 Implementation Guidelines Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Blogging? 14 But, Social Media isn’t only about Facebook 15 Engagement Strategies Content for Engagement and ROI 18 Build Relationships with Sustainability 19 Success Metrics Business Goals and ROI 21 How to Determine Your Metrics 22 Next Steps Social Media - an In House Job? 24 Outsourcing Social Media 25 Why Taiga 26 Guide to Social Media Success 22 t:@taigacompany fb:taigacompany in:julieurlaub g:+TaigaCompany ytube: TaigaCompany
  • 3. Why Social Media? Did you know... 55% of Buyers Search for Information on Social Media. (Social Media B2B) 33
  • 4. Is Social Media Here to Stay? A survey of 600 small business owners across the United States indicates that 90% are actively engaged in social networking sites and 74% perceive social networking as valuable — if not more valuable — than networking in-person. The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report illustrates small business owners are seeing the greatest results from social media marketing. • The self-employed and small business owners were more likely to report new partnerships, with at least 59% noting a benefit. • Small businesses were twice as likely to find qualified leads than other types of businesses. • Forty-eight percent of self-employed Photo courtesy of www.marketingpilgrim.com and small business owners saw improved sales as a direct result of their social media efforts. • The self-employed (59%) and small business owners (58%) were more likely than others to see reductions in marketing costs when using social media marketing. Furthermore, a new study, authored by The Economist Intelligence Unit and Pulse Point, interviewed 329 US and Canadian executives (C-level to CEO) from 19 different industries to glean their perspectives on engaging customers “in meaningful conversations-enabled by social technologies-so both parties benefit.”   The good news? Social media among the C suite is catching on.  Executives agree that social media engagement has tangible economic benefits including increased market share, Guide to Social Media Success 44 t:@taigacompany fb:taigacompany in:julieurlaub g:+TaigaCompany ytube: TaigaCompany
  • 5. improved product/ service quality, improved collaboration with partners, and improved marketing/ sales effectiveness.   The takeaway is clear. Social media is here to stay. Why Social Media for Green Business? With new tools and strategies changing the way the business world communicates and exchanges information, social media is becoming the transparent, engaging, competitive advantage that business sustainability delivers.   However, to effectively harness the power of social media to create business sustainability value, our consulting practice explores 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. Social media and blogging can help build better green businesses and here's why: • As consumers, employees, businesses, communities, and non government organizations increasingly question business actions on climate change, they want to see transparent, more credible information on the responsible actions companies are taking to addressing their social and environmental impacts.  A corporate blogging program executed successfully can be a powerful vehicle to build sustainable business communications by engaging with stakeholders. • The use of social media collaboration technologies can help organizations break down silos and facilitate knowledge sharing across business units and corporate functions.  The Information Week article, What Enterprise Social Success Stories Have In Common, examines the adaptation of social tools and strategies into today’s business improvement efforts. Contrasting the limited success of simple external tool implementation, the true differentiators are implementing social media strategies with purpose. Guide to Social Media Success 55
  • 6. • Social media can make CSR more visible. "A Reputation Institute 2011 survey found that a company’s CSR program (in its broadest sense), can be responsible for more than 40% of a company’s reputation, whilst companies with stronger social leadership programs have 55% better internal morale and 43% more efficient business processes." • Social media has an emerging role in knowledge management.  Creating bridges between the corporate world and its stakeholders, social media closes the gap on knowledge management and business intelligence. Specifically so if sustainable communications and performance is valued by your stakeholders.  Social media for sustainability communications has become a risk or an opportunity. Monitoring, listening, and dialoguing with key stakeholder in the social space not only offers a competitive advantage but also provides other key ingredients for successful social media engagement. • Sustainability and social media together offer a refreshing and innovative approach to business.  Beyond the more familiar and tradition business value drivers of out-bound CSR communication or internal stakeholder engagement, our sustainability consulting explores some of the lesser known but equally viable social avenues to value.   Sounds great! But social media can be daunting for businesses especially on two points: ‘Where do we start?’ and secondly, ‘How can it benefit my green business?’ Hence, this guide to help you navigate the way. Photo courtesy of www.soshable.com Guide to Social Media Success 66
  • 7. Building a Foundation Did you know... 61% of US Marketers Use Social Media to Increase Lead Gen (Social Media B2B) 77
  • 8. Starters Sometimes, in order to know the right way to do something, it’s easiest to first look at what doesn’t work. What are the wrong ways or pitfalls that impact a social media marketing strategy?   • • • • • • • 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 The secret of getting ahead is getting started. ~ Agatha Christie The Growing Need for a Social Media Marketing Strategy There is a sustainable business mindset that is gaining tremendous momentum, yet many companies are still just coming to grips with it: Today’s consumers are becoming more socio/ eco aware and companies with a traditional business approach are sure to witness a diminishing return in simple product marketing.  Described in greater detail in the Bloomberg Business week article, The Key to Success? Your Corporate Mission, today’s consumers are less focused on products than they are on the companies who sell them.   Guide to Social Media Success 88 t:@taigacompany fb:taigacompany in:julieurlaub g:+TaigaCompany ytube: TaigaCompany
  • 9. “The world has wised up. No one is going to be tricked into buying something by cute TV commercials. In the Internet Age, everyone has the ability to find out everything about your company, market, and products. If you want to sell, you’d better show customers that you care intensely about your product and what it stands for.” This increase in buyer eco awareness has resulted in a significant shift in sustainable business expectations. We find that companies now realize that a solid reputation goes beyond product characteristics.  Consumers want to know they are being heard. Are you listening to what the world is saying about your company? The simple truth is that consumers are now in driver’s seat and business sustainability actions speak louder than words.  In fact, a study by Green Seal and EnviroMedia Social Marketing reveals:   • Only 9 percent of consumer say green advertising is their primary influencer • 15 percent cite brand loyalty • 19 percent say word of mouth • And 25 percent of consumers say it is a product’s reputation A strong emphasis on reputation management is not a new concept, but it has become especially important in driving consumer eco awareness and business sustainability perception.  The key is to not just promote but to engage with the outside world.   Guide to Social Media Success 99
  • 10. Success Strategies Did you know... 75% of Buyers Likely to Use Social Media in the Purchase Process (Social Media B2B) 1010
  • 11. Components of Social Media Success Navigating the social media waters can be tricky. As we’ve said, started with a clear objective is a great place to start but what might some of the steps towards moving from a beginner on social media to proficiency? • First - Get Started with Social Media! • Chose the Best Platforms for your Business • Create your online Accounts “The stand out leaders in this year’s Social Media sustainability Index all fully embrace their newfound power to publish and provide useful, regular, transparent, and creative sustainability content for their social media communities.” ~ The SMI-Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index • Identify Goals and Objectives • Set Targets • Create a Social Media Policy • Plan your Social and Content Strategies • Analysis and Monitoring: What’s your ROI? • Develop Team Building and Workflow Process • Get Clear on Brand Management: Mishaps and Opportunities Guide to Social Media Success 1111 t:@taigacompany fb:taigacompany in:julieurlaub :+TaigaCompany g ytube: TaigaCompany
  • 12. 4 Things to Consider When Planning Your Company’s Green Social Media Strategy In building an active social media engagement strategy that yields results and success, there are several things to keep in mind: • 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.  • Know your audience. 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.  • Understand the Important Process of Content Creation as it relates to your audience, building an online community, and generating business opportunities for your business. • Commit! 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. Granted, there are numerous decisions to make before getting started. However, if you start with a clear objective, it will be easier to find your way. Guide to Social Media Success 1212
  • 13. Implementation Guidelines Did you know... 87 percent of SMBs believe that social media has helped or somewhat helped their organization. (Vocus) 1313
  • 14. Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Blogging? Which One?! Which platform is best for your business? How do you know which platform is best in reaching your business goals whether that be increased sales, better customer serivce, or improved brand awarness? The 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report states that: • 85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure. • 58% of businesses that have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period. Large corporate businesses that may already be household names are going to have a very different approach to social media marketing than a small, local business – social media marketing is definitely not one size fits all. From a green business viewpoint, is it possible that Twitter, Facebook, and blogging could be the three pillars of sustainable communications?  Some food for thought: • Two recent posts, Business Blogging for a Sustainable Purpose and Who are the Tweeps Tweeting for A Better Green Brand? explore the value of social media for sustainability communications.   • Our friend Fabian Pattberg asks,  Facebook – A useful Sustainability and CSR platform? • Mirroring thoughts on the subject include those found in the post, Sustainability Professionals + Facebook = Worth It? All included as suggested reading to help you select the best social media platform (or we can help you do that!). Guide to Social Media Success 1414
  • 15. But social media is not all about Facebook, Twitter and Blogs... Nearly every business is on Facebook and Twitter, but other social media platforms are often overlooked as a means to communicate business sustainability initiatives, reporting, and successes.   Exploring the benefits of using YouTube for sustainability related content, the post, CSR on YouTube – Why Web Video Needs to Be Part of Your Social Strategy, shares, "there are many ways that sustainability enthusiasts use online video, and if you’re not on YouTube already, you’re missing a big part of the conversation. Industry professionals highlight corporate sustainability programs.  Consumers upload product reviews and search for eco-friendly how-to and DIYs.  And while there is one hour of video uploaded to YouTube every second, there’s still much less competition for strategic keywords. On Google, for example, the term Photo courtesy of www.ijustdid.org “Sustainability Consultant” returns 1.86 million web pages, but only 9,000 video hits. Similarly, “Corporate Social Responsibility” returns 130 million web pages, but only 230 thousand videos. The bottom line is, online video is the easiest way to be competitive in search."  Additionally, ever since its launch, Google+ has received a tremendous amount of attention in the social media world. While there is confusion as to its place among Facebook and Twitter, it is a new, unique platform in its own right. Regardless of what you think of Google+, it's best not to be ignored; the integration with Google search alone makes it an important channel to consider in your social media engagement for sustainability and CSR.   Finally, if you haven't heard of Foursquare, then you might want to familiarize yourself with it and GreenSquare.  Both are like a combination of micro-blogging (like Twitter), and GPS geocaching (finding places) and you can use the programs to highlight eco awareness to your friends, colleagues, and community.   Basically, by using your smartphone, you 'check in' with Guide to Social Media Success 1515
  • 16. the Foursquare website, publish your physical location, and write a quick review about the restaurant or pub or coffee shop you are visiting. Foursquare and Greensquare can be components of a social media marketing strategy assisting to spread the good word of local green businesses, non profits, and green events.  By checking in at sustainable businesses offering green products and services, you are putting those businesses on the map (including your own), introducing those businesses to other like minded sustainability professionals, as well as supporting for these businesses with your financial dollar. The truth is, setting up a Facebook page or Twiter account is easy. Using social media channels to foster authentic conversations with a community without a strategy or content plan is not. Guide to Social Media Success 1616
  • 17. Engagement Strategies Did you know... 87 percent of SMBs believe that social media has helped or somewhat helped their organization. (Vocus) 1717
  • 18. Content for Engagement and ROI  The new saying is that Content is King. What exactly is content marketing? It's the creation and publication of original content -- including blog posts, case studies, white papers, videos and photos -- for the purpose of generating leads, enhancing a brand's visibility, and putting the company's subject matter expertise on display. HiveFire's researchers found that an impressive 82 percent of B2B marketers now employ content marketing as a strategy in their marketing programs. Coming in at a distant second place is search engine marketing at 70 percent, followed by events at 68 percent, public relations at 64 percent and print/TV/radio advertising at 32 percent. Content can include: • Customer stories of their use of your products/ services • Blog post, Videos, and Quotes • Pictures of Company Events, Conferences, and announcements • Key data regarding your sustainability report. • Supplier, Customer, Community related information • Questions that cause consumers to pause, reflect, and take action • And More! The savvy aspect of content creation and curation is in leveraging its use to not only build your brand but also create and connect your online community. There are numerous tips, tricks, and tools available to help select the best content to share, as well as help make your content easy for others to share capitalizing on the viral nature of social media. Guide to Social Media Success 1818
  • 19. 6 Ways to Build Strategic Relationships with Sustainability TITLEInfluencers of Social Media Community and collaboration are central themes to sustainability. By building strategic relationships with key influencers of sustainability in the social space, we all create and empower sustainability and its mainstream adoption.  Here's how you can build strategic relationships for your sustainable business too:  1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Identify key influencers - select a handful of sustainability professionals for social media or key leaders in the space.  A good place to find Influencers on twitter can be found via the SMI Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index Connect - follow, like, subscribe to their social media streams and platforms. Engage - show your support by retweeting, commenting on blog post, and liking Facebook Photo courtesy of socialmedia.biz updates. Social - introduce others to key influencers, share mutual interest whether that be a resource, website, blog, or topic of interest. Promote: offer to interview a key influencer.  Or, review their book, product or event.    Comment - offer feedback, honest opinions, or additional viewpoints. Because sustainability concepts and definitions are still subject to interpretation and debate, the ‘active’ engagement and dialog with key influencers cannot be overlooked when building effective business sustainability programs and a social media marketing strategy. The propagation of sustainable information to effectively communicate business sustainability successes is becoming a more active dialog.    Guide to Social Media Success 1919
  • 20. Success Metrics Did you know... The top two measurement metrics are 1) traffic (76%) and 2) # of new customers. (Vocus) 2020
  • 21. Business Goals and ROI For the past few years, marketers have been content to measure “soft” metrics, such as the number of “Likes” or followers their brands have acquired. These numbers, though, are usually not indicators of an active community. For instance, One of the aspects of social media that is changing as it matures is measurement  When businesses first started to experiment with social media activity no-one was particularly concerned with measuring anything. However, the single most common question that is addressed to all social media experts is:  How do you determine the ROI of all of your social media efforts? Basic ROI analysis begins by measuring what matters, what you can measure, and final outcomes. As in, what did people do as a result  of reading your content or engaging with you on a social site? Did they click a link, share your content, visit a landing page, fill in a form, download a whitepaper or a coupon, watch a video or recommend you to a friend? Social media can be used for a variety of business objectives including: • Marketing • Sales • Customer service • Research • IT • Human resources • Executive management Guide to Social Media Success 2121
  • 22. How to Determine Your Metrics The specific goals and KPIs of these departments will vary dramatically. To estimate the social media return and ROI, you need to start with a 3-step process: 1. Define your social media goal. 2. Based on the goal, define your social media return. 3. Finally, define how you will tie hard dollars to the social media return. What types of outcomes should we measure? Well, that’s really up to you. Depending on your budget, capabilities and resources, you can define as many as you want. Ideas include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • Site traffic Number of fans/ followers Number of positive customer mentions Number of page views Number of mentions Engagement rate Facebook: talk about this and reach Twitter: retweets and impression reach Social clicks Conversion Rates Revenue Reduced call volume Increased channel sales Photo courtesy of www.effectwebagency.com Guide to Social Media Success 2222
  • 23. Next Steps Did you know... Top executives need to be involved in social media. 77% of buyers say they are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media. (eMarketer) 2323
  • 24. Social Media- An In House Job? Should business owners outsource social media? It depends. Finding the right person to manage your company’s social media presence can be a challenge. Yet, on the other hand one of the keys to a successful social media marketing platform is knowing your business, clients, suppliers, and competition. Personally as a business owner, you don’t need to be active on social networks, but your business does. Test it - Do you like creating content? As in, do you enjoy writing well crafted email, sharing blog posts from reputable sources? Commenting on blogs, tweets, and Facebook shares? How comfortable are you networking publicly? Try a retweet or two and engage with others and see if it is a fit for you. However, if you’re a business owner feeling like everyone around you is already fully immersed in social media yet you are limited on time or find social media intimidating, it might be a good idea to ask for help. Photo courtesy of blog.hubspot.com Guide to Social Media Success 2424 t:@taigacompany fb:taigacompany in:julieurlaub g:+TaigaCompany ytube: TaigaCompany
  • 25. Outsourcing Social Media For smaller businesses, the process of creating a social media program, implementing that program effectively to your market, and building upon results can be time and resource constraining. As a result, you may consider social media training or even outsourcing your social media efforts to a firm that shares your sustainability values. What might you look for in hiring a social media company to help you? Photo courtesy of www.finalsite.com When did you start in social media? Why? Where can I find you online? Do have a blog? Which social sites do you engage? What is your background other than social media? What social media marketing channels do you have the most expertise in? How will you help us determine our community influencers? What methods will you use to grow our audience? How do you handle legal risks? How will you coordinate social media with our other communication functions? How do you measure results and calculate ROI? It is much easier and effective to hire a trained expert in this field instead of attempting to figure it out on your own or task one of your other employees—whose training and expertise are better used elsewhere. At Taiga Company, we’d love nothing better than to help you with your social media success. Guide to Social Media Success 2525
  • 26. Why Taiga?  We believe there is an emerging role of social media for stakeholder engagement and for businesses to communicate their broader corporate responsibility agenda.  With the traditional press release falling way to anyone publishing or promoting content and preferences as to how we communicate and exchange information changing, social media is becoming the transparent, engaging, competitive advantage and risk mitigation that business sustainability delivers.     Navigating the complex social space, Taiga Company's social media unites business, sustainability, and communications in powerful dialogue to engage with online communities and stakeholders.   With proven blog success, 30,000+ followers on Twitter, 900+ fans on Facebook, and 900+ connections on LinkedIn, Taiga Company leads by example via effective real - time listening and monitoring of communications, and humanized engagement in the social space for green, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.   Our Services Social Media - Business Basics - Training - Social Media 101 Crash Course Social Media - Business Implementation • • • • • Social Media for Sustainability Professionals - an online course Social Media and Sustainability Software/ Tool Recommendations  Social Media Audit and Competitor Analysis Social Content Strategy Optimized Content Distribution Channels Social Media - Business Optimization • • • Social Media Stakeholder Engagement / Community Building, Engagement, and Monitoring  Social Media Corporate Strategy and Policy Development Social Media for Sustainability Reporting     Guide to Social Media Success 2626 t:@taigacompany fb:taigacompany in:julieurlaub g:+TaigaCompany ytube: TaigaCompany