Sustainability and social media together offer a refreshing and innovative approach to business. Add the component of storytelling to the equation and now you have a powerful change agent tool available for your green business.
Storytelling isn’t new. Yet sustainability and storytelling in the social media space is and its importance is growing.
According to 2012 Cone Communications Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker, 84 percent of Americans hold companies accountable for producing and communicating the results of CSR commitments by going beyond the mission to robustly communicate progress against well-defined purpose. Some 40 percent go as far as to say that they will not purchase a company’s products or services if CSR results are not communicated.
However, as many are well aware, there are challenges to effectively and clearly communicating sustainability. With sustainability concepts and definitions still subject to interpretation and debate, the ‘active’ engagement and dialogue with stakeholders cannot be overlooked.
Enter the world of sustainability and storytelling in the social media space. When you think about it, the path of business sustainability is a journey. And what makes up a journey? Experiences. Stories. Stakeholders want to hear your sustainability story. They want to hear about your sustainability experiences in your organization.
Social media has proven to be an innovative and effective way to address two of the biggest hurdles around sustainability: defining what it is and providing the means and channels for sharing sustainability experiences.
Within the social media space, there are so many ways to tell a story. Stories can be theme based (water, energy, waste, biodiversity, supply chain, labor, products, and company service offerings) campaign based, and incorporate a single medium or incorporate a variety of platforms. Consider, for example, corporate blogs, Pinterest boards, Facebook campaigns, videos, games, and the like. The key ingredient of successful storytelling is to use content to create context. Meaning, people need to see and experience to understand sustainability.
Who is doing amazing work using storytelling to rise above the pack? Kiva, Marks and Spencer’s Plan A , Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, the Rainforest Alliance’s Follow the Frog video and Nike’s Makers campaign are just a few examples.
Stories can change perspectives. They can change people’s approaches and influence their choices and lifestyles. Stories have the power to inspire, spread ideas, and spark collaboration. A highly engaging sustainability story communicated in the social space can go a long way in leading change we wish to see in the world.