At the Green Business Conference, Joey Shepp, founder of Earthsite, a boutique web design and strategy company, gave his presentation for best tips in using social media for sustainable businesses. This includes social networking, blogging, online reviews, and direct communications devices. The statistics are a bit surprising, even to someone like me who uses social media on a fairly regular basis.
- Four out of five people are using social media to interact with companies.
- Two thirds of people feel they can use social media to influence companies.
- Twenty percent of people trust advertising, 60 percent trust editorials, and 80 percent trust reviews written by their peers.
Shepp’s advice for businesses to take advantage of these trends?
1. Start by listening. Your consumers will let you know what they want and how they think….if only you’ll let them.
2. People want to be seen as community, not consumers.
3. Social currency is very important. Your company can build goodwill with the customer by giving discounts, free publications, competitions and other giveaways. Do this before you ask them to share coupons with their friends, etc.
4. Radical transparency dominates the market. Shepp commented, “If you’re not transparent, people will see right through you.” Information simply moves too easily and quickly for you to do anything else.
5. The new model of many to many has completely replaced the one to many. Even CNN is looking to twitter to get its news items and feeds. I thought for a moment that that was scary, but then thought, “At least it’s better than where Fox News gets their newsfeeds, which is from Rush Limbaugh’s imagination.”
6. Things are happening in real time. Live events broadcast over the internet are allowing gatherings in an unprecedented way.
7. Engagement and Interaction are crucial. How can you get people to really care about what they’re doing with your company through social media?
8. Make it personalized. A simple example is when newsletters say, “Dear Scott,” as opposed to “Greetings customer!”
9. Hyperlocation. There will be a time in the not-too-distant future where you’ll be in the produce aisle, you’ll look at your phone and it will tell you if anyone within a 20-yard radius is looking to split a head of lettuce.
Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and is reporting live from the Green America Green Business Conference in beautiful San Francisco, CA.