Andrea Learned

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Does Social Media Fail Your Sustainable Business?

Going social with sustainability is not for everyone.

In order to make social media work for sustainability’s sake, you have to see it as a long-term investment. You’ve got to truly believe you have personal or collective business wisdom to share that will forward the broader sustainable movement – even if that happens only one follower at a time. You must trust that there will be a payoff for spending hours on content development and relationship building. And, you must be strategic about spreading that knowledge and starting conversations, even without a well-defined end result. In fact, one thing not many social media experts or books emphasize enough is that you need to embrace the unknown and adapt to not being in control.

If that doesn’t get you thinking, social media guru (he actually deserves the title) Mitch Joel just posted a piece that hits the nail on the head a bit more soundly. He writes about how and why so many small businesses find failure in their social media attempts.  His closing point:

“Don’t kid yourself, social media works. In fact, all media works… you just have to do the hard work of figuring out how to make it work for you. There are no silver bullets.”

His words may be all the more true for the long-term vision of sustainability-focused businesses, in that they especially need to rely on the community and momentum of “tribes” of like-minded people to make change.  So, read Joel’s post to evaluate the benefits of diving into social media yourself. In the meantime, know this:

1)    Paying attention to building relationships and trust over time is critical. Do not bother with social media if you don’t understand that.

2)    Making an investment in social network engagement (which includes content strategy) – if you decide to move forward – will absolutely be worth the time and money, and will benefit your business, your community, your industry and perhaps most importantly, the broader sustainability movement.

Take deliberate steps to socialize your business and where you end up will be unimaginable miles from where you start. Be ready and open to an incredible journey, and trust that what you have to share will reach and deeply serve its best audiences for a greater, more sustainable good.