Have you ever read the famous astronomer Carl Sagan’s reflection on the Pale Blue Dot? At the end of his reflection, he said, “To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot [referring to Planet Earth], the only home we’ve ever known.”
The good news is that we now have ways to spread environmental awareness, incite action, share information, and post updates. Social media is one of the best tools that environmentalists can use today simply because there are 3.5 billion users on various social media platforms, according to a 2019 study.
There’s no better way to expand your reach and promote environmental advocacy than through an effective social media strategy. Here’s a brief, how-to guide for using social media effectively, specifically for anyone looking to promote environmentalism.
1. Create meaningful content
The heart of your social media campaign is meaningful content. But with so many environmental and social causes circulating in social media, how will you make your campaign stand out?
In a study done by Cone Communications, people are more likely or more motivated to take action on a cause that they learned about in social media if:
- they firmly believe that if they participate, they will make a significant impact (79% of respondents)
- they see a pressing need for immediate support (79%)
- they perceive that the cause or issue is personally relevant (74%)
You can formulate your content around these facts. For example, you may partner with a brand that sells certified natural, organic products. You can post an ad on social media that a certain percentage of their money goes to a reef cleanup initiative for every product customers buy.
You can go a step further by inviting them to participate in the actual reef cleanup event, allowing them to have a fun, hands-on experience while helping them feel that their purchase is making a positive difference.
2. Cite facts and statistics
People often get riled up, concerned, motivated, or inspired when presented with facts and numbers. Use facts and figures to create awareness in your social media posts.
For instance, you can cite current recycling statistics to highlight the need to practice the 3Rs of waste management (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).
Here’s a tip when citing facts and stats: make your post a trivia question to generate interest. For instance, you can make an e-poster that says, “Did you know that we’re dumping over 2 billion tons of garbage into the environment in a year?” Such a question will encourage readers to improve their waste management practices to reduce their waste generation.
Alternately, you could post the question as a poll “How many tons of garbage do you think we dump into the environment each year?” Polls encourage users to actively engage with your content, while also having the ability to teach people something they didn’t know.
To make your post more effective and interesting, use infographics or animation rather than simple text.
3. Choose your social media platform carefully
It’s quite tempting to create an account on every social media platform to reach the maximum number of people. However, not all social media platforms are created equal. Nor are they intended for the same purpose.
Also, it’s close to impossible to achieve success on all social media platforms. It’s time-consuming, expensive, and may not serve your specific needs. The best way to decide what the best platform is to ask yourself these basic questions:
Who is your audience?
Here you need to determine demographics (age, race, background, social status, income/education level, etc.) and their interests outside of the products/services you offer.
What are your goals for your audience?
Social media allows for creative, unique, and targeted ways for you to achieve the goals you set for your followers.
For example, Netflix has a Twitter account created specifically for customer support. This is a helpful and effective way to reach out to their customers and address their needs while freeing up their phone lines/email inboxes. You could do the same to help people find local recycling centres and explain recycling rules.
So, other than promoting environmentalism, think of unique ways you can use social media to achieve the overall goals for your audience and get them to interact with you.
What social media platform is best for your audience?
Now that you’ve determined your audience and defined your goals for them, the next step is to choose a social media platform that works best for both your audience and your specific environmental advocacy.
For example, if you’re looking to reach out to a younger demographic by promoting zero-waste living, studies show that you can reach out to them better via Instagram. The younger audience might have Facebook accounts, but they offer more activity on Instagram.
Knowing the above, you’re now equipped with the right knowledge to choose the best social media platform for you. Here’s a quick rundown of three of the most popular social media platform and what they’re best/not best for:
Due to the large number of users on Facebook that have been around since the platform was created, it may be hard to find a new audience even within your own network.
So, if you’re trying to attract a new audience, maybe Facebook isn’t the best place to start posting about your advocacies. Still, if you’re looking to build on an existing, dedicated base of followers, then Facebook is an option for you to consider.
Twitter is great for building awareness and keeping track of what’s trending in a specific industry through hashtags. You can see what’s new and trending in the Twitter community and perhaps build posts based on that.
Twitter is also an excellent tool to use to post real-time updates to engage with your followers.
An excellent platform for visual storytelling, Instagram is a growing social media platform that consists mostly of a younger demographic.
These are the poll results by Ipsos published by Facebook that tracked the age bracket of people who log on to Instagram more than once a day:
- 18-24 years old: 67%
- 25-34 years old: 60%
- 35-44 years old: 49%
- 45-54 years old: 43%
- 55+ years old: 31%
You can find recent, interesting Instagram stats that you can use for your own social media strategies from Hootsuite here.
Other than reaching out and engaging with a younger audience, Instagram is an excellent platform for generating leads since your reach is potentially wider compared with Facebook.
Other Social Networks
Besides the above, you can also do some quick research on other widely-used social media platforms:
4. Utilize videos
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 97% of marketers said that videos enable customers to better understand their products and services. The organization also noted that 90% of customers claim that videos help them make a purchasing decision.
These remarkable statistics don’t come as a surprise. Video, after all, is considered warm media. That means they appeal to two or more senses. And because humans are intrinsically visual creatures (i.e., we understand and comprehend things better if we can see them), videos are effective and compel users to engage with you.
Invest in good-quality video production service and take videos of your waste management initiatives in action, for example. Take videos of your reef cleanup, recycling technologies, tree planting initiatives, or animal rescues. Edit them according to your script, then post them on YouTube and Vimeo.
5. Be consistent when publishing posts
Once you publish excellent quality content about your environmentalism initiatives, you’ll hopefully gain loyal followers and subscribers. These people will be looking forward to reading, viewing, or interacting with new content. Keep them interested by being consistent in publishing posts.
This can easily be done by following a routine for publishing or sharing social media posts, sticking to a specific time and day. Having a consistent and regular publication schedule helps keep your audience eager and interested. They will look forward to checking out your new social media post.
6. Interact with your audience
One of the most common errors organizations makes when marketing in social media is that they think these platforms are solely for promotion, marketing, advertising, and sales. They forget the keyword – social. Social media platforms are meant for people to socialize with each other.
Thus, you need to take time and effort in engaging with your audience. The primary way to do so is to reply to their messages, whether by answering them via posts or private messages. You can ask them for their ideas, thank them for their praise, explain to them your advocacies in detail, or resolve an issue. Each connection makes people feel like a real person is talking to them as they use social media.
Now that you’ve got some solid tips to follow for your social media strategies, the next thing to learn about is success metrics. Check out the next section as we explore this a little bit more.
Important Success Metrics and Outcomes from Social Media Activities
How do you know that your social media campaign is doing well? You can keep track of your social media campaign’s performance by keeping a lookout for some important metrics.
These metrics are shown through your platform’s analytics. Or you can use an analytics tool to help you analyze your social media and website reports. You can also consult with digital marketing agencies that specialize in social media marketing to help you.
This is the sum of people who have seen your content at least once. In theory, the bigger the number, the more people were exposed to your ads, posts, or other content.
If your content has an impressive reach, it might mean that it found its way to many viewers. Your content will likely be engaged or shared.
Impressions mean the number of times your content was seen by your viewers or displayed on their screens. If 100 viewers saw your content twice a day, you’ll have 200 impressions.
Impressions give you an idea about how visible your content is on a given social media platform. They’re also useful when tracking your content on a moment-to-moment basis; if you get no or only a few impressions, it means that there’s something wrong with your content or campaign.
Engagement refers to the interaction and engagement rate to the frequency of that interaction between viewers and your content. Customers who engage your content may be liking or reacting, commenting, or sharing your content.
A high engagement rate is an indicator of how responsive your audience is, how many are your “real” followers, how engaging your content is, and how aware they are of your brand or campaign.
People interested in your advocacies often message you for inquiries or show their interest in your campaign. Receiving a lot of messages about your campaigns means people are drawn to your advocacy.
Want some inspiration?
Check out these fantastic environmentalists and eco-conscious organizations, brands, and businesses (including celebrity accounts) that are making waves on Instagram:
The Treehugger also lists environmental groups that are dominating Facebook today.
Explore their posts, interact, and engage with them. Some more of the venerable brands and organizations like National Geographic or Greenpeace have garnered billions of followers. See how they structure their posts, study their content, and research about them to see how their strategies can apply to your own environmental advocacies.
Maximizing social media use is a great and effective way to let people know about your endeavours in saving Mother Nature. Use the tips above to bring your message of environmental preservation and protection to your audience and engage with them so your advocacies reach a wider audience and make a more significant impact on the environment.