Once you decide to make your business greener, it will be important to market this fact to your target audience. One of the best ways to market any new initiative is on social media.
Having said that, announcing that your business is now greener can be a tricky proposition. On the one hand, regular customers don’t really like change. On the other hand, up to 90% of US consumers are interested in green issues.
Know the Green Niche
About 20% of the US consumer base is „very green“ – that is, takes green issues extremely seriously. Another 40% can be considered „medium green“; green issues tend to be one of their main considerations when they make any purchasing decisions, but it is not the most important one.
However, if you want to be seen as green and establish yourself as a green company, you have to be the real deal and „sell yourself“ to the 20% who are truly green.
This is no easy feat. Fortunately, on social media, people tend to cluster in groups and share their interests. The green niche is a busy one. It also overlaps with other niches that have an ethical or even spiritual dimension.
For example, people who are interested in green issues are often also interested in LOHAS – that is Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. This is a holistic way of looking at the way they live their lives, from the foods they eat and hobbies they engage in, to the products they buy, the clothes they wear, and the housewares they purchase for their homes.
People interested in green issues are also often interested in holistic health, and are therefore willing to try herbal supplements, organic foods, and healthy activities such as yoga, tai chi, a walking program, and so on.
People who are green tend to make their purchasing decisions based on careful research about the impact that the product has on their environment. Consider how many people have purchased hybrid cars, for example.
They do detailed research before buying. Many of them go on social media to find out people’s experiences of the green item before they make their final purchasing decision. This phenomenon, referred to as social search, can greatly influence your target market before they finally decide to press the button.
In the course of their research, a green shopper will ask friends and family, and treat social media signals as word-of-mouth advertising. In fact, studies have shown that feedback on social media sites is more trusted than information given by the manufacturer. Green consumers listen to what their peers tell them rather than what they manufacturers or labels tell them.
This being the case, it is important to make sure that you pay attention to reputation management and good customer service in relation to all of your products. Social media can be a double-edged sword. It can be a great opportunity for people to share experiences. On the other hand, it can be a tool for anonymous haters or rival companies to try to undermine your business.
However, if you are sincere and honest about your products, and really have ethical issues in mind rather than just trying to cash in on the trend, you should soon see an uptake in the green products and services you are offering to this influential and lucrative target customer base.
Your website will be the hub of all your marketing activity, so be sure to have social share buttons on your site or blog so visitors to your site can share on their social media accounts with just a click. In this way, your happy customers will spread the word and create the impression of a clean, green company worth doing business with.