This article was updated in March 2022 to reflect industry changes.
Why Should Cleantech Companies Invest In Social Media?
Spoiler alert: We’ve found that almost every wind energy company is using social media as a limited distribution platform. That’s understandable, because social is great for distribution as the first, highly targeted yet far-reaching platform. And there’s the lure of social media’s lightning-in-a-bottle potential to “go viral,” organically attracting massive numbers of eyeballs with only a modest initial investment.
Yet most wind company programs are leaving on the table the real potential for social media… targeted engagement. Social media is definitely cheap distribution, though for all but a few (like the Federal Reserve), a distribution-centric strategy can’t hold audience attention. There’s too much content and too many voices vying for a finite pool of people’s attention.
The potential for long-term attention through social media lies in targeted engagement, with networks of people investing their time and attention in a company’s products, policies and successes. But the engaged have to find value in engaging. And one of the surest value propositions is not just being responded to, but having impacts on brands, products and policies.
Many companies are already engaging – see ratings from Uber drivers and riders. The trend is underway elsewhere. You can accessorize the car model of your choice, and it’s a sure bet that car companies are using the resulting data to time when customer online input will drive which decisions to make on which models. Others are on the threshold: with only half the daily newspaper reporters on staff as compared to 20 years ago, the news industry continues its financial slide because readers won’t pay the full cost of professional reporting. It’s being argued that news reporting’s most viable path is having readers choose what gets reported in the first place. You get the idea.
The point is that value-add engagement is only secured through a two-way conversation that matters. The buzz phrase is “democratized ownership.” It’s rare right now in high-ticket B2B sales, though the potential value remains. However, those benefits will only be reaped through well-designed, intensively managed social engagement programs. They aren’t cheap, but we see distribution-only tactics beginning to cost the wind industry more in opportunity than targeted engagement will require.