Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Implementing a social networking strategy to drive effective green technology and sustainability – a practical guide, part 4

Posted in social networking and business by Timothy Platt on April 9, 2010

This is my sixth posting in an ongoing series on green technology and sustainability and part four to a practical guide for developing, managing and leading goals directed social networking and community building efforts to them. Focusing here on the practical guide itself, the first three installments dealt with:

Implementing a Social Networking Strategy to Drive Effective Green Technology and Sustainability – a practical guide – planning and early stage development in launching a networking and goals oriented community that can address and promote the issues of green technology and sustainability.
Implementing a Social Networking Strategy to Drive Effective Green Technology and Sustainability – a practical guide, part 2 – building an organized, goals directed social network and community.
Implementing a Social Networking Strategy to Drive Effective Green Technology and Sustainability – a practical guide, part 3 – keeping your groups, your networks and your community focused on addressing high priority issues, and with a coordinated approach as they scale up in size.

This installment in the guide focuses on marketing your mission and your social network’s and community’s approach to achieving it. A key to this is in both conveying the importance of the core issues you seek to address, and not just to your own community members but to a larger audience and a more widespread community as well. You want to show how your issues are societal issues and not just local and marginal concerns.

There are a number of approaches that can be taken here, but many of them, while appropriate in the commercial marketplace might not work for you and your networking based efforts. As a bottom line on the what-not-to-do side of this I stress that you do not want to market your group or your mission as slick or self-serving.

• You need to present your community and its mission issues as legitimate and relevant.
• You need to put a human face on your mission itself and on your organized, community based efforts to address it.
• A big part of this is in how you set up and manage your online groups and social networks so they tell their stories and can more effectively draw in new members.
• You also have to actively and even proactively reach out to meet with individuals and groups in person, attending their meetings and getting one of your spokespeople on the agenda to speak where possible.
• That means local groups like church groups and school and PTA groups, and it means local service organizations and it definitely means reaching out to people and to groups that would be affected by the issues you focus on but who would not generally know about them. For hydrofracking as a poor technology choice towards energy independence, and for groups organized in Upstate New York to contest developing it in their communities that meant sending spokespeople who were credible to the prospective audience to New York City and other urban areas that would be affected – by long term damage and even destruction of the aquifers they rely on for their drinking water. That did not mean sending businessmen; it meant sending organic farmers who grow the types of high quality produce and other farm goods that city dwellers seek out for themselves and for their families. And they reminded these urbanites that they need a good, safe water supply too. (N.B. This working example is discussed in more detail in earlier postings in this series).

One approach to this is to seek out effective spokespeople from your growing goals oriented networks and communities, and giving them opportunity to share their story as it relates to your organizing goals and mission. This can mean people who have never spoken out in public before, but that does not matter. An air of genuineness and even a certain roughness in presentation, as from someone simply speaking from their heart can really help here. There are some pros and cons to this as a sole approach:

• Local spokespeople who rise to that responsibility from within your own ranks can be very compelling from the fact that these are the direct face of the issues your address and they and their families are directly impacted upon by them.
• They have a direct and personal story to share, that no amount of third party, more distant speakers could match for personal impact.
• But they start out unknowns and do not bring immediate momentum to your effort.
• They will need some training and help in preparing their talks and in preparing to take questions from people who do not understand and who may have alternative agendas and issues of their own.
• This can be time consuming and these people may not always be available when you need them

One approach is to seek out and enlist to your cause a celebrity endorser or spokesperson. Once again there are pros and cons:

• These spokespersons start out with name recognition and generally with positive name recognition for some significant number of people you would want to reach and connect with.
• They are practiced and poised and know how to present in public.
• They might not always be available but if you develop an effective rapport with their agents, you can sometimes have a fairly clear idea as to when and where they will be available.
• They can help you develop inroads into new target communities that you might not otherwise have been able to reach.
• But they have their own public facing interests and agendas and you have to be careful not to send mixed or confusing messages.
• Too much reliance on third party endorsements and spokespersons can come across as Madison Avenue slick and it can undercut the grassroots nature of your goals directed community in the public eye and mind.

Look for ways to develop your own home grown celebrity spokespeople and in people who can become known, not because of their careers outside of your community’s focus but rather for their involvement with your core issues.

If you do secure an outside celebrity spokesperson or endorser, bring them into your groups and your goals oriented community so they can speak with a more genuine voice about your mission and its importance.

Look for people who can compellingly, effectively convey the message, and from all possible sources, both inside and from outside of your current natural constituencies.

I am going to continue developing this Guide for Green with a next posting on fundraising.

5 Responses

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  1. stphen said, on April 10, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Social networking sites are immensely popular, and its really playing important role every where. New networking sites offer users’ profiles greater prominence. and more opportunities for front page features. This is a wonderful venue for artists to share videos and news. well thanks for this exclusive post with great content.

  2. […] And transparency is crucially important to all of this, and not just for formal third party audits but as ongoing preparation for any possible public scrutiny. This connects back to my last posting in this series where I discussed marketing your mission and your efforts to fulfill it. […]

  3. […] I write this posting a few days after adding a marketing oriented installment to my series on developing and managing a Green technology and sustainability oriented, social networking and commun… so I have that in mind. But the topic I want to touch on with this posting has equal relevance to […]

  4. […] mission and vision, and I have looked into functional issues such as fundraising (and Part 2) and marketing for Green. I have also at least started a discussion on issues related to Green leadership and to […]


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