Sustainability Professionals + Facebook = Worth It?

At Strategic Sustainability Consulting, we're all over social media. Blogging, Twitter, Google+, Facebook—you name it, we've got it covered. Each platform has different pros and cons, and today we're reviewing how Facebook pages can be useful for sustainability professionals.

What Works:

  • Easy! You don't really need to create separate content for your consultancy's Facebook page. Just set it up to automatically post whenever you publish a new blog post, and you'll have a consistent flow of information (at least, as long as you're regularly blogging!).
  • It's free! Setting up a Facebook page is the work of but a couple hours. There are great tutorials  available (just use Google), and you can add lots of easy widgets. For example, we have a widget that makes it easy for people to sign up to our e-newsletter list. We do nothing—it takes care of itself, and for no cost to us.
  • Great analytics! We love the new Facebook Insights tool, which gives us perspective on just about everything—from what kind of people "like" us, to which posts people are talking about, and even what kind of stuff goes viral. It helps us spot patterns in traffic—like that inevitable decline in December—to better allocate resources.

What Doesn't Work:

  • Selling via Facebook. We've found that marketing our products and services over Facebook doesn't really work. People want information, but they don't want to pay for it. And advertising on Facebook (using your news feed) turns people off. Skip it—even coupons or discounts aren't appreciated (unless that's your entire schtick).
  • Getting new clients: We've found through personal experience (and have our initial reflections echoed by colleagues and partners) that Facebook is much more effective for collaboration, networking, and fun "stuff" than it is for business generation. As a result, we focus our Facebook page on sharing helpful information and interesting articles, and not on promoting our services to clients.

Want more information about how to use Facebook to grow your sustainability practice? You're in luck! Check out our 8-week, self-guided, online course called Social Media for Sustainability Professionals. It includes an entire section devoted to Facebook (with additional sections focused on websites, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, Google+ and more!)—including the difference between a Facebook profiles and pages, privacy issues, tactics for growing your fan base, and mistakes to avoid.