3 strategies for sustainable social media advertising

Sustainability and social media are dominant topics in today’s world. When companies combine the two, their social media advertising could either really take off or be an absolute flop. We tell you how to make it work!

Marketers can leverage social media advertising for their sustainability communication.
Image: © alisaaa / Adobe Stock

What is social media advertising?

Let’s summarize the basics: social media advertising is all about paid ads that are displayed in users’ feeds on social networking sites. Companies can use these ads to boost their reach, interactions, or conversions. The ad format mainly depends on the platform itself – on Instagram, for example, you should focus on high-quality image and video material. So, as you can see, the principle is pretty simple.

When creating content, you can unleash your creativity and send a targeted message in every social media ad you place. Most companies use the ads for their promotional campaigns, but social media advertising is also ideal for communicating how sustainable your business is.

Creating a sustainable presence on social media

Sustainability now plays a huge role in consumers’ everyday lives. That is being reflected in companies’ activities on popular social media platforms – not only in a positive sense by celebrating and communicating achievements in their sustainability strategy, but also in a negative sense when greenwashing is at play and there’s no real commitment behind the green message.

If you want to know what the difference is between green marketing and greenwashing, head over to our story “Greenwashing – how green should your marketing be?”, which includes a free checklist.

Companies can use social media in a number of ways to communicate their sustainable measures and act with an eye to the future. We’ve put together three smart strategies for you:

#1 Communicate your sustainability in a social media ad

Even if you’re not currently working on a new product or about to launch something exciting, you should leverage ads to widen your social media reach. There are plenty of messages that warrant being communicated beyond your network of followers, in particular sustainability measures that your company is introducing or has successfully integrated.

You may not think it’s wise to use your limited budget on messages that don’t directly lead to sales, but by positioning your company as sustainable, you’ll reach more people and your sales figures will ultimately benefit. After all, sustainability is increasingly influencing people’s buying decisions. For example, a study conducted by YouGov found that it plays a role for 60 percent of consumers in Germany.

60 %
of German consumers are motivated by sustainability

#2 Use hashtags to join the sustainability conversation

Amid the jungle of social media content, hashtags are a great solution for reaching your target group with precision. You can of course also use this tactic in the opposite direction. If your company is doing more from a sustainability point of view, why not actively join the conversation on social media? Search for relevant hashtags and interact with content that explores the topic. Business accounts are also allowed to take part in discussions, and it can really pay off.

A prime example is Ben & Jerry’s. The ice cream brand isn’t just known for its sweet flavors and creative product names, it also regularly and openly contributes to topics concerning society. Your company could take a similar approach as long as it ties in with your corporate identity and you can do it convincingly. Take a look at the accounts interacting with these hashtags, and use that information to make your ads even more targeted.

#3 Reposting content on the topic of sustainability

Although your business account is obviously mainly intended to shine a spotlight on your company, its employees, and products, that doesn’t have to be the only content you share on your social media profile. Society as a whole is talking about how to live and do business sustainably. If you or your social media team comes across relevant posts on this topic, you can simply spread the message by reposting them. In some cases, you may want to add a short, explanatory comment. Last but not least, you can create posts to spark a discussion among your community and ask your followers for feedback on certain topics. Your social media marketing strategy shouldn’t be limited to one-sided content and unilateral communication – remember that social media is all about mutual communication and interaction.

It’s important to always make sure the content on your profile is authentic. Only then will users trust the messages you’re communicating on your channels. You should shift your focus to sustainability topics strategically and gradually instead of suddenly posting content with a completely new focus from one day to the next, which would risk appearing artificial and untrustworthy. When the transition is well planned and fluid, green marketing can significantly boost your social media activities.

A powerful community equals powerful sustainability communication

To powerfully communicate your sustainability credentials on social media, your company needs to build a powerful community that is active and eager to interact. Only then will you be able to profitably shape discussions and effectively convey your messages.

Our guide on community building presents a range of strategies for building your social media community.

Green social media advertising

Social media advertising is perfect for addressing sustainability topics and putting them on the radar of your company and your followers. There’s no better environment than social media for joining the conversation because people are actively engaging in related discussions there, giving you options for precise targeting. As a result, you’ll be able to directly channel your marketing budget into getting your green message across and building your image as a sustainable company.

If you want to discover how else you can take your green marketing to the next level in addition to social media advertising, don’t miss our green marketing guide. It’s a must-read!