Green social media for a better reputation

TikTok

Cristina Aced
Lecturer at Business & Management Strategy Dept.
Expert in Digital Communication
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Iberdrola was the first Ibex 35 company to create a profile on TikTok, in February 2019. It was also a pioneer in launching an advertising campaign on this channel for World Environment Day. Most of the videos that the energy company publishes on this social network talk about sustainability. One of its latest publications consists of a video of good resolutions for 2022 in which it offers tips to be more sustainable on a daily basis. 

Specifically, they share content about their projects related to the environment, renewables, electric cars, etc., as Carlos Fernández Guerra, Director of Digital & Social Media at Iberdrola, explains. He adds that "it is a network that fits Iberdrola so we can transmit our values as a green and young brand, our commitment to innovation and our support for women's sports". 

Talking about sustainability on social networks does not reverse negative feelings about a brand, but it increases positive sentiment towards it by up to 13%

It seems to be working for them, because they already have more than 148,000 followers and more than 3 million "likes". In fact, Iberdrola is one of the most successful Spanish brands on TikTok and in 2021 led the corporate use of this social network, placing it in the Top 3 of the ranking prepared by Panel Epsilon, only surpassed by LaLiga and Red Bull in number of interactions. 

Sustainability is also being talked about on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and some campaigns are even trending or going viral. For example, the #10YearsChallenge –which some say was launched by Facebook to improve its facial recognition technology– also had its activist version. The challenge consisted of sharing on social networks a current photo and another from 10 years earlier, to see the evolution, and soon the environmental movement took advantage of it to demonstrate the effects of climate change and raise awareness about the need to take care of the planet. Thus, they began to share images of the seabed, forests and glaciers to show the harmful changes that had occurred in just a decade. 

Positive impact on corporate reputation

Companies are not the only ones taking advantage of the potential of social networks to publicize their sustainable initiatives; institutions are also aware of the multiplier effect of digital channels. Conscious of this, the Spanish Network of the UN Global Compact launched in 2019 the #aliadosdelosODS campaign to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It did so to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the approval of the 2030 Agenda and more than 1,500 adhering entities joined the initiative. 

Networks are an excellent platform to raise awareness about the environment, ecology and green energy, to reach new audiences and to enhance corporate reputation

Social networks are an excellent platform for raising awareness about the environment, ecology, green energy, etc., and reaching new audiences. But not only that: talking about sustainability on social networks increases positive sentiment towards brands by up to 13%, according to a study by Socialbakers

In addition, sharing sustainability initiatives on social media increases trust in the brand and improves its image. A brand that supports its green strategy on social media will not be able to reverse the negative feelings that may exist towards it, but it will make those who had a neutral opinion perceive it more positively, according to research by IBM and the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center (USCCF). And, in the long run, all this translates into improved corporate reputation.

Keys to communicate sustainability in social networks

What are the keys to successfully communicating sustainability projects on social networks? In reality, the same guidelines must be applied as in any other communication project. It is essential to adapt to the code and language of each platform, but without losing sight of the brand's values and communication style. It should not be forgotten that everything the company publishes represents it and impacts its reputation. 

It is essential to adapt to the code and language of each platform, but without losing sight of the brand's values and communication style

Joining challenges and trends of the moment can expand the reach of publications, but beware, because it can also be a double-edged sword. The company has to manage to take the game to its own territory to avoid making a fool of itself and having the content generate negative criticism instead of positive sentiment. For example, May 4 is Star Wars Day and Iberdrola found a way to join #MayThe4thBeWithYou, turning the well-known Star Wars slogan into "may the energy be with you". A fun way to adapt their message for the occasion.  

ODS Cristina Aced ENG