Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Pinterest has been the latest craze in social networking. According to site analytics, Pinterest popularity has exploded from 1.2 million users in August, to over 7 million today. The budding social network has proven to be more than a fad, gaining over $27 million in venture funds.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets users organize and share images that they find on the web. Pictures, or pins, are organized onto boards that categorize them into themes. The pictures then link back to the original site where users can find more content. To learn more about the network, Mashable’s Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide  is a great resource.

Beyond its mainstream appeal, the network has the potential to be particularly valuable for green businesses. Organizations undertaking green initiatives are constantly trying to make environmentalism fit within the larger scope of business. Pinterest is the perfect platform to visually show the many facets of their brand personality. More specifically, it allows businesses to engage their stakeholders while displaying how their environmental consciousness fits into the mix.

Pinerest Best Practices for Green Business

1. Encourage Reuse Through DIY & Craft Boards

Pinterest Green DIY

What better way to encourage reuse than through creativity? DIY pinboards hold great value for green businesses creating a Pinterest presence. These boards allow users to upload pictures of ways to reuse products. For the fashionista, what better way to recycle old T-shirts than to make them headbands or scarves. Encourage Home décor enthusiasts to make wreathes out of the packaging materials of your product. Rather than contributing to the cycle of consumption, this creates a mindset of reuse and environmental consciousness.

2. Display Different Sides of Your Brand Through Pinboards

Whole Foods Pinterest Board

It is unlikely that being green encompasses the entire personality of a brand. However, if the organization is making environmental strides then it should have at least one environmentally inspired board. Pins on that board should be eye-catching and provide interesting content.

3. Make It Social

Pinterest Contributors

Give users an incentive for following the brand by allowing them to contribute to select boards. This is  a great way to build relationships with pinners that are influential about the environment. You can gauge a pinner’s influence by looking at the number of people that follow their boards. Also, it  can be a way to reward Pinterest users for liking and commenting on the organization’s pins.

4. Remember to Link

Linking the pins to sites is a great way to drive traffic and raise awareness of environmental issues and initiatives. It is important to remember that Pinterest etiquette clearly states that it is not a platform for self-promotion. Make sure the picture and description clearly represent where the link will take you. No one likes to be deceived or spammed.

5. Create Environmental Awareness Through Contests and Challenges

Timberland Earthkeeping and Pinterest

Green businesses have the opportunity to engage their stakeholders with innovative Pinterest challenges. After unsuccessfully trying to find examples of green businesses taking advantage of Pinterest contests, I came up with a few ideas of my own. Jones Soda could challenge users to pin pictures of their most creative ways to reuse soda bottles. Timberland is currently running a social media campaign dedicated to “Earthkeeping.” The footwear giant could inspire pinners to upload pictures of footprints in the destinations that they hope to protect.

(Follow me on Pinterest!)


Read Full Post »

Facebook is taking new steps towards a commitment to sustainability by announcing its plan to launch the “Social Energy” App. Through partnership with the National Resource Defence Council and Opower, the application will allow users to monitor their energy usage and increase their energy efficiency. To make things more interesting, the users will compete to reduce their energy bills. The NRDC states that the application will be available early next year.

According to the NRDC, the focus on energy efficiency will encourage the same level of comfort, just using less energy and waste.

Five Initial Features of the Social Energy App:

  • Compare Energy Use Among Facebook Friends:  People will be able to invite friends to compare their energy use against their own, show how energy efficient they are and provide information on how to improve their efficiency.
  • Compare Energy Use to Similar Homes:  Users will be able to compare their home energy use to similar homes in a national database.
  • Share Energy Information on the Facebook Newsfeed: People will be able to contribute information about their energy use, rank, and involvement.
  • Group Collaboration:  Communities of users will be able to form teams to help each other reach collective goals and compete against other groups.
  • Automatically Import Energy Data:  Customers of participating utility companies will be able to automatically import their energy data into the application. For customers of utilities that are not participating, energy usage information can be entered into the app manually.

The Other Side of Facebook’s Social Energy

In the past, Facebook has been criticized of greenwashing by environmental activist groups. Most famously, they were targeted in Greenpeace’s Unfriend Coal campaign. Since February 2010, Greenpeace has been campaigning Facebook to stop using coal power and commit to 100% renewable energy.

Facebook Unfriend Coal Campaign

Greenpeace's Unfriend Coal Photo Contest

Sparking the initiative was Facebook’s announcement to build a large data center to serve the millions of Facebook users. The center was set to be full of new energy efficient technology, but be run on coal-powered electricity, the largest source of air pollution in the world according to Greenpeace. The campaign reaches far beyond Facebook, and represents the IT sector’s increasing demand for energy.  

“At current growth rates data centers and telecommunication networks, the two key components of the cloud Facebook depends on, will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatts hours of electricity in 2020. That’s more than triple their current consumption and more than the current electricity consumption of France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined.” – Greenpeace

The campaign currently has over 700,000 Facebook supporters world-wide. One of the demands of Greenpeace’s campaign against Facebook calls for the social media giant to become an environmental advocate. More specifically, the group wants Facebook to become an advocate for energy efficiency at the local, national and international level. The new Social Energy app seems curiously parallel to the activist demands.  As Facebook is stepping out as an energy efficiency leader, one can only hope that the trend will go viral among other IT giants.

Read Full Post »