Green Marketers Tap Into Social Networking

by | Feb 27, 2007

Spreading the word to the global village Online social networking sites may be the ultimate marketing medium for social responsibility causes such as sustainability and world issues like genocide, according to the Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog (via MarketingVOX).

As major brands like Wal-mart struggle to appear “genuine” to social networkers, cause marketers have the advantage of congenital street cred.

M&SI also notes the following reasons why green marketers can thrive on MySpace and similar sites:

  • Emerging product category: Emerging products and brands provide the opportunity to exploit the “novelty” factor that motivates viral marketing.
  • Social cause: Many consumers are linking to sites or sharing content if these sites or content support an underlying cause.
  • Lifestyle brand: Social network users express their online identities, in part, through the connections that they make online. Links to lifestyle brands (or social causes) are ways for consumers to express this identity online.

In terms of opportunity size, MySpace is in a league of its own with more than 100 million registered users, MarketingGreen reports.  But a quick survey of eco-friendly companies revealed very few brands with profiles on MySpace. And perhaps with good reason – user links to these corporate sites are relatively low, which might indicate that users do not want to associate with the brands within this environment or simply that it is too early to tell. 

Nonetheless, opportunity may exist for other niche brands (that are emerging, aligned with a specific lifestyle or support an underlying cause) to create a presence on MySpace.  Examples include companies as diverse as Tom’s of Maine, Seventh Generation, Method and Clif Bar to experiment with profiles on MySpace, according to MarketingGreen.

If there are any doubts about brand acceptance by social networking users, test the water first with paid search, Marketing Green recommends.

And if you want an idea of how social networking can turn into a nightmare, check out this Techcrunch article about DoTheRightThing, a Digg-like site where people submit stories about companies acting in ways that can be considered “good” or “bad.”

Techcrunch writes that the site is filled with typical rants against Walmart and other easy to target companies. “One misguided user posted a not so popular rant suggesting that corporations should not be held accountable for all of the worlds ills. This posting has a very low rating right now,” Techcrunch writes.

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