Local sustainability aficionados know long-time local internet mainstay Green Philly Blog, documenting everything green and susty in Philly since 2008.
Last year, cofounder Julie Hancher took Green Philly full-time with the launch of Green Philly Company, a consulting firm that offers social media and marketing training services for local sustainable businesses.
But entrepreneurship wasn’t always the plan for Hancher. It might seem like a natural progression for Hancher, but Green Philly Blog was always something she had committed to out of passion, not profit.
“People were like, ‘The blogs are full-time right?'” Hancher said. “I had looked at other freelancers and thought [entrepreneurship] was so cool. I admired them but didn’t know how it would fit into my life plan.”
Messaging is crucial for sustainable businesses, and 76 percent of consumers make a decision on a company based on mission, said Hancher. But as much as communicating values is important, there’s a balance that needs to be struck between industry message and company culture.
One of the worst things a sustainable business can do on social media is go in without a strategy.
One of the worst things a sustainable business can do on social media, Hancher said, is go in without a strategy.
“I think a lot of people tend to put off social media marketing and think they can go onto something like Instagram and start posting pictures without a reason or method. It’s better to have a plan,” she said. “If you know why you’re doing things, it’s easier to get results. That’s one of the mistakes people make — they think of [social media] as a budget constraint, but it’s more of an investment.”
When you look at a company or organization’s social media stream and it looks haphazard or doesn’t make sense, Hancher said, it’s serious turn-off to consumers.
“Have a call to action. Know why you’re doing it,” she said. “People put things out because they think they should, but don’t know why.”
Hancher said Green Philly Company helped triple social media engagement numbers for Red Earth Farm.
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Green Philly Company offers social media marketing workshops called Sustainably Social, where Hancher has trained companies and organizations in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The next workshop, on Facebook and Instagram, is May 24. Tickets are $50.
(Also, this summer, Green Philly will be hosting SustainPHL, a citywide celebration of local sustainability leaders.)
“I think it’s good to have a low-cost workshop you can invest 90 minutes in,” said Hancher. “Helping yourself is really important. I think all these experiences [with self-education] helped me get to where I am.”