If you’ve followed this solar marketing blog, you know I’m a huge fan of solar social media, particularly on Twitter. Now, a new market research report confirms that nearly 60% of renewable energy conversations on Twitter are about solar energy.
Moreover, of all of the online media channels, 55.7% of solar conversations are happening on Twitter, followed by online news (19.1%) and blogs (9.8%). As a contrast, the majority (40%) of online biomass conversations take place on online news, and only 19% on Twitter.
Well, that’s wonderful, but are these positive conversations about solar? That is, are people mostly complaining about solar or are they Tweeting nice things. According to this talkwalker report, solar’s online conversations are mostly neutral, but do have the highest positive sentiment of all renewables.
Okay, so what can solar marketers and communicators do with this information to promote their products and services and decrease their acquisition costs? Here are my takeaways and advice:
1) Get into the solar Twitter conversations.
Despite my frequent Twitter harangue here on this blog, I realize that many solar companies are still social media wall flowers, and that’s a shame. As this report shows, people are discussing solar topics every day.
The value here is not just that solar is a hot topic, but about who’s having these discussions. There are bloggers, celebrities, and politicians, as well as solar, environmental, and mainstream media reporters. Plus, don’t forget that those prospective customers who are seeking information and opinions about solar. Don’t you want to be a resource for them and have them see you as a solar expert in your field/region? Of course you do.
At the very least, getting into Twitter solar conversations gives you brand awareness. If someone shares (RT’s) your 140 character micro-opinion or news, your company’s solar thoughts and brand can spread way beyond your own list of followers. Attach a useful blog post to your Tweets, and you can become a solar Twitter leader.
If you’re looking for lead generation, then give people a reason to click on your Tweet, like a video or a free white paper, or whatever would interest them.
2) Develop more solar content and PR.
Among other things, this report shows us that Twitter, online news, and blogs are where the solar conversations are happening, so that’s where your marketing team needs to be.
Develop content for those channels, and when I say content, I’m talking about information that educates your target market about your solar service or product. If all you do is brag about the high quality of your solar product, the Twitter community will dismiss you as a spammer. As always, good, objective content is king. It builds trust and authority.
Don’t forget that Twitter isn’t just 140 characters. Your Tweets can include a link to videos, white papers, infographics, podcasts, and project/product images, so you can be as in depth and as visual as you want to be.
3) Listen, plan, make lists, engage, and measure.
You now know that there are conversations happening on Twitter about solar, but the Twitterverse is huge. To make it smaller, use tools such at Hootsuite to find and make lists of solar prospects, solar/news influencers, and customers. Many of these social media platforms allow you to define these lists through a zip code search.
Once you know who’s on Twitter and relevant to your goals, that’s when you can engage. Comment on their concerns (not yours) as expressed through their Tweets or their articles in the case of the media. Over time and with intelligent engagement and customers, influencers and prospects, you’ll be recognized as a solar authority and you will build a following and referrals.
Finally, measure. Once again, Hootsuite, HubSpot, and many other social media platforms allow you to track links to see what kind of content is resonating with your followers…and what’s not. Adjust as necessary.
Does all of the above take time and resources? Will it pay off? Eventually, yes, it does, but only if you have a plan and put in the time and the effort.
Since 2009, Twitter has been a powerful solar marketing resource for my marketing practice. It took a while, but today I have over 11,000 organic followers who follow me for solar news, advocacy, and marketing information.
With that in mind, what if people followed your solar company for solar panel information? For solar EPC information? For solar software and design information? After a while, a slice of tomorrow’s solar Twitter conversations will be with your company, and that’s when you start…to UnThink Solar.
Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza is the Chief Marketing Officer of UnThink Solar and the author of Solar Fred’s Guide to Solar Guerrilla Marketing. For more solar marketing info, sign up for the UnThink Solar newsletter or follow @SolarFred on Twitter.