By Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza
What do losing weight, being happy, eating better or any perennial hot topic have to do with solar products, services, or anything related to your solar business? That’s a great question and one that the solar marketing professionals need to answer in order to maximize our ability to reach the public.
As much as solar- and renewable energy–related companies believe that their marketing and communications should be all about their company’s offerings, I’d like to suggest a more effective strategy: focus on creating marketing and PR materials that also intermingle topics that reach a broader audience’s concerns while staying relevant to the services and products that a company offers.
With that in mind, here are my three tips to lose weight, be happy, and eat better while mixing in useful information about how to improve your solar marketing and PR.
Tip #1: Your B2B and B2C customers are people interested in very human issues
Whether your target customers are in the B2B or B2C solar world, they are human beings who have lives, entertainment and concerns outside of solar and renewable energy or their own businesses. When non-solar topics are in the news or perennially on people’s minds, finding a way to piggyback off that news or topic will only attract more attention to your newsletter, social media post, infographic or blog post.
Are you a solar B2B company wanting to mix in weight-loss topics? How about blogging about a company goal to lose a collective 100 lbs for 2018. A topic like this may not only support your company’s HR department, but it also shows that you care about the health of your employees and are committed to helping. You’ll also get some brand awareness, especially if this campaign is tracked and blogged about throughout the year.
Tip #2: Happiness is being more of a social marketer and networker
If you follow Twitter, Instagram or other social networks, you’ll notice that there are local as well as national trending topic hashtags. I’ve already written about the top renewable energy hashtags in a recent post, but I want to underline how these local and national trending topics represent an amazing opportunity for brand recognition.
You’ll have to be careful to be relevant to the hashtag, but if you are, you can benefit by having more followers that may eventually lead to sales. For example, take #TipTuesday, a weekly Tuesday hashtag for sharing tips. Every week, you could be offering useful tips tied to going solar or to the specifics of your product or something else educational.
Likewise, when #StarWars–related hashtags come up, creatively mention that #TheForce is with #Solar or share a fun Photoshopped photo of characters (or action figures) having a light-saber battle on a solar panel or on top of your inverter or racking. Have fun and make your customers smile, giving them a happiness break for their day.
If you think this type of pop culture social media tactic makes your company seem “not serious,” good! That’s a sign that your company needs to lighten up and be more personal and relatable to your human customers.
Tip #3: Eat better with a blog post about sustainable food, wine and beer
Hundreds of vineyards have gone or are going solar, as are scores of brewers and other beverage companies that want to become more sustainable. These companies may even be your customers; regardless, it’s perfectly fine to write an occasional blog post about sustainability, climate change, organic food and other green topics.
While these posts may not be directly related to your solar hardware or service, they will still draw people to your blog page and website. While reading nourishing information about these topics, they may share this post with others on their social networks, passing along useful tidbits and promoting your brand, not to mention adding SEO value.
Similar to Tip #1, this may also be a great human resource opportunity for social posts, sharing ways that your company is reducing its carbon footprint, offering organic, healthy snacks, or committing to #MeatlessMondays (another example of a weekly social media hashtag).
Is your solar brand truly going to help folks lose weight, be happy and eat better? Possibly not, but you may inspire some to take action. The real takeaway here is that solar, energy storage, wind and other renewable companies have many opportunities to broaden their brand’s reach and awareness. The key to doing so lies in breaking out of a pure product promotion mindset and expanding into more of a people/relationship marketing mindset.
Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza is senior strategy adviser for Kiterocket’s renewable energy practice and a communications consultant for other solar and renewables brands.