It seems in today’s age of lightening fast digital communications, few industries are exempt from participating in the one medium that facilitates this collective combustion of information the most – the internet.  More and more, people are tuning out traditional conduits to information such as TV, radio and newspapers and, instead, turning to the internet for the news, information and education they need.  Hey, I don’t have to tell you since you’re likely reading this with a cup of coffee in one hand and your mouse in the other.

If this is truly the case, then it stands to reason the one industry that has captured the imagination of young and old, from Wall Street to Washington, is facing a head on collision with the digital revolution.  That industry is Green. 

Yet the expansive , which includes its energetic sibling, , faces significant challenges in terms of educating the masses.  One reason for this is, aside from the more prominent national organizations, much of the industry’s grassroots efforts have been focused on establishing regional organizations that promote green building initiatives in local communities.  Please don’t misunderstand.   The industry as a whole has done an excellent job of building fundamentally sound standards for Green Building but the truth is, there is a lot more that can be done to effectively deliver the message and to a much wider audience.

I know this to be true since I am personally involved with an outstanding group of Southern California Green Building professionals, the (VGBTF).  Although I am not a Green Building professional, I’ve been fortunate over the last few months to have the opportunity to work closely with the VGBTF marketing and communications team.  In addition to establishing the operating principles that guide the group in its mission, the VGBTF, like many other Green Building task force groups, is discovering the power of the internet to promote the value of the triple bottom line benefits of going green.

To understand the degree of challenges the Green Building industry faces we are required to delve deep into the psyche of today’s business owners and consumers alike.  Unlike the way the recent health reform debate has been handled, questions about the key benefits of green building need to be addressed and answered in clear terms.  Questions that clarify confusing topics ranging from pending legislation, capital investment, rebates and ROI to an overall simplification to the process that lends itself well to building excitement, need to be outlined in a goal oriented education plan.  

This is where the internet has such huge potential in grassroots education.  Today’s internet has evolved into a highly effective medium for the dissemination of information that harnesses the value proposition that can deliver the momentum required to invoke the changes needed.  Online social networking has aided significantly in the industry’s efforts and there are already hundreds of websites that promote the benefits of sustainable energy for the Green Building industry.

But like any other online marketing effort, the focus needs to be, 1. How best to drive the message to a receptive audience and 2. Make that message go viral.  Trust me, it’s easier said than done but there are ways to create a foundation to build on. 

It all starts with the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  SEO is the basic formula that all website owners adhere to when developing an online presence.  SEO is to online marketing what principles are to Green Building efforts.  Without either, the end result is confusion and chaos.  Therefore, a wise investment of time and effort should go into building effective SEO for your website.

The same can be said about Social Media.  Properly used, social media networking can cost effectively deliver your message and at a significantly lower cost than other forms of marketing.  That’s because social media incorporates the 4 fundamental elements of effective communications: Sharing, Cooperation, Collaboration and Collectivism.  If done correctly, social media enables these four components to drive awareness and allow individuals to work together towards a large-scale goal.      

Remember though, social networking, like SEO is not a set it and forget it measure.  Both require time and energy, not to mention, great planning!   I mentioned how SEO is to online marketing what LEED is to Green Building principles but social media gives a whole new meaning to the LEED acronym:  Listen, Engage, Effort, Dialogue.  These elements define today’s online collaboration and must be adhered to closely if you expect to achieve the desired results.

Is the Green industry headed towards a collision with SEO and Social Media?  We certainly think so.  Therefore, if you haven’t already, you should begin to strategize how best to take advantage of SEO and Social Media to further the cause. 

Our online marketing company is dedicated to these principles and we are excited to help the Green Building industry promote the important benefits that will help our world be a better place.  If you are interested in learning more about the basics of SEO and Social Media for your organization, plan to attend one of our upcoming online marketing workshops.  Or, if you just want to speak with us about your individual needs, feel free to visit us at: www.gibsem.com.