M Sinan Pala

Social Media in Utilities

Socia Media is taking up more and more time in our daily lives, everyday. As a matter of fact it is the evolution of face to face marketing and customer relations. We used to go to a store and find our friend or relative to help us out about the prodcut we are looking for. Nowadays, we ask them on Social Media or just look through the reviews and hashtags. Brands have realized the importance of the online communities and their feedback. Some products would have hard time existing in the environment without online communities, however we encounter more start ups becoming successful thanks to Social Media and their online communities. Traditional industries such as utilities are struggling to embrace the online communities. Seriously, who likes their utilities company? Most of us are forced to choose them and pay the highest bills. It gets really tough for utilities to have a strong Social Media presence. Social Media in Utilities, were a figment of imagination a few years ago; yet it is expected to have 624 million customers to interact with utilities brand in Social Media in 2017 according to Pike Research. Most of the utilities do not need brand visibility, due to scarcity of choices or geographic reasons. Social Media in Utilities is a great way to increase brand loyalty and control brand’s image.

Please take your time to read First Steps of Establishing a Strong Social Media Presence before progressing any further on this article.

What is your purpose?

Guiding philosophy for your online communities should be genuine and reflect on values and ideas. You will have hard time to achieve a helpful community If you slightly come off artificial or force your product to the community. Online community is where the Social CRM really thrives and becomes more meaningful than just a complaints solution approach. You should have a proactive approach to be the center of resource and have the answers for your community beforehand.

Social Media in Utilities, should be informative as much as possible. Your possible topics may be how to save on energy, how the energy is transported, prototype projects and one of the most important topic: how the bill is calculated. Most of us are a customer for utilities company, and sadly most of us do not know how the energy is being transported or how our bill is calculated. We all have a responsibilty towards our environment and it is most likely utilities companies’ duty to inform the public on how to save on energy and save our planet.

What is your approach?

Offline approach is vital in the beginning of your online community. Utilities companies have a vast amount of resources on how to reach to their community offline, make sure these are included in your approach. You can use the community events, sponsored events, maintenance vehicles, paper bills and even billboards for informing public about your social media presence. Most of the utilites customers use the company’s website to pay their bill, make sure the website has proper information and guidance about social media profiles. Another useful approach is to add all the necessary links in e-mail signatures.

Utilities companies are strong on CSR events which rely on local support, make sure these events are supported by your social media presence and promoted. Offline event guests are most likely to post photos, share info and check on who shared what on social media; do not miss on these chances!

You can read more about how a pioneer in Turkey for Social Media in Utilities handled their online community and their approach.

Make sure to check out http://ow.ly/TbPAO to learn the fundamentals of social media marketing now—with six free online courses.

Remember: it is not how many followers you have; it is how many followers are engaging with you.

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