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Expand Your Utility’s Social Media Horizons

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Managing Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 32 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too. The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
  • 941 items added with 430,679 views
  • May 28, 2018 8:50 pm GMT

This item is part of the Special Issue - 2018-05 - Customer Care, click here for more

By now, you probably know the drill when it comes to social media.

Have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and maybe a couple others. Post a couple times per day. Follow up with anyone who poses a question – or complains about something.

In terms of content, promote various programs you offer. Highlight awards and honors received. Give updates about service restoration when there are power outages. Avoid commenting on anything controversial.

That’s all well and good, but after a while, things will get boring. That means you need to spice up your posts – and have fun with them.

Be creative when it comes to posts.

For example, on Jan. 17, wish Benjamin Franklin a happy birthday. The guy who discovered electricity (supposedly by flying a kite in a thunderstorm) makes for an entertaining post.

Or how about Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb? For the record, he was born on Feb. 11. And like Franklin, he’s a fascinating guy who offers plenty of material for posting.

You can go more obscure and pay tribute to someone like Michael Faraday, the Englishman who studied electromagnetism and electrochemistry in the 19th century. He was born on Sept. 22.

Does posting about people like Franklin, Edison and Faraday contribute to your bottom line? No, but that’s not the point.

Unlike more commercial operations, such as a retail store, public relations, marketing and advertising aren’t really going to spur your business. Instead, social media – and much of your public relations effort – is all about building and maintaining a good reputation.

Things like wishing key figures in electricity’s history a happy birthday add a human side to your work, not to mention a nostalgic nod. Many people love nostalgia, so providing some details about an interesting historical figure is likely to go over well.

Remember that you can do more than just wish people a happy birthday.

Don’t forget that June 15 is National Electricity Day, and you can give a shout out as well to National Static Electricity Day on Jan. 9. Or you can commemorate the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, which went into effect on May 20 of that year.

These are just quick examples I came up with in about three minutes of Googling. Surely you can find more.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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