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The Role of Facebook at Your Utility

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 430,732 views
  • May 10, 2018 4:16 pm GMT

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

It’s far from perfect — and the privacy concerns are troubling — but Facebook remains the most important social media outlet for all businesses, including utilities.

That’s because Facebook has the largest reach and functionality.

Twitter is good for immediacy, but the character limits can be a headache and plenty of older adults (read: a good chunk of your targeted customers) aren’t fans. Instagram and Snapchat are too youth oriented, LinkedIn is too narrowly focused and YouTube is fine for videos, but it’s not a one-stop shop.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t — you should! — have presences on some or all of those outlets, but Facebook should be your main form of social media.

That begs the question: How should you use it?

In any case, you need to have an active, but not too active page; too many posts will bore readers. A post or two a day is fine, except when you’re dealing with things like weather-related outages that require more frequent updates.

And what should you put on your Facebook page?

The aforementioned updates when there are power outages are a must.

Feel free to tout any events you sponsor, both before and after. When the event is over, post some pictures.

Link to any favorable news coverage you receive.

Reminders about services or programs you offer, complete with links, are useful. Remind customers that they can pay bill online or get a rebate if they buy energy-efficient appliances (of course, assuming you offer that).

Showcase your employees doing volunteer work in the community.

Energy-saving tips are good, especially in times of extreme weather.

Holiday messages are always well received.

No matter what the message is, make sure you illustrate it with good photos or graphics. And keep your responses short. Nobody wants to read War and Peace online.

It’s also important to carefully monitor your Facebook page (this goes for all social media accounts). Be sure to remove any inappropriate material.

In addition, respond quickly to anyone who has an issue, a complaint or is just looking for help. Part of social media’s appeal is the ability for customers to interact with various businesses. By taking a long time to respond — or not responding at all — you’re likely to generate ill will. Conversely, by responding you’ll probably get bonus points, even if you aren’t able to resolve the issue.

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Thank Andy for the Post!
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