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Social Media in 2019: How can it Help Your Utility?

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Andy Gotlieb 31923
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 33 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
  • 983 items added with 482,859 views
  • Jan 15, 2019

This item is part of the Special Issue - 2019-01 - Predictions & Trends, click here for more

With Facebook turning 15 this year, YouTube blowing out 14 candles, Twitter becoming a teenager and Instagram celebrating nine years, it’s fair to say social media is engrained in our personal and professional lives.

Yeah, there are holdouts — I’m an old grouch when it comes to posting on social media — but anyone (and any business) that ignores social media does so at its own peril.

With social media well established, what role is it playing in your utility?

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Ideally, you should have multiple employees — depending upon your utility’s size — whose primary job is to oversee your social media channels. And those channels should definitely include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and maybe Flickr, LinkedIn and Pinterest, too.

Social media can be incredibly valuable because it’s a form of communication you can control. Your public relations team can spend hours trying to get media coverage, but there’s no guarantee that coverage will be to your liking — if you even get that coverage.

With social media, you control the dialogue and promote what you want. So do it – often.

Every working day there should be new content on your social media channels, primary Facebook and Twitter (obviously, it’s unrealistic to be able to post daily or even weekly on YouTube). That content can include consumer information, congratulations to notable employee achievements, safety warnings and local boosterism, to name a few. You can also link to any positive media coverage you receive.

Even on weekends, it’s a good idea to maintain an active, albeit reduced, social media presence. That’s particularly important when it comes to monitoring social media.

If someone out there is unhappy with the utility, a prompt response is in order. No need to let a disgruntled customer stew. If you can solve a problem — or point someone in the right direction to solving it – you’re ahead of the game.

Of course, some unhappy customers can’t be satisfied, so your best bet is to take the conversation offline and try to appease them somehow or, if need be, get them off your social media altogether.

Social media’s usage is likely to change in the years ahead, so keep an eye on the latest trends to make sure your utility uses it to the fullest.

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Thank Andy for the Post!
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Shaina Kaye's picture
Shaina Kaye on Jan 15, 2019

This a great post Andy - thanks for sharing! It is so important for utilities to shift their perspective on social media to a tool that can help build relationships and engage with consumers versus a mechanism to be feared and shied away from. We've written a little bit about that opportunity on our blog, if you'd like to check it out:

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