This special interest group is where customer care professionals share tactics on how utilities are improving interactions with their customers. 

WARNING: SIGN-IN

You need to be a member of Energy Central to access some features and content. Please or register to continue.

Post

Social Media Influencers Boost Utility Image

image credit: ID 130049729 © Sammby | Dreamstime.com

Utilities want to create positive brand images. How they meet that goal has changed through the years as alternative communication channels emerged. The rise of social media created a new type of promoter, literally anyone with an Internet connection, a social media account, and a strong area of interest. So, energy producers need to use these social media influencers to enhance their customer image, a process with potential as well as challenges.

Social media connects people in novel ways that create new marketing channels. In the past, customers looked to movie, TV, and music celebrities for advice when making a purchase. Nowadays, a new type of celebrity has emerged. Increasingly, consumers trust the opinion of online strangers much more than brand messaging.  Digital of word of mouth is a phrase that Gartner Inc. coined to describe the process.  These influencers’ rise started years ago with the emergence of bloggers and the use of long form, text content. Nowadays, the emphasis is on visual messaging, like YouTube and Instagram.

Filter Out the Noise  

Why should utilities pay attention to these individuals? It has become quite difficult for corporations to cut through the social media clutter. Social media expanded content generation 100 fold, so just about everyone develops online content There is so much information available today: Web 2.0, digital media, etc. and so much noise: blogs, various news sources.

But utilities need to leverage this emerging channel. Influencer marketing involves detecting satisfied clients and encouraging them to share their positive experiences with peers across social media platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

A Few Hurdles Arise

But such work is difficult for a few reasons. Energy producers must track a massive volume of social media data, messaging systems, social media platforms, and hundreds of millions of blogs.

Collecting the information is only a first step. Utilities must not only determine who the key influencers are but also bridge gaps between business units, like customer service and marketing. Linking these groups requires a significant technical and organizational integration effort because they have antithetical designs, goals, and business processes.

Energy providers also need to develop metrics that illustrate the impact of such programs. Here, they need to mix art and science in order to create effective measurements.

Social media Influencer marketing provides customer service leaders with an opportunity to leverage positive customer experiences. This area has been rising in importance, and the tools to track such initiatives have been rapidly evolving, but best practices are largely a Work in Progress. As a result, utilities need to tread carefully into this area, so they gain the potential benefits and avoid the many potential missteps in building successful social influencer campaigns.

 

Paul Korzeniowski's picture

Thank Paul for the Post!

Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.

Discussions

No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »