Utilizing Social Media

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Tomorrow, June 30, is Social Media Day – also known by the hashtag #SMDay – so this is a good opportunity to talk about social media use by utilities.

Does your utility have a Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter account, but they are rarely used? Why not use social media to actively promote your utility? Here are a few ways to do so:

Inform your customers

Are you experiencing an emergency service outage? Do you have an anticipated time when service will be restored? Both are great examples of ways to use social media to reach your customers quickly and possibly reduce the number of calls to your office.

Is a boil water notice in effect or did one just end? Social media is an excellent way to communicate this to your customers in real time, as well.

Will your office be closing early for an employee appreciation event or to attend a funeral? Let your customers know in advance via social media.

Public relations campaigns

Do you have issues you want your customers to pay attention to? Social media is a great way to keep those issues in the public eye. For example, if you have water restrictions in place due to drought, social media is an excellent way to call attention to the restrictions.

Another use of social media is to educate your customers regarding flushable wipes. Many utilities are actively trying to inform their customers of the potential damage from flushing “flushable wipes”. Here is such an example.

Like most utilities, do you encourage your customers to use alternative payment options like online bill pay? Social media is an excellent way to supplement your customer education efforts.

Customer engagement

Encourage your customers to engage with your posts. The point of social media is to be social, so posts that generate comments and feedback are a good thing.

However, as we’ve all witnessed, not every comment on a social media post is social, or even civil. To remedy this, with platforms where it is available, be sure your comments are set to be reviewed by a moderator. Delete comments that clearly violate your social media policy, such as those containing profanity.

This doesn’t mean you should automatically delete all uncomplimentary posts. If a customer criticizes your utility for a situation you could have handled better, own up to it and acknowledge your shortcomings. Customers appreciate utilities with a corporate culture that demonstrates compassion and understanding and accepts responsibility.

Employee recognition

Did one of your employees earn kudos from a customer for going above and beyond? Post it on social media! Everyone likes to be recognized and we all know how easy it is to criticize public-sector employees, so a little recognition can go a long way!

Tomorrow is #SMDay

Remember, tomorrow is #SMDay – what will you post to your social media?

Does your utility do a good job with social media?

If you think your utility already does a good job with social media, please send me an email at gsanders@edmundsgovtech.com. If I get enough good examples, I will highlight the best ones in a future blog post.

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