With more than 1 billion users on Facebook, 4 billion on YouTube, 500 million on Twitter, 400 million on Google+, 100 million on Instagram and 25 million on Pinterest, if your utility company is not using social media yet, then you are missing a world of opportunity to connect with your target audience.
When social media first became prevalent in the early 2000’s, it was important to just get on social media and be “social.” However, the tables have turned and now if it’s not done the right way, you can alienate your customers.
Here are some tips on what to include in a social media plan for either utility companies or alternative energy providers:
Facebook – Setting up a Facebook brand page is paramount. You may consider early mornings and early evenings as the key times to change your status updates. Most people are at work and can’t utilize Facebook, but they often look before they go to work and when they come home. In addition, remember to post interesting photographs and don’t sell. Talk with your consumers about what is important to them. Engage your customers with thought provoking materials, which will enable them to start a conversation with others. The more engagement, the more your community will grow.
YouTube – Showing and sharing information via YouTube is beneficial to many energy type companies. One of our clients has a series of YouTube videos that includes everything from “meet the team” to actual installations of various jobs. They have gotten positive feedback from customers and partners. These videos are then shared throughout their social networks for an even greater reach.
Twitter – Establishing a Twitter account is crucial, especially if you want to get the media interested in what you are doing. Look at what is trending and try to tie in your message so that you increase your audience and get them discussing things that are important to them. In addition, check out Muck Rack for new trending topics by media personnel. This can help you land a story in traditional press as well. Further, you may consider having a live Twitter Chat and providing information about new products to your consumers.
Google+ – This social media tool provides a way to interface in real time with your consumers. You may want to have an on-going chat about a new program that you are offering. This will enable you to have a live chat with up to 10 people. Google+ is also used like Facebook and it would be beneficial to create a corporate page to update your consumers.
Instagram – A photo is worth a thousand words and Instagram utilizes every moment. This photo-sharing site enables consumers to post on various social media sites as well. Utility companies may consider having a contest or a program on Instagram to get their customers more involved.
Spreecast – This relatively new social networking site uses live video and you can have a presentation with more than 100 people included in the conversation. Your consumers can ask questions via instant message and there is a ton of interactivity on the site.
Pinterest – Some people are visual people and prefer Pinterest, which is a social media site that encompasses bulletin boards and photos that are “pinned” to these boards. You may want to have a board that shows some of your energy products, rebate programs or even show a board of people you serve in the community. You may even consider having a shared board with your consumers to get them involved and feel ownership.
Bloggers – With more than 400 million blogs out there, don’t forget about the bloggers. There are billions of people who blog and have a ton of influence in the community. Ask a utility blogger if he/she would be interested in having a guest blog. Prepare a blog post that is conversational in nature and provides valuable information that he/she can share with their readers.
Blogtalk Radio – More than a billion people listen every day to a Blogtalk Radio show. That’s why it’s important to try to get on a show and share information about your products and services. The show is aired over the Internet and actually lives forever online. It can also be shared and/or put on your web site.
With new social networking sites going up every day and the popularity continuing to increase, it’s important to include social media in your marketing plan. Utility companies that have been engaging in social media the right way have seen happier, more fulfilled customers and increased awareness and visibility within their target markets.