For utilities, connecting with consumers via social media channels is ideal for outage communication and customer interaction. Think about all the rich content that could be pumped to the consumer all in an effort to engage, educate, and promote.
Here are three utilities I see that are doing it right.
Southern California Edison (SCE)
SCE is dominating the utility space in Instagram land. Not only do they post neat pictures of linemen at work, substations, transmission poles, and scenic sunsets, but they also encourage consumers to submit their own photos to be featured – tag @sce or #socaledison.
Yes, SCE is on Facebook and Twitter, but what makes SCE’s social presence unique and stand out from the pack is there engagement on Instagram. Utilities who are not on this particular social channel are missing out on a pictorial representation of what the they do and provide. In addition, “over 90% of the 150 million people on Instagram are under the age of 35.” Through their Instagram account, SCE broadens it’s social portfolio and reach beyond that of Twitter and Facebook. Visual marketing is king.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
Their YouTube account is stocked with video (in both Spanish, English, and Chinese) ranging from safety around electric and gas lines to brief employee bios. Customers have the opportunity to hear from crane operators, gas crew foremen, fieldmen, and others as they share what they do for PG&E customers and why they love their job.
Through their YouTube channel, they are creating an emotional connection with their customers as they get to see and hear the personal side of the utility, its employees, which further enhances community spirit and the customer connection.
Duke Energy’s Facebook page with over 17,000 likes has a mission “to help you prepare for and respond to power outages.” They are engaging in a dialogue with their customers. They are humanizing Duke Energy.
It’s not just a company who keeps your lights on and then spits out a bill. They are providing near real-time updates on their energy management, responsive customer service, and inviting their end users to upload pictures/posts of what’s going on in their area. Duke is using social to disseminate news and provide further value for their customers.