Consert Offers Social Media Tips to Utilities

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The utilities sector is entering a new era in which customer engagement is not just encouraged, but expected. Consert Inc., an intelligent energy management company headquartered in San Antonio, is helping their utility customers navigate this evolving medium.

“Utility customers live in a communications era that is changing by the minute, and that means utilities need to go beyond the meter and invite two-way communication through the use of social media,” says Tony Di Giosia, director of marketing for Consert.

The utilities sector is entering a new era in which customer engagement is not just encouraged, but expected. Consert Inc., an intelligent energy management company headquartered in San Antonio, is helping their utility customers navigate this evolving medium.

“Utility customers live in a communications era that is changing by the minute, and that means utilities need to go beyond the meter and invite two-way communication through the use of social media,” says Tony Di Giosia, director of marketing for Consert Inc. “Social media is about people and the voices behind it. It’s about story-telling and the ‘we’ not the ‘me.’”

Di Giosia hopes to help utilities understand the importance of using social media as a vehicle to build community and engage with their customers. He offers the following tips for how utilities can begin implementing a social media strategy:

1)    Facebook is the 200 lb. gorilla: The average user creates 90 pieces of content each month and more than 30 billion pieces of content are shared each month, making users a very valuable brand ambassador for a utility. One great example of a utility that communicates well on Facebook is CPS Energy (http://www.facebook.com/CPSEnergy). On Facebook utilities can post:

  •     Information about programs and services
  •     Updates on load events
  •     Tips on topics of interest
  •     Press releases and news coverage
  •     Customer surveys
  •     A schedule of customer events

2)    Twitter is quick: Utilities can use Twitter to disseminate important, useful information, such as energy saving tips, outage notifications or other relevant information, which will encourage followers to re-tweet, and thus a community continues to grow.

3)    Blogging establishes a utility as a trusted advisor: Blog posts should be no longer than 500 words and should focus on what customers need to know or be aware of. Blogs such as the CPS Energy blog (https://blog.cpsenergy.com/cpsblog/) are typically authored by the utility CEO. This helps humanize the brand and breaks down the corporate barrier, allowing customers to connect with senior leadership.

4)    YouTube is a powerful sales and marketing tool for utilities: For example, as utilities engage companies like Consert, they can post how-to videos to assist customers in using the Consert Solution to control their energy usage, conserve energy and save money.

5)    Start small: Establishing a social media presence may seem daunting, so start small. Begin by using Facebook and Twitter as a newsfeed, posting press materials and media coverage. Then move forward with relevant customer-focused posts. Develop an “editorial calendar” of topics that can be covered and increase posts to all social media properties to at least three times a week.

6)    Stay in touch: All of a utility’s social media properties must be monitored. That means responding and reacting to comments that are positive and negative. This reinforces the message that utilities are interested in talking with customers.

“There is no doubt about the power of social media,” says Di Giosia. “It can be one of the most cost effective, influential communication tools in a utility’s marketing toolkit. We also think it can really help expand a utility’s presence and make a positive impact on energy conservation, customer savings and business initiatives.”

About Consert Inc.
Consert Inc. is an intelligent load management technology company. Consert’s Virtual Peak PlantTM load management system is the only solution proven to provide reliable, real-time, fully-integrated load management through the pairing of utility and consumer offerings. A demonstration of the application as used by a residential consumer can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/40034929. Consert is a partner with Hometown Connections and Texas Electric Cooperatives. For more information, visit Consert.com. Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/consert. Follow us on Twitter @Consert Inc.

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Amy Needham
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