How Social is Your Utility?

Feb. 1, 2017

An ever-increasing number of conversations and click-throughs, page-likes, and purchasing decisions are happening in the digital space today. 1.18 billion users log onto Facebook each day as active users, according to the platform’s analytics for November 2016. And according to Forbes magazine, 41% of US small businesses have chosen to capitalize on this digital platform and now use Facebook as part of their online marketing strategy. Today, utilities are also beginning to see value in digital media.

It seems communicating with utility customers has evolved beyond phone calls and bill inserts. reports that a recent survey conducted by Pike Research found that 57 million people used social media in 2011 specifically to engage with utilities. In 2017, the number is estimated to exceed 624 million.

According to the study, the top two reasons consumers interacted with utility companies via social media were billing issues and to seek information about programs and pricing. The third reason, stated by nearly 25 percent of respondents, was to offer praise about the utility’s service. 

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And there are several ways in which utilities can benefit by using social media, reports. The digital platform is effective in facilitating customer-to-utility communication. Customers can post photos and information about leaks or water events and the utility can respond accordingly, often with first-hand information about the incident.

In addition, utilities can employ digital media for its social analytics. By monitoring and analyzing social media, organizations can mine data and learn about the demographics of their clientele, as well as the most important service needs within the community.

Social media also provides engagement opportunities by offering a platform for discussion that can encourage conservation efforts. The sharing culture allows consumers to be active participants in spreading the word as well.

As millions of consumers use social media channels to engage with the companies they buy services from, it seems that utilities are wise to embrace the opportunity to participate in the digital conversation.

Does your utility engage with customers on social media? Have you found it beneficial? What recommendations do you have for organizations considering a digital marketing strategy? 
About the Author

Laura Sanchez

Laura Sanchez is the editor of Distributed Energy and Water Efficiency magazines.