Social marketing ELIMINATES the middlemen, providing brands the unique OPPORTUNITY to have a direct RELATIONSHIP with their CUSTOMERS.
– Bryan Wiener, Chairman at 360i, a digital marketing company
Why Social Media
How to engage customers on social media continues to be a question for engineers and utilities. As you can see from the graphic below, social media continues to grow, and customers engage on it every day. Social networks have grown from being used primarily by millennials to now professionals interacting on them to develop their networks and discover new trends within their industries.
Within the utility industry, many providers have increased their communication efforts to embrace social media. After looking at several water utilities’ social media sites, the following strategies were observed most often:
• Keeping community up to date
• Educating the public
• Public participation
• Customer service
• Recruiting purposes
For example, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies reported how the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority created a social media campaign to increase Twitter activity by generating communication on their social media account to address customers’ problems and questions. This allowed the Authority to help customers better understand their water service, which ultimately assisted in delivering better customer service.
Other companies have seen an increase in their social media interaction by implementing several strategies.
“A big part of our social media strategy is explaining everything that goes into treating your water,” said Josephine Posti, an external affairs specialist for Pennsylvania American Water. “When you offer a behind-the-scenes look at something that you take for granted, like water, it kind of gets people to say, ‘Wow, I turn my faucet on every day, and I’ve never really thought about how it all works.’ It is important to keep things like that top of mind.”
Since people who interact on social media have a tendency to scan content, it is crucial that content is short, simple and grabs attention. Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, said “You want content that others are remarking about, whether it’s in their blog linking back to your blog or referring articles or whether it’s in Twitter remarking about it or on Facebook.”
Additionally, through the use of online tools such as Google Analytics, Halff tracks the effectiveness of posts, tweets and any other interaction that draws viewers back to our website (www.Halff.com).
Water utilities, like other industries, have seen an increase in the use of social media as an effective way to stay in touch and inform their customers. As Halff increases our use of social media, we are mindful of the use of multiple platforms to increase interaction and the importance of measuring the results to make effective use of our social media platforms. Halff has a multi-disciplined team of professionals who work together to help clients achieve long-lasting results and the greatest value for our clients’ investments. If Halff Associates can assist your team, please call Executive Vice President Jessica Baker, PE, CFM, PMP, at (214) 217-6692.
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Infrastructure Advancement Institute
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