Why Utilities Should be More “Social”

Nearly a third of adults in the U.S. get at least some of their news from Facebook, according to a Pew Research Center study. Social media is here to stay and it is prudent for public works agencies to consider using it to connect with their customers.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are some of the social media channels that can be used to successfully connect and share information with the public. When used to augment the more traditional public information methods such as traditional news releases and newsletters, social media can be one of the fastest and most efficient ways to provide information to the public.

One of the greatest benefits of going social is the ability to immediately share information on your own terms rather than waiting for traditional media outlets to broadcast information shared in your news releases. In fact, many savvy reporters follow businesses, utilities, and local government on social media because it’s such a convenient way to receive information and news tips

In addition to providing real-time news updates about topics such as road closures or water emergencies, social media should also be used to share lighter information. Examples include the utility’s holiday schedule, photos from around the city, responses to common questions, and even celebrating utility employees’ work anniversaries.

When used regularly, a utility’s social media accounts can become a trusted source of information for the public. To let customers know that you’ve gone social, be sure to include links to your accounts on your website, as well as in mailings with a reminder to “like” or “follow” the utility on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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