I don’t typically get my news from The Huffington Post, but I have stumbled upon a great article from there about a masterful use of social media. Check it out by clicking here.
Case in point: recent weather events striking the east coast. Millions of people were left in the dark following a derecho in the DC area in late June, plus the recent combo of a hurricane and early winter storm in the New York City area.
Power companies have stepped up efforts to share information with the public, both in mass distribution and one-on-one interactions. The aforementioned HuffPo article cites a pair of social media specialists who are serving as ConEdison’s mouthpiece on Twitter. Together, on rotating 12-14 hour shifts, they have provided constant updates on power outages and restoration efforts, while also responding to individual tweets. The information distributed is essental, timely, and builds trust with customers by showing the company is ‘on it’. Dominion Power of Virginia exercised a similar online strategy a few months ago during a significant wind event that left nearly 3 million in the dark in the Washington DC area.
How does this translate? My point is it is essential to implement a social media strategy (with dedicated social media specialists) to help protect your reputation. As mentioned in previous posts, social media has helped place an increased need to protect your reputation as well as providing a great service/product. Most of us have not had great interaction with utility companies, but a proper use of social media during emergencies (well, during non-emergency situations too) helps build a relationship with panicked customers.
Another joy of maximizing social media is the cost: it’s free to reach countless followers, at once, on Twitter and Facebook. Not only is it free, but others will help do the work for you. What I mean is, once the carefully crafted message is originated on your company’s page, users of these sites will then share with their friends/followers.
It’s not too late to devise a social media plan for next year, including utilizing existing personnel, hiring dedicated staffers, or using a PR firm. But hurry, 2013 is just a little more than 7 weeks away.
Disclaimer: While I have applied for several social media specialist positions with non-profit organizations, corporations, and government agencies, this post is meant solely to focus on the importance of a successful social media strategy.