A Social Storm

Posted by Energy Wire on March 28, 2013 at 6:37 AM

alternative communication system during disasterComing off the heels of yet another storm in New England, our social media team is making the best of a bad situation to connect with our utility client's customers in a meaningful and valuable way.
As a partner to one of the largest utilities in the Northeast, we are the shepherds of their brand on social media. We're the keepers of the strategy, the day to day content managers, and when Mother Nature strikes, we're also the storm and crisis support team. 

When the utility has customers out of power and posting to Twitter at random hours, our team is there answering questions, providing information, and letting the them know that there is a real human paying attention, one who cares and is working as hard as possible to get them the information they need to keep their families safe.

During Nemo, our most recent major storm, many customers across New England were without power for nearly seven days, with temperatures hovering below the freezing mark. Our team was online and staying connected with them from 6 in the morning to 11 at night. During that time we:

  • Reached 11.7 million people with messaging, retweets, and replies
  • Sent 422 tweets (average of 60 per day)
  • Engaged with 2,361 unique people
  • Added nearly 2k followers to the social channels

What is the last piece of marketing you did that allowed you to have direct, one-on-one conversations with over two thousand customers?

We already had several storms under our belt prior to Nemo, so we went in knowing how to define the messaging strategy, how to set the right tone of voice, and what the protocol should be for escalating customer service issues. But this time, we also experimented with increasing the volume and frequency of messaging. The result? Even more positive feedback from customers. The trick is having plenty of fresh content. You can't just keep saying the same thing over and over, so if you are going to increase frequency, you've got to have the content to back that strategy up. Our major lesson from this storm was that increased frequency really does reassure people in a crisis.

We'll take these lessons with us to our next storm, because there's sure to be another. Hurricane season is just around the corner.

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