NES Social Media Experiment


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Nashville Electric Service takes its first steps into the social media world using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to communicate with customers.

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  • In January, our public relations firm (McNeely Pigott & Fox) approached us formally about using social media as a way to connect with customers. Their first suggestion was to use the outlet of Facebook to”share information about NES and build conservation awareness in the community”. We were on board. That idea evolved to Twitter, where MP&F showed us our customers were already talking about us. We just needed to engage them (and in some cases, clarify things for them). And, our latest venture, is starting our own YouTube Channel. The idea of creating how-to instructional videos was already on our radar. We were planning to post those to our website. It seemed like a logical choice to put them on YouTube.
  • Nashville Electric Service (NES), one of the12 largest public electric utilities in the nation, and we are celebrating our 70 th Anniversary this month. NES does not generate any electricity. It buys all of its power from the Tennessee Valley Authority. 87 cents of every dollar goes to TVA for purchased power. We serve over 357,000 customers over a 700 square mile service area (all of Davidson County (metro Nashville) and portions of 6 surrounding counties. Have revenues of $1 billion each year.
  • We had no real expectations regarding Twitter, because we didn’t know any better. We quietly created an account and people found us quickly. Our # of followers grew with little to no promotion. And it became clear to us that Twitter was an important communications tool that we needed to cultivate.
  • 170 followers - no promotion at this point. #’s on slide (as of August 11) 946 followers (checked on Tuesday) and NES is following 796 profiles
  • Customers right?
  • Crisis situation – breaking news/updates Promoting NES programs (E-bill, In-Home Evaluations, PowerWise) Directing people to for more information and providing direct links (an effort to increase visits) Much of the information posted to Twitter (and Facebook) comes from the NES Web site, news releases, or information passed along to MP&F by our communications department. Many questions that are asked on Twitter are answered by MP&F using knowledge they have from working with us for four years. If they don’t know the answer, the questions are forwarded to our department for feedback.
  • Examples of actual tweets Call center problems (used Twitter to notify customers and answer their questions) Issue w/ time log (June 18 @ 6:43 a.m., 6:47 a.m. and 11:18 a.m.) Problem: The NES Customer Relations call center was experiencing network problems, which affected our customer’s ability to report an outage or conduct other business with NES customer relations representatives by telephone.
  • Examples of actual tweets Response to Street Light issue posted by a customer: A Twitter follower informed us that there was a street light burned out on 5th Ave. near Hume Fogg High School. He wanted to know if it was going to be fixed.
  • Examples of actual tweets Power Outage: Includes a response to tweet from specific follows and a general posting to all followers
  • If/when we respond to those complaining about NES, they are usually impressed that we are on Twitter and we are listening. Win them over.
  • Received some great feedback and our use of Twitter has been very well received. I love reading these comments. We have received calls from other electric utilities and from energy consultants who are interested in learning more about our social media strategies.
  • When a crisis occurs we need to know what do to with regards to Twitter, etc. We can’t abandon those outlets, especially not during a crisis. Adding social media to Crisis Communications Plan. Will assign Twitter duty along with the rotating media pager. Every staff member in the department will be trained on the functionality of Twitter as well as writing effective posts. Main complaint - hard to limit to 140 characters. Just recently offered a couple of social media 101 “lunch and learn” sessions for our Vice Presidents, Managers, Supervisors and board members.
  • Original Facebook page was branded with our educational “spokesbulb” Edison. People couldn’t find us and didn’t realize who we were when they did. Re-designed and re-launched the NES Facebook page one month later. #’s on slide (as of August 11) 235 fans as of Tuesday (slower growth)
  • No surprise that 25-34 year olds are the largest segment of our fans. But what does come as a surprise to me is the overall representation of each age group. 55+ - 17% 45 to 54 – 24% 18-24 age group drops off We aren’t cool enough for 13-17 year olds
  • Links to website and news stories of interest Post videos – Energy conservation kit, interviews with Sounds players, more videos to come Starting discussions Go to site and show examples
  • # on slide (as of August 11) 293 channel views and 9 videos posted (as of Tuesday) Videos in both Spanish & English More videos to come (ex. adding attic insulation) Show site and view a video
  • Bill stuffers, articles in our customer newsletter Links on website – Under Contact Us (find us on Facebook & Twitter), Under MyEnvironment & Ways to Save (links to YouTube Videos) Twitter & Facebook icons on the homepage Cross referencing – on Twitter we push people to YouTube videos, etc. Viral networking – Some one follows us on Twitter and posts about NES having a page. Others see that and add us. Friends of friends and friends of their friends Mentioned before about lunch & learn sessions for internal employees to make them aware
  • Smooth sailing Twitter – have blocked several from following us (spammers) Facebook – Comments can be deleted after the fact Fans have asked if we post both negative and positive comments. They appreciate the open style of communication
  • 1 hour per day to manage all 3 accounts and monitor sites. We give our account person an hour advanced notice to post the information prior to sending it out to media. We want Twitter to be the first place customers & media come for information. May not be as important now, but when a crisis hits, we will already have an established relationship & trust with customers who will come to us rather than relying on 3 rd party information that is most often incorrect. Example: Change for Charity – viral crisis
  • Questions?
  • NES Social Media Experiment

    1. 1. Nashville Electric Service Our Social Media Experiment
    2. 2. About NES <ul><li>One of the 12 largest public electric utilities in the nation </li></ul><ul><li>Buy power from the Tennessee Valley Authority </li></ul><ul><li>Serve more than 355,000 customers within a 700 square mile area </li></ul><ul><li>Revenues of $1 billion each year </li></ul>
    3. 3. NES on Twitter <ul><li>“The messaging system we didn't know we needed until we had it.” </li></ul>
    4. 4. NES on Twitter <ul><li>Launched on March 2, 2009 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One month later NES had 170 followers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current Stats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>NES has 912 followers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>and NES is following 770 profiles </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. NES on Twitter <ul><li>Who is following us? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Residents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Businesses and non-profit organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other electric utilities across the country </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media outlets/news reporters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Energy consultants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Green/environmental organizations </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. NES on Twitter <ul><li>What are we posting about? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conservation tips </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoting NES programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Directing people to the NES website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power outage information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Linking to new “how to” videos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General NES news </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answering questions on the NES Twitter feed </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. NES on Twitter <ul><li>NES Call Center Problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Our call center is experiencing problems, and you may have trouble reaching us by phone. We are working diligently to fix the problem. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you need assistance right away you can send us a direct message. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our phones are back up and running. Thanks for your patience. </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. NES on Twitter <ul><li>Street Light Issue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Thanks for the heads up about the streetlight. We’ll send out a crew to repair it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also, NES has an online form to report street light problems. Here's the link: . </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. NES on Twitter <ul><li>Power Outage Updates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It sounds like you have been in touch with someone regarding your power outage, but please let us know if we can help. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>17,000 people were without power at some point last night. About 1,000 now. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>About 1,000 people still without power. NES crews are working to restore power as quickly as possible. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. NES on Twitter <ul><li>Monitoring </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Daily searches to see what people are saying about NES in their posts. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Search by keywords (NESpower, NES, Nashville Electric Service, Nashville power out, NES bill) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not a lot of negative information out there </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. NES on Twitter <ul><li>Posts from some of our followers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AuntB Shut up! Not only can I pay my power bill online in a pleasant and easy manner, @ NESpower has a twitter feed and thanked me. Cool. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>catalystrxn @ auntb Well, that's pretty cool! I think @ nespower 's customer svc on twitter is surprising in a good way! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mmasseur8 @ nespower it's cool to see a utility using Twitter. Are there others like you that get it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>energythoughts NES is certainly ahead of the curve. </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. NES on Twitter <ul><li>Looking Ahead </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adding a social media section to the current Crisis Communications Plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing detailed training for Corporate Communications staff </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. NES on Facebook <ul><li>Launched “Edison’s Conservation Corner” on March 23, 2009 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Went live with one month later on April 23, 2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NES currently has 231 fans </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. NES on Facebook <ul><li>Who are our fans? </li></ul>17% 11% 6% 55+ 24% 14% 10% 45-54 22% 10% 12% 35-44 26% 18% 8% 25-34 11% 6% 5% 18-24 0% 0% 0% 13-17 59% 41% Total Female Male Age Group
    15. 15. NES on Facebook <ul><li>What do we use it for? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Posting news </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing conservation tips </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing links to NES website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Posting photos and videos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Posing questions to spark discussion </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. NES on YouTube <ul><li>Launched YouTube page on June 30, 2009 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Channel Views: 227 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Videos Posted: 8 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subscribers: 2 </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. NES Online <ul><li>Promoting Social Media Channels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bill Stuffers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer Newsletter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links on NES website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter & Facebook icons on homepage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross referencing among three sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Word of mouth/Viral networking </li></ul></ul>
    18. 19. NES Online <ul><li>Security Issues/Problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Anyone can follow us, but we do patrol for spammers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot control who becomes a fan or what comments are posted </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No problems with negative/inappropriate posts </li></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 20. NES Online <ul><li>Behind-the-Scenes Strategies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff time to manage all 3 accounts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>About an hour per day </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All news releases go to Social Media account manager prior to releasing them to the media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major stories announced on Twitter first </li></ul></ul>
    20. 21. Laurie Parker Nashville Electric Service Email: [email_address] Web site: Twitter: Facebook: YouTube: