Post with the most: The dos and don’ts of using social media

Posted 5 July 2017

As water businesses embrace social media, the question of when and how to use these platforms to greatest effect is an important one. 

In a bid to help water and wastewater utilities harness social media and better engage with their customers, the Water Research Foundation (WRF) has recently published a number of practical guides and research.

“When water utilities dip their toes into the social media pond, they find themselves in a freewheeling, noisy conversation, totally unlike the careful and precise culture of their office,” the WRF wrote in its overview of the project.

“When utilities seek guidance on how to participate, what they often find is hype and promotional literature from self-appointed gurus.”

To help navigate this space, the WRF's latest suite of guidelines explores the business case for utility executives and board members investing in social media, with additional project resources including case studies, project papers, webcasts and web tools.

The three main project deliverables summarise and synthesise the most relevant findings, and presents clear recommendations for water utilities to start tweeting, posting and sharing. 

The project aims to offer clear, practical guidance on how utilities can integrate social media engagement into their day-to-day operations. 

It also provides resources and templates that staff can customise and put to use at any time.

The project helps utilities answer strategic questions, such as:
When and how should utilities restructure staff, policies and budgets to begin using social media?;
How can utilities quantify how these efforts perform?;
How do utilities best harness social media to alert customers during crisis events?; and
Is it worth it for utilities to expose themselves to the debates and trolls that might be lurking on these platforms, and is there any alternative?

In addition to the three main project deliverables, there are case studies, a posting skills checklist to grade a social media post, and utility benchmarking results.