Social Media in Industrial Sectors

26. April 2012 10:58

David Quin presented a case study for CenterPoint Energy on how they use Social Media for their business. When developing the social media strategy, they looked at the statistics that only half of those who complained via social media channels expected a response. David wanted to surprise them.


David Marshall - Marketing Communications Manager
Greg Wilkinson - Partner of Growthpoint
David Quin - Director of Communications Strategy, CenterPoint Energy

There were several risks involved: Potential heightened customer service expectations, and the possibility that the channels could become a dumping ground for angry customers and opponents of company initiatives. To counter this, Mr. Quin decided to drive customer service requests to non social channels (web self service, call center), respond appropriately to customer issues, and push negative posts off Facebook with positive content. The Facebook account has a formula developed for what percentage of "News you can use", "Energy saving tips", and "Money saving offers" they post. They use two Twitter accounts - one for light hearted posts and one for serious problem solvers. CenterPoint feels that Social Media can assist in monitoring the brand, identify/respond to crisis, improve customer service and gather feedback, and improve web traffic.

While these are important goals, there are also some limitations with social media channels: a limited ability to directly drive sales, you cannot control the conversation, it still doesn't raise utility service to high interest category, and it won't eliminate advertising budgets.

Additional comments David Quin made: It is extremely important to align your social media objectives with your corporate objectives, and orient your initiatives toward changing business trends.

David Marshall cited an example of a company using social media for good customer service. David travels British Airways. While transferring flights he forgot a bag on the plane. He tweeted to @britishairways to find his bag and have it at the next gate. They tweeted back to him that it would be there. When he got to the gate the bag was waiting for him.


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