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Implementing Social Media to Communicate with Your Customers. APPA Business & Financial Conference September 16, 2009. Chris M. Gent Kissimmee Utility Authority. About KUA. Founded in 1901 Florida’s sixth largest municipally-owned utility Provides service to 62,000 customers 325 employees

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Implementing Social Media to Communicate with Your Customers

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Implementing Social Media to Communicate with Your Customers

APPA Business & Financial Conference September 16, 2009

Chris M. Gent

Kissimmee Utility Authority


About KUA

  • Founded in 1901

  • Florida’s sixth largest municipally-owned utility

  • Provides service to 62,000 customers

  • 325 employees

  • Corporate Communications department budget has been cut by nearly 50 percent this year


In tight financial times, communications expenditures are often the victim of a utility’s reduced budget.


That's why we need to be creative in how we communicate with our customers.


Definition of Social Media

  • Social media describes a set of Internet tools that enable shared community experiences, both online and in person.

  • Social media tools make it easier to create and distribute content and discuss the things we care about.

  • It’s simply about joining a conversation!


Resistance

  • Don’t understand it

  • Government/corporate America often moves slowly

  • Resistant to change

  • Fear of the unknown

  • Don’t want to leave anyone behind


Obstacles

  • Lack of technical expertise

  • Corporate firewalls that restrict access

  • Lack of personnel policies to govern employee use

  • Liability


Benefits

  • Customer communication

  • Employee communication

  • Recruitment

  • Training

  • Conversation!

    What happens if you don’t listen???


What One Person Can Do

  • Dave Carroll

  • Lead singer in Canadian band ‘Sons of Maxwell’

  • Traveling from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Nebraska via Chicago’s O’Hare Airport


What One Person Can Do

  • Baggage handlers damaged his $3,500 guitar

  • Bad customer service experience

  • After nearly a year of frustration, Carroll promised to write and post three songs on YouTube

  • First song released in July: 5 million+ views

  • Second song released in August


What One Person Can Do

REFRAIN

United... You broke my Taylor guitar.

United… Some big help you are.

You broke it, you should fix it

You're liable, just admit it.

I should've flown with someone else

Or gone by car

'Cause United breaks guitars.


What One Person Can Do

  • The video, produced for just $150, achieved 4.6 million views within its first three weeks on YouTube, including 21,000 comments

  • Within four days, United's stock price plunged by 10 percent, costing shareholders $180 million. (They could have purchased 51,000 replacement guitars!)


Bottom line:

Social media levels the playing field for your utility and

your customers!


Social Media Tools

  • Research

    • Survey Monkey, Zoomerang

  • Communication

    • E-mail, Constant Contact, Facebook, Twitter, Google Maps, TinyURL, bit.ly

  • Multimedia

    • YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr

  • Collaboration

    • Blogs, Google Groups


Monitor

  • Google Alerts

  • Technorati

  • Wikipedia


Recruitment/Training

  • Use the RSS reader in your Internet browser and subscribe to blogs about HR and recruiting

  • Set up content watchlists in Twitter

  • Join groups on LinkedIn and contribute to the conversation

  • Start a YouTube channel with training videos


Communication

  • How-to and energy conservation videos on YouTube

  • Information sharing, outage updates on Twitter

  • Photos, videos and information on Facebook


Media Relations

  • Photo and video sharing

    • Flickr

  • Mapping

    • Google Maps

  • Twitter


How to Use Them

If you’re not using them now, at least reserve your organization’s name for future use.


Go out and join the conversation today!


Thank You!

Chris M. Gent

Vice President of Corporate CommunicationsKissimmee Utility Authority

cgent@kua.com

w 407-933-9836

c 321-624-3383

twitter.com/chrisgent


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