Renewable energy companies seem to have an inherent distrust over the use of social media. One of their biggest concerns is the regulatory risks involved with social media pertaining to the control of online conversations. Stemming from this concern, many cleantech and renewable energy companies choose to avoid the use of social media. This is unfortunate, since social media offers unique opportunities to engage, educate and build relationships with customers, the general public and other key target audiences.
The rules involving the use of social media in regulated industries such as the cleantech or renewable energy industry can be a little vague. However, with a good strategic plan and a strong message, the renewable energy industry will be able to use the power of social media with confidence. Using digital/social media for renewable energy companies can come with many potential benefits. The following guidelines can help the industry leverage the power of social media.
The first thing to do is to define why you’re adding social media to your communications strategy and what you intend to accomplish with the use of social media. This step is important if you want to measure your ROI.
The next thing to do is dedicate resources, either an individual or a team, to focus on social media. Understanding the issues your company is facing, developing a unique voice, engaging on trending topics and staying engaged where it matters most takes focus. Ensuring that your organization has the resources to participate in social media is critical. It is important to acknowledge that this decision will heavily depend on what your goals are and the internal resources you have. Another point to take into consideration is the outside resources, such as an agency that can help you with monitoring and strategy.
A helpful guideline to keep in mind while using social media in a regulated industry is the importance of building and receiving support from all departments in the company. A discussion should be initiated with your legal and human resources departments on creating a company wide policy involving social media that will satisfy customers, employees, and regulators.
Developing a professional, but casual social media voice that will represent your brand is also vital in the social media process. To keep people coming back to your social media channels, give them plenty of content that is relevant to your industry, and respond to negative comments in a timely and professional manner.
Employees need to be educated on social media and internal policies. An important consideration is to provide social media training to those who express an interest in using it on behalf of your company.
When working on your social media plan, anticipate the unexpected. Remember to be prepared and include a crisis contingency plan. That way, your team will be ready in case a social media crisis does occur.
Last but not least, if you are working wtih an agency partner, you need to be sure that they understand the challenges that companies operating in heavily regulated industries face when engaging in social media. Having an agency team that understands your business and the unique challenges you face could be the difference between failure and success.
JFK Communications has been helping science, healthcare and technology companies operating in regulated industries successfully build their presence in digitial and social media for almost a decade. We can help you develop and implement a social media strategy and plan for your renewable energy business. For more information please contact us.