Water Research Foundation Releases Guidance on Social Media Use for Utilities

DENVER--()--The Water Research Foundation has published a suite of deliverables to help water and wastewater utilities utilize social media to engage with their customers.

“When used effectively, social media provides water and wastewater utilities with another communication tool to ensure customer satisfaction.”

The project, Social Media for Water Utilities (WRF project #4638), explores the business case for utilities and board members to invest in, and engage their customers through, social media. The project offers clear, practical guidance on how utilities can integrate social media engagement into their day-to-day operations and provides resources and templates that staff can customize and 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 do utilities best harness social media to alert customers during crisis events?
  • Is it worth it for utilities to expose themselves to this hyperbolic debate, and is there any alternative?

“WRF has been funding projects on best practices for utility communication since the late 1990s,” said Rob Renner, CEO of the Water Research Foundation. “When used effectively, social media provides water and wastewater utilities with another communication tool to ensure customer satisfaction.”

In addition to the Executive Briefing, which summarizes key findings and best practices, the project produced several additional deliverables:

  • Literature Review: Summarizes what has already been discovered about utilities’ use of social media
  • Getting Started FAQ: Answers key questions for utilities and links to helpful resources
  • Case Studies: Eight water, wastewater, and combined utilities shared insights about their social media experiences
  • Social Media Posting Skills Checklist: Web tool with how-to videos and step-by-step guidance on crafting an effective social media post
  • Utility Benchmarking Results: Analysis and comparison of the social media profiles of 60 small, medium, and large U.S. utilities
  • Results of a Nationwide Survey: Four hundred adult U.S. Facebook users were asked to share their thoughts on connecting with their water utility on social media.

A Webcast was held on May 4 previewing the results of the project. The archived version of the Webcast is available for viewing.

The Principal Investigator for the project was Eric Eckl, Founder, Water Words That Work, LLC.

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) is a non-profit research cooperative that advances the science of water to protect public health and the environment. Governed by utilities, WRF delivers scientifically sound research solutions and knowledge to serve our subscribers and stakeholders in all areas of drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and reuse. WRF has funded and managed more than 1,500 research studies from asset management to treatment, utility finance to resource management, conveyance systems to water quality.

Contacts

Water Research Foundation
Adam Lang, 303-347-6259
alang@waterrf.org

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