Georgia Power, the Southeast’s largest utility, with some trepidation decided to launch a program in late 2014 aimed at promoting electric vehicles. Social media was designed to extend the awareness generated by advertising and extend the dialog – address consumer questions, build early adopter stories, overcome marketplace and perceptual barriers.
It was expected that past owners of hybrid cars would be the primary audience. Social media wasn’t expected to really impact the business community. But a funny thing happened along the way. The enthusiasts for the program – those who we describe as Zealots – were not just the expected pioneer consumers (the Nissan Leaf – the first mass market electric car – was introduced in late 2010). Indeed, various business groups, companies and leaders jumped aboard social media in a big way.
And a supposed adversary of utilities – environmentalists – joined social media to share and support.
Those from a B2B perspective that followed our social media pages included some prominent business players:
Among these interested business followers were some individuals with significant followings of their own:
The result was a strong group of organic (non-paid) influencers that impacted consumers and businesses adding structure (charging stations; company incentives), convenience and visibility.
Most importantly, all rallied around the notion of an emerging vehicle fuel alternative that is simply good for the environment.
Looking back, a lot of solid fundamental social media work drove the results. Leveraging the opportunity of consistent posting through dedicated social pages with a variety and depth of content that allowed more voices and a more complete story. Videos, videos, and more videos. Ninety-nine separate videos had been created and posted at one point. Community engagement. Every charging station was covered with its own story and supporting businesses. It left the notion of business interests doing good on a neighborhood as well as state level. Reaching out to groups for their comments and news. Promoting events, news and promotions that would be viewed of interest to our audience. Taking advantage of influencers – those with leadership and significant following – by actively encouraging their feedback, comments and reciprocating shares and posts.
Georgia Power currently has the #1 dedicated social media for electric transportation in the nation outside of a few specific manufacturers (Honda, Nissan, Tesla). More than any other utility, any national consumer or grassroots organization. #1. An amazing outcome for a program that wasn’t assured of lasting past a trial period.
What the size and breadth of the current ET social platform means? Sales have another anchor of credibility when they partner with Nissan regional, call on dealers, talk to MUSH (municipal and state governments, universities and colleges, K-12 schools, and hospitals) markets. Each of those potential partners / clients want to know there is a demand for the category and that Georgia Power can tap into the market.
Because we have a larger audience and consistent, multi-faceted messaging, Georgia Power is reinforced as a leader and credible partner. Social supported the sales efforts, including customized video and other testimonial posts, specific to the business account.
Look for the results of this unique social media program in a subsequent article. For now, it is enough to say an effective social media program can be built around a B2B program and audience.