Illustration of Facebook tips for municipal utilities to connect with customers on social media

Facebook Social Media Best Practices + Examples for Municipal Utilities

Customers are increasingly using social media and mobile apps to engage with businesses and services, including their utility. That’s why it’s so important for municipal utilities to build robust social media strategies. To boost community engagement and connect with customers, social media is easily one of the strongest tools in your marketing arsenal.

From our experience working with municipal utility marketers across the nation, we know that one social media platform in particular has proven its worth time and time again for engaging with customers. Read on to learn strategic best practices and tips for municipal utilities using Facebook.

Why is Facebook Important for Municipal Utilities?

Digital engagement methods have become the go-to method of communication for businesses in all industries. In fact, 70% of consumers prefer to learn about a product or service through content rather than traditional advertising. So it’s important to understand which digital platforms and social media sites are the best ways for your municipal utility to reach customers.

Facebook has proven to be the platform that produces the highest impressions and customer engagement for utilities, especially municipals. No matter the industry, Facebook continues to have a stronghold on the world of social media.

According to Statista, Facebook is the most used social media platform. There are 250.2 million Facebook users in the United States and, on average, American users spend about 30.9 minutes on Facebook daily.

With the crucial responsibility that municipal utilities have when it comes to communicating to their community about water service interruptions, rate changes, safety advice and more, social media’s expansive reach makes it an essential tool.

With Facebook, your municipal utility can provide real-time updates, share helpful information, receive feedback and connect directly with your customers. In doing so, your utility can boost engagement and build stronger customer relationships. Most importantly, the popular social media site is where many customers spend their time online. And we all know that in order to reach customers, you have to go where they go. So, if your customers enjoy Facebook, your utility should spend time there, too.

5 Tips for Municipals Using Facebook

Consider these best practices and tips for municipals using Facebook:

  1. Optimize post content
  2. Provide timely updates
  3. Promote community events
  4. Address customer inquiries
  5. Receive customer feedback

1.  Optimize post content

To engage and build a trusted relationship with your municipal utility’s customers, you’ll need to optimize the social media content you post.

This means diversifying your posts, from static images and carousels to infographics and more. According to Facebook’s own data, about 50% of the time users spend on the platform is spent watching videos. With this in mind, consider posting educational and entertaining videos for your customers to enjoy.  

Your municipal utility can also vary the type of content you share. Don’t just post content for customers that can be perceived negatively, such as when a power outage or water service interruption occurs. Although posting about those things is important and necessary, you should also include positive content, such as community events, celebrations and news updates.

Example of social media post from a public power utility to educate customers on Facebook

For example, American Municipal Power shares a variety of content on its Facebook page, including home safety facts, informational videos on how to save energy, community appreciation posts and more. The diverse range of content not only keeps customers entertained but also promotes customer education.

2. Provide timely updates

Customers like being kept in the loop and Facebook provides an accessible platform for utilities to communicate directly with them in real-time.

Through posts and stories, utilities can notify customers about any changes affecting their services, such as upcoming maintenance work, service interruptions, billing information and more. By regularly sharing updates, utilities can foster trust and credibility, keeping customers informed and engaged.

Example of Facebook post for a municipal utility to build customer engagement

Austin Energy effectively utilizes Facebook to deliver updates following storms. The public power utility shared images along with restoration updates, reassuring customers that efforts were underway to restore power.

3. Promote community events

Community engagement is a priority for municipal utilities. Collaborating with community partners like the local government, schools or non-profit organizations is an effective way to promote your utility’s programs and services. Share these collaborations and events on Facebook to reach customers and encourage participation. Bonus: You can even tag the related organizations in your post to extend its reach and drive further engagement.

Facebook also provides an events tab on the platform, which is an easy way to share event updates with customers. Municipal utilities should utilize this tool to promote events and invite community members to attend. Community events and activities are a great way for municipal utilities to interact directly with customers and demonstrate their commitment to serving customer needs.

Municipal utilities have strong ties to the community, and utilizing Facebook to communicate these efforts can effectively amplify your message.

Example of an event promotion on Facebook from a municipal utility

For example, Austin Energy frequently hosts community events, including open houses, career fairs, customer pop-ups and more. The public power utility even offers webinars, such as the “Green by Design” webinar series, which is a workshop that helps educate customers on building, remodeling or buying green homes to enhance energy and water efficiency.

Example of a social media post from a municipal utility event on Facebook

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) also frequently posts on its Facebook page about community events. Recently, the utility partnered with City Plants to celebrate Arbor Day, where volunteers helped plant approximately 136 trees. LADWP strategically tagged City Plants in their post to both extend the reach of its message and allow customers to learn more about the organization. Community events like these show customers how their municipal utility is working toward a more sustainable and greener future.

4. Address customer inquiries

Customers want the convenience of being able to contact their utility through a platform they use regularly, and Facebook is commonly used for customer support inquiries. In fact, 59% of Facebook users have reached out to a brand on the platform.

Municipal utilities can improve customer experiences by promptly and effectively addressing their inquiries. Providing helpful responses can resolve issues and prevent potential escalations or negative experiences.

You should monitor your customers’ comments on posts and interact with them when helpful. It’s important to keep in mind that not every customer comment will be positive, and that you don’t have to respond to every negative comment. Rather, strategically choose ones that are gaining likes or engagement, or ones where your comments could prove useful to other customers.

Example of municipal utility responding in Facebook comments to answer customer question

CPS Energy actively responds to customers in the comment section of their posts. By promptly addressing customer inquiries on Facebook, CPS Energy demonstrates its commitment to customer satisfaction.

5. Receive customer feedback

Facebook provides a convenient and accessible platform for customers to share their feedback, whether through positive comments, constructive criticism or suggestions for improvement. Although feedback may not always be positive, it’s important to allow your customers to express their feelings and respond accordingly when appropriate.

Additionally, gathering insights into customer needs and preferences is crucial. By monitoring customers’ comments, questions and concerns on social media, municipal utilities can better work to meet and exceed their needs. By prioritizing customer feedback, municipal utilities can build stronger customer relationships and drive continuous improvement.

Build Community Engagement with Facebook Best Practices

A robust social media strategy should not be overlooked in engaging with municipal utility customers. By implementing best practices and tips for municipals using Facebook, your municipal utility can effectively connect with customers through this digital platform.

Learn how Questline Digital can help your municipal utility build community engagement with our proven social media and content solutions.