Customers decide how, when and where they interact with us. Increasingly, they are using a variety of social media platforms to connect with us. Because they are always plugged in, they expect immediate response from us 24/7, similar to many other online experiences. This is especially true during outages, when customers want real-time, accurate information about restoration efforts.
Between 2016 and 2017 we experienced a 29 percent increase in Facebook fans and a 13 percent increase in Twitter followers. We are developing a long-term plan to give us a stronger social media presence that includes a better listening platform, expanded monitoring, reporting and analysis of social channels and a centralized social media center that will allow us to engage more effectively with customers and other stakeholders on social media channels.
Our expanded social media strategy will help us enhance the service we provide to our customers who expect to be able to interact and conduct business with us when it is convenient for them. Our social media customer strategy focuses on:
- Customer engagement – customer support and response;
- Social listening – online monitoring and brand protection; and
- Proactive messaging – crisis management, storm and outage updates and marketing campaigns.
In 2017, AEP managed 16 Facebook pages, 14 Twitter handles, eight YouTube channels, three Instagram accounts and one corporate LinkedIn page. Through our social media efforts, we had a total of 72 million Facebook impressions and 15.7 million Twitter impressions. Impressions are the number of times a post from our page was displayed. Investor-related information and power outages were the two most-talked-about categories via social media, followed by company news and environmental-related posts.