I watch too many animated movies. When someone asked what I wanted to share with utilities at NWPPA’s Communications and Energy Innovations Conference, a quote came to mind from Eugene, a character in Tangled.

“Where’s your humanity?!”

No matter the source, it’s an important question. Sometimes we (yes, I’ve done this too) forget to treat social media posts as conversations with real people. Instead, social channels join an ever-growing to-do list. They become extra ways to push out the same stale information.

Look at it from a consumer-member’s point of view. If you did not work for your utility, would you like your social content?

We cannot take a single follower for granted. The burden is on each of us, as public power communicators, to be personal and helpful. Start evaluating your digital channels with these three questions:

  1. Do you mine your call center for common questions, then offer helpful answers on social media and your website?
  2. When consumer-members comment on a post or review you online, do you respond?
  3. Do your pictures reflect a mix of local faces and places?

Every time I see a public power utility share a picture of a press release on social media, I feel a little bit of their humanity fade away. Maybe that’s fine for investor-owned utilities. But we can’t afford copy-and-paste relationships.

As we prepare to celebrate National Co-op Month and Public Power Week in October, it’s critical to remember our humanity—trusted relationships with community leaders and every single person we serve—sets us apart.

We’re local. We live in the communities we serve. We are More Powerful Together. And we can never forget the power of those words.

Video: How to Be Human in a Digital World

How can you reconnect with consumer-members in a digital-first world? Our free eBook, How to Be Human in a Digital World, outlines 6 tactics (get an overview here). Since it helps to see examples of utilities connecting with consumer-members online, we showcase utility examples of engagement and humanity(!) in a new 24-minute video tutorial. The video will be shared this week as part of a #2020NIC panel discussion, How to Be Human in a Digital World.

Missing You at the #2020NIC

Friendships are a big part of being human. I wish I could see all of you in person at the #2020NIC. The conference focuses on people working together to share ideas and build each other up. Cooperation strengthens the entire public power network. To tide us over and celebrate the relationships that make our public power family so special, here’s a video flashback of NIC moments over the last decade.

We may be apart but remember:
We can do anything together.