Today, many of us should have been arriving in Denver, Colorado, hugging (if you’re a hugger) electric co-op communicators and snagging a pair of power socks at NRECA’s CONNECT 2020 conference. (I was really looking forward to the socks.)

Instead, we’re in a holding pattern of isolation. Hugs as a spontaneous greeting may never recover. But here’s the thing about public power communicators. You may keep us apart, but we always stick together.

We choose to stay positive.
We’ll see you soon.

Since our favorite part of conferences is getting peer ideas, let’s hear from two electric co-op communicators using positive, sharable moments on social media. In Florida, one co-op’s #PoweredbyPositivity posts capture how staff and community support each other, while a Pennsylvania utility staff focus on thankful moments.

Stay positive (and Connected!) with these ideas from your peers.

The Power of Positive Posts

Nikki Dunn Cullen

Florida Keys Electric Cooperative (FKEC), FL, launched a social media campaign, #PoweredbyPositivity, to spotlight how co-op staff and members are supporting each other.

We asked #UtilityPioneer Nikki Dunn Cullen, FKEC’s marketing and PR consultant, to share how the campaign got started and why she uses positivity to fuel her social channels.

Q: What sparked the idea for #PoweredbyPositivity?

Nikki: While I was crafting some positive messages for signs we were putting outside our offices, I came up with “Powered by Positivity, FKEC is here for you.”

Pictures of FKEC staff hold Powered by Positivity signsI was already interested in getting photos of our employees to document this crazy time, and I was also seeing other hashtag campaigns on social media — seemed like a fun way to get and use staff photos.

Q: How did you get buy-in from so many different staff?

Nikki: I sent out an email to all our employees with an example. After receiving a few responses (one being from our CEO), I sent out another email with those photos, and that generated more interest. I also reminded employees that they are an important and inspirational part of our community. Maria Jones, our member service supervisor, was a big help taking several of the front office photos.

Powered by Positivity helps us stay connected to our members in an uplifting way. I also hope it is something positive for our employees to do, and feel they are appreciated for their work.

Q: How do you plan to incorporate the #PoweredbyPositivity social content into Florida Currents?

Nikki: We’re not exactly sure yet. I want to focus a story on our employees’ and also our community’s unity. I’ll probably pair that with the photos. When we announced we are rolling out FKEC capital credits in May to help members during this difficult time, I received a message from a consumer asking if he could give his credit to someone in need because he is “financially okay” right now. While there is no way to reassign his credit, I was touched by the sentiment which is indictive of our members. The plan is to include that tidbit of generosity in the story about the power of positivity.

You can see the latest Florida Keys Electric Co-op edition of Florida Currents online and follow the campaign on FKEC’s Facebook page.

Share Silver Linings

Karen Evangelisti

In March, Claverack Rural Electric Cooperative (CREC), PA, closed their lobby. Member Services Quality Specialist Karen Evangelisti was sharing COVID-19 safety tips on the co-op’s Facebook page, but she wanted to do more.

“I really had a hard time posting information about the coronavirus; regardless of where we turned, we couldn’t get away from that subject,” says Karen.

Email and recent example of Claverack's Thankful BoardKaren started looking for silver linings; moments to be thankful for in the midst of office closures and stay-at-home orders.

“I asked Bobbi Kilmer, our CEO, if I could start a “Thankful Board” in the office,” says Karen. “It’s a simple flip chart that employees can use to note what positive things we could find during this trying time.”

Staff were encouraged to participate via email, and have shared 27 thankful moments so far. Some moments are funny, and they are all sincere. Karen shares the list every CREC workday on Facebook.

How Do You Stay Positive?

We love sharing best practices for public power communicators. If you’re posting positive messages or have other ideas, please share what you’re doing here or reach us by emailing Megan.

We may be apart, but we’ll get through this—and come out stronger!—together.