Twitter is for business, not just trolls


February 9, 2015

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Do you tweet? You really should. The industry needs you.

You see, social networking website Twitter isn’t just for kids and the
habitually abusive. Increasingly it’s offering a valid and credible communications channel for business too, including wind. The trouble is that you’re not currently making use of it, right?

You’re not alone. The Pew Research Center reports just 23% of online adults use Twitter and 28% use business network LinkedIn.

And research shows that the use of social media is even lower among senior executives. This week we looked for Twitter accounts for the people in our Top 100 Power People list, but found just seven of them. This means most industry leaders are cut off from what is a great source of insight.

This shouldn’t be the case. The wind industry likes to see itself as forward thinking and progressive, but its approach to Twitter and social media is as stodgy as any other.

Perhaps top executives think Twitter is only about selfies, narcissism and narrow-minded abuse; or that it is remains the sole responsibility of the marketing team. It isn’t; and it isn’t.

So why should senior wind executives be thinking more about Twitter? In our view, because the wind industry is under constant pressure from those who want to see support for wind hacked back. So we need more senior wind executives making the case for wind.

And why Twitter? Well, it can offer great two-way communication.

First, you can directly contact individuals in communities where you are planning a wind farm to convince them of the benefits of wind energy, and move beyond the myths that often fill mainstream media. Their feedback will enable you to anticipate problems and help make a more successful development and investment case.

Second, it enables you to easily engage with politicians. Over 70% of members of the UK parliament are on Twitter. Most manage their own accounts, too. You could connect with them to persuade them about the benefits of wind. This is crucial when the Conservatives are promising harsh cuts for wind if they win this May’s election.

And third, it can keep you up-to-speed with rival businesses’ plans.

Still need convincing? Well, digital agency Investis recently looked at 500 top UK and US companies and concluded that fossil fuel giant BP was doing best of all. If the fossil fuels sector is trying to convince people of its merits then it is up to the renewables energy to make the counter-argument. We can’t assume people will automatically think wind is best.

We don’t think wind is especially bad on social media. A report by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators reported 49% of FTSE350 firms had never discussed social media at board level; and 44% had done it three times or fewer.

But, even though wind isn’t much worse than others, it should still do better. It is tough to show return on investment of social media — but we do see business benefits.

If you want to start somewhere, try @awordaboutwind, @RichHeapand @adambarber81 on Twitter; and find us on LinkedIn.

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