Social Media and the UK Nuclear Industry

How does the industry use social media and is it missing out?

“Businesses must adapt to social media” Gary Vaynerchuk, digital marketing and social-media pioneer

“The UK population is now 65.1 million, with 92.6% of the population actively using the internet. There are still approximately 38 million (58%) people actively using Social Media, which will continue to grow throughout 2017.” Think Digital First.

The nuclear industry in the UK has accepted social media no doubt with the Regulators and Tier One companies such as the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), EDF Energy, Sellafield Ltd and many others regularly providing updates via blogs on their websites and in the case of Sellafield Ltd via regular updates to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. In addition you can find regular updates on the nuclear industry from recruitment companies Morson Group, Rullion and up until recently NuExec Consulting. Moving down to Tier 2 and below it become more difficult to find specific blogs and it is hit and miss to whether they have a social media account at all and if it is used affectively or at all. Finally you have the independent blogs such as those here at Get Into Nuclear and Nuclear Matters who embrace blogging and social media also.

Now, before we go any further it must be stated that we obviously understand that a lot of information on, about and surrounding the nuclear industry may not be for public consumption. To clear things up here we are not talking about companies sharing Reactor Pressure Vessel designs or providing updates of a delay to commissioning works on site. We are talking about companies in the UK Nuclear Industry using the internet and social media mediums to raise awareness and the profile of the respective enterprise.

What does a good social media strategy look like?

The aim of a social media strategy for companies is to build brand awareness, improve interactions with the public, build a community, increase website visits, driving sales and leads and research & development. When considering a social marketing strategy it is also important to consider 3 things; how you are communicating, the content you are putting out and medium that you are using.

How are nuclear industry enterprises doing?

Let’s look at the key mediums:

Blog

The Top Level companies social media posts are mainly aimed at increasing social interaction, building awareness of the culture within the nuclear industry, identifying potential roles available, advertising socio-economic benefits of their endeavours and overall trying to improve the perception of the industry as a whole.

The Recruiters are trying to raise brand awareness, build a community and ultimately aim in making a ‘sale’ by providing the handshake between candidate and employer. Their blog posts are relevant and regular enough to raise the site profile on Google to drive people to the site. It is surprising that there are not more Recruitment companies in the industry doing the same.

The Nuclear Supply Chain at different levels do not in the main have a regular blog to publicise. ‘good news stories’ to raise brand awareness, interact with the public or promote sales. They all have websites – which they would have spent quite a lot of money in developing – that can be found by searching the companies name but these tend to be static sites with the odd news update. This is not in all cases but definitely in the main.

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Snapchat

The one-third of UK smartphone users, roughly 16m, who log on each month compares to Twitter, which had 13.2m UK users last year, but is much smaller than Facebook, with 32.3m Brits on the platform in 2015, according to data from research firm eMarketer. ft.com

Medium

Pinterest

Vlogging (e.g. YouTube)

LinkedIn

For individuals it is place to ‘set-and-go’ by putting your CV online and awaiting the numerous approaches from recruiters. For recruiters it is a great source to find specific resources that could turn out to be that perfect candidate. For groups it is a great place to enter a discussion in a ‘forum’ manner.

Regards the companies themselves there is currently very little engagement. However LinkedIn can do so much more. Believe it or not, LinkedIn is an amazing tool to promote your product or service. It’s a place to start conversations with others in your industry.

Assessment

Twitter: C

Facebook: D

Instagram: D

Snapchat: E

Medium: E

Pinterest: D

Vlogging: B

LinkedIn: B

  • to elaborate on this most companies in the supply chain win work by following a formal tendering process. This results in the opinion that it is not considered that social media is worthwhile as it is seen that it is not the means by which sales will be made.

Are they missing out?

Okay we’ll digress;

The power of social media provides businesses with the perfect opportunity to reach out and connect with potential customers. Social media platforms have evolved to become the current marketing giants even bigger than the likes of the TV adverts and Newspapers of the 90’s as they can serve anyone with any budget – “Boost for £8 to reach 3,800 people” was not an offering of BskyB 15 years ago but is available to anyone on Facebook.

While the majority of industries have jumped on board, the majority of nuclear companies have fallen behind in the adoption of active social media practices for their business. While they understand its popularity, they struggle to see the relevance or see the value it can bring to their marketing efforts.

This perception definitely isn’t the case! Social media can benefit nuclear companies in a multiple of ways including attracting prospective customers, engaging with the public and networking in professional online communities. If you’re not already convinced, the below benefits will help to persuade you.

What can be done?

  • share stories and engage more with the public
  • attract and recruit new employees
  • drive traffic to a website
  • share the companies culture

All social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn – will be the most effective by tailoring the context of the content for each platform. It could be argued that the context of the information provided is more important than the content itself.

Twitter is for ‘live’ events/news such as contract wins, new recruits in post, team endeavours and challenges. Twitter is a fantastic platform for conversations, harbouring relationships and managing perceptions with the public – which is probably more important in the nuclear industry than any other industry in the world.

Facebook is used more for social and community initiatives and is a great place to ‘glocalise’ the business by tailoring the promotion of posts to the relevant viewers in the area with specific interests. As an example Facebook would be the perfect place to promote a local community forum meeting regarding the Nuclear New Build (NNB) which is proposed to be built in the area or an open day in a manufacturers works aimed at attracting the younger generation to consider the nuclear industry as a career for them.

Twitter and Facebook in equal measure are great opportunities to monitor conversations and become part of the conversations as they are happening. This can cover a broad range of topics from concerns over the use of nuclear, technical questions, parliamentary policy discussions, investors queries or questions on job opportunities.

LinkedIn is more business focused particularly in the announcement of company initiatives, announcements and the recruitment of new employees. It is important that informative value added information is provided rather than a barrage of promotional and advertisements.

Looking for a different perspective LinkedIn is the best tool at a Business Development Managers (BDM) disposal to enable them to contact key contacts at other nuclear organisations ideally following an initial contact but not necessarily so. LinkedIn also represents an opportunity to showcase your thoughts, opinions and knowledge on the nuclear industry by posts on your feed, creating and contributing to groups and posting your own articles and gaining followers.

In a bigger picture social media is the best chance that the UK has of solving the skills crisis – this is not limited to the nuclear industry. Using social media could provide those insights into the types of careers offered, the sorts of fantastic projects or services the nuclear industry focuses on. This will most certainly attract attention from the younger generation who use social media as their primary source of information.

It is also important here to consider that training on social media is required for employees to provide advice on the use of and guidance on the “do’s and don’ts” from a commercial, security and safety perspective. The simple rule of thumb is “don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t say in public”.

Social Media: a strategy for a Nuclear Company

Also it is worth noting that you need to consider each of the platforms completely separately; think about yourself and how you conduct yourself in a business meeting, a family event, a night out with your mates or reading a magazine in your down-time. You act completely differently in each situation even though you are the same person; and this is no differently than in each of the social media platforms below. This is illustrated fantastically in three separate wine advertisements across Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

LinkedIn

Business minded individuals usually already in employment looking to network, showcase their skills, to recruit, be-recruited, sell or be sold.

Context

Be professional. What’s new in industry, contract wins, who’s hiring, in-depth company presentations.

Content

Company promotional information, initiatives, contract wins, business achievements and all things careers – current opportunities, why work for us.

Objective

Brand/business development. Networking. Establishing sector influence. Recruitment.

Twitter

People covering all demographics looking to engage in live events, discussions and happenings.

Context

Try to hashtag a trending topic. Pose a question wherever possible (not always looking for a reply). Use line breaks to take up more screen with the limited characters.

Content

Trickle of value-add information on the company, industry, events and happenings. Combined with a reactive strategy to engage in ‘live’ happenings and to jump in on the comings & goings and conversations as they happen. Quotes and really smart hashtag usage are really effective also.

Objective

Public engagement. Influencer status. News updates. Brand awareness. Video engagement.

Facebook

Anyone and everyone is on Facebook from 12 year old kids to 82-year old grandmothers. The demographic has shifted to the older generation in recent years but is still ever popular with over 2 billion people signed-up Facebook allows you to reach most demographics.

Context

Important to integrate content into the platform. People trust Facebook so don’t have them clicking off too quickly to view a video.

Content

Think magazine when you post a picture. Keep text short then straight in with call to action.

Objective

Thoughtful content that users want to share. Put out slide shares, blog posts, videos to bring value – Facebook do not like spam! Provide value to build equity to ask for the business down the line.

Socio economics. Brand awareness. Video engagement.

Instagram

90% of users are under the age of 35 with 300 million UK monthly users with 51% accessing Instagram daily. This split is 50/50 male/female.

Context

Picture, pictures, picture. Tell the companies story as it unfolds. Keep the pictures real – not magazine like Facebook. Post inspiration quotes, questions, ‘luxury’ photos – make it sexy. Send back to the bio for link to site or page.

Content

Great photos and quote cards are the bread and butter of Instagram. Content that people want to like and share are the aim of the game. Currently cannot post a link unless in the bio or paid advertising.

Objective

Tell your story. Brand awareness. Marketing.

YouTube

With over 300 hours of videos uploaded a minute, YouTube has something for everyone. 41% of users have taken action after seeing an advert.

Context

Entertain whilst teaching. Nuclear is perfect for this – engineering, science, construction, safety, politics etc. Wow the viewer.

Content

YouTube is invaluable for business when growing a brand and reaching new audiences. Give, give, give information away to gain leverage with the viewers.

Objective

Brand/influencer status.

Snapchat

Vast majority of the younger generation (70% of users under 25). Additionally, 70% of these are currently female.

Context

With only 10 seconds to get your message across it makes sense to stick to a theme to tell a story.

Content

Screams “Army more than just a solider” type mini 10 second video to showcase roles in nuclear to the younger generations.

Objective

Brand awareness. Influence status. Engaging Ads.

Pinterest

85% of the audience are women who love to share content. Interior design, fashion and cooking currently killing-it on Pinterest.

Context

Images are best displayed vertically to align with the pin board theme. Processes, flow-charts, stories, infographics can be formatted to look good on Pinterest. Give knowledge in the process.

Content

Great Top 10… 5 Most Used… Flowcharts, infographics. Drive traffic to YouTube, Twitter etc. Great for selling Products.

Objective

Informative/ promotional information which users like to share.

Medium

Audience consists of highly-educated tech-savvy individuals of which half are under the age of 35.

Context

Blog format so long posts. Medium shows the time to read and 7 mins is the most read. You could break up larger posts potentially. The focus is on rewarding content for its quality, and not for the popularity of the author. With Medium, you can get your content in front of your prospects even if they don’t follow you.

Content

Medium uses a quality algorithm where the content that attracts the most engagement. There’s an algorithm in place so that if your story is interesting and useful, it can go viral within the platform, possibly exposing tens of thousands of people to your story.

Objective

Brand/ Influence status. Build diverse audience.

Summary

Additionally, the well established brands within the industry have very little or zero social media presence which is where most the above demographic spend the majority of their time. Social media allows the industry to improve public interaction to improve public perceptions – or at least ensure they are fully informed and do not have perceptions based on incorrect information or myths. Social media also allows for social impact at a national and local level by providing a means to advertise local events and regional job vacancies. These with the added benefit of brand awareness, product showcasing and business development makes an implemented Social Media strategy essential for all business and organisations within the UK Nuclear Industry.

How we can help

References:

http://blog.wurkhouse.com/social-media-engineering-firms

https://www.weidert.com/whole_brain_marketing_blog/examples-of-architecture-engineering-and-construction-companies-rocking-social-media

https://www.oecd-nea.org/nsd/docs/2014/cnra-r2014-6.pdf

https://www.123-reg.co.uk/blog/online-marketing/start-blogging-medium-get-leads/

Husband, Dad, Programme Manager in the Nuclear Industry | ex-pro rugby player, 4x Ironman finisher, ex-Bank Manager | https://jobs.getintonuclear.com