News

Social Media Use in the Geothermal Market – a Study by Geo Energy Marketing

Website of Geo Energy Marketing
Alexander Richter 9 Apr 2019

Geo Energy Marketing has released the results of its survey on the application of social media tools by the geothermal sector. In this interview with its Principal, Patrick Hanson, highlights some of the key findings.

Late in 2018, Geo Energy Marketing in collaboration with several partners, including ThinkGeoEnergy did a survey on the social media use in the geothermal energy market. Now, the company has released its findings from the survey done across the industry.

So we wanted to hear about the results and the lessons for the industry from Patrick Hanson, Principal of Geo Energy Marketing

Patrick, it’s clear that Geo Energy Marketing has increased the content they produce across social media dramatically.  Is there a reason for this?

Yes, we’ve gone from focusing solely on working for our clients and all but ignoring the platform we’ve created for ourselves, to finding a healthy balance in content creation.  We’re well into our 50th #GeothermalFactsandStats blog post which can be found on www.geoenergymarketing.com/blog and branded pieces supporting each blog post are subsequently shared across LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  From this weekly #GeothermalFactsandStats campaign, we seen at least three off-shoots, including the #GeothermalPhotooftheWeek, our #GeothermalMapping series and our most recent #GeothermalCountryOverview series. Part of our mission is to promote the geothermal industry, and we’ve found our campaigns have been quite successful in doing so.  This branded content also provides a sample (or proof-of-concept) of our content marketing, and social media management capabilities that we offer our clients.

That’s great to hear and we appreciate the support of ThinkGeoEnergy along the way.  Can you tell us about your objective with this Social Media usage study for the Geothermal industry?

Absolutely, the objective was to capture specific data on how the global geothermal industry uses social media.  The data collected will help geothermal associations, media, and marketing companies-alike better understand how to improve channels of communication, and engagement by leveraging the key findings.  The data will also help prioritize how much investment (time or money) we as individuals within the industry spend on social platforms.  The ultimate goal was to more clearly understand the gaps to bridge for our industry to align and work together on all social media platforms to promote geothermal as a premier clean energy to the larger renewable energy industry.

What were some of the challenges with executing the survey?

Participation was a challenge at first.  We wanted people of varying experience across social media platforms within our industry to participate.  We found that those who were not comfortable, or familiar with social media were less inclined to fill the survey out.  In reality, we actually wanted their opinion to better understand how to recruit and educate them on the power of the different platforms.

After the GRC Annual Meeting (the annual meeting of the U.S.-based Geothermal Resources Council), where we had the surveys in hard-copy form at the WING booth, we distributed electronic versions of the survey across major social media platforms, geothermal association email distribution lists, and personal email requests.  This too had its limitations if users weren’t already on social media to see the survey invitation, or use email as regularly as many of us do.  We decided to translate the survey into Spanish and distribute the survey via Dewhurst Group’s Latin American network.  After 60 days we collected more than enough surveys to validate the data.

What were some of the more surprising findings with the survey results?

Not surprising was the number of participants confirming they use LinkedIn (77%) as their primary social media platform for business. What was surprising, is that LinkedIn was double that of Facebook, (31%) and Twitter (28%).  Global statistics found more balance with Facebook as a platform for business, with over 80% of small businesses confirming they have a Facebook business page.

We were also surprised to see 32% of participants said they would like to use Social Media for business but don’t know how to do so effectively.  Furthermore, 22.5% of users between the age of 24-44 (the largest combined age demographic of participants) said they don’t know how to use social media for business effectively.  This age group is statistically more tech savvy than others, so to see 22.5% of those in that age range in our industry, that need help was definitely a key finding.  It suggests there is an inclination to learn how to improve their social media skills for business which by default, once improved should help further promote the industry.

Finally, 76% of the participants committed to increasing their engagement with geothermal-centric businesses and 83% committed to using the #geothermal (#geotérmica) hashtag in a willingness to help geothermal trend across social media platforms.

This is incredibly encouraging. All we need to do is unite the industry and get them to put this willingness into action.

Beyond some of the key findings that you just mentioned, what key takeaways will we learn from the survey results?

Based on the survey data we can pull several core trends.

  1. The Geothermal industry has an established, and engaged audience using social media.
  2. The data clearly shows a willingness to increase social activity and proactively promote geothermal energy.
  3. There is an opportunity to bridge a gap of awareness and usage on social media

Essentially, we have a passionate community within our industry that want to promote and spread the word. However, there is a gap in the awareness and action of how “we” as a geothermal community utilize the social media platforms to our advantage.

Content Creators, like ThinkGeo, the GRC, HeatPower and Geo Energy Marketing to name a few, must work together to equip our passionate community with the know-how on which social media platforms to use, how to best use them, and convert that willingness into action to increase social engagement.

We hope our survey sheds light on these next steps.  Geo Energy Marketing is committed to providing those social media management and training services our industry needs, through a series of webinars, white papers, videos, and consultations.

The document can be downloaded here.