August Issue 2013
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited’s (PTCL) official Facebook page has an astounding 539,000 likes. The Sui Southern Gas Company boasts an impressive 16,850+ likes on Facebook and frequently shares information regarding its various projects. Meanwhile, the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) has an active Twitter account through which they frequently communicate with followers about loadshedding and fluctuation problems.
Considering that an active social media presence is a pre-requisite for all businesses worth their salt, it is no surprise that utility companies are now following suit. From congratulating the national cricket team on a recent win to sharing energy-saving tips, these companies are cultivating an active online readership, which not only allows them to get feedback but also to efficiently share press releases and newspaper articles. For instance, the KESC, which was privatised in 2005, has recently shared figures (which are in the billions) of how much money the government owes them and how the lack of government cooperation may lead to more loadshedding in the city. As is the case with most brands and companies, the primary purpose of these social media accounts is not to advertise and sell wares but to handle public relations. Actively engaging with Facebook and Twitter users is a form of customer service and judging by the growing number of followers and likes, these companies seem to be doing a good job.
Zehra Nabi is a graduate student in The Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University. She previously worked at Newsline and The Express Tribune.