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Warmer Wales – Reaching Out by Going Digital

This past winter, one of BGET funded Warmer Wales’ local delivery partners, Citizens Advice Flintshire took part in Big Energy Saving Winter (BESW) a national campaign to help people cut their energy bills and get the financial support to which they are entitled.  Here, Sian Mather, their project manager explains how this initiative led to an innovative way of engaging with new clients for Warmer Wales.

As part of the BESW, we ran a social media campaign (November-January) sharing tips on how households can check, switch, and save on their energy bills. We were also asked to run 3 digital events over the course of the campaign. We took this opportunity to use multiple digital channels to also promote our Warmer Wales project as part of the campaign. It was hoped that the online campaign would increase the demand for energy advice and also target clients who may not have used our service before.

Our Warmer Wales advisers took part in two Facebook Live events, a promotional video and a Valentines themed zoom event to match customers up to their perfect energy supplier. As an organisation that is comfortable with delivering and promoting our service face to face with client’s this was a new and exciting way to promote it via digital channels.

Citizens Advice Flintshire Facebook Live graphic

Of course, this lockdown and pandemic have caused us all to think about how we need to adapt and work differently. When looking at our marketing and communications, it is no different. We are always looking at new ways of putting our brand out there and being the first thought for the public when needing advice. It’s important we maintain our reputation and not get left behind by our competitors.

Energy advice isn’t always the easiest to engage clients with but we did find the Facebook live events were very successful in gathering interest in energy advice. The first Facebook live event took place in January and we talked about ways you can save money in the home on your energy bills. During the event we also completed a live energy comparison check! On this occasion the savings were not huge but we know from our experience by checking sometimes individuals can make huge savings and we hoped that by showing people how easy it is to check more people would take the plunge.

We learnt from our first Facebook Live event that we needed to be more  spontaneous and to remember to keep an eye on comments and questions from viewers. The second event we spoke about the Warm Home Discount Scheme, Priority Services Register and Nest Wales Scheme. It was a great success at reaching out to people over Facebook.

In an ordinary year, pre-pandemic, we would help on average 6,000 to 7,000 people each year. It’s quite astonishing that one Facebook Live event alone was viewed by over 3,100 people. That post reached over 6,500 individual Facebook profiles and was shared by 45 people.

We also ran an energy competition giving away £100 towards the cost of energy bills and as a result, we had 19 people request a call back to find out how to save money on their energy bills as a direct result of the competition. That’s 19 people who may never have even heard about us or known that we can help them in this way. As a result of the campaign the number of people accessing energy advice almost doubled in January and February compared to the previous 3 months.

As a direct result of the campaign, we also had over 60 individuals who wanted to be added to our growing database and will use this to send energy-saving related information and to promote the Warmer Wales project.

We felt that this was a good example of how we can use energy related campaigns to also promote our Warmer Wales project and we help to do more of this in the future.

Sian Mather, Citizens Advice Flintshire