Thames Water has become one of the first utility companies to sponsor social media influencers to deliver key messaging and advice to its customers.
The company worked alongside more than 30 fitness, parenting and food bloggers to spread the message of water efficiency, reaching more than 2.8 million people over the 150-day campaign.
The influencers were used to inspire customers on ways to be water wise in their own homes, from using nutrient-rich waste cooking water on house plants to teaching children to use collected rainwater to clean bikes.
The initiative also aimed to encourage homeowners to be mindful of population growth and potential water shortages in the future, as part of Thames Water’s wider plan to reduce consumption from 142 litres per person per day to 136 litres by 2025.
Fitness father @daddy_to_triplet_girls said: “I’ve never done this type of campaign before. I loved it as it’s not product or brand advertising but raising awareness around a really important issue that we all know about, but don’t realise the part we play in it and how we can help.”
The use of influencers was initially trialled during the company’s anti-fatberg, ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ campaign, which warns of the danger of flushing products like wet wipes down the toilet.
In collaboration with @lilandlife, Thames Water was able to develop content that would reflect her role as a responsible mum – cleaning mucky faces and fingers while encouraging her children to think about what happens to a wet wipe after use.
This series of curated posts received widespread praise, including: “The best ad ever! And a valuable lesson. Well done Lil and girls. Very entertaining way of getting an important message out there.”
Influencers were also used to promote Thames Water’s Flourishing Future Garden at Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival in July.
The “micro-influencers”, who are individuals with between 1,000 and one million social media followers, were invited on a tour of the garden, which was designed to withstand the challenges of climate change and won a gold award at the show.
They were also able to speak to designer Tony Woods and posted Instagram stories and tweets highlighting the garden and festival. All this was done for free in return for access to the event.
Jo Charles, marketing manager at Thames Water, said: “People respond well to individuals that they know, like and trust.
“We have seen positive engagement amongst these targeted audiences because we are able to offer tailored water sustainability advice, that will fit their lifestyles. We work with a range of different influencers from parenting, to food and fitness.
“Thames Water is acting on the opportunities presented by social media to start more conversations around the potentially alarming water issues we could face in the future. Through doing this we can lead a change in attitude and action towards water efficiency and sustainability.”
An estimated extra 2.1 million people will move into the Thames Water region over the next 25 years and it is predicted that this, combined with climate change, will result in a shortfall of 350 million litres of water a day between the amount available and the amount needed by 2045 if no action is taken. By 2100, this is predicted to increase to 650 million litres a day.