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Meet the Speaker: Franchesca Thompson, Digital Communications Manager, DC Water

Meet the Speaker: One of our Rock Star Presenters at the Upcoming Social Media for Utilities Conference in Chicago

meet the speaker Franchesca Thompson DC Water
Franchesca Thompson Digital Communications Manager DC Water

Q: Name, title, company?
A: Franchesca Thompson, Digital Communications Manager, DC Water

Q: Family, hometown, where you live?
A: From Oakland, California – currently living in Washington, DC.

Q: Utility/Social Media experience?
A: This is the first time working with a utility company, but social media’s been part of my work and personal life since joining Facebook in 2006.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working? Hobbies?
A: Brunches in DC are a pretty big deal. Catching a good one and sharing the highlights on Insta-story and Snapchat is a weekend must. I also love working out. If I’m in a mood to just relax, finding a series on Netflix with more than 3 seasons – that’s golden!

Q: Notable achievements?
A: Introducing a virtual educational tour for schools through Facebook Live, and launching DC Water’s Snapchat as an additional social platform. One of our Snaps that was especially notable was shared during the 2017 Inauguration. We went into the sewer and our Sam 101 crew showed the public how DC Water ensures the public’s safety for this event every four years. Also, the new strategy for our Instagram content has grown our following, and increased our engagement by over 80% in 8 months.

Q: Where do you see Social Media in utilities in two years?
A: I envision social media being the first, and possibly the most impressionable touch point for utility companies to communicate with and educate the public. I also foresee social media becoming the most efficient means for customer service, and a strong branding platform to change the perception of utilities as just a bill to pay, rather an actual company with a voice, presence, and community connection.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: One challenge would be employee participation. It’s important to share with the public all that we do, and much of that relies on our employees’ willingness to share their day-to-day on our social platforms. I find that some people are hesitant to be on their employers’ social pages, or they themselves are not on social media at all.

Q: What did you do prior to working in your current role?
A: Prior to DC Water, I was the Marketing Manager at Radio One Washington, DC. I worked with the sales team to create campaigns for their clients both local and national.

Q: Who are a couple of your role models, and why?
A: My mom. She taught me to lead by example, and to never fear being different. People who make the most impact in the world usually think outside the box. Cathy Hughes Starting with one AM radio station, Ms. Hughes build a National TV, Radio, and Media company. As a woman of color and a single parent, her strength reminds me to never give up on your dreams no matter what obstacles may come your way. Thierry Guetta. His art is original, unique, and trendy. He is not afraid to be different and uses his platform for positive awareness. His work is more than art – it’s culture. Working in digital media creating content, I also consider myself an artist like Guetta. Work, or content that is unique, raw, and loud with color and personality are immensely more interesting than not. And that is exactly the type of social content I try to produce.

Q: What is one of your biggest goals?
A: To lead a digital team and or agency where no day feels like work.

Q: What’s the biggest misconception you run into in your role (or what people seem to think about Social Media)?
A: That social media for business is only needed for big brands. That as a utility company, what could you have to show that anyone would want to see? When I meet someone and I tell them to follow us on Instagram, or Snapchat, their response is first shocked, and then confused as to why a water company is on there. My response is usually the same:

Me: “Are you on these platforms?”

Person: “Yes”

Me: “That’s exactly why we are too! We want to talk to our residents where they are, at every touch point possible.”