Meet the Speaker: One of our Rock Star Presenters at the upcoming Social Media for Utilities Conference in Las Vegas.
Q: Name, title, company?
A: David Lingholm, Social Media Specialist, DTE Energy
Q: Family, hometown, where you live?
A: Detroit, Michigan (yes, in the city, not a suburb) for most of my adult life.
Q: What is your Utility experience?
A: 10 months.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working? Hobbies?
A: Chasing after my 4.5 year-old daughter; reading biographies of dead presidents; keeping up with our 90-year-old house; watching Detroit Tigers baseball, Detroit Red Wings hockey, Michigan State football/basketball or Oakland University basketball.
Q: Notable achievements?
A: Professionally, revamping the City of Detroit’s website in three months with an understaffed internal team. Being on teams that won awards when I was with the Detroit Regional News Hub and with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan com in at a close second.
Q: Where do you see Social Media in utilities in two years?
A: Ideally, all utilities will be staffed to use social media channels as a true customer service channel that’s avaialble when our customer need us instead of when is convenient for our business. All utilities will start treating social media as a normal part of their communications structure and resourcing it appropriately (this includes being an integral part of crisis communications planning).
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: Rebuilding trust within our organization. Social media has been used in some form at DTE Energy for the past six years, but it became a part of our communications strategy that fell out of favor. I was brought in specifically to bring new life to our efforts and instill using the right social media channels for the job into our communications strategy. This means acting as an in-house consultant for planning, meaning that we no longer take orders for when to Tweet. Rather, I’ve sat in a lot of meetings to build strategies with business partners and measured our successes so we can prove the value of the new discipline. Rebuilding trust extends to all employees, too, not just the business partners I regularly interact with. Our previous social media policy would have scared me away from posting if I weren’t brought in specifically to improve our social media communications. We recently amended our guidance to employees to give them confidence in what they can share while staying legally compliant.
Q: What did you do prior to working in your utility?
A: I was the Digital Media Director for the City of Detroit. From running Mayor Duggan’s social media accounts, to coaching departments on the fundamentals of social media, to adding GovDelivery email marketing to our digital mix, to evolving the city’s web site, I had my hand in many projects. Prior to that, I’ve been a reporter, blob publisher, security system salesperson, grocery store manager, grant writer, and congressional campaign flack.
Q: Who are a couple of your role models (and why)?
A: Personally, my late grandfather. He was always in my corner, no matter where I was in life and I model my approach to parenting after his example.
Q: What is one of your big goals?
A: One of my biggest goals is to help my daughter see a broader world than I knew existed until I was an adult. I’d love to see a baseball game in all 30 major league parks, buy an RV and spend a few months with my wife and kid touring the country, write at least one book before I retire, and become and adjunct professor somewhere.
Q: What is the biggest misconception you run into in your role?
A: The only reason I wanted Pokemon Go access through our company network was so I could play the game.