Oil and Gas Goes Social

Once considered the realm of celebrities, piano-playing cats and family vacation photos, social media has grown up and is now a vital, and some would say essential, component of our personal and professional lives.While many companies and industries were early adopters of social media, others were slower to embrace it, including many operating within the oil and gas industry. But things have changed and now oil and gas is getting more social.Social media has provided oil and gas companies and organizations an opportunity to connect with audiences, especially the public, in a way it did not before and to challenge lingering perceptions about the industry.Here are four examples of how oil-and-gas-related companies are commonly using social media:1. EducationFrom upstream to downstream, the oil and gas industry involves numerous processes and technology, such as hydraulic fracturing, which are often misunderstood by those outside the industry. Social media provides additional channels to educate important   audiences, including the media and the public, about the technical side of the industry.Chesapeake, the largest natural-gas producer in the U.S., developed and posted a series of animated videos on its YouTube channel that demonstrate in detail the common practices of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.2. Mitigate MisinformationThough many companies respond to issues individually, leading the charge against falsehoods and myths about the oil and gas industry is Energy In Depth (EID). Launched by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), EID is focused on getting the facts out about the industry through research and public education outreach.EID has tackled numerous local and national issues head on, including fact checking a recent Johns Hopkins University study about radon and hydraulic fracturing and a National Resources Defense Council report on spills and violations within the industry.EnergyTomorrow post3. Highlight ValueIncreased drilling in shale rock formations throughout the U.S. has brought a bounty of benefits at the local, state, regional and national level. Oil and gas companies, and the associations that represent them, have wisely enlisted the help of social media to highlight the laundry list of benefits derived from the country's shale energy revolution.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) regularly touts the benefits of U.S. energy production through its social media channels. API recently shared a study from The Brookings Institute on the economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing. In addition, America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) has used Twitter to highlight the reduction in U.S methane emissions from natural gas.

4. RecruitmentAs oil and gas production continues to increase in the U.S., so do employment opportunities. More and more companies are using their social media channels for recruitment efforts.Columbia Pipeline Group, a FrazierHeiby #client, uses its Facebook page and Twitter feed to promote the company's culture and benefits to potential employees.If you're in the energy industry, how are you using social media to meet your business objectives? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.