14 April 2023

Why aren’t we promoting district heat networks on TikTok?

Tharina Conradie, Senior Consultant at Ener-Vate, discusses.

Those who have worked with me since 2019, the approximate time of the TikTok popularity boom, will know that when I say: “I recently read this interesting article” … it’s code for “I saw this video on TikTok”.

I now unashamedly admit when I share useful tips from TikTok… #growth. What I’ve learned from the app is endless, though I cannot seem to call upon any of these lessons when needed (read into that what you may!) but it has made me realise just how powerful the platform can be.

TikTok is not just for Gen Zs to post their dance routines or make-up tutorials, or a platform for comedy skits and life hacks, but it's a place that has grown into one of the largest social media platforms for people of all ages to share their life experiences and learn from one another (as well as laugh at one another) via short-form video.

With over one billion active users, a number which excludes those who only watch and don’t contribute (me!), it is a huge platform for publicity. Major brands are now using TikTok for marketing, reaching the everyday person like you and I, with some baffling consequences, like people queueing for hours only to purchase an energy drink! Can the heat network industry capitalise on this powerful platform and network of users to raise awareness and increase visibility, (perhaps combining it with a dance routine)? Stranger things have happened!

I joined Ener-Vate in January 2023 and since then I have attended several events ranging from increasing diversity in the industry, to managing the efficiency of existing heat networks. A common thread at these events is…you guessed it…heat networks visibility. How do we get our name, purpose, and benefits out into the public domain? How do we relay what we do in an easy to digest format? Is TikTok perhaps the answer? Or do we stick to the status quo?

I pose these questions:

  • How is the status quo working out for us?
  • Is it time to push the boundaries of our comfort zones and launch heat networks on TikTok?

To alleviate any panic that last statement may have caused, it is worth sharing that influential public figures are already on the platform reaching a multitude of people. Recently Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert posted a video explaining the recent budget and what it means in layman’s terms, briefly referencing the support for heat network consumers, a short reference with limited context about heat networks, but still we had Martin Lewis mentioning our industry (cue giddiness), an industry we are all so passionate about.

Similarly, This Morning posted a clip from a recent discussion around the BBC article referencing using waste heat from data centres to heat local pools - another moment where heat networks are starting to be referenced on mainstream day time television. Holly Willoughby mentioned that this is the type of news that should be shouted about and celebrated. I agree Holly, and waste heat from data centres is the tip of the iceberg of what we can do!

We as an industry have so many good news stories, so much innovation and certainly enough character and ‘characters’ to keep an audience captivated for 60-90 seconds, sharing our story, our vision and getting our name and passion out there.   

I encourage you to think of wacky, crazy, supposedly impossible ways of raising awareness and increasing the visibility of heat networks, I think the crazier the better…is TikTok the next frontier? Or perhaps a storyline on Coronation Street?! I’d love to hear your ideas!

Tharina Conradie, Senior Consultant

Email: tharinac@ener-vate.co.uk
LinkedIn @Tharina-Conradie-dipq