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BlogWell preview: Kaiser Permanente’s Holly Potter

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Brands & Campaigns

BlogWell - How Big Companies Use Social Media - San Francisco - June 23Some of the biggest names in global business will gather next week at BlogWell to share tips and strategies for working with social media. Kaiser Permanente is among the presenters at the San Francisco event, and Senior Editor Mary Ellen Slayter recently asked Holly Potter, vice president of public relations, national media and stakeholder management, how the health care company is making the most of social media internally.

MARY ELLEN: Many organizations are asking their people to do with more with less. How are workers at Kaiser using social networking tools to increase efficiency in information sharing and collaboration?

HOLLY: In early 2008, we brought in a number of social media experts, including Lee Aase of Mayo Clinic and Charlene Li of Forrester to talk with a broad cross-section of communicators and IT leaders in the organization. We recognized that there was no “perfect” formula for social media and the greatest value would come from educating a group of champions about the opportunities and then encouraging experimentation.

Since then, the participants at that event have launched a number of pilots throughout the company. We continue to evaluate their success. What we are seeing is strong adoption among certain segments of the organization and lagging adoption in others. Given the size and diversity of the company, it is not surprising that one size does not fit all.

What’s your advice for organizations who’d like to replicate your success?

Creating a culture that supports innovation is critical. Take the time to learn from others and as you experiment, share what you learn with others in the organization. Also, though it may be a long and hard process, it is well worth the time to develop a social media policy that delineates expectations of employees as they participate in social media both internally and externally.