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Andy’s Answers: How State Farm manages the social media balancing act

As it has grown and expanded its social media footprint, State Farm — like many organizations — has found itself involved in a balancing act. In just three years, the insurer has moved from a single blog to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Today, it’s working to balance issues such as personal vs. professional use of social media, internal vs. external engagement, and risk vs. reward. In his presentation from BlogWell in San Diego, State Farm’s Kelly Thul explains how the company is managing it all. A few of his big ideas:

  • Try getting started with something unrelated to your business. State Farm initially got involved in social media through the 50 Million Pounds weight-loss challenge. It wasn’t aligned with the core business, which allowed the company to cut its teeth in social media without facing the privacy, risk and management issues directly related with its business.
  • When balancing risk vs. reward, remember that negative buzz is an opportunity. Kelly says that for someone who is upset with your brand, there is no greater treasure for them than honest outreach and an open mind from people within the company who care.
  • Focus on training your first-line management. Kelly stresses the importance of training your first-line management because they’re typically who most of your employees turn to when they have questions.

And if you dig this presentation, you might check out our upcoming BlogWell event in Seattle on May 5.