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Andy’s Answers: Lessons from Kaiser Permanente on effective internal social media

My company, GasPedal, recently hosted “BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media” in San Francisco, a fantastic event featuring eight case studies on corporate social media from some of the world’s biggest companies. As we gear up for our next BlogWell in Minneapolis on Aug. 13 — featuring case studies from McDonald’s, H&R Block, Wal-Mart, CME Group, General Mills, Ford, and Progressive — I’m sharing some key lessons from San Francisco.

Here are a few tips from Kaiser Permanente’s director of Internet marketing services, Hilary Weber, based on her experience using social media to help their more than 150,000 employees collaborate:

  • The learning curve may be shorter than you think. With the spread of social networks and the amount of people now using them in their personal lives, it’s natural for many employees to quickly pick up and start using these tools.
  • Create a “business social” environment. Throughout their internal community platforms — which include wikis and a Facebook-like internal social network — Kaiser Permanente requires employees to use their real names and encourages professionalism.
  • Before you build, see if another department has done it already. For large organizations, it pays to see if an internal team has already licensed capable social media vendors to avoid the RFP process and starting from scratch.