How Aetna Is Building a Social Media Presence

social media expert interviewIn this video I interview Lauren Vargas, who is the Community Management Strategist at Aetna.

Lauren shares how Aetna is to building a corporate presence on social media instead of focusing on a campaign approach in their marketing efforts as they have done in the past.

You’ll discover what they’re doing to achieve this within their social community.

Be sure to check out the takeaways below after you watch the video.

Here are some of the things you’ll learn in this video:

  • How to integrate social media into your marketing strategy
  • How regulatory issues impact social media strategies
  • Why create a community of engagement 
  • What to monitor online to go beyond the ego search
  • How to monitor social activity to understand conversations
  • How to create guidelines to deal with negative feedback
  • Why you need to have social media policies in place first

Connect with Lauren on Twitter @vargasl and check out Aetna’s website.

What do you think? How is your business integrating social media? What tips do you have to share? Please leave them below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. He also authored of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. Other posts by »




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  • Drew Frey

    Thanks for the post Michael. It’s great to hear from others and see how they are moving social media forward in their respected lines of business. 

    Cheers, 

    -Drew

  • Kkretschmer1

    Great video interview – insightful advice for those organizations starting out in social media. I particularly thought Lauren’s comments about regulations being good and social media policies needing to be in place were helpful (also, love the advice to about policies being created to fit audiences)!

  • http://twitter.com/TonyeAganaba Tonye Aganaba

    Great Video! Very helpful insights!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Drew — And full disclosure this was filmed back in late 2011

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad you enjoyed it

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Tonye

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  • http://www.facebook.com/shari.mcconahay Shari Maxwell McConahay

    AETNA is such a horrible insurance company, she has a tough job ahead of her! I wonder how long before she realizes that the company she works for will fail at social because they lie to their customers and have shady policies.

  • Jsundreamer

    Obviously, Aetna is completely unaware of their horrible reputation on social media. Check out the “Aetna Sucks” group on Facebook, big and getting bigger every day. If ever a  company should be banned from social media Aetna is it. 

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hi Shari – Thanks for your comments.  I think every big company obviously has issues and that is why social media folks are often brought on board.  I am unfamiliar with them beyond this interview.

  • Elena

    But if they are successful in turning their bad reputation around by implementing a good Social Media Stategy, then it would serve as  a great Social Media Success example / case studies and primer for any businesses, as well as benefit many people who are frustrated with helath insurance companies.

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  • http://rootreport.com Lauren

    Michael, you are correct. Every company has challenges. Social media is just one facet of the conversation. Community opinions and culture change cannot be transformed overnight. We must observe and share the feedback throughout the company. We are taking steps toward active listening – the good, the bad and the ugly. Thank you for sharing the interview.

  • http://rootreport.com Lauren

    Thank you, Drew. Designing, building and flying the plane all at once!

  • http://rootreport.com Lauren

    Policyand process are not the most glamorous parts of our job, but I think, the most important. Structure for the sake of structure is not healthy for collaboration. Use nature as your guide for an organizational model.

  • http://rootreport.com Lauren

    We are aware of this site, but we do not want to shut down the conversations or feedback from others. If companies were able to do that, the Internet would be a very quiet place. The organization is new to social media and right now we are taking time to observe and send this feedback to the right person / department in the organization. Engagement is a tough nut to crack because there are so many regulations. We are defining our sandbox now so we can expand and scale our response capability.

  • http://www.davethackeray.com/ Dave Thackeray

    Viral is for punks – VALUE is for winners.

    I love this. Building a sustainable ecosystem of impeccable content based on what your customers wants, trumps a quick hit any day of the week for me.

    ‘grats, Lauren – you’re a hero of mine for sharing my mindset!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Lauren – Thanks for stopping by :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/shari.mcconahay Shari Maxwell McConahay

    I had replied before, but I guess it didn’t get through – I was saying that I didn’t have anything against Michael Stelzner or Social Media Examiner for running a story, I was just voicing my opinion about AETNA, that it has got to be near impossible to effectively converse and engage in social media when the policies of the company are constantly enraging such a large portion of their customers.

  • Anthony LaMesa

    Shame on you, Lauren, for defending this indefensible corporation. It is sickening that any moral human being would attempt to protect the interests of a corporation that has supported slavery, financially and medically destroyed the lives of thousands, and, through its opposition to real universal health care (i.e. non-profit insurance for all citizens as a right from birth), put the health of future generations of children at risk. Shame on Aetna for putting greed before people. Health is not something on which anyone should have the right to profit. Aetna is nothing more than a pseudo-investment bank that produces nothing of value for the American health care non-system — absolutely nothing of value. God bless the likes of Wendell Potter for exposing the corrupt, immoral corporation that you spend your days defending.

  • Anthony LaMesa

    I would also add that you do not have the right to ‘shut down’ criticism of your corporation online. Aetna may be able to retroactively rescind health insurance policies when people get sick, deny issuing policies to those most in need of — gasp — health care, and relentlessly complicate the process of seeking medical care in this country, but, thank God, the Constitution prevents Aetna from having the right to ‘shut down’ criticism of its immoral practices in any media format.

  • http://rootreport.com Lauren

    Anthony, please see that I replied to the person above saying we appreciated the feedback and would advocate no such thing.

  • Anthony LaMesa

    That wasn’t my point — my point was that you implied that you have the ‘agency’ to shut down a Facebook group criticizing your investment bank (sorry, ‘health’ insurance company). Unfortunately for a company that has destroyed thousands, if not millions of lives, that is not the case.

  • http://www.brittanybotti.com/ Brittany Botti

    I’ve received great customer service from Aetna through Twitter. Their website is impossibly difficult to use…you can’t even change your address on it. But when I tweeted to them about it, they responded quickly and were actually able to change my address for me. I was grateful I didn’t have to wade through an automated telephone service or wait for a reply email. The fact that they helped me out through my preferred channel meant a lot to me. They still need to address that website though!

  • http://www.brittanybotti.com/ Brittany Botti

    I’ve received great customer service from Aetna through Twitter. Their website is impossibly difficult to use…you can’t even change your address on it. But when I tweeted to them about it, they responded quickly and were actually able to change my address for me. I was grateful I didn’t have to wade through an automated telephone service or wait for a reply email. The fact that they helped me out through my preferred channel meant a lot to me. They still need to address that website though!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZQTYJRROHH2ZV5LBOWAFK7J53I CAS

    Interesting post but I found it very odd that they’re “building a social media presence” yet do not have a Facebook link on their home page….

  • http://rootreport.com Lauren

    Happy we were able to address your issues, Brittany. This is the exact type of feedback we are bringing back into the company and improve the customer experience.

  • http://rootreport.com Lauren

    Great point. We do not have an official corporate presence on Facebook, but do link to seasonal pages and events as they occur. In February, we launched two corporate handles on Twitter and beginning to observe and address issues in that environment. While we are listening to Facebook, we are still defining the sandbox for how and when to engage.

  • Drew Frey

    Ha. I appreciate the full disclosure :)  

    All the best. 

  • Malachisteve123

    Great post! Lauren made
    it go far. I appreciate Aetna well, by building their social media in better
    way. As a result, they achieve their social community in a magnificent
    way.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/aprel.fajardo Aprel Fajardo

    Wow, Lauren sure did a great job on this. It might have took her a so much courage to explore a new field in marketing. This is amazing. Thanks for sharing this. True enough, you have to try something you haven’t done in order for you to have something you haven’t had before.

    http://www.msecuredatalabs.com

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