Q&A with a Corporate Blogger: Hilary Weber, Kaiser Permanente

A good way to learn about a vital word of mouth tool — social media — is from the executives that run the blogs at the world’s biggest corporations.  This week, we’re sitting down with them to get their thoughts about the broader issues and landscape of social media at the corporate level.

Hilary Weber, Director of Internet Marketing Services for Kaiser Permanente

Describe the key social media efforts at Kaiser Permanente
The main social media efforts at Kaiser Permanente include extensive internal initiatives such as blogs, wikis, collaborative tools and the like, as well as our external blog, kp.org/farmersmarketrecipes.  This blog is manned by one of Kaiser Permanante’s top physicians, Dr. Preston Maring, the father of Kaiser Permanente’s farmers’ markets.

What do you love most about your job?
I feel fortunate that I am able to function as both the leader of our "center of excellence" for online marketing, as well as the marketing "R&D" arm of the organization — this allows me and my team to explore new media and emerging marketing technologies to see if there is relevance for our organization.  No day is quite like the next!

What is the biggest challenge you face with social media?
Being in a highly regulated industry, we have to adapt our approaches to interactive and social media so that we maintain the highest standards of compliance.  Even though it is an ongoing challenge, it does force you to be a creative problem-solver.

Do branding and blogging go together?
"True" and respectable blogging demands that corporations be genuine (no "marketingspeak"!) But after many decades of marketers commanding a one-way conversation, we can switch gears to allow two-way interaction while maintaining solid brand support.

What advice do you have for marketers just beginning to utilize social media?
Apply your brand’s objectives and strategies to your plans to start a blog — that way you’ll start out relatively conservative and hopefully avoid any gross missteps.  Once you’re comfortable with the medium, you can consider branching out more if doing so aligns with your organization’s overall goals and objectives.

What are your three favorite blogs?
Green-blog.org (I’m all about green!)

iMediaconnection.com (Their content — blogs, articles, etc. — is excellent across the board)

Southwest Airlines’ blog (It’s very well done)

BlogWell - How Big Companies Use Social Media - San Jose, CA - October 28th

Meet Hilary at BlogWell on October 28 in San Jose, where she will be presenting a case study approaches to corporate blogging that will help polish the brand (not punish it).

Get practical, how-to advice, a lesson in disclosure and corporate social media responsibility, and loads of ideas and examples – all for $200.

BlogWell is presented by GasPedal and the Blog Council.


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