Here’s a real example of what’s working and what’s not in the world of social media, as reported by Amber Naslund of Radian6. She’s sharing lessons learned from Greg Matthews at Humana in her post Building the Social Media Chamber of Commerce: Humana.
Here’s what Greg had to say about Humana deciding to dip its toe into social media last year:
• We did it to make a deeper connection with consumers, collaborate better with docs and hospitals and to connect healthy people with programs to help keep them healthy.
• It really came to fruition after Humana scored free press for its freewheelin initiative. This led to a presentation to Humana’s executive committee about how to harness our social media activities into a common company-wide platform, leading to a set of principles called Town Square.
• The Town Square concept lets every department in the company get a “lot” on the town square, and build whatever kind of building suits their business needs best. It’s the place for Humana to understand, explore and use social media to take its business forward. It’s not about tools or technology; it’s about a new model for interaction and collaboration. While it’s for our customers, it also applies to the way we work with doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, employers, the government and each other.
• There’s one rule in the Town Square, governed by six fundamental principles. The rule is: We Share. We share ideas and plans, what’s worked and what hasn’t, recommendations, reference materials and resources.
• The fundamentals (read the post for more explanation) are Authenticity, Active Listening, Going Where They Are, Personal Voice, Learning Through Action, Sharing/Open Source.
• Following the Town Square metaphor, we created a Chamber of Commerce as a means to carry company learning forward, consisting of a group representing 14 different departments of the company. It’s run as an un-committee. It doesn’t have a charter, rules, P&L or budget. The Chamber meets every 3-4 weeks, typically reviewing social media initiatives, learning and impact.
Greg says that this new way of doing business will stretch and redefine the capabilities of every department in the company. He summarizes the value that the Chamber, and social media brings to Humana as follows: There are very few large companies that have really made social media a differentiator for their business. And I can’t really think of any in health or health care. [though I'd take exception to this and say that The Mayo Clinic is right up there]
We know that health, and the health system, have to change. Humana intends to continue leading that change through innovation and our focus on consumers. There’s a lot of work to do . . . but luckily we work in a company with 29,000 other people who can help. And that’s what the Chamber of Commerce will be tapping into.
What have you learned? Any similar stories to share?