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Karin Aviles is Senior Manager of Demand Generation & Field Marketing at Direct Energy Business. Previously, she was with Verizon for nine years. In this podcast episode, Karin explains how she’s applying everything she learned at Verizon into her role at Direct Energy Business, where she’s currently rolling out an employee engagement program.

Direct Energy Business is part of the parent company Centrica Business Solutions, a large power company with four million customers in the United States. Karin leads demand generation and field marketing for North America. Listen to this episode to learn about the incredible success of the program at Verizon and the lessons she learned and is now applying at Direct Energy Business.

Launching An Employee Engagement Program at Verizon

In her recent role at Verizon, Karin worked in Marcom and Content Operations for their Wireline Business Markets Division, which launched as a new business unit on January 1st, 2017. When defining their social media strategy, she didn’t realize that she was also building an engagement program.

As we’ve heard before on previous podcast episodes, her first step was to earn executive support for the employee engagement program at Verizon. Her team offered to manage their social profiles, but the President recognized the importance of being engaged in his social profile and his brand, which fostered top-down support. His suggestion was to connect PR, and later analyst relations and executive social engagement led to coordinated planning and more effective messaging through social media.

Karin says a key factor is to identify employees who embrace social and who can champion the program. Early on they recognized the need to train staff on social media, as well as the technology platforms used to distribute content. They even conducted a second round of training on the mobile app which bumped up engagement overall. 

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Taking a Similar Approach at Direct Energy Business

In her role at Direct Energy Business, Karin is lifting and shifting the approach she used at Verizon for the employee engagement program. One important thing she is taking from her Verizon experience is the need to start with content marketing. The content is what fuels the program, and you’ll want to have a variety of content. Karin has also been segmenting the material from the beginning, noting that otherwise, everyone will be sharing the same message, and that’s not optimal or authentic.

Karin says to add the social selling piece next and get a credible person to come in and train your salespeople. To those who say that people in their industry don’t use social media, she says to remind them that we’re all consumers. She also points out how more and more social media savvy millennials are in positions of influence.

Karin tells me they are working to tie social selling to event marketing at Direct Energy Business. While at Verizon, her team created a Social Activation Guide to market their events. They even created a War Room for team members to come in and help drive social activity about their booth or specific speaking sessions. 70% of mentions of the event’s hashtag came back to another Verizon hashtag.

Karin recommends having goals for your program beyond just growing social media followers. Your goal should be something more specific like getting traffic to the website, which requires you to create meaningful content.

Episode 185 is full of actionable insights for creating an employee engagement program. How will you apply them in your business?

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Episode Sponsor: Frost & Sullivan STAR

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