“We learn through understanding other people’s points of view.”

One of the things I love about my job is no day is ever the same.

Olivia Harting, Chevron’s Social Media Manager, says this was the idea behind the company’s proprietary online energy forum, Will You Join Us. The forum was created in 2005 as a way for Chevron to bring thought leaders into a conversation about energy and have people share various perspectives and points of view on an issue.

The hope was that people would come away with a better understanding of the tradeoffs and complexities of energy issues — and recognize that there are no simple, one-size-fits-all solutions.

Olivia worked with NGO partners and other organizations to bring subject matter experts into the forum to share their perspectives. She served as the forum’s community manager and considers that the start of her career in social media.

But in 2010, Chevron sunsetted their proprietary forum.

Chevron discovered that many of the conversations they were hosting on Will You Join Us were beginning to take place on social media channels like LinkedIn.

People coalesce around conversations that interest them where the conversations are happening.

“Having a proprietary forum hosted by Chevron meant people had to come to the conversation we were hosting, where we were hosting it, and talk about the issues that we put forward. But we know now that that’s not how social media works,” Olivia says.

“People coalesce around conversations that interest them where the conversations are happening. To be successful, we have to find those conversations and what matters to people. They don’t necessarily want to be invited into a branded conversation unless it has real value to them.”

On social media, Chevron could engage in conversations on a wider variety of energy issues with broader audiences. They could also leverage social listening to see what people were talking about and join the conversations that were organically taking place already. That’s why the same year Chevron sunset Will You Join Us, Olivia helped ramp up their presences on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Now, Olivia leads a core team of four social media strategists.

The social media team at Chevron sits within corporate public affairs, and is part of a group called the Digital Strategy and Communications team.

On her team, the Social Media Content Editor is responsible for managing curation, coordination, and sometimes creation of content for their channels. Another team member is responsible for daily publishing across all channels and community management of LinkedIn and YouTube, while another individual monitors mentions of Chevron and manages their Twitter and Facebook pages.

As the social media team lead, Olivia identifies their yearly social media goals and objectives, develops guidelines and governance, and works with different parts of the organization to make sure they understand the role that social media can play in meeting their business objectives.

Like most SocialMedia.org members, Olivia says, “One of the things I love about my job is no day is ever the same.”

“We’re constantly saying to our business partners, ‘We don’t do it that way anymore.'”

With the constant changes in social media, Olivia and her team often find themselves explaining why a certain algorithm or platform shift forces her team to revise their point of view or offer new “best practices.” It’s why, right now, she and her team are working on creating a dynamic social media playbook.

They’re focused on creating a playbook that provides interesting, visually appealing infographics or “snackable” content to convey the latest channel or social content best practices and strategies in an engaging, social way.

“What’s exciting for me is seeing people embrace these channels. People across the organization are looking to do interesting things on social media — and more and more are becoming educated and savvy in how to use social media for their communication initiatives,” Olivia says.

“I’m excited for the transformation in the organization, where we have an ever-growing number of people who understand the value of these channels and are leveraging them to tell Chevron’s story.”

Olivia’s been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2010. Follow her on Twitter here.


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