Tara Autrey

Tara Autrey landed her social media job at Aetna by using her social media skills.

Everybody is a digital citizen at this point, even if they’re just consuming content, they have to know how to act in this new digital age.

“I stalked Aetna’s social team on Twitter,” Tara says. While working in national accounts for Aetna, she was curious about the social media side of the business. So she started asking about it. “I just started interacting with social team on Twitter and used it to get on their radar.”

That got her an invitation to join a marketing pilot position with the team, and eventually, a full-time spot. Before that, Tara wrote content for Aetna’s different products and services for the field sales team. She says that five years gave her a great foundational knowledge and base of contacts for her new role in social.

Now, as the Senior Social Media Manager at Aetna, she’s responsible for community management and governance.

Tara works closely with the content team and serves as a liaison to the customer care team. She also sets up employees in Social Studio and keeps social media policies and trainings up to date.

Tara led the roll out of social media “belt training” at Aetna.

Our audience is not just one small group. We need to make our social content so that it can be read and understood by everyone.

Through this program, employees can earn white, green, and black belt levels of training in social. At the mandatory white belt training level, employees learned the basic rules of the road, get trained on some scenarios, and learned about Aetna’s policies.

Green belt training was developed specifically for community managers and people in business areas who manage their own social media accounts. In these classes, they learned how to use the tools and all of the social team’s tips and tricks.

At the black belt level, Tara’s team invited experts to give sessions on different areas of social media, from content to employee advocacy.

At Aetna, 99 percent of the organization is white belt certified in social media training.

But Tara says getting there came with some initial pushback. She worked with HR and compliance to help the organization understand why learning the basics is important, whether or not social media is a part of their job.

“Everybody is a digital citizen at this point, even if they’re just consuming content, they have to know how to act in this new digital age,” Tara explains.

Digital accessibility is the next frontier for Tara.

Her team is looking to make social media content as accessible to as many people as possible — including people who can’t see well, hear well, or are colorblind. “I haven’t seen a lot of people talk about this yet, but I think it’s important,” Tara says.

She says the challenge comes with all of the manual labor involved in initiatives like writing closed captioning, labeling photos for screen readers, creating alternative text, and using camel case in hashtags.

“Our audience is not just one small group. We need to make our social content so that it can be read and understood by everyone.”

Tara has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2013, and Aetna has been a part of the community since 2011. Follow with her on Twitter here.


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