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Through the Voice of the Khoros Core Q&A series, we highlight the insights, thoughts, and experiences of our Khoros Core program members. We will learn their favorite things about working with Khoros and get a glimpse into who they are as professionals and digital customer engagement innovators.
Meet Erika Heyer-Watts, a Khoros Core member. Erika is a Social Media Senior Advisor at Cigna, where she develops the social media strategy for all partners at Cigna including training employees, asset management, channel management, data and analytics reporting, and social listening reporting.
What is your favorite thing about working with Khoros and how does Khoros enable you to do your job better?
I love being able to schedule content in one place so I'm able to see what content is going out on what day which informs future content timing. Khoros also allows our team to track the content we're putting out with insightful analytics. We're able to report accurately and quickly to our partners to keep them informed on their social media campaigns.
How does your company try to create a unified digital customer experience?
All of Cigna's efforts, whether it's our social media assets or our website, are designed to have the same look and feel to emphasize brand cohesion. Through our social media posts, we're able to drive our audience to the relevant Cigna landing page so they can get the information they're seeking. That can vary from finding a health care plan to finding the most recent information about COVID-19.
What is the most important thing you've learned over the last year in your role and how did it change the way you work?
The last year has been a challenging year for everyone, including digital marketers who had to adapt swiftly to our ever-changing world brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. As a health insurance company, we needed to be there for our customers by providing the most up-to-date and accurate health information regarding COVID-19. This meant reacting more in-the-moment rather than being able to plan our campaign months in advance. Because of the uncertainty and new information coming in almost every day, we had to be more flexible when it came not only to our social schedule but in the way we were promoting our COVID-19 content to audiences.
What are some of the challenges that your industry faces with digital customer engagement, and how do you solve them?
Of course, challenges arose this year due to the pandemic. As a company, Cigna had to adapt to the needs of our customers who were looking for more virtual ways to get the care they need. Our social media team played a big role in sharing that information with our customers. We connected our audience to Cigna's online COVID-19 symptom tracker where users could determine whether or not to schedule an appointment with their doctor based on the symptoms they were experiencing. We also promoted Cigna's extension of virtual care through telehealth doctor appointments and our partnerships with mental health apps so it would be easier for patients to get the mental health care they needed, virtually.
What was your first job and why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?
My first job out of college was as a sports editor for a local newspaper in Connecticut. I was able to do a lot of writing, page design, video editing, interviewing, attend a lot of high school basketball games, and even started some early social media work to promote the articles we were writing. That work was a lot of fun for me and, to be honest, I really miss it. But as the world turns to a more digitally-focused way to consume news, the newspaper business is becoming a very difficult one to keep afloat — especially small papers like the one I worked for. Being in journalism and broadcasting inevitably led me to social media which allows me to still write (even if it's only up to 280 characters) and design. But being in social media also allows me to learn something new almost every day. Whether it's about a new app or a new way to post a message (i.e. Twitter Fleet), being part of the ever-changing digital world has kept me on my toes and ready for whatever comes next. I never want to stop learning and growing so social media really checks those boxes for me professionally.
What are some things you’ve had to unlearn?
One thing I had to "unlearn" was to be able to take feedback without taking it personally. As a designer and a writer, a lot of my work is creative so when someone gave me criticism of a project I worked on, I used to have a hard time accepting it in a positive way. I get so connected with my work as my heart goes into everything I create, it was hard to take when someone didn't like an aspect of it. Now I try to see the feedback I get on a piece, not as criticism, but as a way to improve on the content to make it the best it can be.
What is the best and worst piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I've received is "Save for retirement." This one might be kind of boring, not very flashy, but it gets straight to the point. If this pandemic has taught us anything it's that we don't know what the future holds. Who could have predicted where we are now? You can't predict the future, but you can start putting some money aside for it.
The worst piece of advice I've ever gotten is “If you do what you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life." I feel like millennials like myself were told this countless of times growing up or in college. While this is a great concept in theory, the majority of us probably would say we don't have this working experience. For those who do, that's great! For those who don't, I think they feel like they have failed in some kind of way. My take is, if you can end your day feeling accomplished, that you stayed true to yourself and that your work was fair and honest — then you're a great success. Putting in work and having it feel like work doesn't have to be a bad thing. That doesn't make you a sell-out.
What is something you're passionate about?
I'm really passionate about food. I love to cook, and I cook dinner every night. It's a way that I show the people in my life how much I care about them. It wasn't until the pandemic that I realized my time in the kitchen is what calms me and what makes me feel connected to myself and my home. It also helped me end my workday. Working from home is now the norm for most people during this pandemic. It also makes it harder to have a set end time and we fall into this “always-on" way of working. But because dinner in our house is at a set time, my workday ended when it was time to cook. I am then able to decompress from the workday, do something I love and then have a relaxing (usually delicious) meal with my husband.
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to or where do you look forward to traveling to the most?
My husband and I travel a lot (not so much in recent times). Our favorite cities we've been to are Barcelona and Nice. Both of these cities have a similar feel. They have the best of both worlds: beach life and city life. You can have a beach day next to the exquisite blue waters of the Mediterranean, and then at night you can go downtown for dinner and nightlife. We're itching to start traveling again, especially as we're trying to plan our honeymoon for when it's safe to travel again. We're hoping to go to Greece but we have also considered Ireland and Scotland. Another bucket-list travel destination for us would be traveling to Vienna, Prague, and Budapest during the holiday season to experience the Christmas markets and all the beautiful scenery.
Interested in hearing more from Khoros Core program members like Erika? Stay tuned for more Q&As featuring top business professionals and see how they’re teaming up with Khoros to push the industry forward every day! To learn more about social marketing, read our ebook: Social Media Trilogy: Awareness, Engagement, Conversations.