How to Activate Employees With a Show-and-Tell Social Media Strategy

How to Activate Employees With a Show-and-Tell Social Media Strategy

Eileen Burmeister, Communications Consultant at Arizona Public Service, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss the importance of spontaneous content.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

Leave Room for Spontaneous Content!

Content strategies, editorial calendars, best practices, tactics—terms like these are everyday words to social marketers around the world because success on social takes a lot of planning.

However, many marketers get caught up in the planning and strategizing, leaving no room for spontaneous content that consumers can really connect with. There is a balance to be achieved between planning your calendar and being able to jump on stories as they happen, as Eileen Burmeister and her team at APS have learned.

Consistency is crucial, so having a planned-out editorial calendar can help you ensure you are regularly delivering content. But as Eileen puts it, your scheduled content should be the bones of your strategy while leaving space for spontaneous content. By leaving room and having a willingness to push aside or even abandon planned-out ideas, you can build a real, living, breathing relationship with your customers.

In This Episode

  • 05:04 – How APS uses Community Affairs Managers to engage with micro audiences on a regional level.
  • 09:55 – How different teams can work together to manage customer support effectively.
  • 12:05 – How APS enables employees to communicate with customers.
  • 21:30 – How to balance employee and customer-generated content for photo storytelling.
  • 24:02 – Why a planned-out editorial calendar should leave room for spontaneous content.

Quotes From This Episode

“Customers don’t really care about the weeds. We try to give employees messaging at the level that people care about.” — @EBurmeister

“Don’t ever speculate on social channels. If you don’t know the answer, then don’t say anything.” — @EBurmeister

A rule of thumb that I always run any social media post by is, Who cares? Why should I even care about this picture, this video, or this offer? Click To Tweet


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Episode Transcript

Jay Baer: 00:00 What an interesting show we have this weekend. As you just heard, Eileen Burmeister from Arizona Public Service is our guest. And what a terrific storyteller she is. Adam Brown: 00:10 She is, Jay. I think what she was able to share with me was this idea that you can be a storyteller and a great storyteller with just about anything. Her ways of approaching what she does as a regulated utility in the power business ... She's not talking about electronics coming down pipes, but what she's doing with eternal communications, with working with a variety of different teams in the organization to tell stories and then measure the success of those stories, is really, really intriguing. Jay Baer: 00:40 Yeah. It was a good one. You think, "Oh, Social Pros episode with somebody from a electric utility company. How interesting is that going to be? Oh, what a great show." And she- Adam Brown: 00:47 It's one of my favorites. Yeah. Jay Baer: 00:48 Yeah. And what she talks about, too, on getting all the people in the company involved. There are certain things that corporate can say, certain things that corporate can't say, because of the regulated nature of their business, as you pointed out. And they're so good behind her leadership at getting actual employees all around the state of Arizona participating in Social. It is a really interesting episode and a good balance this week of strategy and tactics. I think you guys are going to like this episode with Eileen Burmeister from APS. First, before we get into the show, acknowledge this week's sponsors. Our friends at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, who have the eternal wisdom to employ Adam Brown, are of course underwriting the show. Thank you for your years of support. Social media in B2B can be tricky. It's not as obvious as it sometimes is in B2C. That's why Adam and his team have created the Guide to Social Media For B2B. It's really comprehensive and quite useful. It talks about what channels to use, what messaging to use, what KPIs to use, how to allocate your budget, what to do about paid for B2B social. All those things are important. You should download it right now for free. Actually, this might be your last chance because we're going to have new stuff from Salesforce to talk [crosstalk 00:02:01]. Adam Brown: 02:01 New stuff coming soon. Jay Baer: 02:02 Yeah, in the next week or so. So if you haven't downloaded this guide, you should probably do it this week. Go to bitly/socialb2bguide. That's That's all lowercase, and you can put that in your hands right now. Also this week, the show is sponsored by our friends at, an organization that, Adam, you've got experience with. Adam Brown: 02:27 I have. I was lucky enough to be a charter member of, both when I led social with the Coca Cola Company and at Dell. It's a fantastic organization. Andy [Surnovitz 00:02:38] and the entire team over there do such a great job. What I liked about it, Jay, personally was not just the insights of having this trade organization for us as social pros, but more the interactions I could have with like people. I could have the same type of discussions with people who were going through the same deals, the same challenges, both internal challenges of measuring and making sure your executives understood what you were doing, as well as external challenges. How do I deal with Facebook on this topic? How do I deal with constituents on these types of things? All of those are a big part of the organization and the friendship and membership aspects of it. Jay Baer: 03:19 If you're in charge of social for a medium-sized or large brand, you absolutely positively need to look at It will truly change the trajectory of your career. A number people who have been on this show are members of, and more all the time, including perhaps you. What I'd like you to do if you feel like you can qualify ... And it's a fairly rigorous screening process. But if you feel like this is for you, go to That's Fill out the form. They'll get back to you. I hope it works out. You'll be the richer for it. Now, without further delay, this week's episode of the Social Pros Podcast featuring Eileen Burmeister. Eileen Burmeister, social media consultant for Arizona Public Service Company, otherwise known as APS. The lady with all the electricity, welcome to Social Pros. Eileen B.: 04:11 Thank you. Jay Baer: 04:11 Thanks for being here. Eileen B.: 04:12 Thank you. Jay Baer: 04:14 Tell us a little bit about APS and its scope of services just so we can frame it up for listeners here of the Social Pros Podcast. Eileen B.: 04:21 Sure. APS is one of the electric companies for the state of Arizona. We energize all areas throughout the state in little pockets. We also work with some other smaller utilities that are just in smaller rural areas, but then SRP is another company that provides services well. But we are the primary and the biggest electrical provider in the state of Arizona. We also own the largest nuclear plant in the nation, Palo Verde. They are out in western side of Arizona. They are one of our largest contributors to our grid of the electricity that we give to our customers. Jay Baer: 05:04 I know that you are similar to many other companies in that you have a multitude of folks involved in social media in different elements. So your team does I guess what we would consider to be organic social, which we'll talk about here on the show. Other folks do paid. Other folks might do customer service. Can you talk through, a little bit, those relationships departmentally and how that all comes together? Eileen B.: 05:23 Yes. We do have a relationship with customer service where we work hand-in-hand with them. We own the channels, but on a quarterly basis we go and help them with training for messaging, making sure we're all on brand because we have a brand set of standards not only at what we look like but what we sound like. For example, we try to stay away from the word we are "proud." We want to make sure that we're giving pats to the people, the customers on the other end, not ourselves. So there are certain word choices that we're very strategic about, and we try to let our customer service reps to know what those are so that we're all preaching from the same choir sheet. That's one way that we do, is we have the ability to see what the other folks are doing. In customer service, we have a tool for us that triages the comments as they come in. Anything that's stakeholder-specific or outside of the realm of customer service they triage our way, and the rest of this, 85%, of the interactions they take care of. But we still have eyes on them and can provide coaching as needed. We also, because we're all over the whole state, we have what are community affairs managers placed throughout the state. There might be somebody in Prescott and somebody in Flagstaff, and their role is to work with government leaders there, with county leaders, with elected officials, with any kind of small business owners that would have a vested interest in what our company can help them with. Those folks have a branded account with APS underscore and then their handle. So they're out there talking specifically to those audiences in those small corners of Arizona, but we also have some here in the general Greater Phoenix area that do that as well. That allows us to have more of a micro-audience and a targeted audience in that specific area. So if we have an outage, say, in Goodyear on the west side of Phoenix, the community affairs manager, also known as a CAM, can tweet that out, and then we can choose or not to choose whether we amplify that from our channel. Jay Baer: 07:16 From a corporate standpoint. Eileen B.: 07:17 From a corporate standpoint, for example, if there's a small outage in Prescott, we might not want to say that from the brand because our audience is not just Prescott. Jay Baer: 07:24 It's largely not in Prescott. Eileen B.: 07:25 Right. But we can tap Darla, who's the community affairs manager, and say, "Hey, can you tweet about the outage?" And she does so. Another way that that's been really fun this Christmas is we've had over 20 electric light parades all across the United States ... Sorry, all across Arizona. I'd like to own all United States, but I don't. So each different function, the community affairs managers are part of that. So they're taking pictures and doing that. And, of course, we're amplifying that because it tells the story of how we're in every corner of the state, not only providing electricity but providing funding for nonprofit forums. We're helping with Chambers of Commerce, all of that. Last week, we employees joined together with some of our community partners, and everybody donated $60 per bike. And we adopted an entire kindergarten class of 72 children and surprised them with bikes. We were able to do a video of that, put it on social, and all of our community affairs managers then share that out as well. It was fabulous. People were crying. It was just everything a social media person ... I like to make people cry in a good way, not a bad way. Jay Baer: 08:28 That's going to be the headline of this episode- Adam Brown: 08:31 There you go. Jay Baer: 08:33 ... How to Make People Cry in Social Media. [crosstalk 00:08:33]- Eileen B.: 08:33 I think my husband would agree. Jay Baer: 08:35 [crosstalk 00:08:35] got it written here. That's terrific. Eileen B.: 08:37 Yes. Yes. Jay Baer: 08:38 Do those community affairs managers ... Are they only on Twitter, or are they on other channels as well? Eileen B.: 08:42 They are primarily on Twitter. There's a few that are comfortable on Instagram, but not all of them are. Our only ask of them right now is Twitter, and the reason we do that is because each channel has a specific purpose. And when it comes to outage communications, we pretty much drop everything and go to Twitter. They're primarily there to help with any kind of outages. So that's primarily where they exist. We don't really ask anyone from our company to play on Facebook because that's more personal channel for them. If they want to go share what the brand is posting, that's fine, but primarily it's LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram that we're asking different people. We're moving forward with thought leadership this next year, and that'll primarily be with LinkedIn. But then we have some folks who just live on Instagram solely, and so we'll leverage them there as thought leaders as well. In that instance, because Instagram is so centric on an image telling the story, we'll do a lot of restoration photos. We'll have people who are in the TND, Transmission and Distribution, that are just out there showing our trucks up or a person at the pole putting power back together. I think that's the technical term. This is why I'm in communications and not at a pole somewhere. So that's our ability to then tell those stories, just through a single picture here and then through a tweet over here and then a LinkedIn thought piece or something like that. Adam Brown: 09:55 Eileen, I want to go back to something you mentioned, which was the triage, because I think that's something that a lot of our listeners have to do. You've got multiple teams and departments that are interested in what your customers are saying, but who's the right person to hear that, to take action upon it, perhaps even to respond? If you could walk us through how you're doing that, and is everyone using the same tools? Do you have a nomenclature for how you pass a potential tweet that needs to be responded or actioned upon throughout your communications organization as well as customer service? Eileen B.: 10:28 Right. Customer service, we rely on them heavily to run that up their chain of command. If there's an issue, for example ... But we kind of watch each other's backs. Let me explain. This summer, somebody was saying a certain neighborhood was having a few outages over and over again. We started noticing that on social, and the term we like to use around here is a lot of times we're the canary in the coal mine. We're the first person to raise their hand and say, "We have a problem over here." And nobody else has heard about it. Customer service saw that and we saw it, and both of us ran it up our chains of commands. It got to where it needed to be where somebody could actually effect a change. It turned into some meetings in the community with that neighborhood. It really brought it to the attention of the people who could fix the problem. Otherwise, what we always want to stay away from is just having that stuff no response necessary, and then it just goes by the wayside and then you've got a real problem. So we try to nip it in the bud as soon as possible, and we handle ... This is our training to them. We handle really company-specific, anything that's messaged about the company politics. If it has to do with community, ways that we're involved in the community, we handle all of that. And then anything customer-centric about "My bill is getting higher," "My power is out and I don't know what to do," customer services manage that. So we kind of just keep an eye out for one another and say, "Hey, you guys missed this." And we'll kind of talk back and forth. For example, if they had missed that one about the multiple outages, then I can pick up the phone and give them just a coaching where I'm just able to say, "Hey, let's make sure we button that up so that doesn't happen again because a lot of times we are the only people who are seeing that there's a problem out there." It's tricky. Jay Baer: 12:05 Eileen Burmeister, who is the social media consultant for Arizona Public Service Company, an electric utility in Arizona, joins us this week on Social Pros. Eileen, I'm glad you mentioned that. It was a question I wanted to ask about, employee enablement in social. You have many, many employees, many of whom are fixtures in their local communities around the state of Arizona. So, when that happens, either officially or unofficially, something that maybe corporately you can't communicate but as an individual employee of the organization you can, do you send them messages using some sort of software? Do you send out an email to all employees and say, "Hey, we can't say anything, but here's what you can say," or do people have to be trained or approved or somehow vetted before they can do that kind of social media communication as an APS employee? Eileen B.: 12:54 We do provide ... Not that specific, but we do provide trainings, whether it's ... We have an internal intranet that's very vibrant and has daily news going on. A lot of the messaging around a certain topic, there will be a section of the intranet that's devoted to talking points for that. It's not as specific as saying, "Here's what you can say on social," but it's just informing them of what ... A lot of times, it's just a discussion they're having in the grocery store aisle and they have their APS badge on, and somebody says, "Hey, how do you feel about solar?" The employees are saying, "We need to know what our answer is because I work in accounting. I don't know how we feel about solar." So they want those talking points, and we provide those. I do some articles for [Newsline 00:13:37], which is our intranet, just best practices. Here's what you want to interact with. Here's what you want to shy away from as far as, if there's an argument that's breaking out and it's gone back and forth more than twice, that's probably not the platform for it. So maybe you can have coffee, or maybe if you don't know them, you can just back out gracefully or whatever that looks like. So providing those kinds of tips and guidance, but also, I do coaching with employees as well. If there's an issue, I always assume good intentions. I'm assuming that they're just wanting to stand up for the company. I'm not calling them to blow a whistle and say, "Hey, this is social media, please," but basically, "I know what you're trying to do. Let me help you do that a little bit better. Here's something we've learned from other employees' interactions that might help you so that it's not as contentious as that last interaction," or something like that. Jay Baer: 14:23 So great. Eileen B.: 14:25 Then we also have an ambassador program that we've had for the last ... I think it's been about six or seven years. Those are a group of employees who've basically raised their hands and said, "I really want to be an ambassador, whatever that looks like in the community, whether that looks on social ... However you want it, use my voice in the community. I want to be that." We do monthly sessions for them on certain topics. For example, next month is going to be on battery storage, everything you want to know about battery storage. Well, not every employee wants to know about battery storage, but these are the folks who are like, "I do want to learn about every corner of our business so that I can actually talk intelligently about the work that we do." Those folks we lean on very heavily as far as really nudging them with an email and saying, "Hey, this issue is cropping up," or, "This is something that's being misunderstood across our social channels right now. We just want to provide you with the facts, and feel free ..." I always preface it with "if you're comfortable." I mean, we basically are not telling people to, but just giving them the tools they need if they want to engage in it. Of course, that becomes an issue with [Nextdoor 00:15:27] because we don't have a presence in Nextdoor. So then those conversations crop up, and we'll have employees that will say, "Hey, can you jump in there and say something?" And we have to educate them and say, "We can't as a brand jump in there and say something, but you can. If there's anything you need from us to help you do that, feel free to reach out." Jay Baer: 15:44 Is that a corporate policy, to not be on Nextdoor? Eileen B.: 15:48 Well, no. It's just we haven't been able ... Because of the way ... I think it's the way it's set up across the board, the company can't have a seat unless they choose to advertise. So that's what we're looking at now, is- Jay Baer: 15:59 What's the balancing act of that? Yeah. Eileen B.: 16:00 Right. Is there a return on investment for doing that in order to get the comments and the ability to talk with the people who are having the questions that they're not understanding? Because it's easy to think ... When you do this every day, you just think, "Oh, people just don't know what they're talking about." Well, how much do you know about your water company? How much do you want to know about? You don't want to know. You just basically want to know, what's in it for me? That's not a selfish response. That's just how most people think about their electric. They want to go turn on the light and the light comes on. Beyond that, they don't really care about the weeds. Our employees tend to go really into the weeds, so we try to give them that upper-level messaging where you're like, "Come on back out of that little cave you crawled into, and let's just talk at the level that people care about." Jay Baer: 16:42 Yes. You're informationing people to death, and sometimes that's more than they want. You lost me at battery storage, by the way. Eileen B.: 16:48 Exactly. There's my case. Adam Brown: 16:50 Eileen, I do want to go back to that Nextdoor example because I think it's an interesting one. We all know that you're in a regulated industry, but this is more of a personal curiosity. Are you as regulated as, say, the healthcare or [fence 00:17:04] where there's a need to capture and log all posts? I'm going to the example of you have ambassadors that are out there that are speaking on behalf of your organizations. They may be on Nextdoor because they're actually representing their neighborhood there, and they're also an APS employee. Is there any requirement for them to log and track or take a screen-grab of any communications they may say as a pseudo-spokesperson for APS? Eileen B.: 17:28 No, and we're very, very careful to tell them they are not speaking on behalf of the company. We train them in a way that says ... We actually encourage them ... I'll use a hashtag, I work at APS. That's from our legal team to self-identify right off the bat because if you go in there and say something and someone digs into your profile and is like, "Well, sure you can say that, because you work there," then it seems like you're being sketchy. So we like to present up front, "Give your point and then do hashtag, 'I work at APS.' And if they want to continue to interact with you, great." But primarily, we'll say to them, "Hey, don't ever speculate on social channels. If you don't know the answer, then don't say anything." So if somebody says, "Hey, there's an outage in Goodyear. How long is that going to last?" and you go, "Well, I've heard it's going to be five hours," don't do that. We've had people do that, where we have to rein them in and go, "Okay, you're not speaking for the company," because then what happens? It goes six hours and people lose their mind, and you can't blame them, because, "Well, this guy told me it was going to be five hours." It's not that they need to capture their activity, because they truly aren't speaking for the company. They're positioning themselves as an employee of APS. So instead of hashtag "I speak for APS," it's, "I work at APS, and these are my thoughts." Jay Baer: 18:34 Adam and I are going to add the Social Pros Host hashtag to our social media communications so that when we promote the podcast, people know [inaudible 00:18:41]. Adam Brown: 18:40 Hey. Eileen B.: 18:42 I host the, yeah, Social Pros. It's a little long. You can work on it. Jay Baer: 18:42 Yes. Adam Brown: 18:46 It's a lot of letters. We gotta, yeah, shrink it down. Jay Baer: 18:48 We'll work on it. We'll put our best people on that. Adam Brown: 18:52 One more thing, Eileen, that you brought up that was interesting to me was in and around sentiments, and certainly the sentiment of those employees that are speaking on behalf of your organization could impact, positively or negatively. But recognizing, too, that you're a commodity, as you said. Nobody really cares when they turn the light switch on or off who created those electrons, just that the electrons happen to be there. How, in your industry, do you measure success and performance, not just at the macro level but also the individual social performance level? Eileen B.: 19:25 Are you talking about sentiment specifically? Adam Brown: 19:28 I'm assuming sentiment is one of the many myriad of tools that you use to measure your performance day to day, week to week, year to year. Eileen B.: 19:34 Yeah. Right now, we actually, with the help of Convince & Convert, have come up with our goals for 2019. Nice plug. Adam Brown: 19:43 Hi yo, hey. Ding, ding, ding. Eileen B.: 19:43 We're going from ... We used to do reach, engagement, and sentiment. We're switching it to audience, which is kind of the same as reach. Engagement, we're keeping engagement, and tone. And, to your point, we have incredible stories of things we're doing in the community that are positive. They're shared quite regularly, and we're able to boost those when they're doing well to give even more traction. But there are certain waves that come with negative sentiment that you can't counterbalance. We found ourselves being a gauge for social media on sentiment, and that's a tricky place to be because a lot of people want you to hold back the wave, and it's kind of a dance that's really hard to do. I don't know if that answers your question, but when it comes to pushing positive stories, we're very strategic about that, especially during those times of not only just whatever's positive, but specific to what the issue is at hand. If we are having a lot of outages, talk about the work we do around reliability so that people know all of this work went in for the nine months up to monsoon season to make sure that we have fewer outages than we're already experiencing. So it's just changing the narrative and doing a lot of storytelling around what's happening behind the scenes, but at a level that they will actually care about. A lot of times, that's ... We have the benefit and a huge blessing of having an incredible videographer on our staff who came from the TV industry. She knows how to run production. She knows how to run a board of stories and all of that. So she's able to see a story or an idea and be like, "That would be better in video than it would be in story," and able to choose which way we want to go because people are more apt ... We can just watch the numbers. They're more apt to watch a short 30-second video than some kind of article that you're going to link to. Jay Baer: 21:30 I was going to say that you really are terrific at showing, not telling. I know more about this than we expect because you guys are a client of ours. Thank you. But it really is terrific, and one thing I wanted to ask you ... I just don't know this part of it, the tale, very well. Of course, you've got a videographer on staff who does a great job at shooting video and picking up those kind of stories. But you also have a tremendous amount of photographs, a lot of posts with photos, as well. Are you training APS personnel to take better photos for social? Because I know you're not taking all those pictures, and maybe your team isn't either. Maybe it's the community managers in different locations, but there's a lot of photos. And I'm just not sure where they all come from and how they all get to be pretty good. Eileen B.: 22:12 I take all of those, Jay. How dare you? Jay Baer: 22:15 You just travel around the state with a iPhone and that's it. Adam Brown: 22:15 Snap away. Eileen B.: 22:19 That's all I do. No. We actually do do simple trainings, like when you're taking a picture, hold your phone like this, not like this. Just those basic ones. For Instagram, we've been very clear with employees that a lot of that is crowdsourced. "Hey, you guys work in every corner of Arizona. We don't." And it doesn't have to be work-specific. It could be a sunset while you're out restoring power lines. So it's basically ... Our message there and our goal on Instagram is very much like a travel magazine. We live, work, and play in Arizona. We love being here. And our channel reflects that. So those folks, what I've noticed on Instagram is there's a lot of photographers or wannabe photographers, weekend photographers, that work here. I have just reached out to them and said, "Please follow us. Tag us." And then I ask for permission and use it. So I not only amplify their pictures and the beauty of Arizona but amplify them. If they have a photography business, I have no problem linking to that. There's just all kinds of win-wins in that situation. Jay Baer: 22:19 Yeah. They love it. Eileen B.: 23:18 So then the community affairs managers, we give them the same training. When they're out in Prescott and Yuma and Douglas, they're taking pictures that they can just text to me. If I'm on duty over the weekend and there is an electric light parade, my phone will start dinging around 6:00 p.m. once it gets dark and all those photos are coming in. I can pick out the best. I have the editing tools if I need to lighten it or do different things, and then post that on. But a lot of it ... I love taking pictures. I've been in internal communications for over 20 years, lots of corporate storytelling. It was before video, so we just relied heavily on photos. I just learned what I could and then have found people who are similar-minded and have an eye for that kind of thing, and then set them loose. Jay Baer: 24:02 When you're thinking about the editorial calendar and what's going out there in social, is it, "Here's what the story is because this fits into our master communications narrative and strategy, and so let's go find video or create video or find photos that create photos to support that narrative"? Or do you look and see, "Here's all the photos and videos that are being crowdsourced that are out there. Oh, that's a good one. Let's tell that story"? You know what I'm saying? Do we start with story, or do we start with the asset and then make it a story? Eileen B.: 24:32 I would say it's ... The bones is a plan, and then there's a bunch of pockets in between for spontaneity. I think it would be super boring if it was just all plan, and I think everyone on my team would get pretty burnt out pretty fast. So, for Rachel and I especially, the videographer and myself, we can be reactive. We had situation this summer where somebody posted on social, "Hey, APS, you have a cat on top of a pole." That was it. "When are you going to come catch it?" So then- Jay Baer: 24:59 No idea what pole? Eileen B.: 25:01 No pole. No, no, no. So then we get another one. Okay, that's the canary in the coal mine. I'm like, "Okay, well, that's not our job to get a cat off a pole." So I just let it go, put "no response necessary." Well, we got another one and I realized, "Okay." So I alerted our media team. She called one of the transmission distribution guys and said, "Hey, we could use a good story right now." We were in the middle of a political issue that was really negative, and we needed the good story. So, of course, our [T&D 00:25:27] guys don't want to go ... because you don't want to set a precedent, like, "Hey, if your cat's up a pole, call APS." You can't, because they're out there putting wires up and all kinds of stuff. Again, I don't know what I'm talking about what they do. So she called and she said, "Look, we really need this story." They sent a truck over, and the guy, kind of grumbling to himself, got up in the ladder. None of this you could see in pictures. The pictures were beautiful. The video was great. He gets up there, gets the cat down step by step. We have every picture. Hands it to this little girl who's just ... huge smile with her little ... Princess Poppy was the name of the cat. And that thing exploded. Found out Princess Poppy was a boy. We didn't tell anybody that because that just got really ... It muddied the water all over the place. But it was a story with legs for weeks. The news picked it up. All kinds of people picked it up. Another thing that came into play here was that while our media folks were on the phone, they were getting a call from the media saying, "Hey, we saw that on Twitter that there's a cat up the pole. Are you going to do anything?" It's just so fast. So we had plans for that day, and we just scrapped all of them because who cares about battery storage when you've got Princess Poppy, the male cat, on top of a pole and a lineman about to go up and get Princess Poppy? In that instance, we have, definitely, pillars that we're trying to hit. We have four pillars that we're moving into 2019 with. But they're not sexy. So when you have other things that come up that are really just ... even giving away the bikes, or a storm. When you've got storm pictures, it's amazing. If you put up a tweet that just says, "We have 14,000 people out in Flagstaff. Look at our outage map for details," that's one thing. If you put up a picture of the damage and then another picture of the guys restoring it, people just completely go silent and are like, "Please be careful. Please be safe." They'll lose their mind if there's not a picture because they don't know what's going on. So it'll be like, "Get my power back on. All my stuff in my refrigerator's going rotten." As soon as you put up a picture and say, "We're doing the best we can to work quickly and safely," it completely calms the situation. So a lot of our plans either go by the wayside for good because we've lost the shelf life of them, or we just put them on for a few days later. You have to be super nimble around this because you never know what's going to happen. I kind of love and hate that in this job because for somebody who's not super flexible and coming from internal communications, I did everything by a plan. That's been an adjustment for me because I always had a long lead time to a different project that I was writing for, and now you don't. You just gotta think on your toes. Usually it's a gut reaction, like, "This is going to be a great story." And then sometimes you once in a while have ... You put it up there and think it's fabulous, and nobody responds. So you learn from that and decide, "Let's go a different direction." Jay Baer: 28:12 Eileen Burmeister, social media consultant for Arizona Public Service. You have just articulated, I think, the third rule of issues and crisis communication. My experience and education in PR means there are always two rules for crisis communication. Rule number one, communicate early. Rule number two, communicate often. Rule number three is add a picture because I think you were so right in how that can change an entire dialogue, a temperature of a situation. I think that's really, really keen insight. I'm curious about that insight. You mentioned that you have been doing internal communications for 20 years. I'm curious how that has affected how you approach social media because I think it does. I'm probably leading the witness here a little bit, but I think doing internal communications and recognizing you've got a lot of stakeholders ... Even at APS, you've got ... As you said, you've got your lines people. You've got your executives. You got your customer service. You got all these different types of people, and you've got to communicate with them. Talk a little bit about your background in internal communications and how you think that experience really kind of sets you up to be as effective a social media professional as you are. Eileen B.: 29:18 I was in the timber industry before I came to APS. I lived in Oregon and worked at a company there that had 3,000 employees across the US and a lot of timberland. So political issues are not new to me. We were at ground zero for the spotted owl controversy when that occurred. Timber issues were huge. So all of that is in my background, and I was able to lean on that moving into this position. But it also is very heavily on ... You lean very heavily on storytelling. Everything is a story. A photo is a story in and of itself. So internal is basically propping up the people who deserve to have a spotlight on them and telling their story when they can't put words to it themselves. It's giving them a platform to shine in a way that advances your company in various ways, but for internal, you have different objectives than you do for external. And that's been an adjustment for me. When I first came to APS, I was on the internal team as a business partner, was working with our fossil plants and also working with our sustainability group. A year and a half ago is when I switched into social. Now, when I was at my internal job in Oregon, I also did handle social because it was a small enough department that I kind of did everything there. But I handled social at a very small level. It was a new channel. It was business to business. It didn't have a lot of customer interaction because we were basically selling to Home Depot and different places like that, and then people would buy it from there. So it's a completely different beast to where customers are interacting with you like we are now. But the ability to tell stories is the same. It's just really being strategic about what story, what platform, and how do you want the story to be told? It could be something as simple as an interview, but it could be a picture. It could be a video and telling stories not only in the format but also compelling that people would care about. People are ... Again, I know I said that they want to know what's in it for them, but a rule of thumb that I always run any social media post back is, who cares? Basically, why should I even care about this picture or this video or this offer that you have for a smart thermostat? Why should I even care about that? So starting from that point and then going into the storytelling is key, especially on social because you've got them for this amount of time or they're gone. You don't have that in internal. You have room to breathe. Facebook is a little bit more that way. You can get away with a little bit of a longer breathe on those stories as well. But, man, Twitter and Instagram, they are just scrolling right through, and if you don't capture them, then they're gone. So I think it's just learning how to tell your story. I will talk anyone's ear off and get to my point as quickly as possible. I've always been that way. So I think that's been an advantage moving into it here. I think our T&D guys, the transmission distribution guys, they send us pictures from the field immediately, and they know how to tell a story. They know exactly what they're doing and what's going to resonate with the customers, and they send it to us and it's beautiful. It may not be great quality, but it's good storytelling. So I think when you're close and you feel passionate about what you're doing, then it shows in the product that you have. Jay Baer: 32:24 I know you used to be passionate about rock 'n' roll and that you were a singer in a rock 'n' roll band when you were in high school, Eileen. Eileen B.: 32:30 I was. Jay Baer: 32:31 Before I ask you the two questions that we ask every guest here on the Social Pros Podcast, maybe you could just give us just a line or two, maybe some sort of ... Give me some sort of Aerosmith or something. Eileen B.: 32:41 I'm not going to do that, but I will tell you that I tried out for the band with a Def Leppard song. And I killed it. Jay Baer: 32:47 Nice. Nice. Eileen B.: 32:47 So that gives you a little indication. We were not a garage band. We were a carport band. It's not as cool, but they didn't have a full garage, so we had to make do with what we had. Jay Baer: 32:57 Well, you get more breezes that way- Eileen B.: 32:58 You do. Jay Baer: 32:59 ... [crosstalk 00:32:59]. Eileen B.: 33:00 In Ohio. Jay Baer: 33:00 In Ohio. Eileen, what one tip would you give somebody who's looking to become a social pro? Eileen B.: 33:07 I would say ... It's so funny. It's just what we were talking about. Read all the time. I go to bed every night reading. I think the more I read, the brighter I am, the better storyteller I am, the more I can craft a message within five minutes because I read really good quality. So I think that's one, and write as much as you can. I think without the ability to tell a story well and to write a story well, it's very hard to transition that into social media. Again, I think you're going to be tempted to get into the weeds. You're going to tell a message that nobody's asking for. So understanding story and what resonates with people is the key to that. Jay Baer: 33:44 Boy, that was well said. I couldn't agree more. Last question for Eileen Burmeister, who's the social media consultant Arizona Public Service Company. If you could do a video call with any living person, Eileen, who would it be and why? Eileen B.: 33:56 I think it would be Tina Fey. Jay Baer: 33:56 Nice. Eileen B.: 33:58 I think she has the ability to ... First of all, if you've read ... Is it Bossypants? Yeah. Jay Baer: 33:58 Bossypants. Eileen B.: 34:03 If you've read Bossypants, the way she weaves the story is spectacular. I think she's really smart, and any interview I've seen with her, I'm just completely drawn to her personality. She seems extremely real, straight shooter, doesn't have any kind of veneer or façade going on, doesn't really care about the whole Hollywood and all of that, which is so refreshing. I think it would be super fun to have that video conversation with her, and she seems like the kind of person I'd want to hang out with. Jay Baer: 34:33 All right, Adam. That's your assignment: Tina Fey. Eileen B.: 34:35 Tina Fey. Jay Baer: 34:36 This year on Social Pros. Adam Brown: 34:37 No, I ... Yeah. I would like to be on that one, too. I'm a big fan. My fiance is, too. It's her favorite person. She would answer the question, Eileen, exactly like you did. Eileen B.: 34:37 Oh, that's awesome. Adam Brown: 34:37 That's great. Eileen B.: 34:47 Maybe your fiance and I need to go out for drinks, then. Adam Brown: 34:47 There you go. There you go. Perfect. Eileen B.: 34:49 Not Tina Fey. Okay. I'm up for it. Jay Baer: 34:51 Eileen, thank you so much for being here. Congratulations on all the success at APS. So great to work with you, as well, on our team at Convince & Convert. Really appreciate you taking the time to share your wisdom with us. Terrific, terrific advice. Eileen B.: 35:03 Absolutely. Thank you so much. Jay Baer: 35:06 Our pleasure. Ladies and gentlemen, don't forget you can get this show on YouTube now. You can subscribe at our YouTube channel. Obviously, you can subscribe to this show if you haven't already in all the places and ways that podcasts can be subscribed to, whether that's iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, etc. We would sure love you to do that. Each and every one of our tens of thousands of listeners every week, Adam and I thank you for your support. And don't forget each and every episode of this show, now in our ninth year, are at, audio transcripts, links, and goodness. On behalf of Adam Brown from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, I am Jay Baer from Convince & Convert. And we will be here next week on Social Pros.  
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