Twitter-What’s in it for Me as an HR Pro?

One of the interesting things I saw at the SHRM 2012 annual conference a few weeks back was the multitude of HR professionals visiting the SHRM Hive for social media help and advice. I don’t know that there was a final count, but dozens of HR pros set up Twitter accounts during the event. However, when I tell some people about that, they just give me a blank stare.

WIIFM? What’s In It For Me?

There are several uses for Twitter for the average in-the-trenches HR professional. Here they are in no particular order:

  • Social Recruiting-Use Twitter and other social platforms to share your jobs to a larger audience, search for candidates for openings, and connect in a low-pressure way with potential employees.
  • Networking-Connect with other HR professionals across the globe. Working on a compensation plan? Someone else has already surmounted that hurdle and can offer advice. Working on your first corrective action template? Send a message on Twitter and get some samples from others in the HR community. Just want a place to talk about the crazy things your people are doing? Go for it! The connections you make could end up leading to friendships, job offers, or something more in the future.
  • Communications-Your employees are using social networks, so why not communicate with them via those tools as well? One unique idea someone asked me about at the SHRM conference: the lady wanted to send out employee-only discounts and was looking at Twitter for that. Neat idea!
  • Employer Branding-People on the web have an opinion of your company. Is it good? Is it bad? Using social tools allows you to monitor what is being said and also gives you a platform for sharing positive, interesting information about your organization that attracts candidates to your doorstep.
  • Professional Development-This one is by far my favorite. I use Twitter as a news feed (research shows that many Twitter users use it as a news feed more than a networking tool, and that’s perfectly fine!) to help me find relevant, interesting content to help me as an HR professional. I connect with others in my industry/profession and also stay on top of new developments in employment law, engagement trends, etc.

The best part about this stuff is that you are not the first one to wonder “Is this really for me?” Hundreds of others have already asked that question, taken the leap, and never looked back. Want some help on getting set up with Twitter or another social media tool? Feel free to send me an email and I’d be happy to help.

To the Social Media Whiz Kids at #SHRM12

dinner with friends at SHRM12

Loved having a quiet dinner with friends to unwind at SHRM. From left: John Nykolaiszyn, Jason Lauritsen, and me

I started to put “bloggers” in the title, but there are so many people from the conference who started using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for the first time, and I wanted to include those as well. These are my thoughts on where we’ve come, where we’re going, and what everyone needs to do now. Hope you’re inspired!

The SHRM 2012 annual conference is now in the books. As usual, this event consists of few days of frenzied running to sessions, meeting with old friends, making new ones, and generally having an amazing time.

Why I go to any conference

I attend these events on two levels: first and foremost, I’m attending as an HR practitioner. I’m looking for ways I can help our operations team and company be better through smarter people practices. In that role I’m attending sessions, taking notes, and trying to meet people who might have insights in our industry.

On another level, I’m attending as a blogger. I’m trying to gather content, I’m trying to make connections, and I’m trying to find out what my audience is looking for in the way of great content (hint: sessions that are filled/overflowing would be good topics to explore in blog posts).

My hope for the social media community

Whether you’re writing a blog, participating in the fantastic HR-related chats on Twitter, or building a Facebook community, I hope that you take the connections you’ve built to another level. I’m already talking with a few people from the conference about working on some partner projects (Heather at A Leading Solution, for instance).

Why?

Because I want to learn from them. Because I want to be energized by them. Because I want to help both of our audiences be exposed to another person who is on fire for this HR thing. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll make this profession better one person at a time.

We are just like you, only we talk louder

Those of us in the blogging community aren’t any smarter than your average HR professional. We don’t even talk more than the average HR pro. We just do it louder. We channel it through the social tools to help us reach a larger audience.

When people come up to me in awe because they recognize me from my photo or blog, I just smile. I’m just a guy who likes to write and share what he’s doing right (and wrong) so people can learn a little bit. I’m no different from you, and I hope you can tell that when you’re standing there waiting for some brilliant statement to come out of my mouth, and I have nothing to say. :-)

Small victories are still victories

If you looked at the Twitterstream flowing from #SHRM12, you might have seen quite a few tweets about HR professionals visiting SHRM’s Hive area for social media advice/help. SHRM (and Curtis Midkiff, especially) did a great job of pulling in those of us passionate about using social tools in HR and leveraged our strengths and knowledge to be ambassadors for those without social media experience.

We helped set up Twitter accounts, discussed LinkedIn for recruiting purposes, and talked about using HR blogs for professional development. Each person helped was a small victory. Did we reach all 13,000 attendees? No way. But if we reached even 500 people (which isn’t an outrageous number based on the traffic we had each day), then that’s a win in my book.

Keep up the momentum

I had several conversations during the event about how people “like us” have been using social media extensively for the past 3+ years. At times, it seems like the topic is old and stale, because surely “everyone” knows how to use it by now. But then I run into an HR professional at a local SHRM meeting who wants to know what Twitter is or if they should have a corporate LinkedIn page, and I realize yet again that the number of HR professionals using social tools is still relatively small compared to the size of the group overall.

Closing thoughts

On Monday I start back to work. I get back into my routine. And it would be incredibly easy to just keep going like I have been going for the past year. Or I can take the time and make the effort to keep up with the connections I made at SHRM. I can keep the promise I made to keep educating HR professionals and recruiters on the value of social tools. I can work to incorporate the things I learned at the event into what I do at work.

Only time will tell which direction I take, but what I do matters much less than what you do. Well, what’s it going to be? I’m waiting…

Not the usual social media pitch

Short post today because I’m preparing for a presentation I have to give at lunch to a local SHRM chapter. The title is as bland as they come–Social Media for HR–but it isn’t the usual “rah rah for social media” content you hear. Here’s my opening:

If I was a lawyer, this is where I’d start talking about how social media is the biggest liability your company has ever seen.

If I was a recruiter, this is where I’d start talking about social media being a silver bullet for hiring great candidates with free tools.

But I’m not either of those. I’m an “in the trenches” HR pro, and I have a real job to do. I manage to integrate social media into what I do to some degree, and this is how I do it.

I talk less about statistics (yeah, we all know that social media is the next big thing). I skip the part about how Company X has a great Facebook page you should copy. I like to focus on professional development, networking, and how to use the social tools to be more effective and efficient on a daily basis. It’s something you can walk out of the room and put into action much easier than a twenty point plan for using Twitter.

Just my two cents, but it’s working, so that’s what matters. :-)

Employment videos: how to get traffic (and candidates)

AKA: How to use employment videos for social recruiting

Social recruiting is discussed often, but one of the lesser mentioned facets is video. While many companies know it’s something they should pursue, they don’t know how to be successful. Below you’ll find some ideas to pursue in the area of employer videos. Just a quick word of warning, I’m going to be technical at times, because the subject warrants it. However, I’m happy to help if your organization is looking to make a move into the video arena.

First off, you want your videos to be found when people search Google, right? That’s where search engine optimization comes in. It’s a methodology for getting your videos indexed in a way that makes them easy to find by searchers.

Five tips for Video SEO (search engine optimization)

  1. Make the video something people want to share (more detail on this below).
  2. Don’t dilute your videos by posting on multiple sites (YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, etc.).
  3. Titles, tags, and descriptions are useful when uploading and posting videos online, but backlinks to the videos (with relevant keywords in the anchor text) are more important for search engine rankings.
  4. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world and the #1 for videos. Use that to your advantage.
  5. If you’re using WordPress as your content distribution platform, create a video sitemap and submit it via Google Webmaster Tools. Every little bit helps!

Now, let’s elaborate on #1 above. That’s usually the first question people have: what do the videos need to be about? Well, there are several ways to go with that, but I like to think of two kinds of people when considering these types of video: customers and potential job candidates. Think about what they would like to know about your company and give it to them!

Five ideas for your employment video content

  1. Interview employees and ask what they do and what they like about the job, dept, or company
  2. Get staff members to discuss the culture and how that affects what they do.
  3. Ask employees to talk about their favorite benefit/perk that you offer.
  4. Film the fun, unique events that make your organization special.
  5. Create content that is outward facing and valuable to your industry. Hint: if you’re providing thought leadership and value at a level that entices competitors to link to you, then you’re on the right track.

This list certainly isn’t all-inclusive, but it’s a great start to generating ideas that would specifically benefit your company.

Thinking about creating some employer branding videos for your company and looking for some help? Feel free to contact me if you’re looking for assistance. 

80% of employers use social recruiting

Think  this social recruiting thing is a fad? 80% of employers are using it in some form or fashion to find talent, so that theory doesn’t fly. Check out the video below for more observations from the new Jobvite report on the state of social recruiting.

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4 reasons you don’t need a social media policy

social media policyEvery once in a while I hear someone talking about needing a “social media policy” at work. Ugh. If you know me at all you’ll instantly guess that I’m against such things. I would rather offer training instead of more regulation. Here are four reasons you probably don’t need a social media policy at all:

  • Conversations can happen anywhere. You don’t have a “parking lot conversations” policy, so why create a separate, special policy just for social media? People can do as much damage talking about your company in a crowded restaurant as they can with a Facebook post, but you don’t see anyone creating policies on that.
  • Is it worth your time? Is your core business function monitoring social media or creating/delivering a product or service? You can stand over peoples’ shoulders as long as you want but it’s not going to add value to be business.
  • We’re listening to the lawyers on this? When has a lawyer ever said, “You know what? You really don’t need a policy for that specific situation” with regard to the employer/employee relationship? I’m guessing never. If we listened to the lawyers and their scare tactics we’d have a handbook that rivals the size of the Alabama state constitution.
  • Are they adults or not? If not, then you’re breaking a few child labor laws. If so, then we need to treat them like it. If you act like they are childish and incapable of handling themselves, then they will be. If you treat them as respectable, functional adults, then they will be (for the most part). Don’t make policies for outliers. That guy who clips his toenails on his desk? Don’t make a toenail-clipping-at-your-desk policy. Pull him aside and tell him it’s inappropriate. I’ll say it again: don’t make policies for outliers.

I’m sure there are more! What are your reasons for companies to forego a social media policy?

SHRM Connect-SHRM’s Social Networking Tool

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. to work with the Society for Human Resources Management and a great team of individual contributors on SHRM’s social media tool, SHRM Connect. While some of us have criticized SHRM for moving slowly at times, it looks like they are making great strides on this project.

Check out the video below for more information.