Tag Archives: social media

Social Media and Social Good

One of the best things about social media is the power that is has to spread a message, and do it fast. There are plenty of things out there that do go viral that have are high on entertainment but have limited value – the Prince William and Kate Middleton engagement as well as the trending hashtag #thingswomendontdoanymore that was going on last night both spring to mind.

But at the same time, there is so much social good that can be done by leveraging the power of relationships and quick message sending capabilities through Facebook, Twitter, etc. Mashable actually dedicates a whole portion of its site to that very topic, encouraging its numerous followers to contribute to a better society by using the tools that they’re so devoted to.

I tried my hand at the same thing. Annie Stela, an artist that I came to know and love, asked for fans to respond to her and let her know if they wanted her to play in their city. I jumped at the opportunity and asked her to come to DC and she graciously agreed. At the same time, since she was playing for free, I turned it into a benefit concert and got involved with Citizen Effect. While we were enjoying the awesome music, we were also helping HIV-affected youth in Rwanda get a secondary education. Pretty sweet, right?

Well we’re not done yet. I’m using this post as a plea for you to help me complete the project. Take a look at my project page where you can learn more about the project and check out the video we took of Annie playing her heart out. If you can, make a contribution and help us reach our goal of $250. We’re so close, but we just need your help, and anything you can do will really help the kids in Rwanda.

That’s the power of social media for ya! Let’s make it happen!


Agree to…agree.

I spoke on a panel for social media trends as part of the NAIOP Northern Virginia Developing Leaders program yesterday. It was a great experience and I was thrilled to be asked.

The other three panelists and I come at social media from very different angles. I, of course, got the privilege of talking about social media from the combined HR and employee communications side. Erin Orr looks at it with a blended communications and marketing eye. Tim Klabunde admitted that he is a pure marketer. And Tim Hughes views social media through the lens of his legal background. And despite the variance, we agreed on a couple of things as we shared our stories:

  1. It’s all about relationship building. The whole point of getting online is to engage with people. We sounded like broken records with this one.
  2. Social media platforms are tools to help us with our day to day efforts. And since our efforts are typically dedicated to finding new work or new talent or new media sources, depending on your role, that usually involves building relationships (see #1), so use these tools to help those efforts.
  3. While there isn’t a one size fits all strategy that applies to social media, social media is something that can greatly impact the way in which we all do business. We’re big fans of applying it to businesses large and small, to companies that are public or private.
  4. Time is a the enemy up front. It does require the strategic decision to invest in social media up front. Ultimately, the payoff is going to be great – and all of us have seen some of that payoff already.

While we all agree, our different perspectives can guide us in so many directions. Because these are just tools in our toolbox (see #2), they open up different doors that we can choose to walk through at any given time. My focus doesn’t have to match that of my fellow panelists, but I can still sit with them and talk about the advantages that social media will provide for my company. In fact, it’s this holistic approach across disciplines that gives the bigger picture of what social media can do. I think that message started to sink in for some of these folks.

What a win for social media, eh?

The 1-2-3 punch of social media, relationship building and recruiting

I talked last time about building relationships and how you can use them for applying for jobs and for recruiting techniques. You don’t really want to cold call a place unless you have no other means of getting in touch – if you have a personal connection, you’re way more likely to attract the attention of the employer or the candidate. It’s something that’s been tried and true – that strategy has been so effective that there’s reason to believe in its accuracy. 

But let’s add to that with this whole social media thing that’s come about and revolutionizing the way we communicate. Like DC Dietitian mentioned (thanks for your comments!), you can use these tools to accomplish the same goals in a very different fashion, whether that’s landing yourself an awesome job (and congrats on that Jen!) or finding a stellar candidate that you’d like to bring on.

First, from the perspective of the job seeker, there are a lot of new ways to connect with brands. Though you may not want them in your news feed all the time, Liking a corporate Facebook page does get you one step closer to the organization and puts you in a position to meet others. You can follow organizations on both Twitter and LinkedIn, the former giving you a quicker and more concise way to get their updates and chat with them (assuming they aren’t too big to respond to every single thing that comes their way and that they don’t just push out their own news) and the latter giving you insight into recent staff changes and potential information that may come up. And you can use Twitter and hashtags like #HireFriday or #JobAngels to further your goals. And that’s just the beginning.

As for the employer side, while the relationship building hasn’t changed, the way you communicate with potential recruits has significantly. On the larger scale, if you’re not regularly publishing content, your talent is going to miss you – you can’t expect to establish your brand with 1 Tweet a week or 1 Facebook page post per month. When you’re pushing two-way content out (i.e. not just stuff about you, because no one cares, thank you Chris Brogan), you’ll build an audience and engage with people who have an interest in building a community.

On a smaller scale, searching bios and posts on LinkedIn and Twitter give you access to the things you’re looking for – for example, I can search for “architect” and come up with thousands upon thousands who have used that term recently. You can participate in industry livetweets to meet people. I partake once in a month in #aiachat, a conversation for architecture industry folks put on by the American Institute of Architects, where we discuss things related to the practice. You can convey your brand and share insight about the way you do business, but more importantly, you get to know people more personally and share great ideas with them – it’s a win-win for everyone.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I want to leave some food for thought and not make this too long, but there’s so much more to be uncovered. What are your ideas about social media and recruiting, from either the jobseeker or employer perspective? What kinds of issues may come up with that? Any thoughts about the direction this is taking the application/recruiting process? Would love to hear from you!

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Ah yes, the age old question.

Well, it’s hard to say. All this social media stuff has introduced what seems like a whole new way of finding and meeting people. But is it really all that different than traditional business development or marketing?

While the medium has changed, the basic premise behind networking is still the same as it’s always has been: fostering relationships with the people that you meet. No matter where you’re doing it, online or in person, you’re still trying to develop some kind of connection that would make the parties involved interested in continuing the conversation or arranging a future meeting. It’s much more complicated in practice, but in theory, it’s a basic premise.

It’s disappointing to reach out repeatedly to people and watch them ignore you. I’ve had that happen to me lately. It sucks, especially when it’s people who you respect and think highly of. But the worst thing you can do is to take that and let it deter you from making connections. Keep seeking people out – there are plenty of great folks who are ecstatic about chatting with you. Worse still, don’t let it affect how you treat people in your network. Continue to acknowledge when people are reaching out to you. Ask yourself, how would you respond to a phone call or an e-mail? This social media stuff shouldn’t be any different. Respond to any @ replies or Direct Messages you get on Twitter. If someone comments on your Facebook status, make a comment back on it and check out what’s going on with them. Thank people for visiting and writing on your blog. Get back to anyone who writes you a LinkedIn message.

Whole new world, same old principles. Look at that: you didn’t even have to learn new tricks – you knew ’em all along!

Heads or tails?

Yesterday I participated on a panel with some marketing folks at #smbdc, the Social Media Club Breakfast with the Social Media Club of DC. We talked about collaboration across departments and how working between these groups can create some great synergies.

While watching my Twitter stream, one of my favorite tweeters, NextMoon, who had watched the presentation, was sharing thoughts about marketing and HR and wrote this:

Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

There are a lot of things that fall under the human resources umbrella. Sure, you’ve got all the standard duties that the old personnel departments used to handle – benefits, employee files, legal issues – but the new and improved HR functions encompass business strategy, talent management, employee training and development, etc. While the old functions may have allowed folks to operate in a vacuum, these new ones require us to get out of our chairs and into the thick of things.

For us HR folks, the marketing comes from a willingness to look beyond our offices and into the core of the workplace. While marketing’s focus tends to be that external piece – client contacts, work proposals, business development – HR needs the same willingness to speak up and often, only internally, doing the same with employees at all levels and across all dicsiplines. Both require you to reach out and connect with people, make people comfortable, allay their fears by addressing concerns, talk up your strengths and make it clear why your organization is the right choice. Marketing is doing this to potential clients, HR to potential recruits.

It really is the same coin, just different focuses. So…heads or tails?

You sure you can wear all those hats?

Last week I went to a social media learning/networking event sponsored by the Society for Marketing Professional Services, which was attended by marketers in the Architecture/Engineering industry – and me. The event (as all good ones should be) was followed by a happy hour, where I talked to the membership coordinator about what the benefits of joining were. She rattled off a solid list – learn best practices from marketers, meet marketers, etc. – but when I asked her what the benefits of joining were for me, the HR guy, as I’ve branded myself, she paused and said that she’d have to think about it.

I came up with an answer for myself. This whole social media thing has made it clear to me how important it is to get out of your comfort zone and wear multiple hats, so becoming the first HR person in a marketing organization can only help me to gain new perspectives and share my point of view with others.

When talking social media, as an HR guy, you gotta jump in and be a marketer – after all, isn’t HR just internal marketing? You should play the “employer branding” card and get your name out there on the PR front, strategize and think about how your campaign could bring in new business, technically work things on the IT front, develop a design of a Facebook page and Twitter background to be aesthetically pleasing, write what’s going to go out on your channels…OK, I could go on, but you get the point. You can’t just do one thing – you gotta dabble in it all. And work with others that can do the same so you’re not floundering by yourself.

The best example of this is writing a set of social media guidelines. It combines the writing of HR policies with a knowledge of social media usage and an understanding of an employee population. And it needed the marketing/PR push to make sure people read the guidlines and understand them without being turned off by the whole thing. If that’s not multiple hats, then I don’t know what is.

And incidentally, this is the exact topic that we’re talking about at the Social Media Club Breakfast in DC next Tuesday. So if you’re in the area, come out to Busboys & Poets on Tuesday 7/20 to see me and my colleagues/friends speak on the panel about crossing the departmental boundaries and working as a team to put together an effective campaign for social media! Should be a rockin’ time, so come out!

Leap Frog

I wrote a few days ago about a lesson that was so obvious that, naturally, had to hit me in the face before I realized it. Well in the same vain, here’s another “duh” moment that struck me that I think everyone can share in.

There’s certainly something to be said for being an individual and coming up with your own ideas. Sure, it’s great to be the point person on something and come back and say, “Yep, I took care of it all by myself!” But sometimes, you could use more than just what you’ve got in your head. You can branch out beyond your ideas.

I’m fortunate to have mentors that are excited to hear my ideas and to bounce ideas off of me. The Pro and I sit back to back and spend plenty talking about ways to improve things and make our company and better place to work. One of us may have an idea and the other responds with more thoughts and feedback. It’s a great system to get our HR practices bigger and better. And I’m fortunate to have 100percentoverhead as to push our social media efforts forward.

Here’s an example that happened today. We’re going to be speaking on a panel in a few weeks for the local social media club breakfast (more on that soon) and in talking about our plan of attack, 100% OH suggested that we share our story and then somehow make it more interactive. I responded and suggested that we give our two cents and start a conversation by asking questions that are on our minds that we know others have too. He elaborated on that with some ideas for questions. I responded to that and suggested contacting folks in advance to get members thinking about answers so we could generate buzz that would benefit everyone. And so on and so forth. When we catch up with our third fabulous friend and panelist and get her thoughts, it’s going to spiral in an even greater way. I love it.

So what’s the lesson here? It’s leap frog – you just keep hopping along, using each other for support to push you forward. I’m sure I would’ve gotten to the point I’m at now eventually, but I can attribute the rapid nature of it to the fact that I reach out to others and talk to them to see what’s going on outside my own little bubble. You can really learn a lot (and teach a lot to others too!) when you look beyond what goes on in your day to day. Sure, it’s a little after school special…but I’m OK with that. Try it sometime – you’ll be surprised.

Who do you bounce ideas off of? Does anyone come to you for this stuff?