Social Media Concepts at #SHRM15

JoeRotella

Last year (#SHRM14) I wrote a blog about how far SHRM had come with its position on social media presentations since my original involvement in SHRM-related conferencing in 2010.

So I wasn’t exactly surprised this year when the sessions included one titled “Social Business: Social Media Concepts Throughout the Employment Life Cycle”. I had heard that the speaker, Joe Rotella (@JoeRotella) was particularly fun, so off I limped to listen to what he had to say. He had a lot to say, but here are the highlights.

MARKETING

I have been complaining about SHRM presentations that do not focus on marketing for quite a while now. I have also implored SHRM to have more sessions that specifically discussed marketing and other business areas for conference attendees. So when Joe asked how many people in the room were “HR pros” and then reprimanded them, indicating we should call ourselves “business pros with HR expertise”, I gave silent thanks.

He then launched into a discussion of how marketers listen and respond appropriately, the large numbers that actually use social advertising, how hard social marketing actually is, and the elusiveness of social media ROI to the marketer. He also mentioned some specific trends, such as image-centric networks, the rise of micro-video, and the use of LinkedIn for B2B growth.

But in the end, he asked the business pros in attendence to CARE about marketing and to think strategically, because otherwise HR ends up being “the department of sunshine and rainbows.” He made sure the attendees understood why marketers built brands and why it was in HR’s interest to do the same.

SOCIAL BUSINESS

Joe defined social business as that which a company needs to become, not a description of a feature or business function. It is not a business that addresses a social problem, but the “intentional creation of dynamic and socially calibrated systems, process, and culture.”

In support of the social business, Joe presented statistics from an MIT study which showed how social business sophistication directly impacts traditional HR concerns, such as hiring needs (57% of employees age 22-52 say social business is at least somewhat important in choice of employer), and improving leadership performance and talent management (83% of employers utilizing social in this area).

Joe predicts that social business is business of the future – “connected, adaptive, and intelligent.”

SOCIAL MEDIA AND HR

A large part of Joe’s presentation went through most of the areas of traditional HR functions, and how practitioners could use social media in developing and modernizing those functions. Joe presented specific examples in each of functions such as recruiting, onboarding, training and development, and evaluations. As a former police officer, here’s one of my favorites:

In addition to video, some of Joe’s examples used intranet, blogs, Pinterest, Yelp, and gamification in different areas of the employment life cycle.

By the end of the session, I was ready to jump up and run back to my employer and start adding social media to all of our business processes.

Wait . . . I already do that. But I walked out hoping that the attendees who do not were listening and saw the value of what Joe was saying and were ready to take it back to their business.

 

Klout Perks and License Plates

My first Klout perk

When I lease a new vehicle, I make a point of telling the dealership before I take delivery of my car that I do not – do not – want a license plate guard or decal or any other form of advertisement of the dealership on my car. I have never understood why I should advertise this dealership for free for the next 2 or 3 years. I may not even be pleased with them or their service, but they’ll put their rolling advertisement on your car unless you take the initiative to remove it.

Yes, I can be a grumpy bitch.

I always felt that if a dealer offered to compensate me in exchange for my endorsement, like give me a certain amount off the price of the vehicle, or free service of some kind, I might feel a little differently. Then, at least, I wouldn’t feel like I was being taken advantage of and the dealer would be forced to recognize my contribution to its advertising effort.

And this is the reason that I like Klout.

Klout recognizes what all of the car dealerships in the country fail to – your endorsement has value.

Okay, the Klout algorithm is flawed and people can game the system and Klout pays too much attention to Twitter, and . . . I get it.  There are issues and maybe it shouldn’t be taken super seriously yet.

But at least someone is trying to show that most people have some amount of influence. They influence friends and family in the decision making process. And Klout (and their sponsors) is willing to reward people in a tangible way for that influence. Mark Schaefer, adjunct professor of marketing at Rutgers and author of the book Return On Influence is quoted by Wired as saying, “This is the democratization of influence.”

I’m not a celebrity. I don’t have millions of Twitter followers and thousands of Facebook friends. I’m a pretty average Jane. But Klout recognizes that I talk to more people online than an average Joe or Jane does, and their sponsors are willing to pay me with two Stephen King books and a t-shirt for that potential conversation.

I’ll find a way to pay that perk forward, and advertise both Klout and Stephen King’s publisher in the meantime. I won’t be mentioning any car dealers, though.

 

 

A Tale Of Two Vendors

When I started to receive emails and phone calls from vendors asking me to stop by their booth and chat with their CEO/CFO/some kind of O, I thought it was how vendors reached out to attendees prior to the massive annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference. It took Matt Stollak and his True Faith HR blog to explain to me that I was receiving those strange pitches because I was going to be a ribbon-wearing member of the social media press.

I felt kind of special for a few minutes. Then I received this phone call.

[Phone rings. Answered by daughter because I am feeding dogs.] Daughter yells at top of lungs: “MOM! Somebody about HR!” [Brings me phone]

Me: This is Joan.

Caller: This is (blank) from (blankety-blank). I’d like to see if you would list our client on your blog.

Me: What do you mean, “list”? Like a blog roll for vendors?

Caller: (silence)

Me: Well, I don’t have a vendor roll on my blog. I don’t have a blog roll at all.

Caller: (silence)

Me: Um, who’s your client, anyway?

Caller: (blank)**

Me: Well, they do sell to HR – I’ve even used their product.  But I don’t know any HR bloggers that have a vendor roll, or a vendor blog roll. I’m kind of busy right now, so email me at ginsberg dot joan at gmail dot com, tell me what it is you are looking for, and I will try to help you out later.

Caller: Thank you. (hangs up.)

A few minutes later I received this email:

Hi Its, (blank) from (blankety-blank), if you could refer different media publications or bloggers that would be interested in included our client that would be great. Thanks.

Really. This exact email (I deleted the names).

To this day I am really not sure what this marketing company wanted me or any other blogger to do for their client. I emailed back and asked for clarification but never received a  response.

Contrast that bizarre tale with an email I received from a different vendor a few days later, also included here without any change at all:

Hi Joan,

Congratulations on getting a press pass to the SHRM annual conference! I’m excited to see your SHRM posts – whether they will be rants or raves – and how you enjoy the conference. I’ll definitely be checking back tomorrow to see how your SHRM series starts. As the only Michigan blogger on the press list, I wanted to reach out to you and say hello! Baudville is located in Grand Rapids, so I’ll be making the long trip out to Vegas this weekend, too.

I’d love to connect with you at the conference, but as a VIB (Very Important Blogger), I know you have lots of people clamoring for your attention at SHRM next week. Vendors, authors, and speakers who all want you to know about them.  

 At Baudville, we’re different. We want to know what you think about employee recognition.

Cori Curtis, Marketing Specialist at Baudville and the author of this email, had obviously read my blog and went out of her way to make a very personal connection. I emailed her back that I would love to drop by her booth and visit. I wish I had done so (if you are reading for the first time, click here to see why I didn’t), because the videos were marvelous.

I think it is pretty obvious which vendor gets a big pat on the back in my book, and, most importantly, will be remembered as a great company when a time comes in the future to make a recommendation.

**I don’t wish to embarrass this company or their marketers by identifying them, but the client was a national insurance company who uses a duck in their promotions.