I was asked to deliver a presentation to the EMEA HR team on why you should use external social media. As I work in sales and all the presentations I have done have been to people in sales based roles, I needed to review my strategy. I don’t want to just tell people what Twitter and LinkedIn are, they can find that on google. I want to make it relevant to them in their specific roles. The goals in HR are not to generate revenue, they are revenue enabling. Without them the organisation would grind to a halt but they do not have a direct role to generate revenue. I was doing some research online and found a few presentations on slideshare.com but none of them seemed to be useful for addressing the HR staff themselves and they were more for the overall benefits for the HR department in general. They focus mainly on recruitment. For the purposes of my presentation, I was not asked to present to this part of HR. Considering the amount of information out there on how to use social media for recruitment, I will not cover this in this article. If that is your area of interest, I would direct you to searching on slideshare.com and visiting the help section of LinkedIn.com and searching for recruitment.
My way of explaining social media is that it is just another way of communicating. Just like you use email and your phone every day, social media is another method of communication. The great thing about social media is, you can choose with whom and what you want to communicate. If someone tells you something interesting or useful you will want to tell others about it. Social media gives you an opportunity to find out what other people think is interesting and useful. All of the networks have built in mechanisms to enable its users to share (retweets, like or +1 etc) what they find interesting with a ready-made list of people (followers, fans or subscribers).
The role of someone in HR is radically different to working in sales. Through doing some research and surveying some HR people I was able to draw a couple of conclusions of where it may help. I feel they fall broadly in to two categories.
No matter what role you play in a business, if you plan on moving upwards in your career you need to develop your knowledge and skills. Like all jobs you will learn things as you go along in your day-to-day role but so will everybody else. If you want to progress quicker in your career you need to accelerate your knowledge and skills to surpass those around you.
The worldwide web is mass of information which would take you your whole life to read and you still wouldn’t get to the end of it. In any niche there are always going to be a handful of people who are creating good quality content which will be of interest. They will be creating content such as this article which address topics which may be useful. You want to pick up a newspaper to see what is going on in the world in case there is something you need to know about. The same can be said with consuming social media. The great thing about social media is you can often get a lot more information about your chosen subject than mass media channels. You can also get information in real time as something is happening not an hour later when the next episode of he tv news comes on or the next day when the latest edition of the newspaper is printed.
Once you have found the creators of this content you can choose the way you follow what else they have to say based upon you preferences. Depending on where you found the information you may choose to do a number of things.
If you find somebody on twitter you think is interesting you can follow them by signing up for a twitter account and clicking follow. This means every time they share information it will come up in your news feed. So you can follow what they have to say when they say it.
There are many ways to follow blogs. The easiest is to go to the blog, enter your email address and subscribe to the latest updates as and when they are published. You can also subscribe using an RSS reader. An RSS feed is basically a news feed from a website and the reader is like an inbox for all the latest information from those sites. I would recommend using google reader but there are many more out there on the web.
Although LinkedIn says you shouldn’t connect with people you don’t know I have found it useful to reach out to specific people. LinkedIn has status updates much like Facebook or Twitter. If you come across somebody you think would be useful to connect with then I would recommend connecting to them with a message like this.
I came across you on (insert website or however you found them). I found your comments on (insert topic) very interesting. I feel you would a valuable asset to my business network. I hope you do not mind me connecting with you.
Most of the time the person gets a big ego boost and will accept you.
Although this topic is a lot more relevant in sales roles there are some important points to make here.
Gain information about those around you
Everyday you have to work with a number of different people. You have to have a relationship with these people to enable you to work successfully with them. You can build and nurture this relationship using social media. You should establish the key people in your organisation and work down from there. Imagine if every time you spoke to the CEO or MD you knew what he was thinking about that day. You could strike up a conversation with that person which would get you much more of their attention and start to gain their trust and respect. People share a lot of information about themselves in what can be very public places online. This kind of information you will be unlikely to find out without using social networks.
Your social CV
With any role, if you have any desire to move upwards or move onwards you need to think about how people perceive you and what kind of reputation you have. Social media gives you an opportunity to share information about you that can add credibility to you within an organisation. If you haven’t got LinkedIn profile get one now. If you have one have a read through it and think about what does this say about me. Who am I? What do I want to be known for? What expertise do I have? What have I done previously which gives people a reason to have faith in what I can do for them now? Why should anyone trust me? Without handing out a CV to every one you meet or boring them with your life story, the people you interact with on a daily basis will never know this information unless you tell them.
I guess this is where I can bring the sales element back in. Think about who you do business with and what that person would want to know about you. Put yourself in their mind and think about not what you want to tell them but what would they want to know about you. This is your time to shine. Obviously you shouldn’t lie on your profile but you can emphasise which ever parts you feel are the most relevant.
Although there are many things you can use social media for I have tried to keep it as brief and as relevant as possible. Revenue generating and non revenue generating roles are very different but they share some common ground. You need to have a good relationship with those around you if you wish to succeed. If you want to develop your career either internally or externally you need to think about how you can get an edge over the other people who may be going for the same job. It sometimes comes down to, who you know, not what you know. Social media can give you the opportunity to make sure you know the right people and they know what you know. Giving you the best of both worlds.
I would be very interested in your comments or feedback on this article. Have you used social media in HR before? Have you had any success stories you can share? Has this article made you look again at how to use social media?
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