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#TChat Preview: Legally Leverage Social Media In Recruitment

The TalentCulture #TChat Show will be back live on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT). The #TChat radio portion runs the first 30 minutes from 7-7:30 pm ET, followed by the #TChat Twitter chat from 7:30-8 pm ET.

Last week we celebrated the four-year anniversary of #TChat and talked about the future of the employee-employer relationship, and this week we’re going to talk about how to legally leverage social media in the recruitment process and more.

Where’s the first place most recruiters go today when screening a candidate? They Google them and more, right? They search for them via social media to see what’s up in the virtual world — even if they don’t admit it (or admit they based hiring decisions on what they find).

The fact is, employers can easily find professional or personal information on a job candidate with just a few clicks. However, alongside that ease come real and rising legal risks that employers must be aware of when researching candidates on a social network or through a search engine.

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn about how to legally leverage social media in the recruitment process with this week’s guests: Jason Morris, Co-Founder, COO and President of EmployeeScreenIQ; and Nick Fishman, Co-Founder, EVP and CMO of EmployeeScreenIQ.

Sneak Peek:

Related Reading:

Meghan M. Biro: How Leaders Hire Top Tech Talent

Angela Preston: Congress Critical Of EEOC’s Policy Towards Background Checks

Debbie Fledderjohann: 4 Common Background Check Restrictions To Watch For When Placing Contractors

Lauren Conners: Cost Of A Bad Hire Vs. Cost Of A Background Check

Kazim Ladimeji: Can Social Media Background Checks Be Trusted?

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guest and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: How To Legally Leverage Social Media In The Recruitment Process

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, December 10th — 7 pm ET / 4 pm PT Tune in to the #TChat Radio show with our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, as they talk with our guests: Jason Morris and Nick Fishman.

Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, December 10th!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, December 10th — 7:30 pm ET / 4:30 pm PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, Jason and Nick will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the pros and cons of screening candidates via social media? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: What course of action can be taken when finding criminal / inappropriate online activity when screening candidates? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: Is it always necessary to run background screens for all candidates you want to hire? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Until the show, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

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Social Recruitment’s Present And Future

Social media has entered every corner of our lives. Facebook alone has more than a billion users, each averaging 15 minutes a day on the site. From the accumulated star ratings on websites to jobs found through LinkedIn and sharing holiday photos through Facebook, this crowded, chaotic world of human interaction is everywhere.

Like any technological change, the usefulness of social media is directly related to the human skills used to apply it. Social media is now a huge part of any company’s approach to marketing, and while it’s less prevalent in recruitment, it is playing a role there. But that role is changing, has already changed since the early days of social media, and is changing the wider face of recruitment. The trends that have shaken marketing are now gaining momentum in HR, and if we can learn from marketing’s experience, then we can get ahead of the recruitment curve.

Like Marvel’s superhero movie franchise, marketing’s use of social media has been marked by a series of distinct phases. And like waves in an ocean, the impact of each one is still felt long after something new has taken its place.

Phase 1: Interruption Advertising

The first phase, and an approach still as prevalent as it is old-fashioned, is what Seth Godin refers to as interruption advertising. This is the pre-internet approach to advertising, in which the aim is to reach as many people as possible as often as possible, wearing them into submission with the power and ubiquity of your message.

This approach has its advantages. It lets you say something cheaply, quickly and easily. It’s straightforward to understand and straightforward to apply.

In recruitment terms, this is using the advertising banners provided on social media sites, as well as projecting your recruitment ad through your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels. It’s a high-volume, low-thought approach, but in an age when we’re all glued to our screens, it can attract recruits.

Phase 2: Permission Marketing

Godin’s response to interruption advertising, widely read in his best-selling books, is permission marketing. This involves getting permission from potential customers to send them information, and gradually building layers of permission into a relationship where they are receptive to your particular message.

This is the sniper rifle to interruption advertising’s sawed-off shotgun — abandoning the scattershot approach in favor of focus and power. While its application to recruitment may not be obvious, it is potentially potent.

Each time you advertise for a job you receive more applicants than you need. Many of them might have made fine recruits if only you had another space for them. So why drop out of contact when they don’t get the job? Why not get their permission to stay in contact, to send details to them when other jobs come up? To draw them back in rather than lose them entirely?

And in finding recruits to start with, why not build relationships with the sorts of recruits you want in advance? Create mailing lists for different types of jobs, and give interested parties the opportunity to be informed without needing to go through the effort of application. Use this to show the benefits of working for you, and use it to draw the right candidates in, rather than making a big advertising splurge with no certainty of whom you’ll reach.

This involves developing a better understanding of the recruitment pool you’re after, just as a marketer must understand their market. It gives you the opportunity to add personality to your social media contacts in a way that will strike a chord with the right people, and so to better recruit.

Phase 3?

The world does not stand still, and social media is moving faster than many other parts. So where is social media marketing and recruitment heading next?

Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen, the authors of Absolute Value, believe that it lies in understanding how far people are influenced by the opinions of others and in looking at how to shape those opinions. In recruitment terms, this translates into getting your jobs recommended by employees and third parties, people potential recruits might trust, rather than just through unfamiliar recruiters. It’s a way to build authenticity and a personal touch into the process, to attract the attention of people who might otherwise not be interested.

Using the huge data available on social media may be another tool. The information is out there for you to better understand what sort of personalities you want to recruit and where to find them. This is where big data and social media meet, letting you trawl the whole world’s talent pool in a proactive way, following the data trail to the people you want and then reaching out to them through social media. Some candidates may find it creepy, but many will consider it a compliment, and it lets you become ever more focused in your recruitment. It can become the route to a permission recruitment relationship.

What Will Your Strategies Be?

These strategies are not mutually exclusive. Interruption advertising can cloud the waters for permission recruitment, but it can also be its foundation. Recommendations and data analysis are no good if you don’t have ways to put your job out there and let people know how to approach you.

Recruitment is changing at an ever-accelerating pace. Whatever the eventual outcome, the winners will be those who step up first, who take risks, try new strategies and show what can be done.

About the Author: Mark Lukens is a founding partner of Method3, a global management consulting firm. Most of Mark’s writing involves theoretical considerations and practical application, academics, change leadership, and other topics at the intersection of business, society, and humanity.

photo credit: Viernest via photopin cc

How To Use Social Media To Build Your Personal Brand

If you’re still only using social media to chat with your friends and family, then it won’t be landing you a job anytime soon. Companies across the world are creating social media strategies to promote themselves, showcase their brands, and reach new customers. But you don’t have to be a business to make a name for yourself online — a single person can do it too.

Creating a Multi-Platform Brand

The biggest mistake people make when starting their social media brand is using the social media accounts that they created when they were 13. Of course, when your teenage self put your username as @CuteChickxx, you weren’t thinking about personal branding. You wouldn’t contact an employer with an unprofessional email address, so don’t do it with your social media accounts either.

Set up social media accounts under the same username. This could simply be your name or a combination of your name and career field — for example, @JoeGreen or @RecruiterJoe. You can use the NameChk tool to check if your desired username is available across hundreds of social media platforms.

Once your accounts are set up, create a multi-platform brand by using the same profile image and color scheme across all of your social media platforms. This will result in a recognizable, professional-looking “brand” that will make a memorable impact on those who visit your social media pages.

The Importance of a Distinctive Brand

Easier said than done. Everyone wants to be distinctive and memorable, but distinguishing yourself from other careerists isn’t always that straightforward.

When you start building your personal brand on social media, it’s likely that you will begin by modeling your social media profiles on the ones of prominent people in your field. This is a good first step, but then you need to consider what makes you different. Maybe you have a special interest in your field, a skill that is in demand, or even a unique hobby. Incorporate this into your brand too.

A professional photo will also go a long way to making your brand distinctive. By using the same head shot across your social media accounts and on any websites you contribute to, your face will become recognizable to followers and readers. Investing in a photo shoot can be a wise decision, though if you have a good camera then using a plain-colored wall and getting the lighting right can work like a charm too.

Sharing Meaningful Content

The internet is full of cute cats and funny memes, but even if you love them, don’t share them on your social media pages. Be specific about what you share. You want the people who see your profiles to be able to build a professional but personal portrait of you. Share articles from authority sites in your field and participate in debates on newsworthy topics. Your aim should be to post and share content that is meaningful, opinions that are insightful and thoughts that are valuable.

Rule number two: post a variety of visual content. We are visual creatures, and therefore our brains are better able to process images, infographics and videos than blocks of text. In fact, content which is broken up with images gains 94% more total views on average than content without. Adding a photo URL to your tweet can boost retweets by 35%, while photos gain an 87% interaction rate from fans on Facebook, making them the most engaging type of content.

Engaging and Networking on Social Media

You’ve designed a seamless multi-platform social media brand to showcase the best of yourself and you’re sharing thoughtful, insightful content and opinions. But you’re not going to get anywhere with 0 followers and a couple of Facebook likes from your mom. Build yourself a network of social media contacts.

Follow, like, connect and engage with talented people in your field, from the authority sites down to the grassroots bloggers. Reply to their social media updates and start conversations. If they like your personal brand and the content you’re posting, then they will start to share and retweet you. This way you are able to reach a larger audience and gain more social media followers. It takes commitment, but it’s very possible for you to establish yourself as someone worth listening to in your chosen field.

Landing a Dream Job with Your Personal Brand

Social media is an excellent way to meet people in high places. Engaging on social media has begun the process of strengthening your personal brand and networking has made you some valuable contacts. But how can you use that to land your dream job?

There are two things you need to do now. Firstly, engage with the companies that you are interested in across all social media platforms. This is exactly the same process as networking with individuals. Leave interesting and valuable comments in reply to updates posted by the organizations you are interested in working for. Start creating a list of employees who work there and engage with them too. If your personal brand is good, you will soon start to be recognized. This will give you a massive advantage when inquiring about and applying for jobs there.

Secondly, focus your time on growing your LinkedIn network. 78% of recruiters have hired through a social network, and the clear leader of the pack is LinkedIn, which is used by 92% of those recruiters. Add all of the contacts you’ve made on Facebook, Twitter and your other social media platforms on LinkedIn, and begin connecting with their connections too. The next step is to join groups — or even better start a group — relevant to the career path you’re following. Joining in with discussions is a surefire way to get you noticed by recruiters, headhunters and experts in your field.

Success with Your Personal Brand

Building a personal brand on social media doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term commitment. To ensure success with your personal brand on social media, it is essential to have a good design, create and share valuable content, and build good relationships with other social media users. Persevere and you will find success.

About the Author: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors. He is currently running the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical. Ron is a regular contributor to TalentCulture, the Brazen Careerist and Jobs and Careers Magazine.

photo credit: B Rosen via photopin cc

The Link Between Technology And Retention

We do all we can to influence retention, or at least, we think we do. We measure engagement, we carry out exit interviews, we even have performance management programs. But in today’s technology-led world, are we missing a trick in the workplace? Is our talent leaving us because the competition is using better technology in-house? Is our talent leaving in frustration at our inability to keep up with the times?

Quite possibly.

The Link Between Home and the Workplace

Talk to anyone in IT at the moment, and BYOD is more than just an acronym, it’s enough to keep them awake at night. Bring Your Own Device is a nightmare in itself, for which any number of solutions are available (headache tablets, perhaps).

However, its growth reflects a growing frustration with workplace technology. Why is half the company using personal iPads for 20 minutes before they work on their laptops?

Because the laptops take 20 minutes to start up. iPads take 20 milliseconds.

That’s the situation I’ve encountered in two organizations recently. Technology brought in from home was being used for work purposes, because the work technology was either dated or overly restrictive.

As an employer, you have to face up to the fact that technology has become infinitely more simple than it ever used to be. It’s quicker and more adaptive, and yet workplace technology has hardly kept pace.

If you’re the kid in the playground with dad’s chunky old Nokia from the late ’90s, then nobody’s going to talk to you. Therefore, there’s a business case for investing in better technology — and that business case includes employee retention.

Helping Your People Succeed

Everyone wants to succeed. Earning money meets one of Maslow’s needs, but the satisfaction of succeeding at work is one of the key elements that keeps our talent in place.

If we’re failing our own talent with outdated technology, we’re failing the business, and we’re losing our talent.

As an example, four years ago, I visited the headquarters of one of the UK’s largest banks. The company was unable to use most cloud-based solutions of the time due to their inability to upgrade from Internet Explorer 6. Most of the employees had already accepted that they were never going to move beyond IE6 (which was unsupported), and there was a general feeling of having “given up” on the technology that was meant to support them.

Within that business, I spoke to members of the sales team who were unable to properly manage their pipeline due to old technology not supporting the solutions they had brought in. There are hundreds of ways to use technology to help sales teams (we won’t go into them here), and this is potentially the opportunity for HR to talk technology with sales directors, armed with a bit of knowledge about how an investment in better technology will have an impact on the bottom line in more ways than they had previously thought.

The fear of losing a top salesperson because they feel they aren’t reaching their potential might be enough to secure better technology, and therefore, improve retention.

Improving Communication

“What do you mean you didn’t get the email? Have you checked your junk folder?”

Despite our proliferation of communication methods, we are terrible at communicating. An over-reliance on email systems can lead to frustration at work, with some people flooded with emails and others ignoring them completely.

However, at home (or on mobile), we’re particularly good at communicating. We use social networks and we’ve already segmented our friends into different networks – family on Facebook, colleagues on LinkedIn, people we don’t know on Twitter…

There’s a lot to learn, and this can reduce some of the tension and friction that often arises from poor email communication in a business. Whether it’s instant messaging, social collaboration or simply telling people to turn their emails off for a day (I’ve seen it happen, although I haven’t seen it work), it’s our responsibility to lead this conversation.

People leave businesses for many reasons – we need to dig into those reasons through exit interviews, but we need to pre-empt people’s frustrations and help them improve the way they work. To provide a more satisfying, rewarding environment in which people can prosper, we need to start mirroring the way people use technology at home.

That involves providing better, quicker technology – and yes, we have to work through the security issues that inevitably arise; that’s not impossible.

That involves providing more supporting technology; whether you’re in sales or marketing, you need to give people the tools they need in order to succeed. If you’re not doing it, your competition might be, and it’s a great recruitment tool to say that you’ve adopted the latest technology.

That involves harnessing the latest communication tools in order to help people collaborate better within your business.

And if you can put a dollars and cents figure against a 2% improvement in employee retention, you can weigh it up against the investment in said technologies. And that’s not just a conversation worth having, it’s a conversation worth leading.

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The Surprising Reality Of The Working Dads Movement

We’ve all started hearing it — the term “working dad.” Some may be saying it with confidence, but others might be snickering away, thinking, “Great, here comes another phrase for people to go crazy over.” Reality is, it’s not a new concept. Working dads have existed since cavemen had babies. But as the workplace continues to grow beyond a 9-to-5 job and the corner office is no longer the most prized possession, we all need to sit up and take note of what real people, real dads, find value in.

The Working Dad of Today

So working dads are nothing new, but the role of today’s father is definitely more involved than that of previous generations. Even though working hours haven’t really changed, dads are more hands on than ever before. Consider the following statistics provided by What to Expect:

  • 60% of fathers take paternity leave. U.S. law didn’t even require paternity leave until 1983.
  • Dads spend 10 hours on weekly chores now, which is twice more than in 1965.
  • 60% of dads shop for groceries, while 50% do the actual cooking.
  • 60% also put their kids to bed and take them to the doctor

With fathers doing more at home while office requirements remain the same, many of the respondents to the survey said that they have little time for personal matters or have no control over their work schedule. In short, life’s becoming busier and more stressful for them.

Working Dads More Likely To Get Flexible Hours

According to a study conducted by Christian Munsch, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Furman University:

70% of respondents would “likely” or “very likely” grant a dad’s request to work from home twice a week to take care of a child as compared to only 57% for moms.

That’s a pretty staggering difference. The same study goes on to prove in numerous ways that employers still view moms to be more “distracted” from work because of children as compared to dads. What does this mean for working dads? That employers think dads are better able to achieve work-life balance than moms. Meaning they’re quite likely to grant requests for flexible work hours even if not’s a regular company policy.

3 Working Dads To Follow on Social Media

If you need some inspiration on men who seem to have it all down — from fatherhood to leadership, follow these guys on social media. They’re well known in their industries and provide some great advice on work-life balance for men.

1. Richard Branson – CEO, Virgin Airways

This world-changing globetrotter has the following advice to give regarding life and fatherhood:

“But rather than thinking of these two aspects [work and family] of your life as antagonistic, why not combine them? As I’ve often said, I don’t divide work and play: It’s all living.”

2. Robert Lanoue — Partner, Deloitte

As an obsessive scheduler, Lanoue — father of two kids — believes work-life balance is a necessity to retain key talent:

“Helping both new mothers and fathers through this transition is a key strategy for [companies] to make sure that they maintain talent.”

3. Scott Behson – Professor, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Another firm believer in the importance of work-life balance for families and the society, Behson says:

“I believe all dads deserve this opportunity, and that dads, moms, kids, families and our society all benefit when dads get to immerse themselves in the life of their children in such a uniquely intimate and transformative way.”

It’s fair to say that if the White House is taking notice of the changing role of fathers in the workforce, everyone else should probably be listening too. Perhaps “working dad” is not quite a movement, more like bringing the actual role of dads into the spotlight and making sure a conducive workplace is created for them. Whether it’s “Dad and Me” activities or more open-minded policies, there are a number of actions that any workplace can take. Would love to hear what you think works for you or the rest of your team.

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Turning Pitfalls Into Potential: Social media And Recruitment

Turning pitfalls into potential – social media and recruitment

With over a billion people connected to social networking sites, social media has huge potential for all aspects of business. As of January this year, 77% of Fortune 500 companies had an official social team and presence, but not all are tapping into the potential to use this for recruitment.

So how can we tap into this powerful force for recruitment? What are the possible pitfalls, and how can we avoid them?

Searching

Using social media is a great way to establish your brand presence and so draw in the right kind of recruits. You can use it to project a vision of your company that will attract top employees, to build both public awareness and credibility for your company. An organization that is both present and responsive on social media is one that seems forward looking, sincere and open to dialogue, making it attractive to recruits.

But your use of social media in recruitment can be about more than this. The best companies are using it to reach out and actively seek the candidates they want, rather than relying on them to stumble across job adverts. Potential employees put so much information out through social media that you are now in a position to hunt them out, to find the best candidates out there instead of just the best candidates who are approaching you. You can see what talents they apply in real life, rather than what skills they can exhibit in an interview environment.

Obsessing

Obsessing over your public image is one of the biggest dangers inherent in engaging with social media, and this is as true for organizations as it is for individuals.

It is good to put effort into social media engagement as long as it clearly adds value for the organization, but just saying ‘it makes us look good’ is not enough, especially for activities supposedly focused on recruitment. It can become a black hole into which time and effort disappear, and even alienate people as they see you trying to hog the spotlight.

The other big risk in using social media for recruitment is that you may contradict, and so undermine, the work others in the organization are doing on the same platforms. Consistency is vital to public image, and social media can spread inconsistent messages like some terrible disease.

Balancing

One of the main tools in avoiding these pitfalls, as with so many others, is through measuring. The impact of recruitment through social media should be measured and performance managed like anything else, with clear standards for success and for wasted effort.

Having someone in overall charge of social media is also important. This way you know that efforts will be consistent and organized, and you can avoid duplication as well as contradiction.

But to get the most out of social media, to achieve that incredible potential for outreach, this needs to be a matter of coordination and leadership rather than command and control. Rather than discouraging employees from using social media as part of their work, or trying to dictate how they do it, train them in the best use of social media. Turn them into advocates for your business who will spread word of your latest opportunities and identify potential recruits for you.

Succeeding

Good use of social media is about ‘enabling the few to mobilize the many’, to quote Clara Shih. This means making the most of the fluid, enabling nature of social media, with its focus on recommendations and peer-to-peer engagement. By using your whole network of employees to seek out recruits, and using the information about candidates freely available on social media, you can find and evaluate real talent, rather than just people who give good interview.

And that can only be a good thing.

Apply Now(About the Author: Mark Lukens is a Founding Partner of Method3, a global management consulting firm. He has 20 plus years of C-Level experience across multiple sectors including healthcare, education, government, and people and potential (aka HR). In addition, Mark currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Behavioral Health Service North, a large behavioral health services provider in New York. He also actively serves on the faculty of the State University of New York (SUNY) and teaches in the School of Business and Economics; Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship and the Department of Management, International Business and Information Systems. Mark holds an MBA and is highly recognized in the technology and healthcare space with credentials including MCSE and Paramedic. Most of Mark’s writing involves theoretical considerations and practical application, academics, change leadership, and other topics at the intersection of business, society, and humanity. Mark resides in New York with his wife Lynn, two children, and two Labradors. The greatest pursuit; “To be more in the Service of Others.”)

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3 Ways Creative Engagement Hatches Employee Engagement

Creative engagement and employee engagement are the chicken and the egg. Or the egg and the chicken. Impossible to know which comes first because they so strongly reinforce each other. And that’s why it’s a good idea to strive for both!

Employees with the opportunity to express their creativity engage more fully in their work. Work places that encourage creativity enjoy engaged work forces. Recognition of creativity that contributes to specific successes stimulates further creativity, and so more employee engagement.

Creative Engagement: Freedom

When employees feel free to approach problems from creative perspectives, they take creative risks. When they allow themselves creative risks, they freely generate creative ideas. Given the freedom to apply their creative ideas, they do so. That freedom stimulates their creative energies. That is creative engagement. That leads beyond involvement in the work at hand. It generates employee engagement to job, to team and to company. Game playing and viewing one’s work as a game (a serious game, to be sure) are proven successful. Creative freedom boosts productivity. Check the interview with Jane McGonigal, author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

Creative Engagement: Habits

Some companies worry that employees spend too much time social networking. Some companies see any time as too much time. They fear it’s taking away from people performing their assigned work. Savvy companies, on the other hand, creatively direct employees’ engagement with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social networks. They correctly see it as good for the company. Dell Computer allows — even authorizes — employees to “speak for Dell” on social networks. Dell offers full-day training on how to use Twitter and Facebook, without instructing employees to follow any corporate script on line. Social networking generates the opportunity for free thinking, new ideas, creative discovery. Allowing that to become a habit, a creative engagement, is “engagement plus.”

Creative Engagement: Recognized

Typically, the more one succeeds, the more one succeeds. Success breeds success. Creativity is proven to  contribute to success. Creative success that is publicly recognized and celebrated breeds more creativity and more success. A victorious — rather than vicious — circle. Applaud successful products, projects, endeavors and comebacks by giving special attention to their creative elements. Label them as creative. Hold them as examples to match in the future. Creative engagement — a specific and valuable form of employee engagement — will blossom.

Creativity motivates itself. That’s creative engagement. Generating a new idea, determining a novel procedure, designing a streamlined approach–all have appeal to the human mind and emotion. In other words, we naturally choose to engage in creative opportunities in our work. Work that offers creative opportunities is work we want to do. The workplace home to such work is where we want to be. That’s employee engagement.

Doesn’t matter which clucks or cracks first.

(About the Author: As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright, has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: tim@wrightresults.com)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

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A Comprehensive Guide To Recruiting on Google+

One of the biggest advantages that Google+ has for recruiters is that the social media platform is run by Google. This means that any content being shared on that platform gets search engine optimised treatment in Google search results. It is also free to use, has more active users than LinkedIn, its profiles offer rich data regarding its users and it has access to highly valuable candidate niches. From a recruiting perspective, these features make Google+ a powerhouse for finding and engaging with talent. So, why are so many recruiters passing on the opportunity? This may well come down to a simple lack of knowledge about how to recruit on Google+.

In this article, we hope to inform you of the various ways that you can successfully use Google+ in your recruitment strategy.

We have teamed up with TalentCulture to help inform recruiters about the essentials of recruiting on Google+. Both our companies are social recruiting advocates and we wanted to help accelerate the adoption of Google+ by recruiters. Once you’re up and running on Google+ do follow us for more insights like these! (Social-Hire here and TalentCulture here)

How To Recruit on Google+ by Social-Hire.com in partnership with TalentCulture


An Overlooked Goldmine of Talent

Contributing to the slow uptake of Google+ is the question from recruiters as to whether it can help them hit their recruiting targets. Let’s start off by addressing this concern.

Google+’s potential reach is second only to Facebook, with a total user base of over 1 billion people. There is more of a chance that candidates will respond to your approaches or updates in a prompt manner on Google+ rather than LinkedIn because its active user base is considerably greater – and users receive their Google+ notifications whenever they visit a Google-owned site, including Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, etc.

By using Google+, recruiters have access to some extremely valuable candidate niches. As you can see by using the CircleCount tool to research user demographics, Google+ has been strongly adopted by IT professionals and students, to name just a couple prominent audiences on the platform.

Not all users have filled out their social media profiles as thoroughly as they have done on job boards or LinkedIn, but a recruiter can still garner a lot of information about these candidates. Recruiters can see the content they have shared, look at the communities they are active in and then find ways to engage candidates most effectively.

Is recruiting on Google+ starting to sound more appealing, but you have become drawn to LinkedIn’s enterprise tools? It’s true that Google+ will seem arduous and time consuming by comparison, if you just want to research a long list of candidates to approach and then quickly fire off messages to target candidates. However, adding Google+ to your recruiting toolset is absolutely essential if your company’s success depends on reaching a higher proportion of those targets, and on reaching candidates who are absent from – or overlooked – on LinkedIn.

There two main approaches that you can take here:

      • Building Your Recruiting Brand on Google+
      • Sourcing Candidates on Google+

I will be concentrating on the first of these and suggesting articles that cover the sourcing angle. But first, you must set up your Google+ profile.


Setting Up Your Google+ Profiles

Managing a presence on Google+ is similar to managing one on LinkedIn. Individual recruiters can manage their own profiles and be active on the site in their own right. Company brands can also manage their own company profiles and recruiting presence on Google+.

Company profiles on Google+ can do almost everything that individual profiles can do. As a company or recruiting brand, you can be active in communities (similar to “groups”), you can circle other people (similar to “following”), comment on their posts and +1 them (similar to giving something a ‘like’).

As we will talk about in a later section, this allows you to be build your recruiting brand’s following. On LinkedIn, this can only be done through paid advertising. This difference is particularly significant for any recruiters who are operating on a limited budget. Since company profiles elicit a different reaction from people than a personal recruiter profile, it is well worth investing the time to create and maintain both.

The first course of action to take here is to set up both your individual and your company recruiting profiles. After that initial set up, we will want to better understand how Google+ works so that we can leverage these profiles to attract and win over new candidates and clients.

There have been many fantastic posts written about how to create a visually appealing, keyword optimised and targeted profile. Therefore, in the interest of brevity, I would direct those who need help with setting up profiles to the following excellent resources:

>> For individual recruiters: How to create a Google+ profile

– see the excellent step-by-step walkthrough on Google+ and further ideas in this Google+ profile tips post by Hallam Internet

>> For recruiting or employer brands: How to create a Google+ company page

– again the company page walkthrough on Google+ is a great place to start and you will also find this video by Google+ expert Martin Shervington a helpful resource.

For now, let’s turn our attention to some of the basics you’ll need to know once you’ve created your profiles.


Recruiting on Google+: The Basics

Get organised. Google+ gives you the ability to follow people in a manner that allows you to be hyper targeted (in Google terminology, this is called “circling” someone…). On your profile (under ‘People’) you can create an unlimited number of circles and name them in the manner you choose. Other people on Google+ know when you have circled them, but they don’t know the name of the circle or circles you put them into.

Recruiters can therefore group contacts into circles by client, job title… or indeed in any other way that will help you to most productively organise and engage with your contacts.

Once you have categorized your contacts into circles, then you can view your homepage and filter to show only updates from a certain circle. When you share updates, you can choose to share them only with certain circles. This is one way to tailor Google+ to your business’s needs at any point in time.

Be smart. Like LinkedIn or Twitter, the majority of profiles you will visit on Google+ are not “active” users of the site. As with all social platforms, you always have to be monitoring what you’re doing to see if you are reaching real engaged users or simply disappearing into the Google+ abyss.

In my experience, active users on Google+ typically respond or react in a matter of hours which is a huge advantage for the platform. This is a true breath of fresh air for anyone who has become tired of waiting for a response on LinkedIn, only to get one months later!

Notifications play a major factor in this. A logged in Google+ user sees their notifications flag every time they visit Google, YouTube, Gmail … or any of Google’s other web services. This makes it hard, for most business people, to go through a day’s work without seeing these notifications at various points in the day.


Get Noticed on Google+

The notifications feature is an important part of the user’s experience on G+. If we want to be noticed, we must understand what triggers our activities appearing in someone else’s notifications stream, in a way that’s natural and appealing – rather than too eager or spammy.

The following are worth taking note of:

  • When you add someone to your circles or add them back (reciprocating them having added you), it will appear in notifications.
  • Commenting on someone’s post, resharing their content or +1’ing a post will appear in notifications – of these, comments are most likely to be noticed.
  • +1’ing a comment that someone has made will appear in notifications and is also a great way of acknowledging those whom are giving life to a discussion. This is also good for acknowledging that you have seen a comment someone has left you.
  • Inviting your circles to join a community or to attend an event or live video broadcast (hangout on air) will appear in notifications.
  • A summary of all new posts into a community will appear in community members’ notifications
  • Sharing a post with specific circles (rather than just publicly) results in your introduction to the post appearing in the notifications of those you targeted.

In this last point, I want to stress that many of the people who have circled you will see your publicly shared posts, as active users tend to check their homepage frequently. Sharing with specific circles, thereby bringing the post into someone’s notifications, can become tiresome if done too frequently. Because of that, we recommend only doing this for your most valuable posts (by which I mean “valuable” for your audience rather than valuable for yourself) or you risk losing or tuning out your followers.

Now that we have established how you can increase visibility with your profiles, let’s focus next on how you can leverage this to grow a strong candidate following – for either yourself as an individual recruiter, or for your employer brand page.


Build A Compelling Recruiting Brand on Google

It is possible to grow a following – and generate engagement – on Google+ quickly. This interactive chart (thanks again Circlecount) shows how my own profile grew at a phenomenal rate in the 10 months after I embarked on building a Google+ presence. Once I began to put the right approach in place, you will notice that both my follower count and the engagement on my posts accelerated dramatically.

On any social platform, my recipe for success is generally as follows:

  1. Build profiles that are filled with valuable insights and quality content which give the people who come across them a compelling reason to follow you.
  2. Figure out ways to identify the users on that social platform who are 1) active, 2) interested in the things your profile will become known for and, ideally, 3) already demonstrating that they like to share and comment on other people’s posts.
  3. Take the time to interact with your followers and fellow group / community members so that you give your profiles a real sense of personality and your followers feel that they “belong” to a community.

Creating profiles that are valuable to your target audience (1) is not specific to Google+. If you need help understanding this – and it should be part of your overall social media recruiting strategy – I suggest that you read through a recent guest post I wrote for Totaljobs.

Engaging with followers once you have won them (3) is also not specific to Google+. However, the essential principle on any social platform is that the more personal interactions someone has with your recruiting brand (or with you as an individual recruiter), the more inclined they will be to look out for – and engage with – your future updates.

Identifying the right people to try and engage with (2) is the crucial part. This is true on all social platforms, but particularly so on Google+ where the overwhelming majority of users are only on the network occasionally. (Google+ and Twitter are similar in this respect).

My suggestion for Google+ is the same I have for Twitter: begin searching Google+ for the type of content that you plan on sharing and any related hashtags. For example, a search for the URL social-hire.com on Google+ will return links of content from that website – and all the people who have +1’d the content, re-shared it, or commented on it. By taking this approach, we learn valuable information about our audience. We know the kinds of content these people are interested in, we know they are active on Google+ and we know that they are the types of users who will engage with other people’s content. You will soon be circling people whom are likely to circle you back, be interested in the content that you are sharing and inclined to re-share your posts.


Be Visual and Show Your Human Side

A good way to keep up with the types of content that are users are responding to the most is to follow the “What’s Hot” section of Google+. The posts that are generating strong reactions (at the time of writing this) incorporate striking or entertaining visuals. Similarly, occasional posts that reveal your personality or that show that your brand has a human side are also strong performers. Here’s a recent example from my own profile which combines both these points and has attracted a lot of shares and interest.

Having made this generalisation, be sure to monitor your activity in order to identify what is working well for you and what is not. Also understand that each Google+ Community has its own personality. Some are particularly vibrant, while others are subdued. Manage and nurture them by always trying to adjust your approach to reflect what’s producing results. If you would like some Google+ Communities to get you started, I recommend TalentCulture’s World of Work community for those working in Recruiting / Talent / HR; our Social-Hire Job Search Advice + Recruiter Contacts community; Andy Headworth’s Recruiting with Google+ community as a specialist recruiter help forum and the Plus Your Business! community for broader Google+ help and insights.

It is only by monitoring reactions to what you are posting – and where you are posting it – that you will be in a position to adjust your strategy and maximise your effectiveness. You cannot assume that you can just replicate what is working well on LinkedIn. Your strategy must be tailor-made for each platform and target audience.


Finding Talent on Google+

The topic of sourcing candidates on Google+ has been discussed by those in the recruitment industry thoroughly and since others have more expertise in this topic than I do, I will simply guide you to some recommended resources. To get a feel for the types of candidates you could reach out to on Google+, it is certainly worth taking a few minutes to have a play with Social-Hire’s candidate search tool.

For those who are serious about sourcing and want to take this to the next level, I recommend that you take a look at SourceCon’s brilliant Everything You Need to Know to Source Candidates on Google+. For a shorter read, you could turn to point 3 of Andy Headworth’s 10 Ways To Use Google Plus For Recruitment.


Concluding Remarks

In sharing these experiences and insights, I hope to have encouraged you to seriously consider using Google+ as a recruiting tool. With the information in this article, I also hope that I have made it easier for you to get started and to figure out how to make Google+ a powerful part of your wider recruitment branding (and sourcing) strategy. If you need more help getting your social strategy worked out, you are always welcome to schedule a call with us to walk through the things that you could be doing differently and more effectively as a recruiting team or recruitment business. Otherwise, I look forward to engaging with you on Google+ in the coming weeks!

 

photo credit: ePublicist via photopin cc

6 Social Media Recruiting Strategies You Should Be Doing

Some people are still skeptical about social media recruiting, though I can’t figure out why. The success stories on both companies and individuals finding their dream match through a social media recruitment campaign keep rolling in. Stacy Lambe got hired by BuzzFeed because of a meme he created of Hillary Clinton. Dawn Stiff was hired thanks to her Vine video by The Economist.

The question is, what should you be doing for the recruitment magic to happen? Here are 6 social media recruiting strategies to get you going in the right direction with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Twitter

1. Become Best Friends with #Hashtags

Twitter uses Twitter for social media recruiting so it must be a good platform. The one thing that many recruiters don’t take the time to understand from the beginning are hashtags. It’s all too easy to put a “#” in front of a word and expect it to work. But if you don’t know the reach of that particular tag in terms of numbers and geography then you’re not using it right. If your chosen hashtag is getting lost in a sea of other tweets, it also won’t work. For example don’t use #jobopening but try adding your city’s abbreviation as well. Use tools like Hashtracking or TweetBinder to help you out.

2. Ask Employees to Tweet Job Openings

Lean into your existing network to spread the word. But before doing so, make sure that you have a solid Social Media Policy for your employees and that they understand what’s expected of them. They are your brand ambassadors after all, especially if you’re going to ask them to tweet job openings. It wouldn’t do to have someone post a job in one tweet and then crib about their boss in the next.

LinkedIn

3.Use LinkedIn’s Recruiter Homepage

LinkedIn is probably the first choice for social media recruiting by recruiters so it only makes sense that they provide a solid tool for the job. This is done through their paid product, LinkedIn Recruiter. Other than the basic LinkedIn functions you’ll get access to a matching algorithm which provides potential employee suggestions based on your recent activity and lets you monitor job application activity. It’s definitely a powerful tool to incorporate into your social media recruiting strategy.

4. Don’t Ignore the Power of LinkedIn Groups

There’s very little chance that you’ll read an article on social media without the word networking coming up. It’s just that important and that’s exactly what LinkedIn Groups will provide you. Be careful about the content you post because some groups provide limitations for recruiters. Make sure you know the basics about Company Branding on LinkedIn because it will determine how your organization is viewed.

Facebook

5. Use Facebook’s Search Feature the Right Way

Did you know, in Facebook’s Search you can type “People Who Work at Microsoft” and even filter the results by city? In fact, you can even search for “People who work at Microsoft and have friends who work at Oracle”. Very helpful if you’re trying to find someone at a company who has friends at the company you’re working for. Talk about powerful searching.

6. Engage in Paid Advertising

In 2013, Mashable revealed a 29% increase for Facebook ads every year, reaching 4.3 billion social engagements last year alone. Instead of investing in a recruitment agency, you can take the power of targeted Facebook advertising into your own hands and create a simple yet effect job opening ad and share it with an extremely targeted audience. This strategy is also far more effective than posting an ad in a newspaper which we all know often results in more bad than good CV’s.

There’s no end to this list and of course there are other tools including Google+ and Pinterest which shouldn’t be forgotten. A solid social media recruiting strategy should be well planned and documented to include the target audience, where they spend time online, guidelines for establishing relationships and which social channels to used. To be truly effective you’ll also want to include measurable KPI’s. I hope that this was enough to get you started and look forward to any additions you can make in the comments below.

(About the Author: Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Managing Partner of Engage Consulting in Malaysia, Pakistan and U.A.E. He focuses on transforming top teams and managing talent across Asia’s emerging and frontier markets. Paul has a firm belief that outstanding results can only be achieved through people, by engaging teams and building commitment by creating a new paradigm between company and employee. Paul has delivered transformational interventions for more than 50 blue chip organizations in countries across Asia including Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Egypt, Korea, U.A.E. and India.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

How To Use Instagram To Recruit: 5 Easy Steps [Infographic]

By this point, most of us have come across the term, “social recruiting.” With the rising importance of fostering a successful and sustainable company culture and hiring people who are not only the right professional fit but the right cultural fit as well, employers and human resource professionals have started to turn to the power of social media networks, like Instagram, to help with their recruitment efforts. Instagram is a photo-sharing app that recently surpassed 150 million active users and counting – 70 percent of whom log in to the site at least once a day. That’s a huge pool of potential employees!

A few articles have surfaced about how some companies have started to use Instagram from a recruitment perspective. Vocus, a cloud-based marketing and public relations software, hired a marketer with a background in social media to manage the employment brand, including their activity on Instagram. Instead of taking the traditional HR approach, Veronica Segovia created a separate Instagram careers account (@vocuscareers), specifically for the hiring side of the business. Segovia published a blog post announcing their presence on Instagram to both employees and candidates, which included guidelines on how employees could get involved. “We looked at Instagram as an opportunity to make contact with passive candidates, to show them that Vocus is a cool, fun, young company”, says Segovia.

But the question remains, can you really recruit candidates for a job through Instagram? The answer is yes, but it has to be a combined effort. Instagram is most effective as a complement to other social media channels – so it’s best if your company is already using other social media sites (as you should be!). Before launching the @vocuscareers Instagram account, the company had been actively brand building on other channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Images posted on Instagram can be repurposed for other corporate social profiles, such as the aforementioned, helping extend your reach. The real focus with Instagram should be on maintaining the image of your brand, which aids in the recruiting process by attracting people who want to be more familiar with your company.

So where do you start? We’ve put together an infographic below that outlines the ways that Instagram is most useful and how to use it properly for recruiting, employee engagement and brand building in 5 easy steps.

Recruiting-With-Instagram-WEB

Do you have an example of using Instagram to aid in your recruitment or employee engagement efforts? We would love to hear about it. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Written by Rachel Scott | Infographic by Tara Burt

(About the Author: Rachel Scott has a diverse background in advertising and communications that includes everything from working as a Research Assistant for the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology, working in the Public Relations department for CJSF 90.1 FM, to her most recent role as Marketing Assistant at Clevers Media, a marketing and consulting agency based in Vancouver, BC.

Currently Rachel is the Marketing and Content Manager at Boost Agents. Boost Agents brings together growing, forward thinking organizations and qualified creative, marketing and communications professionals through our timely and ethical process to make the perfect cultural fit. Whether you are a candidate (job seeker) looking to boost your career and need someone to help take you to the next level, or a client looking to grow your team, we’re excited to be part of the process with you.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Photo Credit: Twin design via bigstock

 

10 Social Media Resources To Advance Your Career

Knowing which social media resources to use and how to get the most from them can help during job hunting as well as for taking your career to the next level within your current organization. It’s not just about finding jobs using LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s more about getting the most out of learning opportunities, building your authority, enhancing your workplace productivity, external networking and last but not least job hunting.

Here are 10 star social media resources that can help you tackle all the activities mentioned above. Whether you’re actively looking for a job or not, establishing yourself as a thought-leader is important for all steps in your career ladder.

Learning Opportunities

  1. Ted Talks provides videos on informative and thought provoking talks from TED Conferences. The portal also has a section to engage in related ideas, questions and debates.

Key Benefit – Ted Talks are 18 minutes or shorter. All you need is a lunch break to keep growing your knowledge base.

  1. Slideshare’s your library of presentations, pdf’s, videos and webinars. It’s a crowdsourced solution for educating yourself with a diverse educational and professional community contributing material and sharing comments.

Key Benefit – Students, CEO’s and professional speakers all contribute content to Slideshare, providing information from all levels of the professional and educational worlds.

Building Your Authority

  1. Quora is a community of 1.5 million professionals answering business questions. Quora answers often get syndicated in major publications such as Forbes which helps build the author’s credibility.

Key Benefit – Quora answers typically get more exposure than a blog for personal branding.

  1. WordPress is a simple blogging solution with free templates and a community of bloggers to share content with. Suitable for professionals and newbies, WordPress lets you blog like a pro.

Key Benefit – Blogging helps you get clarity on your ideas by polishing them up.

Workplace Productivity

  1. Evernote can be considered as “Note taking on steroids”. You can sync between devices, add images and audio content, clip web pages – all of which lets team members share research and notes.

Key Benefit – Your ideas, research and notes will all be in one place rather than scattered across devices and applications.

  1. Asana’s aimed at those who are looking for an alternate to email for collaboration. It provides a way to manage tasks, get updates on progress and organize ideas, plans and deadlines all without email.

Key Benefit – By fully implementing Asana you can automatically segregate your business and personal life…digitally at least.

External Networking

  1. Twitter is a popular tool because it’s 140 character microblogging platform creates a low barrier for maintance. It has become a popular place to connect with influencers across all industries.

Key Benefit – You can have one-on-one conversations with recruiters even before you score the interview.

  1. LinkedIn Groups are like conference rooms where professionals of a certain industry or interest get together and talk. It’s a way to post updates, share news or add you own post links.

Key Benefit – A great way to advance your career is to be considered a thought leader in your field by becoming a well-known contributor to LinkedIn Groups.

Job Hunting

  1. DoYouBuzz starts job hunting on the right foot by helping you create a snazzy resume. It provides templates for creating CVs, storing them online, exporting .pdf versions and even provides statistics for premium users.

Key Benefit – Recruiters are overloaded with CV’s thus having a unique resume increases your chances of capturing their attention.

  1. BeKnown combines Monster job search with the ability to connect to professionals at their listed companies. It integrates with Facebook and keeps your business and professional connections separate.

Key Benefit – Sometimes all you need is a foot in the door to advance your career in a new organization…that’s exactly what BeKnown does.

What about you? What social media platforms do you think have been the most valuable in advancing your career? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

(About the Author: Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Managing Partner of Engage Consulting in Malaysia, Pakistan and U.A.E. He focuses on transforming top teams and managing talent across Asia’s emerging and frontier markets. Paul has a firm belief that outstanding results can only be achieved through people, by engaging teams and building commitment by creating a new paradigm between company and employee. Paul has delivered transformational interventions for more than 50 blue chip organizations in countries across Asia including Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Egypt, Korea, U.A.E. and India.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Employee Issues Increase HR Tech Demand [Infographic]

The past few #TChat shows have really dug deep into the concept and issues surrounding employee engagement. Every week we’ve asked what employee engagement truly means, and we’ve looked into numerous practices that can increase engagement and retain our talent. However, it’s time to dig a bit deeper into why employees aren’t being fully engaged.

Employee engagement is a complex concept, and many factors contribute to whether employees are disengaged or not. Employee relation issues like social media abuse and bullying are on the rise, and as these employee issues increase so does the need for HR tech like workplace investigation software to tackle these problems efficiently and effectively. HR Acuity compiled this infographic to demonstrate the need for employee relations management technology. Discover employee issues that have concerned organizations, like yours, over the past year and gain a new perspective that will benefit your risk management practices.

HR_Tech_Infographic

(About the Author: Deborah J. Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, a technology firm specializing in human resources applications like the HR Acuity On Demand family of applications. Muller brings more than 25 years of human resources and investigation experience to both the consulting practice and software development sides of the company.)

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Social Privacy: Workplace Myth Or Reality?

It’s no secret most of us either live on social media channels or have at least one profile available online.  It’s no surprise at all. So what is surprising about social media? Is it how we use it for entertainment? Building business leads? Or how recruiting has adopted talent acquisition through social networks like LinkedIn? It’s no longer a shocker that recruiters analyze our social media profiles and pass a quick assessment of whether or not we’re viable candidates. But the fun doesn’t stop there. The rabbit hole goes even deeper.

Organizations go as far as to monitor what your social activities online. It may never stop as the world becomes more socially invested. It’s eerie to think that your employer may be checking up on your “private life” on Facebook. There’s also the concern about what proprietary information is being freely clicked away or if any badmouthing of your company or employees is taking place.

Never the less, workplace privacy issues have to be dealt with. It’s a must these days.

Here are 5 suggestions:

1) Be careful before you check! There are multiple ways your employer can legally spy on you. Some organizations have tightened up their Internet usage polices. You need to read and understand what your organization’s rules are before you mistakenly violate any of them. It’s even gone as far as pressuring employees to sign strict policies that allow companies the legal right to access and monitor mobile devices.

2)   Have a firewall. You need to know where to draw the line. Employees need their privacy. It’s important and it matters to them. Nobody likes that big brother feeling. Drafting a lawful social media policy that maintains company goals and permit employee-protected activities.

3)  Be an example to all. Leaders need to set the tone. Engaging in social media means opening up, being transparent, and fostering communication to improve results. You don’t want to be an “oversharer” when conversing in social media, but you should show personality.

4)   Keep it cool. Social media and people are becoming one. Technology allows us to emerge ourselves into this giant digital world of social connectivity. It’s meant to be fun, engaging, and insightful. Don’t let company guidelines destroy the influential power it can have.

5)   The truth will set you free. Don’t let things go unsaid if you’ve done something that breaks company policy. This goes for employers and employees. It’s possible someone will make a mistake and break a social media rule. The best thing you can do is say what’s happened and move forward as quickly as possible.

Rules are changing. Privacy no longer has the same meaning as it once did. New boundaries have risen and it’s important to know where they lie.

 

Photo cred: BigStockPhoto

Social Influence and Your Brand: Connecting the Dots [Webinar]

“Don’t try to invent a tribe. Show up to lead one that exists.”
Seth Godin

Today’s hyper-connected digital world has opened the door to a whole new era in brand development.

Employers, HR professionals and job hunters, alike, are rapidly embracing digital channels to elevate their market presence and amplify their share of voice.

With proactive players setting a torrid pace, no one can afford to stay on the social media sidelines. But social networking doesn’t guarantee influence — and activity without strategy can put a brand at risk.

Join the Experts

So how do you create a digital brand roadmap that makes the most sense for your goals? What’s the best way to ignite your social agenda? And how do you measure its impact?

If you’re looking for expert guidance, you won’t want to miss this very special webinar event:

“Using Social Insights to Build Your Brand”
February 27, at 2pm Eastern Time / 11am Pacific Time.

LeadTail webinar CTATalentCulture founder, Meghan M. Biro will join forces with the social marketing and insights specialists at Leadtail to talk about how top HR and recruiting influencers are driving market awareness and engagement through social channels.

You’ll learn how social media best practices can move your brand forward and how data-based insights can inform your strategy.

For example, the session will focus on questions like these:

What elements define a personal brand?
Why are social channels ideal for brand building?
Who influences the HR and recruiting community today — and how?
How can you successfully apply these social techniques?

In addition, Meghan will reveal how she has leveraged social media to become one of the most recognized experts in the HR and recruiting space.

“Social channels have created a phenomenal opportunity to reach, engage and influence all the constituents a brand must touch — business allies, customers, prospects and employees,” Meghan says. “I’m excited to team-up with Leadtail, as we empower brands to expand their connections and strengthen their business relationships.”

Throughout the webinar, attendees are invited to join members of the TalentCulture community on Twitter, as we share ideas and questions using the #TChat hashtag.

Don’t miss this dynamic informative event! Register now, and join us February 27th.

Participating Organizations

Learn more about Leadtail, and connect with @Leadtail on Twitter.
Learn more about TalentCulture, and connect with @TalentCulture on Twitter.

Register now for this webinar: Using Social Insights to Build Your Brand.

Image Credit: Pixabay

How to Build Your Network Without Burning Out

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. The following is the last post she contributed to our blog, only 10 days earlier. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all.)

The unthinkable happened during the first week in January.

TalentCulture CEO Meghan M. Biro had gone missing. She hadn’t returned a tweet from me for more than three days. Unheard of, I tell you.

Naturally, I was concerned about her well-being. I actually considered contacting Boston area hospitals. But instead, I did what any good friend would do. Resorting to an antiquated strategy, I picked up the phone and called her.

“Seriously Judy, I’m taking a break. I don’t want to burn out,” Meghan told me.

“What? A break from your BFF?” I almost blurted. Then, a calm washed over me, and instead I said, “Good for you.”

This sparked a conversation about how busy professionals like us can continue growing and navigating our social networks without compromising our stress levels. Connection and communication have taken on new importance in today’s 24/7 world of work. Those who manage the energy and minimize the stress are able to stay ahead of the competition, and sustain high performance. But it’s not easy.

Everyone manages a social network differently. It’s an intimate and personal process. We all have close connections with whom we can exchange ideas and openly vent. That’s typically not a burden on our time and attention. But in this era of digital exuberance, our social circles are growing rapidly. We need to find the signal in our niche, while filtering out the noise of a much broader network. Keeping pace requires a strategy:

8 Tips to Reduce Stress In The Face of Digital Exuberance

1) Schedule Social Sessions: Timing is everything. And quality time counts. When does your network naturally buzz with activity? If you’re a rock star, you might be inclined to check Twitter in the late evening, but if you’re into talent management and business news like me, you’re probably trolling Twitter from 7-8 a.m. Instead of trying to pay attention 24/7, pick one or two intervals each a day to dip into the stream. Don’t just “fly by” with retweets — really dive in and engage in conversations that build relationships. But when your scheduled time is up, move on. Eventually, you’ll adjust to an established rhythm, and so will those in your inner circles.

2) Take Breathing Breaks: Twitter and Facebook interactions can become surprisingly intense. Periodically, take 5 minutes to literally sit back and just follow your breath. Close your eyes, or look away from the screen. Simply being aware of how you are breathing helps regulate cortisol, the “stress-producing” hormone. Count as you inhale – one, two, three. Then hold your breath for several seconds, and exhale to the count of three. Better managing stress “in the moment” gives you more energy later, when you may need to tap into your reserves.

3) Stand Up and Stretch: Once in a while just walk away. Yes, leave the computer behind. This is important to get blood circulating in your body, which delivers more oxygen to your brain. If you prefer not to stand, push your chair away from the desk. Inhale and raise your arms above your head, clasping your hands in a “steeple” position. Look up and gaze at your hands for several moments. Then exhale slowly while your hands float gradually back down to your sides. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to shift back into business gear.

4) Hum with Purpose: That’s right — make noise. Humming actually calms the mind and body. It’s an ancient yogic technique that helps focus attention prior to meditation. The sound reverberates in your skull, and helps your brain rewire your attention. Here’s how: Plug your ears with your fingers and inhale deeply. Pause. Then as you exhale, hum for the reminder of the “out breath.” Repeat two more times. If you feel dizzy, stop. But ideally, it will help release tension and help you focus.

5) Let Filtering Tools Work for You: Sometimes we need to look beyond human behavior for help. If we opened every link that came our way we’d never sleep. Aggregation tools help consolidate and organize the chaos — news sources, blog posts, and other information sources of interest. I’ve set up Google alerts to deliver breaking news on keywords that matter most to me. For less critical topics, I receive news feeds once a week. You can use Hootsuite, Buffer Tweetdeck and Aggregation tools and dashboards to identify relevant content and create a delivery schedule that works for you.

6) Harness Hashtags: Hashtags are the fastest way to share and find relevant information on Twitter. For example, professionals who participate in the TalentCulture community share HR and business leadership knowledge by adding the #TChat hashtag to their tweets. At any moment, anyone can search for #TChat, to see the community’s latest tweets. It’s like round-the-clock access to the most popular human resources conversation on the planet. If you follow a hashtag like #TChat in your Twitter dashboard, you’ll quickly and easily find helpful peers, ideas and advice. Also, when you schedule Twitter posts, be sure to add hashtags that reflect your area of expertise. Your posts will reach people in your niche, even when you’re offline.

7) Leverage Human Relationships: Sometimes, all of us need to unplug for several days or more. When you do, plan ahead. Just because you’ll be off the grid doesn’t mean your networking must come to a standstill. Reach out to several people in your immediate network. Let them know that you’re taking a break, and ask for a little extra support in sharing your work on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — wherever you’re most active. You can even form ongoing support alliances and develop common “social back-up” guidelines. Just remember, you’re not alone.

8) Create a FOMO Free Zone: Perhaps the most important advice I can offer is to honor your social self. Competitive pressure shouldn’t drive your social brand development. Don’t let yourself become obsessed with how other people behave on social channels, or about whether volume or frequency of their activity trumps your own efforts. Whatever your message is, you’ll succeed when you deliver it through your own lens, with your own voice, to an audience that is naturally interested in you. Forget #FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!

Of course, even with healthy habits, it often feels like we’re networking at the speed of light. But hopefully these tips help you slow the pace a bit, focus on what matters, and generate more energy to fuel your social success.

Do you have tips for reducing stress and improving productivity in the age of social networking? What techniques and tools work for you? Share your ideas in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Community: A Brand’s Most Powerful Friend

Perhaps nothing drives a brand forward more than its community.

An estimated 55% of consumers are willing to recommend companies that deliver great experiences, and 85% are willing to pay a premium for great services. But who are the “people” making those recommendations and purchasing decisions?

They’re members of your community, right?

I’m certain that if I asked every CMO and marketing leader I know to describe their brand community, I would get a different answer from each. “Community” is a subjective concept, with wide varying definitions.

Community-Influencing-Buyer-BehaviorThere are also wide variations in how brands are seen, heard and felt by their respective communities. How deeply does a community feel connected to a brand?

For instance, think about Apple and its community. Apple gets attention because its brand recognition is extraordinary. But have you considered the powerful impact that Apple’s community has had on the success of the brand?

To demonstrate my point, think of the last conversation you’ve had with an “Apple fan” about the company, its products or its competitors. What did that conversation sound like?

If your experience is anything like mine, the conversation was probably wonderful, as long as you agreed about how wonderful Apple and its products are. However, if you dared to question the quality of Apple’s products, ideas or ability to innovate, you no doubt soon realized that you had crossed into enemy territory.

Those kind of conversations are a lot like telling your child that Santa isn’t real — only worse. But it speaks highly of the Apple community.

What is the catalyst for Apple’s insanely powerful connection with its community?

By-in-large, Apple doesn’t behave like a “nouveau” social company, so they’re not building their brand army through Facebook and Twitter. But it has brought together a passionate, global community by creating a sense of “belonging” that customers feel deeply when they use Apple products.

The iconic Apple slogan, “Think Different” epitomizes its cult-like following. On any given day at Starbucks around the world, people who want to be seen as broad-minded, creative thinkers are often found hovering over a Macbook — almost as if the presence of an Apple product is synonymous with their identity.

For Apple, this works. Through a customer experience focused on the idea that being different and innovative is “cool,” Apple has built one of the tightest brand communities on and off the web. But of course, Apple is a huge, established company, with a massive budget for community development. It leads me to wonder — how can other brands, smaller brands, newer brands tap into the power of community?

Not Just Community — A Close Community

Think about the neighborhood where you grew up. What was it like? Was it urban or rural? Were there many houses or just a few? Did you know your neighbors, or were they merely passing strangers?

Regardless of their shape, size and geography, most neighborhoods provide some sense of community. However, all neighborhoods aren’t the same. In my hometown, there was a “Community Center” — a place where folks from the neighborhood would congregate, connect and discuss issues affecting the area.

In that kind of environment, as citizens drew closer, the more they worked together to get things done — for example installing a stop sign where kids played in the street, and passing a referendum to build a new school. Over the years, as traditional urban settings gave way to modern models, subdivisions often created a community “on purpose,” with a Neighborhood Watch, a Board of Directors, and sometimes even a pool and recreation center.

This intentional approach to community brings stakeholders closer, by making neighborhood issues and events more visible, and helping community participants see the impact of their involvement.

Building a Brand Community Like a Neighborhood

When you boil it down to its simplest form, a community is the sum total of your brand stakeholders. I say stakeholder (rather than customer) because many people can participate in a brand community, beyond those who purchase a company’s products and services.

First, there are obvious extensions, such as employees and friends. Also, there are less obvious community players, such as those who are interested in learning more about your products and services, but may not have an immediate need to buy.

Let’s use automobiles as an example.

In 1995, when I was 14, my favorite car in the whole world was the new Pontiac Grand Prix. It had just been redesigned as a “wide track” model, and as a 14 year old, I thought it was one bad machine. However, at 14, I wasn’t legally or financially able to buy a car.

Four years later, I had scraped together all the loose change from under the sofa cushions, and I was ready to buy a car. Guess what I bought? The Grand Prix! That’s because I had emotionally tied myself to the brand, the car, and the community. When I was ready to purchase, it wasn’t even a question who would earn my business.

While my story is just one example, this type of brand loyalty exists with everything from the food we eat to the blue jeans we wear, and beyond. When people become a part of something, their purchasing sentiment changes. And guess what? So does the way they evangelize for your product. You think someone that likes your product is a good ambassador. Just think of someone who recently bought your product and likes it! That is another great frontier for brand building.

Which takes us back to building a close-knit community. It requires a setting for cultivation and nurturing. Much like a neighborhood — only different — to suit the needs of the brand and its community.

Community in the Connected World

If you think about the neighborhood example, you’ll likely think that a good community is small, tight knit, and somewhat directionally aligned.

But in the new world — the connected world where we manage communities on our blog, Facebook, Twitter and what seems like a million other places — the idea of community can become overwhelming. That’s because the “massiveness” of the online sphere is hard for many marketers to imagine in meaningful terms.

This can lead marketers to make some key community-building mistakes:

1) They aim too large: Mere numbers (pageviews, visits, likes, followers) aren’t relationships;
2) They don’t engage: Communicating with a “faceless” digital community can seem like a daunting task;
3) They miss out: Online communities are a powerful way to build influential brand advocates, but sometimes inaction takes over when brands don’t know where to start.When-Communities-Fail-

While these mistakes are typical, they can be avoided with a few common-sense tactics:

1) Aim for relevance: Rather than shooting for a large community, start by aiming for those that are most likely to buy your product/service now or in the near future. Also, with online networks (especially social networks), research where your target audience invests its time, and go there first!

2) Engage more than you promote: Share your stories, ideas and information, but make sure you allow the community to become part of the conversation. Ask more questions. Build more testimonials and case studies. Invite participation.

3) Start: Even if your “start” is small, don’t miss the opportunity to build a community by putting your head in the sand.Making-Communities-Succeed

Remember: Building A Community Can Take Time

Apple has an amazing community of insanely loyal brand advocates. It also nearly crashed and burned on multiple occasions, and was saved by innovation that focused on consumption of music on a tiny MP3 player. For other companies, community takes time and work to build.

This starts at the core — building products and services that your customers can love. It also may include places for customers to congregate and talk about how they put your products to use.

On the flip side, community building also requires brands to acknowledge shortcomings and respond transparently when things go poorly. Think about what Target and Snap Chat will need to invest in rebuilding brand confidence after recent security breaches. Neither of these incidents was intentional, but trust was lost, and recovery will take time and monumental effort.

However, there is a certain beauty in community. When you build it, nurture it and engage with it, your community will tend to stand by your brand in good times and in bad. While never perfect — like your family, your neighborhood or your city — your brand community is one of the most powerful tools in the connected world.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore or underestimate the power of your community!

(Editor’s Note: Republished from Millennial CEO, with permission, this is an excerpt from “The New Rules of Customer Engagement,” a new ebook by Dan Newman, available Spring 2014. )

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Texas A&M

Community: A Brand's Most Powerful Friend

Perhaps nothing drives a brand forward more than its community.

An estimated 55% of consumers are willing to recommend companies that deliver great experiences, and 85% are willing to pay a premium for great services. But who are the “people” making those recommendations and purchasing decisions?

They’re members of your community, right?

I’m certain that if I asked every CMO and marketing leader I know to describe their brand community, I would get a different answer from each. “Community” is a subjective concept, with wide varying definitions.

Community-Influencing-Buyer-BehaviorThere are also wide variations in how brands are seen, heard and felt by their respective communities. How deeply does a community feel connected to a brand?

For instance, think about Apple and its community. Apple gets attention because its brand recognition is extraordinary. But have you considered the powerful impact that Apple’s community has had on the success of the brand?

To demonstrate my point, think of the last conversation you’ve had with an “Apple fan” about the company, its products or its competitors. What did that conversation sound like?

If your experience is anything like mine, the conversation was probably wonderful, as long as you agreed about how wonderful Apple and its products are. However, if you dared to question the quality of Apple’s products, ideas or ability to innovate, you no doubt soon realized that you had crossed into enemy territory.

Those kind of conversations are a lot like telling your child that Santa isn’t real — only worse. But it speaks highly of the Apple community.

What is the catalyst for Apple’s insanely powerful connection with its community?

By-in-large, Apple doesn’t behave like a “nouveau” social company, so they’re not building their brand army through Facebook and Twitter. But it has brought together a passionate, global community by creating a sense of “belonging” that customers feel deeply when they use Apple products.

The iconic Apple slogan, “Think Different” epitomizes its cult-like following. On any given day at Starbucks around the world, people who want to be seen as broad-minded, creative thinkers are often found hovering over a Macbook — almost as if the presence of an Apple product is synonymous with their identity.

For Apple, this works. Through a customer experience focused on the idea that being different and innovative is “cool,” Apple has built one of the tightest brand communities on and off the web. But of course, Apple is a huge, established company, with a massive budget for community development. It leads me to wonder — how can other brands, smaller brands, newer brands tap into the power of community?

Not Just Community — A Close Community

Think about the neighborhood where you grew up. What was it like? Was it urban or rural? Were there many houses or just a few? Did you know your neighbors, or were they merely passing strangers?

Regardless of their shape, size and geography, most neighborhoods provide some sense of community. However, all neighborhoods aren’t the same. In my hometown, there was a “Community Center” — a place where folks from the neighborhood would congregate, connect and discuss issues affecting the area.

In that kind of environment, as citizens drew closer, the more they worked together to get things done — for example installing a stop sign where kids played in the street, and passing a referendum to build a new school. Over the years, as traditional urban settings gave way to modern models, subdivisions often created a community “on purpose,” with a Neighborhood Watch, a Board of Directors, and sometimes even a pool and recreation center.

This intentional approach to community brings stakeholders closer, by making neighborhood issues and events more visible, and helping community participants see the impact of their involvement.

Building a Brand Community Like a Neighborhood

When you boil it down to its simplest form, a community is the sum total of your brand stakeholders. I say stakeholder (rather than customer) because many people can participate in a brand community, beyond those who purchase a company’s products and services.

First, there are obvious extensions, such as employees and friends. Also, there are less obvious community players, such as those who are interested in learning more about your products and services, but may not have an immediate need to buy.

Let’s use automobiles as an example.

In 1995, when I was 14, my favorite car in the whole world was the new Pontiac Grand Prix. It had just been redesigned as a “wide track” model, and as a 14 year old, I thought it was one bad machine. However, at 14, I wasn’t legally or financially able to buy a car.

Four years later, I had scraped together all the loose change from under the sofa cushions, and I was ready to buy a car. Guess what I bought? The Grand Prix! That’s because I had emotionally tied myself to the brand, the car, and the community. When I was ready to purchase, it wasn’t even a question who would earn my business.

While my story is just one example, this type of brand loyalty exists with everything from the food we eat to the blue jeans we wear, and beyond. When people become a part of something, their purchasing sentiment changes. And guess what? So does the way they evangelize for your product. You think someone that likes your product is a good ambassador. Just think of someone who recently bought your product and likes it! That is another great frontier for brand building.

Which takes us back to building a close-knit community. It requires a setting for cultivation and nurturing. Much like a neighborhood — only different — to suit the needs of the brand and its community.

Community in the Connected World

If you think about the neighborhood example, you’ll likely think that a good community is small, tight knit, and somewhat directionally aligned.

But in the new world — the connected world where we manage communities on our blog, Facebook, Twitter and what seems like a million other places — the idea of community can become overwhelming. That’s because the “massiveness” of the online sphere is hard for many marketers to imagine in meaningful terms.

This can lead marketers to make some key community-building mistakes:

1) They aim too large: Mere numbers (pageviews, visits, likes, followers) aren’t relationships;
2) They don’t engage: Communicating with a “faceless” digital community can seem like a daunting task;
3) They miss out: Online communities are a powerful way to build influential brand advocates, but sometimes inaction takes over when brands don’t know where to start.When-Communities-Fail-

While these mistakes are typical, they can be avoided with a few common-sense tactics:

1) Aim for relevance: Rather than shooting for a large community, start by aiming for those that are most likely to buy your product/service now or in the near future. Also, with online networks (especially social networks), research where your target audience invests its time, and go there first!

2) Engage more than you promote: Share your stories, ideas and information, but make sure you allow the community to become part of the conversation. Ask more questions. Build more testimonials and case studies. Invite participation.

3) Start: Even if your “start” is small, don’t miss the opportunity to build a community by putting your head in the sand.Making-Communities-Succeed

Remember: Building A Community Can Take Time

Apple has an amazing community of insanely loyal brand advocates. It also nearly crashed and burned on multiple occasions, and was saved by innovation that focused on consumption of music on a tiny MP3 player. For other companies, community takes time and work to build.

This starts at the core — building products and services that your customers can love. It also may include places for customers to congregate and talk about how they put your products to use.

On the flip side, community building also requires brands to acknowledge shortcomings and respond transparently when things go poorly. Think about what Target and Snap Chat will need to invest in rebuilding brand confidence after recent security breaches. Neither of these incidents was intentional, but trust was lost, and recovery will take time and monumental effort.

However, there is a certain beauty in community. When you build it, nurture it and engage with it, your community will tend to stand by your brand in good times and in bad. While never perfect — like your family, your neighborhood or your city — your brand community is one of the most powerful tools in the connected world.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore or underestimate the power of your community!

(Editor’s Note: Republished from Millennial CEO, with permission, this is an excerpt from “The New Rules of Customer Engagement,” a new ebook by Dan Newman, available Spring 2014. )

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Texas A&M

2014: Year of the Social Employer Brand Ambassador

We already know that social media is extremely powerful for business communication. Essentially, anyone with an internet connection has the potential to cultivate and grow a brand. Corporate brand, product brand, personal brand, employer brand — the possibilities are limitless.

It’s as easy as flipping on a light switch! Well maybe not that easy, but social channels have blown traditional media out of the water, and there’s no going back.

Of course, with its potential to drive brand development, social proliferation can also have a huge impact on talent acquisition and retention. How does that work? The idea in leveraging social media to grow a brand is through a fan base that we call “brand ambassadors.” Collectively, your ambassador group functions like a marketing and promotional team that amplifies the message for whatever it is that you’re trying to sell — products, services, yourself or your organization.

Employer Brand Ambassadors: What’s the Challenge?

If you’re an employer, which audience should be your biggest, most important source of brand ambassadors? Customers? Industry thought leaders? Local media outlets? Nope — it’s your employees. But do organizations currently view employees this way? Based on my experience in working with HR executives, I struggle to say yes.

We know that social media instantly connects you with the online world, and the most effective way to grow an employer brand is through social media channels — Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, blogs, Instagram, Pinterest — the list goes on. So ideally, if employees are your prime brand ambassadors, and social media is the best way to grow your brand, you should be able to say that, when your employees interact with others on social channels, they’re effectively promoting your organization as a great place to work.

Are you confident making that claim? Unfortunately for most employers, the answer seems to be NO!

Enter My Bold Prediction for 2014

With the holiday season upon us, we’re seeing our share of blog posts about HR Technology predictions for 2014. One of many good reads is from Craig Bryant at the TLNT blog, “5 Predictions for Where HR Technology is Going in 2014.

My key prediction is a tad bold, but here goes: I think that organizations are ready to give their employees the right tools, so they can easily represent the company as brand ambassadors on social media. In other words, employers will actively explore and implement cloud-based solutions that make it simple for employees to curate and share high-quality, on-brand content with their connections.

Why Does This Shift Matter?

The biggest barrier organizations face when integrating social media across business functions is the inability to ensure a consistent, coherent brand message and voice. It’s about mitigating risk and ensuring that employee social media activity creates a net positive impact, and doesn’t result in PR fiascos. (Case in point: HMV employees react to firing on Twitter.)

Organizations that figure out how to remove these barriers so employees can comfortably operate as employer brand ambassadors will see huge gains in all facets of their business. Think about it — if your company has 500 employees, and each employee has an average social media network of 300 people, that’s a direct network of 150,000. All of these 150,000 connections have a network of their own, so before you know it, you’re reaching millions — all because you enabled your inner circle.

Mark my words: 2014 will be a watershed year of “employee enablement.” Organizations will gain momentum by creating and supporting brand ambassadors who come from within their ranks.

There are very few players in this space, but watch for momentum in the year ahead. You’ll want to look at platforms like PostBeyond, Jostle and EveryoneSocial to see how they help organizations support employees as brand ambassadors. Fasten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen, 2014 is going to be a milestone year for social HR business tools!

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Going Social: Learning In Action #TChat Recap

“Learning is more effective when it is active rather than a passive process.”
– Euripides

One of the most active learning environments I know is #TChat.

In fact, sometimes it’s truly hyper-active, as the TalentCulture community meets on the Twitter stream to exchange ideas about the world of work. That’s certainly how it felt this week, as we gathered to celebrate three years of #TChat events and continuous online knowledge sharing.

It was fitting that our conversation focused on social learning. And it was equally fitting to welcome an HR executive who’s responsible for (among many other things) leveraging social tools and techniques to foster learning across her fast-paced, global organization.

Our guest this week was Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite. And the insights she shared on #TChat Radio are instructive for any organization striving to elevate its learning culture.

(Editor’s Note: See full event highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

Social Workplace: Learning Everywhere

As social media weaves itself deeper into daily life, organizations are searching for effective ways to blend social behaviors with learning methodology. There are good reasons for all the interest.

Social channels remove the hierarchy found in most organizations. With traditional roles de-emphasized, everyone has more freedom to contribute, interact, experiment and develop personally and professionally. It’s collaboration at its best. When organizations channel this collective energy, there’s great potential to boost innovation and business performance.

However, many companies are still only testing the waters in their cultural commitment to social learning. Twitter chats such as #TChat provide a low-risk model outside organizational walls; bringing together experts and talent-minded professionals to discuss today’s workplace — what works, what doesn’t, and how to address key issues.

#TChat: Social Learning Slice Of Life

As #TChat proves, social tools and techniques are an attractive way to develop and sustain learning communities. The immediacy, flexibility and availability of social media make it possible for people with common interests to connect and contribute easily in real-time, from all corners of the globe.

Imagine the possibilities when this approach is applied within organizations! Employees feel more appreciated and valued for their input. Engagement increases. And employers signal a commitment to employee development and growth. It’s a win-win. Companies gain a more engaged, productive workforce, and in turn, employees are challenged and become more competent.

This is why I look forward to many more wonderful years for #TChat and TalentCulture — an open, ongoing learning environment that is helping us all shape the world of work for the better!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Online Communities and Professional Growth

Kevin Grossman Tim McDonald TChat (2)

Watch the #TChat hangout now

SAT 11/16:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Editorial Director, Kathleen Kruse framed this week’s topic in a post that features a special 3rd Anniversary #TChat hangout video with co-founder, Kevin W. Grossman. Read the Preview: “We’re Turning Three! Let’s Celebrate Community.”

SUN 11/17:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at 7 ways leaders can foster a high-octane social workplace culture. Read: “7 Characteristics of a Social Leader.”

MON 11/18 — THU 11/21

Related Posts:
Read: “What Drives Social Influence? Insights From Recruiting Circles” by Carter Hostelley
Read: “#TChat Road Trip: Going to the Next Level Together” by Meghan M. Biro
Read: “Community Heart + Soul: #TChat Favorites” by Kevin W. Grossman

WED 11/20:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guest Ambrosia Humphrey , VP HR at HootSuite, about why and how organizations benefit by committing to social learning initiatives. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and team Hootsuite joined the entire TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as I moderated an open conversation that centered on 5 related questions. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: The Growth of Online Learning

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/from-the-virtual-wilds-the-growth-of-online-learni.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Ambrosia Humphrey for sharing your perspectives on social learning and organizational culture. We value your time, enthusiasm and expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about social learning in the workplace? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat Events go quiet, as we celebrate the Thanksgiving week in the U.S. However, we’ll be back on December 4th, with a special double-header, featuring two of our community’s most beloved HR experts, Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers! Look for more details next weekend.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream,  our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Community Heart + Soul: #TChat Favorites

When loss blots out all other light, that’s when the stars around you shine the brightest.

It’s counterintuitive, I know. The times when life is bleakest, what you’ve sown is reaped in the form of torches guiding you through the blackest labyrinth.

This time last year was tough for me, having lost my father in July and then my mother in December. Both were very ill, and it took quite a toll on me, my family, and my world of work. This included my usually dedicated participation in the TalentCulture community and #TChat Events.

There’s a kindhearted warming that can occur in times of desperation and need — like coming in from a freezing rain to thaw in front of a fire, surrounded by supportive family and friends. This reciprocal positive power moves us into lighted places, into rebirth, into healing, into growth, into bettering ourselves so we can better others, in turn. The economics are simple and powerful. Yet, they require transparency, authenticity, trust and love — essential elements that cynics squash like bugs underfoot.

Healing Power: Community To The Rescue

Thank goodness for the light (as we watch the bugs scurry into hiding – or their metamorphosis into believers). This uplifting energy is the heart of community — and the heart of community is you.

We see community spirit at work time and again, when help mobilizes after global disasters, disease, war, and injustice — or simply when we grant a child one magical wish. (Here’s to all Batkids in the world!) It’s okay to get good news once and a while, you know?

TChat_logo_colorAfter this rally from my greater Northern California community last weekend, I was uplifted. And coming on the eve of #TChat’s 3rd anniversary, it reminded me of the mutual support that comes from within our TalentCulture community — through bad times and good.

That’s one of the most powerful aspects of online communities like ours. They spring from the wild, virtual earth, in many different forms. They’re often vibrant and complex, even in their simplicity. Their roots are nurtured by the diverse individuals who come to learn, network, share and support one another around relevant topics, both personal and professional.

That’s what #TChat has become since its founding. The proof is evident after 150 Twitter chats, and 50 radio shows in the past year alone.

The first #TChat occurred on November 16, 2010, and the topic was emotional intelligence, which seems appropriate, since most of the time we try to be self-aware and manage our emotions — whether we agree with one another or not. Trust and mutual positive regard are just as important in our community interactions as they are in the larger world of work.

Best of #TChat

Since then, my favorite #TChat events include all of them. Although it’s tough to choose, I’ll list just 15 here that stand out:

  1. Moving, Schooling, and Finding Your Voice
  2. Community Beginning the Social Revolution
  3. Performance Reviews: Like Bad High School Movies
  4. IRL Networking Is Face-to-Face, not F2F
  5. Freelancers Make Better Business Biscuits
  6. Hobbits, Jedis, Fealty and the World of Work
  7. Getting Workplace Recognition Right
  8. Real Brands Humanize
  9. The Business of Talent: Magic?
  10. Office Space: Work in Progress
  11. Open Leadership: Going Deep
  12. HR Data: What Really Counts?
  13. 101 Ways To Save The Day With A Paperclip
  14. Engagement As Energy: #TChat Lessons From #HRTechConf
  15. Mobile Hiring Hits The Fast Lane

I’m so excited that #TChat continues to break new ground as one of the largest and longest-running online learning and networking communities in the “world of work.” A very special thanks to the thousands of loyal participants who have participated during the past three years.

And a very special thank you to those who keep the weekly wheels of #TChat turning each week:

New To #TChat? We’re Just Getting Started

If you’ve only just discovered #TChat, welcome!

The TalentCulture (#TChat) Community is an open online network of business leaders and innovators, human resource and recruiting executives, organizational development and learning professionals, HR technology vendors, industry consultants, job seekers and more who collectively create, curate, crowd source and share timely “world of work” news and information critical for all professionals to grow and succeed in business today.

And that means you and you and you and you…

What’s your role in the TalentCulture Community? Just as it’s always been since the beginning:

Sharing your real world expertise and candid perspectives.
Actively participating with others in expanding the depth and breadth of your reach.
Contributing as much as you benefit.

The conversation starts…wait for it…here!

This is an exciting milestone for #TChat — and we have all of YOU across our wonderful community to thank. So thank you again. We look forward to moving forward with you all!

Image Credit: Pixabay

What Drives Social Influence? Insights From Recruiting Circles

Written by Carter J. Hostelley, CEO, Leadtail

Marketers change jobs a lot. So every few months I hear from someone who’s job hunting again. Typically, we get together to grab coffee and chat about their situation. And at some point, they ask, “Hey, are there any recruiters you’d recommend I talk to?”

Now, imagine you’re an executive recruiter sitting nearby and listening in. Wouldn’t you like to pull up a chair and join our conversation? Sure you would. And maybe you’d also wonder how to influence me, so that I recommended you.

Social Listening Isn’t Enough

These days, you don’t need to hang out at coffee shops to listen in. You can just tap into your favorite social media news feed to discover what’s being discussed and shared at any moment. But pretty quickly you’ll get overwhelmed. Why? Because you don’t know which conversations to join, whom to engage, and how to influence them.

Without context, social listening isn’t helpful. To make social media more relevant and actionable, you need to tune-out ambient noise. In other words, you need to move from social listening to social insights.

Case In Point: How Do Recruiters Engage on Twitter?

Let’s say you’re an executive recruiter who wants to know what other recruiters are up to on social media. Or maybe you work for a company that sells to recruiters. In either case, you’re looking for social insights about recruiting professionals.

That’s exactly what ERE.net asked my company to do recently. So we developed a report: How Recruiters Engage on Twitter. It summarizes how 557 North American recruiters participated, engaged, and were influenced on Twitter, from June-August 2013. During that time, our sample of  recruiters generated 173,903 tweets, 106,343 shared links, and had a total of 1,533,429 followers.

Why look at Twitter activity? Because it’s a good proxy for social media behavior overall, and offers an advantage over other data sources (such as surveys, polls and focus groups), because it reveals what people actually do, versus what they say they do.

Leadtail Chart Social Influence (2)For example, here’s a visual representation of the people who are most retweeted by recruiters we analyzed:

This report also provides other useful social insights, including: most popular hashtags, most shared content sources, and the top 25 industry publications shared by these recruiters.

Best Practices of Top Influencers

Exclusively for this post, we dove even deeper into Twitter activity among the five people who influence recruiters most. They are:

@MeghanMBiro — Meghan Biro, Founder & CEO, TalentCulture
@blogging4jobs — Jessica Merrell, Editor of Blogging4Jobs
@jimstroud — Jim Stroud, Director of Sourcing and Social Strategy, Bernard Hodes Group
@YouTernMark — Mark Babbitt, Founder & CEO, YouTern
@GlenCathey — Glen Cathey, SVP Talent Strategy and Innovation, Kforce

What did we discover by examining the behavior of this elite group?

•  Influencers tweet a LOT. 4 out of 5 of these top influencers tweet 15+ times a day. (Meghan blows them all away, with an average 107 tweets/day!)

•  Influencers develop a “brand” of their own. Each top influencer has a style and focus that’s unique. For instance, @JimStroud focuses on social recruiting and job search strategy, while @GlenCathey’s approach is decidedly more tech-and-data driven.

•  Influencers don’t lean on retweets. All 5 of the top influencers go light on the RT, keeping them to less than 15% of overall tweet volume. Instead, they share lots of links and often mention other folks.

•  Influencers embrace the community. 3 out of 5 of these influencers will most likely follow you back (they follow 70%+ of those who follow them), and 4 out of 5 include an “@” mention in most of their tweets.

•  Influencers tweet with a goal in mind. Whether it’s to get the word out about their next event, to sell their services, or to grow their audience, these folks tweet links that drive traffic to their other online channels (websites, other social media sites, etc.) 10%-50% of the time.

While these “best practices” come from observing the Twitter activity of only 5 key influencers, they also provide insights into how you may want to consider approaching Twitter and social media to boost your influence.

Tips To Increase Your Social Influence

How can you move from social listening to social insights (and perhaps have an impact on the right people)? Here are 5 tips:

•  Listen to your target audience. Who cares what anyone and everyone is saying? Instead, listen to what’s on the minds of customers, prospects, and key influencers.
•  Be where the right conversations are happening. So many social networks, so little time! Invest your efforts in the social platforms where your target audience is active.
•  Talk about relevant topics. What issues, news, and events have captured the attention of the folks you’re looking to engage? Shouldn’t you be talking about that, too?
•  Discover who’s doing the influencing. Which publications and people do your buyers read, share and interact with? Pay attention to who is popular and influential, and how they engage.
•  Work the aisles. Just being present in social media is not enough. You must cultivate relationships with a community that you develop over time. Eventually, you’ll be in a position to influence those who matter most to you.

Now, imagine we’re back in that coffee shop, where you’re listening to my conversation with my marketing colleague. Let’s say you decide to introduce yourself. Wouldn’t it be great if I said, “Thanks for coming over, I actually follow you on Twitter! I love your comments and the content you share.”? That means you’ve done a great job of influencing me, before our conversation even begins!

Now It’s Your Turn

How are you generating social insights today? What strategies have you found successful in becoming more influential on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

Carter Hostelley (2)(About the Author: Carter Hostelley is the Founder and CEO of Leadtail, a B2B social media and insights agency. He and his team have developed and implemented social media programs for leading business brands and technology startups including WageWorks, Alcatel-Lucent, Symantec, Adaptive Planning, NetBase, and PunchTab. They also publish periodic social insights reports on senior marketers, HR professionals, and recruiters. These reports have been covered by publications such as: Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, ERE, MarketingProfs, AllTwitter, and Social Times. Carter also has over 15 years experience working with venture-backed technology startups in numerous executive roles, and is a contributing author at CMSWire. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.)

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome for events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

We're Turning Three! Let's Celebrate Community #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for complete highlights and reference links for the week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: Going Social: Learning In Action.)

What does #TChat mean to you?

To me, it’s so much more than metrics. But the numbers do tell a story of their own…

#TChat By The Numbers

3 years
100+ radio shows and hangout video interviews
150+ high-intensity Twitter chats
550+ blog posts
1 simple goal

Those of us who plan and produce #TChat social learning forums hope that TalentCulture community events educate, energize and enrich everyone who participates. We’re grateful for your involvement — which educates, energizes and enriches us all, in return.

This metaphor for the social workplace isn’t just a random fluke of Twitter nature. It’s an intentional human exchange that continuously flows and shifts in ways that are now bigger than the sum of its parts. Still, each of us is an essential element — with a unique voice that adds depth and texture to the fabric of our talent-minded “tribe.”

#TChat Turns Three: Learning Through Community

So, during this 3rd Anniversary #TChat week, let your voice be heard. Let’s gather on social channels to celebrate the individual, mutual and collective growth that every community of purpose strives to achieve.

Ambrosia Humphrey Hootsuite

This week’s #TChat guest, Ambrosia Humphrey

Who better to help us celebrate the value of digital learning communities and collaboration than a valued friend of #TChat, who is also an expert at social media strategies in the world of work?

Our guest this week is Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite! Team Hootsuite will be celebrating along with us as well. Social engagement in action.

As a special treat for this week’s “sneak peek” video, we asked our own Community Manager, Tim McDonald, to compare notes with Kevin W. Grossman about the meaning and value of #TChat. The resulting video is a delightful journey into the minds and hearts of two men who are walking examples of community spirit! Watch the hangout now:

Share Your #TChat Story! The Conversation Starts Here

Tim and Kevin aren’t the only ones who are talking about TalentCulture’s role in their professional and personal lives. We’re gathering a collection of quotes and videos from all over the community landscape, and sharing that feedback on #TChat Twitter and other social channels this week.

We’re also launching a special “Buzz!” page right here at TalentCulture.com, to highlight community comments now and in the future. We invite you to share your thoughts — in whatever form you wish.

So, please join this week’s conversation about the power of social learning communities, and tell us what this particular community means to you. The #TChat channel is always “on” and everyone is welcome to participate in whatever way is most beneficial for you. Don’t be shy!

#TChat Events: Online Communities And Professional Growth

#TChat Radio — Wed, Nov 20 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Ambrosia Humphrey about the evolution of social communities in the world of work — and the road ahead. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Nov 20 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: What are the key ingredients for online learning communities? Why?
Q2: Why do you participate in Twitter chats like #TChat?
Q3: How can organizations capture learning community magic internally?
Q4: What’s the future of Twitter chats in building communities?
Q5: What topics would you like #TChat to explore in 2014?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

We’re Turning Three! Let’s Celebrate Community #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for complete highlights and reference links for the week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: Going Social: Learning In Action.)

What does #TChat mean to you?

To me, it’s so much more than metrics. But the numbers do tell a story of their own…

#TChat By The Numbers

3 years
100+ radio shows and hangout video interviews
150+ high-intensity Twitter chats
550+ blog posts
1 simple goal

Those of us who plan and produce #TChat social learning forums hope that TalentCulture community events educate, energize and enrich everyone who participates. We’re grateful for your involvement — which educates, energizes and enriches us all, in return.

This metaphor for the social workplace isn’t just a random fluke of Twitter nature. It’s an intentional human exchange that continuously flows and shifts in ways that are now bigger than the sum of its parts. Still, each of us is an essential element — with a unique voice that adds depth and texture to the fabric of our talent-minded “tribe.”

#TChat Turns Three: Learning Through Community

So, during this 3rd Anniversary #TChat week, let your voice be heard. Let’s gather on social channels to celebrate the individual, mutual and collective growth that every community of purpose strives to achieve.

Ambrosia Humphrey Hootsuite

This week’s #TChat guest, Ambrosia Humphrey

Who better to help us celebrate the value of digital learning communities and collaboration than a valued friend of #TChat, who is also an expert at social media strategies in the world of work?

Our guest this week is Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite! Team Hootsuite will be celebrating along with us as well. Social engagement in action.

As a special treat for this week’s “sneak peek” video, we asked our own Community Manager, Tim McDonald, to compare notes with Kevin W. Grossman about the meaning and value of #TChat. The resulting video is a delightful journey into the minds and hearts of two men who are walking examples of community spirit! Watch the hangout now:

Share Your #TChat Story! The Conversation Starts Here

Tim and Kevin aren’t the only ones who are talking about TalentCulture’s role in their professional and personal lives. We’re gathering a collection of quotes and videos from all over the community landscape, and sharing that feedback on #TChat Twitter and other social channels this week.

We’re also launching a special “Buzz!” page right here at TalentCulture.com, to highlight community comments now and in the future. We invite you to share your thoughts — in whatever form you wish.

So, please join this week’s conversation about the power of social learning communities, and tell us what this particular community means to you. The #TChat channel is always “on” and everyone is welcome to participate in whatever way is most beneficial for you. Don’t be shy!

#TChat Events: Online Communities And Professional Growth

#TChat Radio — Wed, Nov 20 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Ambrosia Humphrey about the evolution of social communities in the world of work — and the road ahead. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Nov 20 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: What are the key ingredients for online learning communities? Why?
Q2: Why do you participate in Twitter chats like #TChat?
Q3: How can organizations capture learning community magic internally?
Q4: What’s the future of Twitter chats in building communities?
Q5: What topics would you like #TChat to explore in 2014?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

Can You Hear Me Now? Influence Goes Social #TChat Recap

“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.”
–John Hancock

Wherever you find people, you’ll find influence. The concept is as basic as civilization, itself.

John Hancock understood its importance in business contexts. But as business moves to the digital space, the way we gain, use and respond to influence is shifting into overdrive. How does this digitally-enhanced version of influence affect the way we engage and motivate others across organizations and in the world at-large? And why should it matter to everyone in today’s workplace? These questions were top-of-mind this week at #TChat Events, as the TalentCulture community welcomed two influence experts:

Mark Fidelman, author of the book, Socialized!, and CEO of RaynForest, an influencer marketplace;
Mark Willaman, Founder and President of Fisher Vista LLC, owners of HRmarketer software and Fisher Vista marketing services

(Editor’s Note: See #TChat Twitter slideshow and resource links at the end of this post.)

Defining Social Influence

What is a “social influencer” anyway? If a static persona accumulates social media followers, is that enough? Or is it about behavior that attract the attention and interest of professional peers? Is it when your presence (or absence) affects the nature and flow of conversations on social channels? Or is it when you write blog posts that draw an extraordinary number of readers and comments?

Of course, it can involve all of these elements and more. Effective influencers use social tools as a means to an end. It’s not just about building an audience. It’s about engaging and interacting with people in ways that leave them enthused, passionate, and eager to tell others about that experience. As word spreads about influencers, word also spreads about their company, product or service.

Social Influence In Action

Take a look at some of today’s most prominent business influencers — people like Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington. They really put the “social” in social media. Unlike “image-first” personalities like the Gagas and Biebers of the world — social influencers invest in real community connections and conversations.

It’s smart to focus first on quality rather than quantity. (What would you prefer — 100 engaged industry peers, or 100,000 random followers, who may not even care about you or what you represent? Where can you add value, and get value in return? I would pick 100 targeted connections with whom I can have purposeful interactions. If those interactions create a gravitational pull that expands my sphere of influence, then I’ve done something right. As someone mentioned last night at #TChat — don’t be mislead into thinking that it’s a quick process.

Why Should We Care?

I think of social influencers as “go-to” resources. When I want advice or inspiration, I turn to my network. These are trusted professionals, and use their influence for broader purposes than self-promotion. They build relationships based on integrity, transparency, vulnerability and humor — all the best traits we look for in humans. No doubt that’s why TalentCulture CEO, Meghan Biro, encourages everyone to “live your brand.” It’s the most unique, powerful asset any of us can offer.

Social media is an extraordinary tool that helps us establish immediate connections with business leaders, employees, customers, stakeholders and others. It can provide companies with valuable insight about market perceptions. It can be a powerful force that shapes business brands, cultures and communities — if organization are willing to show up, listen and participate. This is where leaders can make a difference. Committing to an active social presence is the first step toward empowering employees and customers as brand ambassadors. There’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

#TChat Week-In-Review: Social Influence as a Competitive Advantage

Publication1

See the videos in the Preview Post now…

SAT 11/2:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured brief “sneak peek” hangout videos with our guests. Read the Preview: “The Rise of Influence in Social Business.

SUN 11/3:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested why and how modern leaders should invest in a social media presence. Read: “7 Traits of Highly Influential Leaders.

TUE 11/5:

Related Post: Guest blogger Paul Bailey helped us look at influence from the outside-in, with advice for job seekers on using social media intelligence to get hired. Read: “How Social Sleuthing Can Land You A Dream Job.

WED 11/6:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Mark Willaman and Mark Fidelman how social media is transforming the concept of influence in today’s world of work. Fascinating stuff! Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and guests joined the entire TalentCulture ommunity on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open conversation focused on 5 key questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Competitive Advantage of Social Influence

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-the-competitive-advantage-of-socia-1.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mark Willaman and Mark Fidelman for sharing your insights on the evolving meaning and importance of influence in the social era. Your knowledge and experience are invaluable to our community.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about influence-related issues or opportunities? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we take a closer look at how the social/mobile/cloud revolution is redefining the entire hiring process. So save the date (November 13) for another powerful #TChat double-header!

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng