How social media keeps me out of trouble at HREvolution
I am now batting .500 on HREvolution events. So far, I have missed all the events held in cities that start with L. That simply sucks, but it’s life. Since assuming my glamorous new duties as a social media community manager, I simply can’t travel like I used to. I have to pick the timing of attending events since I am working on the schedule of a seven person team. I also have to track a lot more data, document more processes, do more research, and generally act a lot more like a manager than I did in my previous labor relations role. The good and bad news of all this is I missed all the partying with HR rock stars that is going on in Vegas and I have all my money in my pocket, not in storage at a casino.
Now that I have the whining out-of-the-way, let’s get on to the real post topic and talk about some things that I have learned in my first three months as an HR practitioner turned social media professional. I hope that this article will form the basis of what I want to talk about at the NEXT HREvolution.
The job is still all about communication. It is just a different audience that is more external to the organization than your typical employee audience. You are talking to everyone now in this role: competitors, customers, raving fans, disgruntled employees, your workforce, and anyone else who may have a specific ax to grind with you.
The conversation is always on, including those times when your team is not covering your dedicated platforms, and especially in places where you may not have a footprint now. Brand conversation is extensive and raw sometimes.
The time commitment for a large brand to do social media right is greater than you have ever imagined. Make your best estimate and add at least 30% to that. You will probably still be low.
You need a listening strategy. The graph below will give you some idea why. This random 30 day snapshot of brand voice shows how the conversation breaks down into buckets. Micromedia includes stuff like Twitter and Foursquare. The rest is self-explanatory. Assuming that you have a multi-platform social media presence of your own, you are still only catching a small part of your complete conversation.
This means you need tools to help you with your listening strategy. Something like Radian6, Looxi, Trackur, SproutSocial or StepRep.
You need to understand what you are listening for, and how you actively you plan to engage with the conversation that is taking place around your brand before you engage. Take advantage of the free trials that each of these vendors offers. Make them explain the metrics to you and discuss different strategy approaches before you buy. It doesn’t make any sense to spend a ton of money with a monitoring service if you are just going to listen and not engage in some way. You can listen for free to most of the conversation for free with Twitter, Facebook, and Google alerts. By doing this however, you will be giving up a lot of analysis and reporting capabilities. If you don’t need to know what people are saying about your brands on blogs, and wouldn’t respond there anyway, you may not want to pay for that functionality. You should understand what that means though.
On Friday, a customer sent me an email after I contacted her on our Facebook wall and shared this with rather shocking comment with me:
“I can’t believe that Publix actually reads their Facebook wall. Another reason why I love you guys.”
In reviewing the pages of many other brands, it is very clear that the young woman quoted above has good cause for her surprise that there are live people behind a corporate Facebook wall or other social media platforms. Don’t make this mistake! Remember that social media is about communication, you have to listen and talk back. (duh, right?)
See all you people living the HR Rock Star life at the next HREvolution or somewhere down the road!