Tag Archives: Internet marketing

Taking the fear out of a social media implementation

Ghost fear
Ghost fear (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

This is another post in the #NoFearHR project.  Here’s my response to Jay’s thoughts in “Lose the Fear and get to work“.

Beg forgiveness

Jay,  There is more than one way to approach a social media implementation inside your organization.

You deserve credit for the bold choices you have made around your social media implementation at the hospital. I really like your approach.

Your “beg forgiveness” approach is a good one – kind of like planting a seed, nurturing it and letting it grow slowly into something bigger.  I like that approach, but it  only works in some organizations.

When I asked you how you would approach implementing social media if you were starting fresh today, one of the things you mentioned was that before you went running off “launching a strategy“, you needed to get your team on board.   In fact, I think I’ll quote you:

Looking back now the most important move involved two parts:

1 – Introducing social tools one-by-one to the team at a pace that was comfortable

2- Requiring them to use the tools

For me, having a social media strategy that no one on the front line believes in doesn’t make much sense. Without the commitment of the people around me in HR, our journey into social media would never have made it to tweet #1 (let alone #12,000.)

I think that’s a pretty valid viewpoint for one small department within an organization, especially if it’s for something like the human resources department using social tools to recruit talent.  I’d do the same thing in that situation.  The level of risk is small, and the ROI comes pretty quick if you do it right.

I’d suggest a different approach when it comes to getting the entire company involved in social media.

Ask permission

Some implementations are going to take longer, Jay.  You said in your post that if you were starting over today, you would want the C-Suite to be on board with the effort, especially Marketing.  I think that’s critical, and is a better approach for most situations.

Here’s a good rule of thumb for  HR people who are looking to get their company into social media to follow:

The more conservative the organization, the more important it is to have support from the CEO down.

What I’m saying is that anyone taking the lead on a social media implementation is to do so based on the scope of the project.  Things like size of the organization, scope of the implementation, availability of resources, and span of control all come into play when planning a social media implementation.

If you work for a large company, your implementation will have a greater chance of long-term success by doing the prep work that gives the C-Suite confidence in the effort.    You need to know your organization and choose the approach that will work best for you.

Here are some other considerations that went into the social media implementation at my company:

  1. Educational process for executive team
  2. Decision on whether to engage with social or not
  3. Platform/tool selection
  4. Preparation for launch – design, training, voice of brand
  5. Tools for moderation, publishing, listening, monitoring
  6. Preparation for worst case scenarios
  7. Develop team of internal Subject Matter Experts
  8. Define who controls messaging

Both approaches are valid.  Smart leaders will select the best path for them.  The most important thing is to get started on doing the work that gets you into the game.

What other tips would you suggest for a social media implementation, Jay?


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Don’t fear the Tweeter

Fear and loathing of social in the C Suite


Beyond Fear (album)
Beyond Fear (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Good morning Jay,  I just read your very thoughtful and constructive rant about Lots of Fear in the HR C-Suite.   I thought your comments about the reluctance of HR executives to adopt social media as a part of the HR strategy were spot. on, and that kind of pisses me off.  Honestly, this is one I just don’t get.


Why HR should use social media is old news


I used to be able to half-way  buy the old excuses – no time, no staff, no resources, blah blah blah…ad nauseum, but not so much any more.  I’m with you all the way on this, Jay – “…it seems to me HR leaders are missing a huge opportunity to jump into the modern world of social leadership. Sure there’s a downside, but everything has a downside.”


Social media cuts right to the heart of the HR function,  Jay.


It embodies what we do every day – reaching out to people, sharing ideas, and working together.   It’s all about communication, Jay – and it’s a game-changer if you do it right.


Yet it seems to paralyze the heartbeat of many otherwise courageous executives who can’t, won’t,or more realistically don’t want to embrace this brave not-so-new world of social media.


Jay, does this conversation about why HR should be using social media already sound old?  I swear somewhere I hear somebody talking about seats at tables…


Let’s talk about how to put social to work in business


I don’t want to to go there.  Let’s not make this conversation about why HR should use social media.  That’s old news.   Let’s make this conversation about how to put social media to work inside a professional business organization, and how HR can be the leader of these efforts, and the value of why that matters.


Where would you start with social media?


You are doing that in your HR shop right now, Jay.  Where would you start if you were starting today?


— Mike


 This post is of a new project called #NoFearHR where Jay Kuhns and I will be conducting a dialogue on the impact of social media on the Human Resource function and business.




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One Definition of Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI not always about the dollars

I’ve been thinking about social media ROI for a while.  I still haven’t figured it out.  If you asked, I couldn’t give you a great recommendation on the best metrics to use to prove ROI for your business.   Every brand wants to make a buck or two from their social media efforts, but I don’t think that is where the real value resides.

Our social media mission

When we entered into social media at Publix, our CEO wanted two things:

  • any social media efforts we offered must be an extension of our retail store experience, where we strive to offer a premier shopping experience for each customer.
  • we needed to differentiate the social media experience for our customers from those offered by our competition.

While we still have work to do, I think we have accomplished both those goals.    According to all the metrics we can find, we have a higher level of engagement with our Facebook fans than any of our retail competitors.   Our growth has been stellar, and our own fans have commented many times that they can’t believe how often and how quickly we respond to questions and customer concerns on Facebook.   I can’t share numbers, but our push marketing works too.

We accomplished this by one simple method. 

We talk to our customers.  The benefit of that is that our customers talk back to us.  We are engaging in conversation about our products, new store locations, how to save money shopping, and even suggestions on how to improve the shopping experience, coming from people who want to engage with our brand.  How awesome is that?

The ROI lies in the value added communication

We’re not able to measure customer conversions or how many sale are generated by a Facebook post.   We create our social ROI by offering the same kind of service to our customers on Facebook as they receive in our stores.

In our stores, we differentiate ourselves by offering service amenities to customers, such as assisting a customer in locating a product by walking them over to the proper area and pointing it out to them, and not just saying “over on aisle 7”.   We  offer carry-out service to each customer, offering to carry their groceries purchases to their car, even though many decline.   I can’t point to a metric that demonstrates the direct ROI of doing this, but we view them as value added services that are a part of a differentiated shopping experience.  Offering these services is a part of our cultural DNA.

Social media has not yet reached the level of being part of our cultural DNA yet.  Right now, it is a value added service that we offer to tech savvy customers that want engage with our brand.  It will be interesting to see how it looks in a couple of years.


Gary Vaynerchuk: What’s the ROI of your mom?

Here’s another perspective on ROI from a social media guy who is a little more well known than me:

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You are always on stage with social media

Stage Mess + Wrong Focus
Image by juhansonin via Flickr

The social media spotlight

A quick story about social media and the value of reputation.

An HR colleague just hired my wife to do a web design project (smart) via a post from LinkedIn that I noticed and responded to.  She was not the only choice for this project. There were several other bidders.

What was the difference maker on this deal?

A blog post that I wrote a few months ago.

The post was about my non-traditional marriage, which is not exactly the kind of post you would think of related to  building business relationships.  What our colleague told my wife is that when he read the post, he felt it demonstrated the “humanity” of my relationship with Kyle.

Here’s the social media lesson.    A post I wrote  about my personal life weeks ago resonated with someone I don’t know that well.  I had networked with him on-line and been introduced in person, but I never viewed him as a client or customer.   In the end, his personal knowledge and impressions about me (and Kyle) led him to select her over several other qualified options because of that impression.

It’s important to remember that when you use social media, you are always on a stage.   Everything you write, say or share will create an impression about you, and color the impressions of others.  Make sure what you put out there is showing you in the correct light – your best personal and professional presence, but real and human as well.  You own your social media presence every day, whether you realize it or not.

Use the power wisely!

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How social media can change your life

My latest on Talent Culture

I am currently in the midst of a significant career shift.   Even though I report to an SVP of HR, I am now assigned as the social media community manager for the Fortune 100 company where I work.  My primary responsibility involves using social media tools and platforms to create a community with our customers.  As you might imagine, this is taking me in a number of new directions career wise.

It also makes me reflect more on how I am going to stay up to date with the rapidly changing human resources field while simultaneously acquiring new knowledge related to social media.   In an interesting twist, one of the first places I have turned to is the various social media based communities that I have been a part of inside the HR community and different social media communities, such as TalentCulture.

These communities have tremendous value, not only for networking and exposure, but as a social learning resource network.   I have been spending an increasing amount of time in these communities in the last couple of weeks and I don’t see this changing in the near future.  These communities offer incredibly rich and valuable resources.  You will be a more cultured professional in regards to social media for participating in as many of these opportunities as possible. I have created a list of resources below where you can get started. Happy exploring!

Communities that keep me connected:

1. TChat – The intersection of Talent + Workplace Culture – Leadership, Recruiting, HR, Social Media, Innovation.

2. RadChat – recruiting, sourcing and social media all blend here

3. Talent Net Live –  Live Social Recruiting Chat

4. Hire Friday Chat – where jobseekers convene

5. HR Happy Hour – this weekly show focuses on HR, management, leadership, and workforce technology

6. Drive Thru HR – this daily show gives a colorful look at what keeps HR warriors up at night

7. BlogChat – is exactly what it sounds like, a weekly twitter chat about blogging

8. Speakchat -connect speakers, event planners, speaker bureaus, publicists, and clients

Here are a couple of communities I left off the Talent Culture post:   Women of HR, HREvolution

IMAGE VIA webtreats

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Why the Minnesota Nurses Association likes social media

Minnesota Nurses Association
Image by grassroots solutions via Flickr

Nurses Union using social media successfully

The Labor Relations Institute recently featured this example of very capable Facebook messaging of union issues by the Minnesota Nurses Association in their Labor Ink newsletter.

Featured success stories from the video include:

  • successfully getting an former HR person and hospital spokesperson fired via a Google “background” check  which they credit for enabling them to deal a huge PR blow during their union contract campaign.
  • reporting on the progress of collective bargaining.
  • endorsements by NBA, NFL, and NHL players.

This union is using social media very effectively.  Below the video that follows, you can also check out a SlideShare presentation that summarizes the successes this union feels it accomplished by using social media during 2010.  It is very enlightening.

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How to not get a job

An HRHistory video episode

What is HRHistory?

HRHistory is a random series of vlogs featuring me riffing on pretty much anything that come to mind on the topics of HR, labor relations and social media.   Some of the stuff will be some of the crazy stories about things I have experienced working in HR for way too freaking long.    This first one is a little long at just over three minutes.  Call it a rookie mistake and cut me some slack. 

The video is called “How to not get a job”.  It is not completely safe for work due to some language which some may find offensive, but it is how the thing went down, so be forewarned!  Now go check out my little tale of bad judgement, crude language, ethical dilemmas, unemployment and HR.

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A social media slidedeck from the HR Florida smorgasboard

Slide Decks from #HRFL10 are coming out

This is a slide deck on social media that was presented on the first day of the recent HR Florida state conference. The presenter was Alison Davis of Davis and Company.   I didn’t get to attend the entire session, but what I saw seemed fair and balanced, and the information seemed useful.  You might want to take a look.
You can find other HR Florida slide decks on the HR Florida SlideShare site, although they are just starting to load them.
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Upcoming events for Human Race Horses | Where I will be

Gabriele D'Annunzio speaking
Image via Wikipedia

2010 Speaking engagements for Michael VanDervort

A lot of people read this blog through their readers, and may not click through to the page where I list my speaking engagements.   Here is where I will be speaking for the rest of the year.

HR Florida State Conference –  August 30 in Orlando, Florida.  I will the moderating the blogging and social media panel.

Polk Manufacturing Association –  September 15 in Lakeland Florida.  I will be discussing social media policy and practice.

HR Tampa Expo 2010 “Being  a HR Superhero” – September 22 in Tampa, Florida.  I will be discussing Social Media Tools for HR.

Converge South 2010 Personal Branding Track – October 1 in Greensboro, NC.  I will speaking on Social Media for Job Seekers.

Georgia Employers Association –  Warehousing and Distribution Center Networking Group State meeting  – October 4 in Savannah, Georgia.  My topic will be Social media and positive employee relations.

CUE Fall Conference, “New Challenges in Employee Relations: Not Just Another Day at the Beach” –  October 18 in Newport Beach, CA.  My topic will be “How labor unions are using social media.”

Garden State Council SHRM “Framing the Future” –  November 2 at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa Long Branch, New Jersey.  Presentation is entitled “Unions are getting social with your employees.”

People Report 15th Annual Best Practices Conference – November 3 in Dallas Texas.   I will be part of a public policy panel, and blogging and tweeting from this event.

Looking for a professional speaker for your human resources or social media event?

If you are interested in having me speak at an upcoming event, I can be contacted by email here or on my cell phone at 1-813-417-8781.   I normally speak on topics related to human resources, labor and employee relations, and social media.

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How do you find the time to do social media?

 Social media monitoring in 10 minutes a day

An often asked question aboiut social media and using it to monitor your brand is “How do I find the time?”  

Short answer:  I use a lot of tools to help me aggregate the information I collect, and make it manageable for analysis.   There are many sources of information available to help you figure out how to best do this.  I thought I would share one good one today.

Here is an excellent slidedeck from Rick  Barnes, Marketing Manager at Hubspot.  It is from a webimar he did a few months ago that I attended. It contains some great tips on building feeds and other time saving tools.

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