Highlighters, Candy Bars, & Microphones: A New View of Social Media for HR


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What do you get when a marketing analytics expert and a talent management expert combine their thinking on how social media can work for companies? A holistic philosophy about how to engage your internal and external audiences alike through your social media presence. And somehow, that makes us think about candy bars...

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  • K: I’m founder and CEO of [meta]marketer, a consulting agency that advocates empathy for the customer experience through data validation and rules-based segmentation and targeting to achieve greater sophistication, stronger profitability, and better overall results. In other words, it’s marketing but it’s geeky.\n\nJ: I’m an HR consultant with almost 20 years of experience. Iwork with companies to attracting and retaining top talent and with individuals on how they manage their career and job search.\n\nK: This conversation started because we work in the same building and found ourselves starting to have many conversations about how marketing and employment strategies interrelate and overlap, and found that there are a few common themes when it comes to acquiring and retaining top talent and customers.\n
  • J: (poll the room) OK, be honest, when it comes to your official role and responsibilities, how many of you “hate” social media?\n
  • J: We don’t like the fact that uncontrolled messages can be amplified to the public and that we have to clean up the aftermath. This is clearly where we spend our energies. \n\nFor today, we’re going to talk about a philosophy and a methodology - a different way to think about social media as a tool. We’ve also got a signup sheet going around to collect your name and email address, so we can send you a couple things after that will help you put this into action.\n
  • J: There has been a shift of control of the message based on the falling costs of amplifying a message. It used to cost a lot which meant that companies controlled the message. Now it’s free which gives the public control of the message. This means people both inside and outside of your organization has the option to amplify any message they choose.\n
  • K: Social media has been largely thought of as a tool for communicating with customers and projecting the brand externally\n\nJ: \nBUT ALSO \ncan be a tool for developing company culture internally \n
  • K: Social media is a powerful tool that can be used, in a sense, for you or against you as an organization. \nAgain, how social media is used by a company communicates a great deal both to people inside the organization and to the outside world\n
  • J: The candy bar analogy: what it looks like on the outside should be what it tastes like on the inside\nbut there’s a disconnect between what we tell people to bring them in and what life is like when they get there, \nbut in an even greater sense, what you present to the market should be consistent with -- should ALIGN with -- what you present to employees. \n
  • J: Alignment means integrity. \nAnd integrity comes from the alignment between the employee experience \nand the customer experience.\n
  • K: The difficulty with this is that your company probably means many things to many people. \nBut alignment has to happen along a shared ideal \nand the only way to achieve that alignment is to have a singular, stated vision of what the company is, what it represents to the market, what it means to the employees. \nSo the tool you need here is focus...\n
  • K: Focus is the art of drawing attention to a selected message amidst the clutter of all the possible messages. In other words, by stating your focus, you are highlighting what you want people to pay attention to. If you have a clear and singular focus, the public will understand your message.\nSo let’s take Southwest Airlines, for example. Their focus is on being a low-cost, no-frills airline that still delivers a pleasant flying experience (to the extent that they can control it). “Would anyone like to share what their company’s focus is? There’s a goodie in it for you.”)\n
  • K: Focus doesn’t happen on its own. It takes discipline, and choosing what not to focus on. After all, a highlighter doesn’t help you come back at a later point and find the points you initially found interesting if you weren’t selective about what constitutes “interesting.” \n(Although I did once see a client CEO use our highlighter to mark every single line of every page of a report we’d handed him. I took it as a compliment.) \nThe point is, focus is about making choices, and allowing your company to be its authentic self, even if -- or maybe especially if -- some people might think it’s a little bit strange.\n
  • J: Right, because not everyone has to LIKE it, but the taste should be definitive enough that the people who WILL like it will be drawn to it and become passionate about it. \n(This is true of job postings - everyone has a vanilla, same-sounding job posting. The more clearly you can state your culture in a job posting, the better you will attract the right people.)\nThis act of being true to your company’s unique flavor will help you achieve alignment.\n
  • K: The greatest ROI for our marketing and talent investments lies in our ability to \nalign the employee and customer experience.\nJ: companies spend lots of dollars on their marketing trying to attract new customers\nbut then open a position that 800 people will apply to, 700 will be ignored, 25 will be touched, 20 will be ignored from that point\neach of these candidates could go on to have roles in related organizations and their experience with the company's recruitment practices may affect the way they perceive and are likely or not likely to engage with the company if/when they're in the position to do so\nK: clearly, each of those candidates can also be vocal in social channels about their experience in the recruitment process and make recruitment efforts -- and marketing efforts -- more difficult and expensive in the future\n
  • K: Strong companies are good at this. \nNetflix example\nZappos, Southwest, etc.\n(crowdsource other thoughts on good companies)\n
  • K: in marketing, the way to optimize effectiveness is to be very intentional about what promises you making to which customers, so that you’re only making a promise you’re in a position to make clearly and persuasively, and one that you can follow through on at every step. \nBy doing this, you stand the best chance of your message being amplified without your having to do it.\n
  • K: Amplification is neither positive nor negative, if it is in alignment with your focus. Having an amplified message that is truthful allows you to reach a greater audience, and the alignment of that message with your genuine focus with allow the receiver of that message to self-select in or out. In other words, if you’re Southwest Airlines, and it’s important to you that the experience is about happy people who want a simple, low-cost, no-frills experience, you make a big deal about how you only serve peanuts while other airlines serve meals (back when airlines used to serve food) and some people recoil at the idea of the loss of their few luxuries, while others delight in the idea of saving money and still enjoying the ride. Obviously you want the latter audience, and you don’t necessarily need the former.\n\nJ: and that’s true of talent as well - what is attractive to one group of people isn’t necessarily going to be interesting to another group, and that’s OK\n
  • K: But the way many companies have traditionally approached amplification is to concentrate the amplifying around an official, sanctioned messenger who is in charge of The One True Message. Meanwhile, the company’s employees and customers are unofficially amplifying a message too, but if the focus hasn’t been made clear, and the alignment isn’t shared, then we are missing out on the power of that potential amplification.\n\nJ: HR has been fighting amplification. If we instead change our efforts to being cheerleaders of the company’s focus and managers of alignment, we won’t have to worry about amplification--we can’t control it anyway.\n
  • K: So this is our methodology, if you will. \nWe propose that companies begin to see brand as something bigger than a marketing device: your employment brand is part of your focus, as well\nSame with value proposition - we tend to think about value proposition as a marketing construct; but employee value proposition is part of the picture too\nJ: these things are not just about messaging; you’re creating culture\nand it begins with focus, aligning everyone’s experience to that focus, and then you’re amplifying not just a message, but your own culture\n
  • K: Yes, maybe this sounds expensive. Maybe it sounds involved. Maybe it sounds hard to do. \nBut the investment will be recouped in two by two dimensions: on both the talent side AND the customer side, in both acquisition AND retention.\n
  • J: That said, \nwe as organizations have never been held accountable. \nMore highly trained managers - better management skills\nGreater accountability in order to align that experience.\n
  • K: Are we saying it’s about having a policy? Well, it is important to have a policy, but that policy needs to be reflective of your focus and alignment\nSEGUE: And it needs to address your company’s unique viewpoint in various dimensions\n
  • K: each of these is a dimension that should be included somehow in your policy, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach - these need to reflect your company’s culture \n\nSEGUE: But there are some maybe unexpected considerations to social policy \n\n
  • J: (poll) \n
  • K: \n\nAfter years of trying to get the C suite to blog and tweet!\n
  • K: \n
  • J: as much as we have focused on limiting social media at work, the fact is that might be limiting our knowledge sharing\n
  • K: Interesting study dealing with enterprise social media use and restriction. To control the variables in the study, the researchers dealt only with blogging in organizations and its effect on knowledge capture and sharing, and the effects of leisure-related blogging vs. work-related blogging on both the employee’s reputation (in terms of opinion leadership) and the company’s ability to promote knowledge sharing. \n\n“Interestingly, we also observe that readership of new work-related posting by a given employee increases with that employee’s leisure reputation.”\n\n“when an individual’s work reputation is low, the positive spillover effect is the dominant effect, and hence leisure reputation has a positive interdependence with readership of a new work-related post. As employee’s work readership goes up, the negative signaling effect dominates the positive spillover effect, and hence in this region, leisure readership negatively affects readership of a new work-related post”\n\nOne possible takeaway: employees who tend toward leisure topics can also generate a great deal of interest when they write about work. Employees who tend toward work topics should stick with work topics for maximum reputation benefit. \n\nYou may be tempted to restrict, but here’s a good reason not to: \n\n“When leisure activities are eliminated, those who used to have low to moderately high work readership but moderately high leisure readership can no longer benefit from the spillover effect. Hence, their probability of work posting will drop significantly. Although the probability of work reading increases, which leads to a bigger readership pie to be shared by all the employees who post in each period, a very high fraction of the increased readership accrues to those users who have built a very high work reputation (due to the rich get richer effect).”\n\n
  • J: Yes, there are legitimate concerns with employee use of social media. You’ll be hearing more about the legal aspects and risks in the next presentation. But the amplification benefits to a company that creates focus and alignment are well worth the effort to manage the risk. \n\n
  • J: Now we’re ready to take your questions. And the first 12 people who ask questions will get a little treat.\n
  • \n
  • Highlighters, Candy Bars, & Microphones: A New View of Social Media for HR

    1. 1. Highlighters,Candy Bars, &Microphones: A New View ofSocial Media for HR
    2. 2. Why are a marketer and a HRconsultant standing here together and talking to you about social media? marketer! HR consultant! Kate: @kateo Jen: @waysolutions [m]m: @metamarketer If you’re going to tweet about us, get our good side!
    3. 3. Quick show of hands... @kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    4. 4. We focus on amplification.@kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    5. 5. As the price of amplifying a message has decreased, the ability to amplify it has been distributed outside ofCost of Amplification corporate control. Corporate Public Control Control of Message of Message
    6. 6. What is social media’s role in business? @kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    7. 7. Is social media a tool being used for you or against you as a company/ employer?• Externally: The way youre presenting yourself online is communicating who you are to your customers and potential customers• Internally: The way youre managing social media policy is communicating who you are to your employees• Are these consistent with your companys values?
    8. 8. Photo credit: flickr user frenchy
    9. 9. The point is... we need alignment. Photo credit: flickr user sida37 @kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    10. 10. To get to alignment, you need focus. focus brand, value proposition @kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    11. 11. Photo credit: flickr user calevans
    12. 12. How does focus happen?• Ask: “What are the things you could be about?”• Ask: “What are you in the best position to be about?”• State your “about-ness” clearly and loudly• Follow through at every step
    13. 13. Photo credit: flickr user secret_canadian
    14. 14. t me n culturealign employee customer experience experience
    15. 15. Strong companies are good at alignment. @kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    16. 16. Alignment means integrity from end to endIt’s quite simple: • You make a promise • And you deliver on that promise.
    17. 17. tion lifica talent customer acquisition acquisition efforts effortsamp
    18. 18. official official message message amplification amplification officially effectiveness of amplification sanctioned messengerscost of amplification Talent Customers message message amplification employees amplification opportunity willing to be opportunity to prospective messengers to prospective talent customers
    19. 19. focus brand, highlighter value proposition t me n candy baralign culture employee customer experience experience tion microphone lifica talent customer acquisition acquisition efforts effortsamp
    20. 20. “This sounds expensive.”The ROI comes from both brand marketing and HR for bothrecruitment and retention costs Talent Customer Acquisition Acquisition Employee Customer Retention Retention @kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    21. 21. But it’s difficult to allow freedomin employee social media usage if your culture and employee experience is not in alignment. @kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    22. 22. So, is it abouthaving a policy?@kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    23. 23. Message Coordinated, pre-approved messaging vs. ad hoc impromptu commentary/non-sequiturs Pre-determined Impromptu Representation Who has clearance to speak on behalf of the company vs. open commentary Select Few Anyone Distribution of Authorization / Use Using Twitter while logged into official Twitter account vs. tweeting on personal account on company time Centralized Distributed Capacity/Budget How much of any given employees available paid time is allowable for social use None Unlimited Presence Where does the company have an official presence, where do employees have an unofficial presenceNo presence Broad presence
    24. 24. How many of you are tryingto get the C-suite to tweet? @kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    25. 25. Surprise! Your CEO is probably not your best messenger.Your regular-Joe employees are. @kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    26. 26. Edelman Trust Barometer 2012“Now, more than ever, companies should be looking forways to activate their employees and connect them with customers and the community.”- Christopher Hannegan, Executive Vice President & US Practice Chair, Employee Engagement, Edelman
    27. 27. Surprise! You don’t need to limitsocial media use to work-only. In fact, that may hurt knowledge sharing. @kateo | @metamarketer & @WaySolutions
    28. 28. “...a policy of prohibiting leisure-related blogging can actually hurtthe extent of knowledge creation and sharing within the firm.”• source: “A Structural Model of Employee Behavioral Dynamics in Enterprise Social Media” p.26• Yan Huang School of Information Systems and Management & i-lab, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University yanhuang@andrew.cmu.edu• Param Vir Singh Tepper School of Business & i-lab, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University psidhu@cmu.edu• Anindya Ghose Stern School of Business, New York University & i-lab, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University aghose@stern.nyu.edu• available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1785724
    29. 29. Do the math. Clear focus+ Alignment betweenemployee and customer experience= Less worryabout what is being amplified
    30. 30. Photo credit: flickr user like_the_grand_canyon
    31. 31. Let’s continue the conversation.kate@metamarketer.comKate: @kateo[m]m: @metamarketer jennifer.way@waysolutions.com Jen: @waysolutions