Rock.Paper.Scissors E-newsletter’s out: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Social Media and the 3 little pigs

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The latest Rock.Paper.Scissors Inc. e-newsletter is out, where I review the book Social HR by Harpaul Sambhi and interview the author.

Here’s a peek at the article.  Stay tuned for the next two blog posts which include social media resources – for real and on the lighter side.  Want to read the whole newsletter? Check it out here.

 

The definition and what Social Media can do:

Social Media is “the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue,” says Wikipedia (a social media platform itself). Social media includes personal and professional social networks (Facebook and LinkedIn), blogs, Wikis, video distribution (YouTube) and microblogs (Twitter).

Social HR then is a “human resources strategy that uses social media … to enhance productivity within an organization, build an organization’s brand and attract top talent,” says Sambhi.  Social

Media can be used in every part of human resources he goes on to say from recruitment, engagement and labour relations to organizational development, total rewards and training.

Social Media facilitates organizational effectiveness, mentoring, employee productivity, collaboration, innovation, increasing diversity, continuous learning and more.

Where to start?  Pick one thing you’d like to use Social Media for and start there.  There’s no use biting off more than you can chew, simply grab one mouthful for now.

 

The first little pig: Platform

Social Media is here to stay. There are some 1.2 billion Internet users.  Who wouldn’t want to communicate, influence, reach out, educate and be educated by that audience?

Social Media Platform

Approximate No. of Users

Facebook

500 million

LinkedIn

75 million

YouTube

More than 100 million

views a day

Twitter

200 million

People (and organizations) use Social Media platforms very differently. To help explain how Sambhi handily includes Li and Berhnhoff’s Social Media categorizations in the chart below.

Category of User

Type of Use

Creators

Publish content

Critics

Comment on content

Collectors

Vote on or rate critics’ opinions

Joiners

Sign up to a particular site and read content

Spectators

Don’t sign up but will access the websites to gather information

Inactives

Don’t participate in any Social Media activity

Where to start? Sambhi recommends connecting with your end users to see how they use that media. “Once you know how they use it, I would recommend taking a dive on that medium to understand how users will interact.” There’s no use developing a LinkedIn strategy for example, if your target audience is all over Twitter.

 

The second little pig: Policy  

Sambhi lists a number of common concerns about Social Media, including: the blurring of professional and personal, brand damage, loss of productivity and leaking confidential information.  While all very possible, he says they are vastly outweighed by the benefits of Social Media including not alienating employees and capturing potential candidates, customers and innovation. 

When I asked him what the oddest reason he’d heard for someone not using social media he said, “Oh my, there are [too] many to recount! One said they would never use it since they can’t get their children’s attention at the dinner table. Others include ‘don’t want to see my employees drunken moments.’”

He’s very clear that blocking websites is not the answer.  In fact one study he quotes found employees using Social Media on the job were 9% more productive then employees who weren’t.

Where to start?  The relative cure for these potential ills is a well-designed Social Media Policy.  If your organizational doesn’t have one, pick up a copy of Sambhi’s book for what to consider in creating one.  At the simplest level he says to define what is meant by Social Media and how and when employees can access it.

 

The third little pig: Plan  

Social Media can quickly become overwhelming so a plan is critical.  “Understanding your end user” is key as users are affected by age, geography, gender, occupation etc.  For example, women aged 55-65 are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook.

Sambhi includes a fascinating section on engagement factors.  Are your end users (the employees and/or customers you want to reach) motivated by intrinsic factors such as supporting a cause, innovation, learning, curiousity or a challenge or competition?  Or are they more likely to respond to extrinsic factors like performance evaluation, incentives, discounts, exclusivity and recognition?

Sambhi incorporates helpful examples for each such as Google’s practice of giving employees 20% of their overall time to work on projects of their own choice.  Sound dramatic?  Know that 50% of Google products stem from this practice.  Not a bad ratio and a great example of using the intrinsic innovation engagement factor.

Where to start with your plan?  Start with 1 platform and 1 purpose.  You can diversify from there.  Also do your research and listen.  Create some Google alerts.  Google alerts are like your own personal clipping service.  Google will send you a summary of websites you can then click on for more information each time your alert is mentioned.  Your alert can be your name, your company’s name, a competitor’s name etc.

Sambhi’s book has sections on everything from concerns, legal, social strategies, recruitment and branding to leadership development, total rewards, diversity, labour relations and predictions about what the future will bring. Other than a couple of confusing charts, Social HR is a comprehensive, illuminating and easy read. 

Dig into it, and with the 3 Little Pigs (platform, policy and plan), you’ll fend off what may currently feel like the big bad wolf of Social Media and be on your way to becoming a Social Media star.

 

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One Response to “Rock.Paper.Scissors E-newsletter’s out: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Social Media and the 3 little pigs”

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    December 2nd, 2011 at 3:50 am

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