Who's that Girl?


Present Your Best Ideas Today To An Eager and Welcoming Audience

Originally posted: August 31, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

I have a really long title for today’s post.  It was actually not a title I chose, it chose me. I am at HR Florida this week and attended the blogger dinner.  We had chocolate covered fortune cookies for dessert, YUMMY, and being the strange blogging people we are, we decided before we opened the cookies that we would each use our fortune as the title of our next post.  So, that’s how mine chose me.

It was actually quite fitting though because I participated on a blogger panel here at the conference.  Steve Boese, Franny Oxford, William Tincup, Mark Stelzner, and I were asked to take questions from the audience on a wide array of social media topics.  It seems that the overall feeling of the crowd is fear.  Fear of social media, fear of use of tools, fear of what employees will or won’t say online, fear of loss of productivity, fear of not having a strong enough social media policy, fear of not knowing how to punish employees who get out of line.  FEAR. The thing is, if each of us spent that time that we’re dedicating to our fears on thinking of ways to positively address the issue at hand, we’d all be so much father along in recognizing the ROI of social media.

The panel addressed numerous questions and some of the key takeaways were around how to get started, how to train yourself on the tools, how to capitalize on the opportunity cost of social media, and what each panelist recommend as a “must do” for the participants.  Here are a few thoughts on those themes:

How to get started

  • Use tools like Twitter and Google Reader.  They will help you check out what is being said about your own organization and your competition.
  • Set up a Google Alert for your organization.  That will tell you any time your organization is mentioned online.

How to train yourself

  • Use sites like CommonCraft and YouTube to find videos that will demonstrate how to sign up for social media sites.  There are also numerous videos that show you how to use each site.

Capitalize on the Opportunity Cost

  • Mark Stelzner of Inflexion Advisors and Voice of HR gave a great example of the evolution of a user of social media.  First, be a taker.  Use the sites to help you do research on topics related to your field. Next, be a giver.  Begin sharing links to content that may be relevant to followers you have.  Also, if you are a giver, you will begin to generate content to share with others in the industry.  The final step is to be a stimulator. Few people want to get to this level, but if you do, you will not only be generating content, you will be stimulating others to take action or collaborate.
All in all, people have to have some level of comfort with discomfort.  As the panel concluded, we were asked to give our advice on what we recommend for those just stepping into social media to do.
Pick One Thing- My advice to the audience was not to let social media talk overwhelm you.  Just pick one site (Twitter, LinkedIn, GoogleReader, etc) and get comfortable with it.  That alone will take time.  Make time each day to learn a little more and you will soon find that you are mastering that site.  Then, move on to the next.
Reach out to your peer group- This was a universal suggestion we all embrace.  By reaching out to others in HR who are already integrating social media into their jobs, you will find it much easier to find ways for it to be meaningful for you.
Ask your teenager– Well, Steve Boese actually said, “Ask your teenager.  No, don’t.  They don’t know anything” which got a laugh from the crowd.  In all seriousness, ask a teenager.  They are likely to be comfortable with a site or two and can show you the basics of how they use YouTube or FaceBook.  Then, apply what you’ve learned by searching for other organizations who use social media to promote their business.
Connect with HR Florida- The team here at HR Florida is far ahead of any other SHRM state conference when it comes to capitalizing on the use of social media.  Not only do they use it for the obvious, promotion, they really set up multiple opportunities to use it for collaborating .  I also want to say how much I love the transparency here.  This team has made it clear to all social media participants, from bloggers to tweeters, that we are to write what we want.  They want the real experience shown, warts and all.  There is no censorship.  There is no discussion about what they want promoted.  It’s the perfect situation to be in as someone who has been brought in to cover the conference.  By connecting to HR Florida on their site, on their LinkedIn group, on Twitter and FaceBook, you can get some great information to help you get acclimated in this medium.
So, over the next couple days, you’ll hear some of my thoughts on the sessions, the venue, the overall experience.  Thank you to HR Florida for giving me this opportunity to see what you’ve done first-hand.  I hope that we were able to present our best ideas to an eager and welcoming audience, as my fortune said I would.

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