Why Numbers Alone Don’t Matter

Everyone is caught up in numbers and metrics. Some metrics are dead on and others wecan do without. Two such metrics people tend to get caught up in revolve around thenumber of friends/followers and the number of tweets.

Why are these numbers not as relevant as you may think them to be?


Don't Cross the Streams!


Number of Facebook Friends or Twitter Followers

Having a large following is a nice topic to throw around in a conversation, but does itreally help you? Many celebrities, pseudo-celebrities, industry experts, authors, and manyothers have a pretty strong follower count which helps from a message push or listeningperspective. Now, look at how many people they follow and see if you are valued in theirnetwork.

Probably not.

It is great for them to push out their information and hope you will share with yournetwork as well. Good for them. Not so great for you.

This is in no means a recommendation to follow everyone who follows you. But withall the “social media experts” talking about engagement, do they really engage or justengage when spoken to? Think about the last time someone with a high friend/followercount interacted with you off of one of your messages without you mentioning orreferencing that person.


Number of Tweets

The number of times you tweet should not mean a thing? Why you are probably asking.

Well, as Twitter is an unbelievable tool for conversations, learning, listening, sharing andnetworking, it also is a great tool for connecting with apparently every other social mediatool created.

You may connect Twitter with LinkedIn, Facebook, Foursquare (and other location-basedservices), Tumblr, MySpace, blogs, etc. etc. etc.

The more networks you are connected to, the more potential of redundant message beingposted, of locations being shared, of somewhat meaningless data.

Should I be able to read all of your tweets on LinkedIn or Facebook? You could argue oneither side of this and make effective cases. What I am saying is that it is some of thesemessages are redundant, auto generated and used to somewhat spam all of your socialnetworking channels.

When I view my Twitter stream, I don’t care to see all of the Foursquare check-in’s. Iknow I am not alone here but I also realize plenty of others share the opposite feeling.

But in strictly looking at Foursquare and Twitter, it is conceivable that half of your tweetsare Foursquare check-ins. That alone artificially inflates your tweets to show how active aTwitter user you are.

Other people/accounts use messageing services that auto tweet for them and possiblyrepost the same message multiple times per day (full disclosure: yes, I sometimes do thisfor my blog posts… but not every day and for everything I read).


In closing, numbers really don’t mean everything if value isn’t there. Isnt’ that why ROIis always an interesting discussion point!

Don’t Be A Wallflower – Be Heard

Being in social media takes more than just pushing out information, it takes involvement… engagement. It is about more than your name or your company logo or brand, it is being there to converse and interact with the community.

Social media is a community, like it or not, and is a particular chosen and accepted platform for diverse people to connect and talk about everything from breakfast/lunch/dinner to movies to video games to customer service to shopping to job searches to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Not every message is for everyone but each person’s community will have some sort of theme to it. That is where Twitter lists and Facebook pages come into high regard.

If I want to follow thought leaders in mobile marketing & recruiting, I will follow a specialized group of industry experts to discuss the topic. If I want to make a crock pot meal, I will interact with those that love sharing recopies.

Social media is more than self-promotion and publication but it is about interaction, networking and relationships. How do you achieve this?


Following a wide array of people makes attending a conference so much more interesting and personable. For some of us, going to a crowded conference makes the introvert become prominent. But if you are able to find a friendly face from social media that you have been conversing with for some time in the room, this event just became more interesting and friendly. For others of us, meeting new people is not a problem but social media lets those connections develop for a longer lasting period of time.

Do you use LinkedIn Groups to engage others? You do not need to ask questions but by joining groups and participating in the conversations you are much more likely to exchange professional ideas and even brainstorm on the topics you may not have ever considered previously.

Engagement starts on your mobile phone or personal computer and evolves over time into real connections and relationships. Take the time to connect with others and see what develops and where you will go engaging with a whole new community.

Image credit to J. Morgan Marketing


Keith McIlvaine is the author of the HR farmer

On a Personal Note

A recent blog post has provided a lot of perspective into how one company is working with social media for recruiting efforts (read the post in its entirety here). I have to say that I have been thrilled and honored to have played a role in this process. Strategy and implementation are extremely enjoyable and is something that I truly enjoy.

Developing relationships, personally and professionally, through social media has allowed me to see a bigger picture of what to consider and certainly what is next and I will continue to do so.

Certainly more to come…

Social Media vs. The Cigarette Break

Companies continue to block social media sites at work and this is still baffling to me.  Anyone can access social media sites and content from anywhere thanks to Smartphone’s and the ever increasing mobile technology.

The question this raises is whether companies are worried about employees using corporate property to access social media or if it is a “time drain” question.  If the answer is corporate property, this is completely understandable yet a grey subject.  Why.  More and more employees use social media to ask, answer and share work related information quickly.  Social media is (for some) a work related tool.  If the answer is that social media is a “time drain”, then this raises another set of questions.

For year, employees have been granted the right to have cigarette breaks throughout the day.  We have all seen these individuals, typically outside of an office building in or around a designated area enjoying their vice.  Sometimes these people are alone, on their mobile phone or conversing with others.

How is social media any different?  These tools allow individuals to have a break during the day to converse and share with others.   The difference is that social media tools allow employees to remain at their desks.

There is always a question of appropriate usage, time wasting, sharing confidential information, and so much more.  But hasn’t that issue been here for years already with the cigarette break?  Employees congregate in one area and share information, sometimes information they shouldn’t talk about.

I acknowledge that social media is on a much, much, much larger scale and may spread 1000 times faster than what I am describing.  The issue truly is faith in your employees.  Faith that they will make the right decisions and faith that they understand the ramifications of what they do.

Social media education is extremely important for any organization, large or small.  There will always be a portion of any workforce that will push the limits and even break rules.  This has been and will continue to occur in 99.9% of organizations.  If we educate our employees as to the risks of what is shared online, this will ultimately lead to a more astute work culture and potentially more productive.

The Mobile ATS

Recruiting has been centralized around online applicant tracking systems (ATS) and being tied through traditional, non-mobile compatible applications.  In general terms, the entire application process is fairly lengthy for many companies and could be a detriment to candidates taking time to apply.

Now you introduce mobile phones and how many people rely on them for internet searches.  In a conversation with my brother-n-law, he let me know that he uses his iPhone for every type of search.  He only uses a computer or laptop if he needs to print something else.  I do not think he is in the minority in this regard either.

Mobile recruiting is already important and will only become more necessary in the short term.  But you also need a way for interested candidates to connect with you.

This will probably be an investment for all of us, but to connect and build relationships this is an absolute to be addressed, the sooner the better.  If companies wish to infuse their talent networks, we all must now think about how to merge the mobile world with the existing technology.

Second Prediction for 2010: Video!

No real surprise here:

Also, in follow up to my previous blog entry on mobile… check out Chris Hoyt‘s blog for a great AT&T video called “OMG Mobile?!” – I’m not the only one who feels this way!

What’s Your Hardest Req

What a line, and what a sales pitch for 3rd party recruiters.  Yep, I’ve used it as well in a different place and a different time.sales-pitch

Why did this work so well?  Agencies and other 3rd party recruiters had access to the sites that a lot of companies didn’t have access to recruit talent.  This was in a time when posting your resume was step #1 in your job search.


 Today, posting your resume isn’t always on your list.  Sure there are circumstances when you want your resume out there for recruiters to grab quickly and it is still completely acceptable and legit.


 However, in today’s social networking climate, the chance that you post a resume is reducing immensely.  Why, you can let your network know your status (looking for my next gig in _____) and then work your network OR let your network work for you.  This is part of the value in having a strong and relevant network and having a relationship with your network.  But I digress from this tangent… another topic for another day.


Companies are not as eager to give agencies or 3rd party recruiters their reqs because the introduction and adoption of social media into HR and recruiting activity into the corporate environment is allowing corporate recruiters to be seen and heard regularly, either in conjunction with their company logo or separate from that logo.


The only catch with this is that corporate recruiters now need to figure out the best way for candidates to see them, or want to see them.


Again, it comes back to value.  If all you do is push jobs then you will be viewed as a bot and typically not followed.  Network with your target market and get savvy in this area, it is where the passive candidate even looks to see what is going on.

BREAKING NEWS: Social Media Is More Than You Think It Is

Yes, social media is about sharing ideas.  Yes, social media is about networking.  Yes, social media is about branding. And yes, social media is about telling your friends/followers what you are doing.  But it really is so much more than that.

 My definition of social media: it is what you make it. checklist2

If you want it to be about telling people what you are doing or where you are going that is fine (but these people are missing something powerful).  If you want to recycle (retweet) articles or comments from others, excellent.  If you want to strive to be a “trust agent” and produce your own unique content and build a stronger friend/follower base and provide insight on your own particular niche, awesome!  If you want to take conversations offline and connect with others then you are really utilizing social media in a powerful way.


 There is still resistance to social media either from spouses, significant others, your employer because they don’t fully understand why you are doing it and what is the impact.


 Social media is not going to provide an immediate ROI, it is a tool where you need to build trust with your friends/followers as you engage with them on any number of countless topics.  If you want to use it more for your business or professional growth, you still need to keep a “human” factor alive in your communication.


We can smell the bots out there and many choose not to follow them, yet some still do.  As the saying goes, to each their own.


My first recommendation or action plan to everyone who is struggling on how they want to create either a business or personal social media strategy: make a plan.  Understand what you want to accomplish and how will you utilize any number of social media tools to achieve that goal.  This is not an overnight process and takes effort, time and consistency.  Above all, be yourself.


But whatever you think it is, it really is so much more because it is something different to each of us and used uniquely just the same.  Remember that your audience is everyone so do it your way… but be respectful.

Social Networking Hesitation?

This most likely does not pertain to you specifically if you are reading this post or found it through Twitter or another networking site.


After a great conversation with Mary Wilson (www.learn-solutions.com) where we spent a few minutes covering networking sites/tools and why they are so powerful today, I wanted to put this out there for those of you that also encounter the naysayer to social networking.  I am somewhat shocked at the feeling out there of people having any hesitation for social networking sites.  I have been hearing a negative connotation surrounding them with a few common threads:

  • I don’t want to tell everyone what I am doing every minute of the day
  • I don’t care what you ate for lunch
  • I don’t understand why someone would want to tell people things about their life
  • Isn’t it scary that someone out there knows what you are doing

The one thought that is escaping the individuals who I spoke with is that YOU control what information you put out there and who you follow and with some sites you can block those you don’t want following you.  If you don’t want everyone to know details of your day, life, work, etc. then don’t publish it.  If you are seeking advice on a particular topic then these sites are fantastic for networking and knowledge sharing.


Being closed minded to expanding your network, short term or long term, could be detrimental to your career.  Think about this scenario for a moment.  Let’s say you and your colleague are being considered for a promotion.  Your manager asks for each of you to complete a project by the end of the day and you both know this will be influential as to his decision.  Research is required and you jump on Google and start to search and now have to sort through numerous pages and links to find what you need.  Your colleague jumps on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and asks questions on each site… the responses come flooding in with feedback, guidance and even links for what was asked.


Does this happen all of the time?  Is it realistic?  I really did this to prove that these sites are not all about “Enjoying a sandwich at Panera” or anything along these lines.  These sites are business and professional but, again, it is on how you choose to utilize them.


My recommendation to those who question this new medium, get out there and give it an honest try but give it a good try… don’t fool yourself with a weak effort.  Try it and if you still have a poor opinion then just cancel your account.  I have a feeling you will find true value, and who knows… you may even make some strong connections along the way!


Research vs. Agency’s

What are most companies doing these days? Do you use a recruiting/staffing agency to fill contract and full time positions? Do you use research companies to help with candidate development and name generation?

My methodology has mainly surrounded either using research firms or direct sourcing of candidates for the open positions I recruit. Many of my coworkers use agencies as well and sometimes as a first option.

Personally, the research relationship is strong and you are able to change focus relatively quickly if the need arises. You can both focus on a market quickly and attack the key target accounts. It is a great way to split your time and have a wider approach in a shorter timeframe. I like making the first approach and driving a relationship and leverage networking for my activity.

Agencies are great but there are some unknowns with them as well. Are they strictly working on your positions? Do they completely understand the position, environment, benefits, or the dynamics of the team and company? I think having a strong point of contact to understand these areas are always beneficial especially for full-time positions.

Is this bad? Is one better than the other? I don’t think so. I think if everyone has the customer/managers best interest as the goal then it is perfect.

Let me know your thoughts and opinions.