foursquare: I’m not sold

Foursquare, Gowalla, Whirrl and any other location based mobile social media “game” is definitely the buzz today, and rightfully so.  These have the potential to be very powerful tools for both businesses and users.

I have not bought into any of them for a variety of reasons.  What I have noticed is that businesses are doing some great and very interesting marketing tactics to connect further with the customers using these tools.  I have also noticed users adding absolutely zero value to their network.

Today I wanted to highlight what are my top 3 pro’s and con’s of foursquare, Gowalla, Whirrl and any other social networking location based tool.  In an effort to keep the videos short, I am just covering my top 3 points as I ramble.

To begin, let’s start on the positive side:

But, I am passionate about what I consider the negatives of these tools:

OK, so now you have read and viewed my brief takes on this subject and would enjoy hearing what you think about this.  Let me know if you agree, disagree or if I may have overlooked something – that happens too.  I look forward to your comments.

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The Mobile Market

Everyone seems to have an opinion on mobile marketing and mobile recruiting.  Is it important, when should we get there, will anybody find my content?  Ultimately the answer is anybody that you view as a target is there already.  Is your web site mobile compatible?  This is extremely important on how potential clients, customers or recruits perceive and interact with you.

The positive news is that if you have a company profile on any of the social networks, you should be able to leverage this as a means to connect and drive interest and interact with your followers.  Obviously social networking is an excellent way to interact, participate in conversations and be active.  Activity is important.  If you are all over the place, it will show to your followers.  If you only post jobs, that will reflect on how you utilize the tools available to you.

Like it or not, video is also important.  If you use YouTube, you are all set for mobile viewing which is a huge plus for you already.

In the end, if your web site is not compatible then work to redirect to sites where you maybe viewed and have a more positive user experience.  It truly is more important than you may realize.

Internet Safety – Protect Yourself

Everyday the lines between personal and professional become all sorts of gray shades.  Who you are becomes much clearer to everyone you interact with, and those you don’t.  Enter the buzz phrase – “Personal Branding”.  What you are in real life and online is your personal brand.  Great, but you already know that, are hearing more about each day and maybe even creating a personal strategy to implement.

In this vein, I thought it is AWESOME that The Disney Channel is putting “Internet Safety” tips out to its viewers and is getting the young kids exposed to being safe online.  Last night I was watching The Disney Channel with my boys and on came a public service announcement from The Disney Channel in the form of Phineas & Ferb to talk to young viewers about internet safety.

I was unable to locate a video from either The Disney Channel web site or through YouTube but I did find this great link: http://disney.go.com/corporate/privacy/safety.html

Keep being safe and smart!

New Recruiting Toys

We seem to talk, read and write every day about something new happening in the world of recruiting and – lately – the conversations have concentrated around social networking, mobile apps and video.  Personally, I think these are fantastic tools and certainly the future of recruitment.

Social networking is an ongoing activity and must be focused on each day in order to reap results.  However, conducting searches and making calls/introductions to new candidates seems to be a topic that is not being focused on as much today as it was as little as one year ago.

Is the recent lack of more traditional recruitment talk due to it not being a “sexy” topic or whether recruiters are actually focusing their time more on these emerging tools other recruitment methodologies.

Have you found your sourcing has changed with these new tools?  Are you spending more time searching social media over the channels you were using not too long ago?  Have you revised your approach to candidates at all as a result of social media?

I look forward to your comments!

First of Two Predictions: 2010 – The Year of Mobile Social Media

Yes, smartphones are already dominating the mobile marketplace and people are flocking to stores to purchase/upgrade iPhone’s, Blackberry’s, Palm’s, Droids and everything else in greedy fashion.  This is not an accident as people want easy access to anything they can imagine in an instant.

I anticipate 2010 to be the year that companies jump into the mobile world.  I expect to turn on my iPhone, click on the “App Store” icon and begin to search for companies who have created their own app to link to potential customers and job candidates.  I expect companies to understand that people will search for them on their phones while they are on the go rather than trying to remember to get online later that night when they get home to begin investigating a new trend or a new position.

Companies are already easily searchable and found but when you make an app available for someone’s smartphone, there is a whole new world and way to link to your target audience.

Face it, you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone texting or searching on their phone.  How exciting is it for a company to push information to you on your phone; could be a coupon, could be a new product launch, or it could be a new job opportunity.

This is an exciting venture and one that also, like all company related social media tools, is filled with legal bumps.  The legal side is an entirely different topic but one that I must stress anyone interested in social media of any nature must explore thoroughly.

Use your mobile devise for your social media activity and to keep networking, just anticipate businesses to join you in the ocean soon enough.

LinkedIn and Twitter… Not Perfect Together

Social media is integrated and is becoming more so every day.  One of the more recent releases was that LinkedIn now allows you to connect your Twitter account and feed into your LinkedIn profile, and vice versa.  Also, since both sites allow you only 140 characters to post a message, it is even more of a natural fit.

 

 On the surface, this is a great move for LinkedIn.  But upon a deeper dive, I’m not so sure that it is in every instance.

 

 Twitter is an outlet for you to share information on any topic whether it is personal or professional in nature.  LinkedIn is very much a professional networking site and where business related topics are discussed.  With the introduction of Twitter to LinkedIn, the conversation may change and probably not for the better.

 

 Members on LinkedIn who are not currently neither active nor accepting of Twitter are now getting your “noise” on any topic, including the non-business variety of message.  This could be viewed as a negative within your network and could result in the loss of connections.

 

Personally, I have linked my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts because I felt this was a fantastic merge from a business perspective.  I am now able to communicate with two, potentially different, networks.

 

If you are like me, my strong recommendation is to not allow every “tweet” into your LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn was smart in how they allow you two choices as to what “tweets” are connected.  You are able to select either the “all tweets” option or the “only tweets with #in within the message” option.  The first option has a high probability of drowning out your audience and potentially damaging professional relationships simply if you “tweet” often or not always on business topics.  The second option is much better and appears to be more realistic for each audience.  Simply by keying “#in” within your “tweet” will post to both Twitter and LinkedIn.  This provides you a greater ability to stay on the course you have chosen on Twitter but increases your ability to post business information on multiple sites.

 

Not perfect but it definitely can work well depending on how you choose to use it.  What this integration continues to reinforce is that you must be very smart with what information you choose to publish online and to what audience.  But the business application can be highly leveraged in how you communicate to both audiences.

2009 Social Recruiting Summit

On Monday, November 16th in New York City, the Social Recruiting Summit took place amongst a great crowd of presenters and attendees.  The energy was high and social media/social networking was on everyone’s mind!

Laurie Ruettiman (AKA Laurie Woman) was an awesome MC and one who really gets HR, Recruiting and Social Media.  And she should get it knowing her vast and strong HR background.  Laurie was a perfect choice to MC this event and kudos to ERE for this selection.  Also, yes, Laurie was standing on her soapbox all day!

Fred Wilson, Carmen Hudson, Kelly Dingee, Ben Gotkin, Kerry Noone, Heather Tinguely, John Sumser, Master Burnett, Susan Burns, Gerry Crispin and Jessica Lee all provided excellent insight to social media for recruiting and the only shame is that during the day you had to make choices on who you would like to hear.  These were presenters that were worth coming in, meeting, listening to and interacting with on a variety of topics.

Not only were the presentations great but the networking opportunities were invaluable as well.  It was a chance to meet those that you have Tweeted with for a while, spoken with on the phone or just reconnecting from anther function.

What did I take away from #SocialRecruiting?  I got something out of each presentation I attended but the 5 big ideas that really stuck out in my mind were: 

  • Fred Wilson – Blogs are where people build trust and to build an audience.  Blog every day.  It is hard to do but you have to make time to do it.  And make it a key part of your company web site.
  • Fred Wilson – Identify 3 things you have been doing for over 10 years, stop doing them and replace them with 3 new things.
  • Kerry Noone – Make sure that every comment is followed up on, either by a direct response or by connecting with the right recruiter.  It is important to keep the direct contact going on your social networking sites.
  • Master Burnett (reiterated by Gerry Crispin) – If you are not in the conversation, others will lead it.  This is so powerful and completely TRUE.
  • Jessica Lee – Do it for you and enhance your brand.  People want to get to know you more than they want to know the company.  People will learn about the company through your interactions.

And my bonus take away:

  • Chris Hoyt gave a perfect glimpse at how effective a Google Wave at a conference is to share information, provide insight to others and how it is even a great tool to have the conversations continue even after the conference has ended!

If you couldn’t attend this session, definitely make it part of your 2010 plan.  The information is phenomenal but the connections are invaluable!

Twitter and Facebook Friends

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I began using Twitter and Facebook for two different activities; Twitter for more professional use and Facebook for more personal use.  That seemed to be a very logical course of action.

 

 Over time, after lots of thought and many, many conversations I have changed my strategy.  I am using both in a more professional manner and interjecting the personal side along the way.

 

 My wife is one of “those people” who don’t completely understand social media and isn’t happy when I post personal information about our family.  So while I do have Twitter and Facebook on my Blackberry, I rarely use them when I am with my family.

 

 And while I strongly disagree with her on the use of social media, she caused me to take pause about the personal sharing aspect.  Are my “friends” interested in big family updates or in minor happenings?  Maybe.  Do my “friends” really need to know that I am watching Manchester United with my sons?  Do my “friends” need to know what I am doing, even in general terms?  I didn’t think so and this began my transformation.

 

Since everything has been/is/will be about your image, or personal brand, I began to take a stronghold on “me on-line”.  I chose to continue with a more serious me.  My friends/followers will get to know me and my personality through my communication and hopefully, as is my personal goal, to speak with many of them in real life to develop stronger relationships.

 

Plus, social networking is not a numbers game.  I don’t care if I have more followers than you or if you have more followers than me.  I care about how we interact, about learning and about sharing good information (hopefully).

 

I am inviting my Twitter friends into Facebook and connect in what I hope becomes the beginning of stronger relationships.  Take these relationships and watch how your connections grow.  It is truly amazing that value (which an over used word in my opinion) will add both credibility as well as meaningful connections into your world.  It is how you grow your friends and followers that is ultimately most important.

 

So, please join me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and let’s pass it forward!

How I Landed My Dream Job

clouds-2Have you heard those stories about people who follow their passion and they end up finding their dream job?  I have heard these stories as well, and I never truly believed it would happen to me (although I always kept hope and kept chasing that passion).

Well, it did happen to me!  And I want to share my story with you in hopes that it will help you to chase your passion.  The best part… the job I have didn’t exist within most companies as short as 6-months ago!

I have been a recruiter for over 10 years, both on the agency and the corporate sides.  I love networking and connecting with people, so this profession is a great place for me.  I also like to keep updated on the latest trends and stay on top of great ways to connect with people effectively.  I never needed to change any of my search strategies or methodologies, just added new techniques to the list: mainly surrounding social media.

I was an early adopter of social media within my team and I used it to connect with new people, globally, in order to exchange ideas on a variety of topics but I really focused mainly on HR and recruiting.  I found this to be a way to expand my network and learn from a much broader population.

So, what do I do on social media?  Pretty much the same as most of you out there.  I am active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn as well as reading blogs and posting blog entries.  I am on other sites; however, I do not spend as much time or focus on them right now.

One blog post that really energized me was from Jessica Lee, that she posted just over one year ago.  Jessica referenced an online article she read about a recruiter in Silicon Valley who was interviewed at a job fair.  The purpose of the article was to allow the readers to learn more about her job search as well as how the job market was changing.  Jessica Google’d this particular recruiter and found it extremely difficult to locate this person within the returned results.  What I took away from this post was Jessica’s resounding recommendation that all recruiters need to be in social media in order to be found… especially in recruiting!

That day I went out and began to sign up for a few new social networking sites, which I was not already on, in order to:

  1. connect with others more efficiently
  2. to become more active in the conversation
  3. to be found

I put forward a more conscious effort to discuss with others to learn more about what they do.  I took time to connect outside of social media (either on the phone or in person if the ability was there) to further develop these relationships.  And through these relationships I directly impacted open positions I was working on and did make a hire through Twitter.  I continue to leverage all social media resources today to supplement my recruitment activity.

Over time, my company investigated social media for our messaging, our ongoing branding, recruitment activity, and as a new channel for us to grow as a company.  As this direction was being considered and decided upon, I was approached to help lead our global recruitment social media strategy, implementation, and execution.  This truly was a dream job opportunity for me and it is something so new that I am finding myself directly impacting my company’s message into the market.  Yes, I did say dream job even though this position did not exist just a few months ago.

I read about companies creating this type of position and thought to myself that this role would be a phenomenal opportunity for me to expand my experience and knowledge.  Also, it would be a lot of fun and a lot of hard work.

Yes, as a recruiter I have always worked to positively impact my company and convey our brand and message in my daily recruitment activities.  But now to be able to do this on a much broader scale is completely energizing and humbling – that I was selected to help lead this effort.  For a relatively short time, I was thinking that one day I would like to move into this type of an opportunity and determining how might I position myself best for this type of career progression.  The results of my personal decision to expand into a relatively untapped medium was that I was rewarded for thinking outside of my teams current strategy and I am now able to directly impact my company in the social media space.

The best part, I am still with my same company and expanding my experience and responsibilities!

My recommendation, to all of you, is to follow your passion.  Identify what it is that motivates you and will allow you to do your job better and more effectively.  Also, determine how it may impact your day-to-day activity in a positive way so that it is not distracting from your objectives.  You may even want to approach this passion with your manager to discuss how you might involve it into your productivity.  In hind sight, I wish I approached my managers directly but it did end up for the best.

Don’t wait for something to happen, make it happen.  Your dream job is waiting for you as well!

Do You Have A Twitter Strategy

As you are on Twitter and communicating with your followers, I have on question for you to seriously consider:  When you type a tweet, who is it for?

Your answer will vary but will be in one of these main categories:

  1. I tweet for me only
  2. I tweet trying to be funny/sarcastic/witty
  3. I tweet to convey interesting information and insight
  4. I tweet to interact with others

Let’s talk about each of these.

I tweet only for me

My short answer is to get off of Twitter now.  I don’t mean to be harsh but really you are not here for social networking (yes networking… connecting with others).  I have seen people tweet what they are eating or drinking, what they are doing, or a simple statement “ah refreshing”.  Obviously these messages are not doing anyone outside of you any favors and you are not providing value to your followers.

Recommendation: review your strategy to improve it or stop tweeting

I tweet trying to be funny/sarcastic/witty

Twitter isn’t a comedy club or an episode of Seinfeld.  Again, it is social networking… connecting with others.  You need to engage in conversations and not try to be a one man stand up act.  If you are naturally funny/sarcastic/witty in the course of these conversations then that is adding to the value of your followers.

Recommendation: interact and use your personality to the advantage

I tweet to convey interesting information and insight

This is a great place to be.  You are pushing information out there so that others may learn from your insight or information that you find.  This is a most helpful person but they do not always interact.  They are too busy pushing information out that they cannot manage the two way conversation.

Recommendation: get a Twitter application (TweetDeck or Seesmic) to respond quickly to responses and be more interactive

I tweet to interact with others

This is where you need to be, in the Web 2.0 world.  Push information and discuss with others on a number of topic levels.  You have the ability to follow people all over the world who share similar interests and may provide unique insight to you.  Why stay within a particular geography?  Recommendation: connect with others and get broader insights to any topic

The real use of Twitter is in actions and not in just pushing out information.  If you don’t interact, you are lost and need to revise your plans.  Do it now before your value and trust are questioned by your followers.