5 business uses for social media and 3 hacks to get them right

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I live in a world when half my acquaintances live and breathe social media and other half  “stay out of that”.

ROI of social media

Three years, London was abuzz with talk of the ROI of social media.  As far as I could tell, this was just backwash from marketing departments who are challenged internally to account for the money they spend.  When other functions see a funnel that goes from 1000 to 100 to 10 to 1 or maybe none, they rightly want an explanation for all the parties and lunches. When the rest of us say we are going to do something, we do it.

Rewarding what is excellent in social media

So today, I was delighted to see some awards for social media in the airlines sector.  I want to be clear here.  I am a psychologist and we aren’t the touchy-feely types the public thinks we are. We spend most of time crunching numbers and we know more about metrics and ROI than you might dream even if exists.  Believe me, you don’t want to know how to do the things we know how to do and can prove with numbers.

What matters in ROI

But because we do know a lot about ROI, we also know what matters and what doesn’t.

  • We must specify a decent goal.
  • We musn’t get bogged down on the how.
  • We must
  1. Make sure we have a goal that captures our sense of “why” this work helps us
  2. Find measures that help us see if we are getting closer
  3. And when we are really clever, find measures that help us learn what matters and what doesn’t.

    But first the what and why in one sentence.   Without that, everything else is busy work.

    New awards in social media

    Simpliflying has four awards for social media.

    • Best social media marketing campaign
    • Best use of social media to drive revenue
    • Best use of social media in a crisis situation
    • SimpliFlying Hero of the Year

    I could imagine one more – Best use of social media to develop a community that would sustain a new revenue stream.

    But there you have it.  Four clear uses of social media: let the market know we are here, increase sales, deal with crises (even unexpected ones like Haiti); and simplify.

    Work psychologists using social media to connect up people

    Because I am a psychologist, not a marketer, I more interested in

    • How to bring people together who might find opportunities working together
    • How to create a space where people can develop working relationships that support sustained happy and profitable working relationships
    • How to keep the relationship brimming with ideas including a strong sense that when it is over it is over and we should all move on better for having worked with each other.

    That’s all we have to do to build great communities

    Set the direction and ask people:

    • Are we doing it?
    • What’s next?
    • What have we learned that we didn’t know yesterday?

    HRM – drop the shopping list and give me the information I need!

    The psychology and HRM that we are teaching is not good enough

    We, psychologists and HR Managers do ourselves a disservice. We train our students in technicalities. Psychologists learn to run laboratories and do stats. Future HR Managers are taught the steps of recruiting, selecting, and paying people who work as employees.

    We produce drones, who have enormous difficulty communicating with other people in an organization.

    Even our blogs tend to drone on-and-on as shopping lists of what to do when. People hate us – for good reason. We concentrate on forms and procedures. We know the price but not the value. We know the answers and not the questions.

    I want my HR Manager to know

    • Who I am
    • Where I come from
    • What is important to me
    • Where I am going
    • Why I am here
    • What specific things I bring to the party
    • The things I want on and off-the-job
    • And not least, where I can find people elsewhere (outside the organization) who can meet my needs – including ex-employees!

    As a manager, I want to hear from HR

    • How many people are interested in the work I am doing
    • Where they come from and where they are going to
    • Whether interest in our work in the ascendancy or in decline
    • New interests that are emerging
    • How people in the field relate to each other and how their inter-relationships are changing
    • And some ideas of how I can build my interests on the interests of others as they come and go, morph and change.

    HRM in fast moving industries

    In fast moving industries, our interests and motives are continuously changing and quite fast.

    HR has a large challenge to come up with a report structure or dashboard which keeps abreast of changes and opportunities in the labour supply.

    • As a player inside the organization, I have needs that come up very quickly. Is the organization able to meet my demands in time to create value?  What does the organization need to do in the background to have that readiness?
    • Equally, the people who work in my field and who could create exceptional value if we worked together have needs which come and go. How do we detect that it would be a good time to approach them and can we negotiate a deal before they move on to other opportunities?
    • Can we get ahead of the game by making a place where people come together to discuss their ongoing and ever developing needs? How do we invite them to join in, how do we help them to influence discussions, how can we show them how to extract what they want, and how do we help them to decide when they should move on?

    Should we decide to work together in for a longer period and should we need a formal contract, what structures will facilitate the mutual journey?

    Our role is to facilitate the interests and motivation of people who are moving very fast. That is what we must understand and that is what we must shape.

    • Do we hold up a mirror so they can see themselves change?
    • Can they see patterns in how every one else is changing?
    • Can they see ahead and position themselves to take part in the most lucrative join ventures that are emerging?
    • Can we keep the information up-to-date in near-real-time because the opportunities change as people react to each other?

    Please drop the shopping list approach to HR! Organizations will not exist to amuse us.

    We must make organizations that allow value to emerge in specific industries. Anything else is just clerking.  It is close to worthless and utterly dull.