Today, I spoke to Keith McIlvaine, Keith is a coach, mentor and speaker. He is HR/Recruiting/Social Media professional with over 10 years of experience.
He began his career with an IT consulting company working as a recruiter in multiple offices supporting the PA, DE, NJ and NY markets. Currently he is a global social media recruitment role challenged with enhancing the recruiting activities and supplementing existing recruiting methodologies.
Mohammed: How deep within an organization should social media be allowed to penetrate?
Keith: Social media is going to be used by employees regardless of their level and access rights. If you do not provide an employee with access, they will just log in through their mobile device anytime they choose. Companies should think beyond the question of “who do we provide access to” and instead help to educate employees on how to use social media in terms of what to say online/what not to say online, be aware of privacy updates, and any additional information they feel is needed.
To answer your question directly, I believe it depends. Social media will be a slippery-slope for any organization because of what may or may not be said online. It may not make sense for your “customer support” division to have access as it may distract, however, it may also make sense for “customer support” to have access in order to respond to social media feedback quickly and effectively. Also, depending on your industry you may not be able to discuss anything online due to regulations.
The challenge for companies is that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Employees are going to be on social media whether you provide workplace access or not. Ultimately, it is in a company’s best interest to help employees make smart decisions as to when and what they say in these outlets.
Mohammed: What are the most common mistakes businesses and organizations make when it comes to social media and branding?
Keith: Two really jump out for me on this topic.
First, companies feel the need to continually push information out rather than make engagement their practice. Yes, it is important to share information about your company or industry but when you have zero engagement you become another marketing channel rather than a trusted partner. When this happens, you begin to lose followers/fans/friends/etc. and become just another part of the social media noise.
Second, people want to see who is behind the social media logo for organizations to truly gain that personal aspect that is so important in social media. If a company chooses a logo as their main picture, that is great but ensure the public know who is behind the scenes to contact if needed. People, not logos, build the real trust and engagement which in turn provides a positive impression for that company with public opinion.
Mohammed: What changes do you envisage to the way we communicate with each other in future?
Keith: I continue to see mobile and other portable devises (iPads and netbooks alike) driving change. Mobile phones have already made it tremendously easy to keep in touch with friends and colleagues, to exchange information in real-time and to keep large masses updated on whatever you choose to share through social media. As technology advances, mobile devises will hold everything and anything you could imagine right in your hip pocket. There will be an increase in video integration into our daily communications. Every year I am impressed with the next generation of technology, I am also excited to see other technology that I haven’t even imagined yet!
Brand Word: You need to pursue something that you enjoy in life. Yes, we all have responsibilities but enjoying what you do is critical to success. Even if it is something that you work on with your extra time, this will expand and enhance your character and who knows where it might take you. In this course, be true to yourself as your character is extraordinarily important!
Spotlight: I manage the social media recruiting strategy for Unisys Corp, a Fortune 500 global IT services, software and technology company. In my personal time, I also manage my own personal blog, the HR farmer, as well as enjoy reading marketing and social media related books such as Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith – one of the most well thought out books on how to effectively use social media. Let’s all keep pushing each other to continue these incredible conversations! (The statements above are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer).