Social Media Editor/Community Manager


Smh_logoA client of mine in the NYC suburbs (north and west of Manhattan/accessible by train) is a 16-year old online community focused on patient information and health care advocacy.  The community grew from blogs and forums into a broader social model that provides original content to patients and their families. 

The community manager would be responsible for content management and digital strategy for member recruitment and retention. You’re working with our volunteers and allies on getting the widest possible audience for good content. You’re managing and guiding our social/digital agency towards content and SEO strategies that hit our key metrics. 

Our current platforms include:

  • Monthly newsletter
  • Patient/advocate blogs
  • Facebook page
  • Twitter account
  • YouTube channel

What are we missing? What makes sense with our resources? What are our patients currently using and where do they want to find us? How do we leverage the tens of thousands of members and allies to stay relevant and fresh in the minds of our patients? What is the right digital strategy for us, and what resources and regular habits do we need to execute that strategy? 

This position isn’t managing comments or sending emails to bloggers. It takes someone with experience in creating and nurturing a community. You're really functioning as an editor/a conference reporter, and a strategist.  It requires a digital native that understands the fundamental nature of our community, but it's both a digital and social role. You’ll be expected to manage ongoing improvements to site functionality, feature customization, and user-experience. As mentioned, you’ll work with the social agency to help them understand what we need. 


  • Manage recruitment and retention of new membership leveraging content, SEO and new site features
  • Manage relationships with patient members and oversee content from patient bloggers.
  • Communicate organization mission and community benefits to new and existing membership
  • Oversee web posting, writing, managing, editorial direction, design, editorial calendar
  • Schedule and execute social media strategy with site content. 
  • Supervise related work conducted by consultants and agencies (web developer /administrator, graphic designer, publicist, digital agency, UI/UX designer), contract writers, patient bloggers, poets, artists, photographers, videographers
  • Integration and cross-posting between member sites


Background and Competencies:

  • Bachelors degree (minimum)
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  • Experience cultivating and managing online communities 
  • Social media expertise
  • Understand SEO and SEM in relation to branding and conversion
  • Digital native
  • Interest in healthcare policy, politics, patients
  • Able to present to funders and board
  • Willingness to travel


The travel is conferences and other meetings roughly half a dozen times a year. The editing piece means you have know enough about writing to have different voices, and also coach others into how to write. Professional advocacy means you might need to comb through that old Strunk & White copy that's hidden behind the bookcase. 

So - writing, editing, digital strategy, and social planning (there's another community manager who handles the day to day posting on Facebook and Twitter). Where we basically stand is the community is good, the presence is adequate, and we need more. Someone who gets what we're trying to do. Some one who cares about healthcare and understands what we're trying to do. 

Did I mention you can work from home? Mostly.  There's an office, and you'll go in at least once a week (all five days if you want), but as this is an all hours kind of job, you're not required to be in the office all the time. You do need to be within driving distance, and this is a full-time, good-paying job that requires real experience in managing a community and significant talent as a writer/editor. And you have to know social/digital well enough to make me think you get it. 

Drop me a line at jim at social media talent. 




Live Facebook and LinkedIn Training In St Louis And Kansas City April 15-16


My first recruiter training event was way back in 2008 in St Louis. The Missouri & Kansas Search and Staffing Association has asked me back to do day long trainings in each city. 

We'll do a morning session on Basic LinkedIn. 

Followed by a morning session on Facebook Recruiting. 

Take a break for lunch, then do an Advanced LinkedIn Session in the afternoon . 

More details at the StlRecruiting blog below. 

St Louis event: April 15th

Kansas City event: April 16th


Registration: (you can use paypal or bring a company check)

St Louis Signup

Kansas City Signup

2008 Post: Recruitment Marketing Is The New Black

This post was an original for ERE.NET I wrote way, way back in December 2008. How do you think it holds up?

Way back in the 20th century, I learned an important fact about recruiters. We’re all salespeople. There are good salespeople and bad salespeople, but every recruiter has to be in sales if they are to function. This is not up for discussion. We sometimes dance around the premise, but recruiting is essentially the selling of a company on a candidate and a candidate on a company. Those who choose not to engage in selling can pretend to be noble, but they’re doing a disservice to their clients and employers. It’s engraved on stone tablets for every third-party recruiter who makes it longer than three months, and even the most sales-averse HR generalist has to admit that at one time or another, they’ve tried to talk a manager into meeting with a candidate based on their internal interview. It’s the nature of our business.

Where we sometimes butt heads is in the implementation of a sales mentality versus that of a process-oriented human resources approach. I have good news: The sales mentality is remarkably effective for finding high-quality candidates or hiring large numbers of people quickly.

Unfortunately, no company needs that kind of structure forever, and the friction caused by a sales mentality in hiring can lead to management, administrative, and even legal obstacles. The human resources approach of a kindler, gentler HR works when you don’t have urgency, and when you have an enlightened HR/executive management relationship, but process-oriented hiring turns off the top creatives and results in the hiring of a stable, but less aggressive workforce. That’s no way to run a company in uncertain times.

These are uncertain times, but also exciting ones. Jobseekers, through social media, now have access to information on their would-be employers that is truly revolutionary. In addition to being connected through social networks to hiring managers and other employees, candidates can gather information on individual recruiters, staffing firms, referral programs, and even interview questions. They can do so while they are sitting in an interview room waiting for that manager to arrive. The imbalance of information has been a strength of companies, who can set wages, benefits, and generally control the employment process. Today’s job-seeker has access — and is learning the skill — necessary to balance that information. The result is smarter, better-prepared candidates with wider options as to where they work and what’s acceptable in the employment process (such as whether someone will put up with multiple interviews and long assessments). This trend may not yet have affected your open requirements, but the strategies employed by the very top candidates are spreading to other high-quality candidates.

I know this because I, and others like me are helping train them. Every time I write about a tool on a blog or a social network, candidates have every bit as much incentive to read as do recruiters. And from my website stats, those kinds of readers are growing in droves.

A declining economy, high unemployment, and an increasing need for knowledge workers is running up against demographics, increased specialization, and social media. Recessions are supposed to be times when companies get lean and mean. They cut benefits, reduce or eliminate raises, and often use layoffs to restructure the business. All of that is happening, but the ease of finding candidates hasn’t changed. Companies sometimes get hundreds of resumes per open position, and with the implementation of ATS and database search technology, one would assume that companies could afford to sit idly by and let job-seekers come to them. Companies adopting that attitude are already hurting, and have been for years.

The Answer: Become A Marketer

You don’t have to buy non-prescription lenses and large amounts of hair gel, but will have to adjust to a world where employment branding is not a buzzword, but something that defines what kind of candidates come knocking on your electronic door. Those companies that brag of hundreds, or even thousands of resumes per position aren’t happy with their results.

Candidates looking for work blast off resumes hoping for a lucky hit, which ultimately clogs up the recruiting system, especially when you’re in an industry required to log what you’ve received and why you accepted or rejected the resume. Recruitment marketing used to mean writing job ads and placing them in newspapers. Today, it covers a wide range of disciplines that includes creative, copywriting, SEO, web analytics, pay per click, video, blogging, and social media marketing. The new goal is getting in front of the right people at the right time, and that’s a marketing function. To be successful, it requires that every touchpoint (another marketing term) within your company be aware of how you hire and the best way to apply. Providing accurate information to channel candidates into the correct funnel is the most efficient use of your recruiting time, freeing your employees up to interview and match, rather than sort and sift.

Let’s be honest. Even with massive databases and an influx of resumes, most recruiters still spend over half their time on the job boards searching for new resumes. The reason is simple. Resumes are old the second they hit your database, while resumes posted on job boards (particularly if you search by “last posted”) show an interest in getting hired right now. The advantage of a marketing mentality, especially one of pull-marketing, is a value to all activities taken. Searches for a position today can be magnified by social media to create a long-term search engine value and online profile for your company. Unlike job boards and company websites where information appears and disappears, online marketing creates relationships that continue to bring value after a search is completed. It’s not easy, and much of this work is in its infancy, but companies that embrace online marketing through the prism of social media are finding that recruiting gets easier, and more efficient.

It’s no panacea. Marketing requires a lot of retraining and a sympathetic management who puts a priority on hiring. Marketing requires a commitment to long-term employees and long-term strategies, but the benefits of an enhanced company profile are easy to measure using onboarding surveys. Rather than simply asking where the candidate heard about the position, questions should focus on what worked to influence the candidate during the employment process. Where did they get information? What information was helpful? Who was helpful? Companies who embrace a thorough strategy of recruitment marketing will find it easier and easier to hire the best employees. Those who focus on short-term sales or long-term process-oriented hiring will find it easier to hire those who are left.

Wanted: Social Media Recruiting Experience

Thanks to the magic of Twitter and the sharing savvy of Maren Hogan, I read this article in Human Resource Executive Online about "social recruiting" as a core competency for the hiring of new recruiters.

HR occupations most commonly seeking these skills are recruiters and training specialists, according to the platform, created and monitored by Wanted Technologies Corp., headquartered in Quebec City, with primary U.S. offices in New York.

"We've heard the 'buzz' about social recruiting," says Bruce Murray, CEO of Wanted Technologies, "but the facts are showing that forward-looking companies are now expecting their recruiters to have mastered this core competency.

"Social recruiting," he says, "has moved beyond 'buzz' and is definitely mainstream."

 Awesome.  Allow me to step forward, and on behalf  of all the bloggers, dreamers, and trainers that dug into this over the last seven years, I'd like to say, you're welcome.  Thank you to all the readers and writers of  Thank you to Kennedy Expo and ERE and OnRec, and to folks like John Sumser and Jason Davis and Craig Silverman and Heather Hamilton and Recruiting Animal and Anthony Meaney and David Manaster and well, all of the Jason's, and Dennis Smith and Dave Mendoza and Shally Steckerl and Joel Cheesman and Maureen Sharib and really, anyone who started pitching this as "extra sauce" in the core recruiting function. 

And I'm sure I missed a whole slew of folks.    

But seriously, this is a good sign for the industry that social media is seen as  a core competency.  It is.

But what does it mean?  And how do you hire for it?

While we've taken great strides, there is still a fundamental disconnect between understanding social media and actually using it in the recruiting process.  So if you want to hire someone with social media skills, can I just a simple remedy? 

Ask them to demonstrate it.

If you know what you're doing in social media, it shouldn't be that hard to sit down in front of a computer and show it off.

Picture 10  This is a screen shot of LinkedIn, and at the very least, you ought to be able to demostrate how to use LinkedIn to find candidates.  Show a trick or two. 

And when done with LinkedIn, you can show how Meetup can help you find active candidates whose online profiles are passive. 

Or perhaps you can demonstrate how you'd go about interviewing accoutants in Seattle when the job is in Tampa. 

Or maybe just show how you can get direct phone numbers off old resumes in the database? 



What you can't do is say that you know social media, put it on your resume, and then skate through the interview because your future manager doesn't understand what it means to be social savvy. 

I'd be interested in finding out if this is case.  Back in the old days, coders would sometimes interview by, you know, writing code.  Now that technology is such an important part of every job, you'd think that we tested for skillsets.  They used to give typing speed tests and number pad drills in an interview.  Why wouldn't you have a LinkedIn run-through in your hiring process? 

Say, that's not a bad idea.  Maybe I'll call Tincup.  


We May Not Be Experts, But We Know Frauds When We See Them

There's an old joke about how to win an argument.  When you have the facts, stick to the facts. When you don't have the facts, make your argument louder.  When you're losing the argument, bang your shoe on the table.  We have no tables in social media, but we see this kind of behavior way too often. 

Social media is hard.  In addition to having to learn at a breakneck pace, much of what you say and do is obsolete shortly after you produce the content.  I know this in a painful way, as my training DVD's had a shelf life of less than six months, as Twitter, LinkedIn, and especially Facebook altered their look and functionality so much, my content was no longer relevant. 

And because that functionality changes, old pronouncements can come back to bite you, as in when I said Facebook was worthless to recruiters not serving the college graduate crowd.  When that changed, I changed my mind, and wrote about it, fessing up to my mistake.  

I've had to eat crow, update, confess to rushing before I got facts right, and I've even had to apologize.  And it was good for me.  It's a sign of character my parents taught me, and it's more important than ever in understanding social media (or really any expertise). 

I want to give you four examples in recent weeks of people making outrageous statements.  All four have a large online presence.  All four have been called experts by others.   All four reacted differently, and it's my contention that their reactions were more important in the determination of their expertise (and their character), then their initial statements. 

Number One: Peter Shankman And Social Media Experts

   In a blog post that got picked up by the Business Insider and tweeted and shared thousands of times, Peter Shankman said you should never hire someone who calls themselves a social media expert, and he joked they should all burn in a fire. 

First, I'd like to refute the argument visually.  


Note Peter spoke at an event in October where he is listed as a social media expert. By his own words, we should not hire him, but instead should give him a book of matches. 

But hey, we all say things we come to regret. Shankman was trying to make the relevant point that social media has to be tied to business goals (actually he said revenue, which is only part of the picture, but the argument is a valid one).  Where he made a mistake was punching down and insulting a broad swath of people with little more than innuendo. 

When called on it, Peter did three things. First, he argued with people on his site and doubled down on his comments.  He refused to acknowledge that he smeared a group of people unfairly (and no one specifically).  

Second, he contiued to argue with people on other sites, but he did so in a mocking manner.  The one that sticks in my mind is the guy who found this picture and asked about it on Twitter.  Peter insulted him, mocking the guy's personal website for having broken links.  Not exactly a classy move.

Third, and the worst part, was Peter's failure to address the substantive issues in a forum online.  He let the original column stand, and then moved on.  For a guy claiming to be a social media expert and worldwide connector, he sure seemed to miss the point about engaging critics in an honest manner.  

In short, Peter acted like a jerk, and his personal reputation deserves to be measured against those actions.

Number Two:  Gary Vaynerchuk, and the social media clowns.

Gary made a comment in an interview that almost all social media people don't have a clue how business works.  the interview title was provocative, and so Gary came out with a video backing up his statements, but explaining what he meant.  The argument was very similar to what Peter Shankman was hinting at, that social media has to produce a result, and that requires expertise and hard work.

The difference was in how it was handled.  Vaynerchuk is no shrinking violet, and he clearly loves a good fight, but his responses, from the video to face-to-face conversations were intended to move the argument forward, not take pot shots at people who dared question him.  

What a difference.  Two similar statements, and yet my impression of the reactions determined which person I would call expert, and which I would call a fraud.  

Number Three:  Chris Penn and Empire Avenue

Chris Penn wrote a post calling Empire Avenue a virtual Ponzi Scheme.  Chris had his facts wrong, and that led him to a conclusion that was very wrong. People across the net quickly called him out on it.  Chris's response?

I'll look into it, and get back to you. 

At first, I thought that was dismissive, but within a day, Chris had updated the post and his Twitter page to acknowledge that his column may have been wrong, and he was looking into it. He even listed me by name (I criticized the column in the arguments).  In doing so, Chris earned an enormous amount of respect from me.  He didn't need to backtrack and apologize - he just needed to look into it further and then make a new judgement.  He owned his words.  How can you not like a guy like that, and more important, trust a guy like that - give him the benefit of the doubt in the future if you think he makes another mistake?  Owning up to his mistake, makes he think he's someone worth listening to because he's not afraid to be wrong.  Chris doesn't know me, and could have ignored comments, but instead, he displayed intellectual curiousity and honesty, a trait any online expert needs.

Fourth Example: (Still Pending)  Dan Schawbel and Job Boards

Dan is a personal branding coach who has been out in front for Gen Y pitching reputation management, wrote a column in Forbes about LinkedIn replacing job boards. In the column, he displayed a shocking amount of ignorance about the employment process, as well as gratuitously insulting recruiters who use job boards as "lazy."  The column was a trainwreck, one that many big names in the online recruiting industry quickly eviscerated (Recruiters were some of the first to use social media, and we've been doing it as a community for 8 years).  

The column was not researched well, poorly thought out, and quite frankly should  be retracted (yeah, it's that bad).  Dan answered a few comments at Forbes, but has now seemingly moved on, going so far as to delete a Facebook wall post from Paul Debettignies (, claiming he prefers to have his own content on the wall.  Hey, it's Dan's wall, but failing to engage critics who know more than you are is the same sort of nonsense Peter Shankman was peddling.  It's weakness, and cowardice, to simply run from arguments made by people with substantive claims. 

Look, I'm not saying that every person writing online has to engage with every single person who disagrees with them.  I get it.  But when you occupy a position of prominence, and you really screw up, you should be willing and able to face the music.  You can ignore trolls and people picking fights with you, but when you ignore everyone after writing a provocative piece, then you're a media whore, not a serious business consultant. 

Dan still has a chance to come back from the abyss, but he's seriously damaged his digital relationships with the online recruiting community, many of whom have spent the better part of four years applauding him for his initiative.  He burned the very bridges he speaks of building to his audience. 

And so you have four examples of social media pundits, whose reactions helps us understand whether or not the emperor has any clothes.  Those you can trust, back up their arguments or admit a mistake. Those you cannot trust, run away from arguments, mock detractors, and pretend their social media fame is some kind of shield from honest criticism. 

If there was a test for social media expertise, owning your words would be on it.  






Social Media Experts Come Under Attack By Social Media Mean Girls

I was going to title this, Attacking Social Media Experts without naming them is bullshit, but I didn't want to be so mean. 

A spiking trend in the social media world is for pundits, authors, speakers, and people whose careers have been elevated by social media to lash out at self-proclaimed "social media gurus" or some other version of the word rockstar, ninja, expert... giving the latest regurgitated hash about social media really being about solving problems/making money/learning to listen. 

It isn't new. Jason Falls writes about the bashing trend way back in 2009.

"While the harsh tone then and now will be interpreted incorrectly by some, I still feel that way. However, my frustration has turned more toward those whining about the 20-something trying to make his or her way in the social media world, hoping to ride the wave like other digital natives and put food on their table. I don’t fault the uninformed for claiming to be something they aren’t. We’ve all spit-shined our resume a bit much at one point in time, I’d bet. I hope brands and companies are smart enough to see through that."

MeanGirlsSo why is it still happening? It's a form of status elevation every teenage girl would recognize.

You attack a defenseless person with a strawman argument designed to show what you wouldn't do.

 "I may let a boy feel me up, but I don't tell everyone.  Only a slut would do such a thing."

 And then all her friends nod their head and talk about how awful, "those girls" are. Maybe it's my high school reunion coming up and maybe it's watching too many Glee clips on Hulu, but I'm hard pressed to come up with a defense of how bashing someone for what they call themselves isn't high school one-upmanship worthy of a Mean Girls 3 script. 

Trashing your industry, or better yet, trashing a skill set that has boosted your ability to make money is not speaking truth to power.  It doesn't gain you credibility, keep you real, or make your voice authentic. 

Especially when you talk about a problem that doesn't exist. 

One of the hallmarks of Mean Girls is they don't attack others in their social circle.  They don't attack peers, for fear of backlash.  They attack those lower on the social chain.  This is why you don't see social media pundits attacking each other by name.  They attack faceless, "self-proclaimed social media experts," and to prove I'm not a Mean Girl, I'll be specific.

I'm talking to you, Peter Shankman.     

Peter's website announces he's on Bloomberg radio discussing a post he wanted to title, "All Social Media Experts should go die in a fire."

"I was going to call this article “All “Social Media Experts” need to go die in a fire,” but I figured I should be nicer than that.

But my title stands. If you call yourself a “Social Media Expert,” don’t even bother sending me your resume.

No business in the world should want a “Social Media Expert” on their team. They shouldn’t want a guru, rock-star, or savant, either. If you have a “Social Media Expert” on your payroll, you’re wasting your money."

That's a very clever piece of writing, but it's not particularly helpful to anyone, from job candidates who put "social media expert" on their resumes to clients who supposedly are out hiring "social media experts" to their detriment. 

Let me go ahead and ask.  Does Peter Shankman have that many Fortune 1000 clients whose biggest problem in social media is they're so stupid they are tricked by people who put "social media expert" on their resume but actually have no experience?  That's a real question, because Peter felt the need to go out and write a bunch of words describing how stupid you have to be to put social media expert on your resume.  How many resumes is he getting that have this in their title?  Is it really that big a problem?  I get resumes with embellishments on them all the time.  It's fun to make fun of them, but it's not an industry wide trend that deserves some kind of special recognition.  

At the time of this post, Peter's post has been Liked 1000 times on Facebook, Shared almost 1000 times on Twitter, and has attracted 175 comments.  Did Peter write something groundshaking here, or are people piling on, Liking, Sharing, and whooping it up because they want to make sure they're with the cool kid? 

Are there hordes of companies spending millions of dollars wasting money on "social media experts?"  Or was this just an attempt to gain credibility stating the obvious?  And just who in the corporate world has someone with the title "social media expert" working for them?  

They're not of course.  The problem most social media consultants face is they're broke, and trying desperately to find some way to pay the bills.  Most of the people I speak to haven't taken a check for any consulting, and their experience in-house is limited to creating profiles online without any backup from their company.  These are not threats to the social media industry. They are just folks trying to make a living - marketing themselves.   

The problem companies have is the public is taking social media seriously for their own purposes, severely altering the balance of power between seller and buyer.  Companies know they have to do something, but they won't do it without proof it works.  Companies are dipping their toes into the water, but that means they don't have the budget to pay what Peter Shankman charges.  If someone calls themselves a social media expert to get their foot in the door, and that gives them access to a company that knows nothing about social media but wants to, how is that a bad thing?  Companies get what they pay for.   

What's worse is that Peter is on record talking about trying something new in social media as the secret to its success.  Who does he think is going to do that?  I've seen a lot of dumb ideas from small practitioners, but I've seen massive failures from major brands backed by million dollar a year agencies.  Maybe the companies should be spending $1000 for some local social media expert to brainstorm instead of paying $100,000 to a highly-sought after integrated digital and creative corporate marketing consultant, speaker, entrepeneur, and investor, as well as thought-leader, trusted friend, bacon and dog-lover. How is the second title any different than the first? 

You know what Peter calls himself?  A worldwide connector.  What exactly is that?  Is there a degree for that?  A course in the MBA curriculum?  Let me go ahead and say this.  If you're going to put worldwide connector on your resume, go ahead and don't send me a resume.

We know what the word means. It's a semantic device you use to elevate yourself above those nameless, faceless "social media experts" who never had a chance of selling your clients in the first place. 

You know the worst part of this?  Peter is right.  Companies should be asking how they can run campaigns that make them money, and most of the experience out there in social media lacks the ability to run integrated campaigns.  Oops, what I meant to say is that most of the peoplee in social media marketing lack the experience of running a campaign, the heft to drive solutions through a company over the objections of the employees, and the ability to then charge a fair market rate for it.  Maybe we should be doing more to hire and train young people, instead of simply insulting them and suggesting they practice self-immolation. 

Are Social Media Consultants Clowns? Or Heroes?

Gary Vaynerchuck made headlines recently with a statement that 99.5% of social media consultants are clowns.  In an interview with TechCrunch, he made the statement, and then explained it in more detail at his own site, at the link. 


I'm with Gary in some respects.  Quite a few people calling themselves social media consultants are clowns - I've oft repeated my personal statistic that 80% of the people I've talked to have never taken a check, and a large percentage of the others are taking piddling checks that amount to a few hundred or thousand dollars to do nothing.

Gary is trying to improve the industry, and he's right that failures and snake-oil salesman are a problem.

And yet, clown is a pretty strong word.  It suggests an unseriousness, when the problem is really a lack of experience in general business, and a lack of experience in how to get things done at the corporate level.  I've actually never met or spoken with anyone that is a snake oil salesman. I've read some pretty shady training bloggers who came from the affiliate world, buy that's as close as I've been.  Most of the unpaid or inexperienced are just naive, and hopeful, that what they've read on other sites will make them rich or famous or just give them a job.

So it's sad, but not clown-sad.  It's not intentional.  They really just don't know that managers and line workers and developers and designers have no clue what they're doing in social business.  And it's not just social business.  

How many web developers, of any language, understand SEO?  We're not talking about the abilty to be crawled by spiders - that's child's play. We're talking about building a site with an SEO strategy in mind to convert traffic to an action.  If you think it's more than 10%, I have a bridge to sell you.

How many copywriters understand what it takes to convince retail salespeople to speak up for a product or program? Would you call 99.5 % of them clowns?

How many VP's of marketing for billion dollar companies know what a hashtag is and have ever used one?  Clowns?  Or differently skilled? 


The disconnect between social business results and social consultants is a function of the marketing/PR/SEO/customer service/corporate world, not a problem with the social media folks specifically.  They only know where they came from.  Social media is so much bigger than their niche, is anyone surprised they are lost? 

We all know television advertising is overrated - why does social media come in for such scorn when television advertising is so much worse?  It's just hazing of a new discipline. 

So I applaud Gary for speaking the truth, but wonder how we can actually move forward.  I've got some ideas about how to judge someone.  We'll let you know later this week, no matter if we decide to do it or not.




The Power Of Community In Minneapolis: Jim Durbin and Craig Fisher At #MNREC

I'm a big fan of a number of Minnesota recruiters and marketers, but until last week, I'd never actually made it up there (outside of A New Year's Eve social call a decade ago).  My main contact is Paul Debettignies, the MNHeadhunter, whose blog, writing, and friendship I have enjoyed since 2005.

Paul invited us to Minnesota (Craig Fisher, @fishdogs, and the other owner of Social Media Talent), and we had the pleasure of speaking to 210 folks in the recruiting space inside Best Buy Headquarters.

I spoke about the power recruiters have to drive social through the organization.  Craig discussed new ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile.  A third speaker, Amy Langer from Oberon talked about her journey in building an HR, Finance and Accounting staffing firm after working as an accountant for the then Big Six. 

While the presentations were awesome, and yes, I can say we were all great, the really impressive spectacle was this interconnected group of corporate and agency recruiters joining together to learn and share and make friends. The group was tight, and that's not something you always see.  Maybe it was just my first chance to see Minnesota nice, but my impression walking away from the mini-conference was that working in Minnesota would be a blessing for a lot of people and lot of companies. 

While it's impossible to judge a market from such a brief time, I walked away impressed.  While I knew folks like Gregg Dourgarian (Tempworks and Staffing Talk), Steven Rothberg, and Joshua Kahn were there, that's true for every town. There are always a few great people you can get to know online.  What struck me about this was how many others I wanted to meet while up there.

Minneapolis-St Paul is home to some big companies. Target, Cargill, Deluxe, 3M, Best Buy.  It has a stable workforce and a cool, active downtown.  It's a place to keep your eye on.  It was certainly a place I'll visit again.  

Social Business Is About Productivity

I throw my hands up in the air sometimes when I read about social media as some new paradigm of marketing. The connections afforded with a networked community do pose challenges to the way we communicate with customers, prospects, and internal staff, but that's not where social media currently resides.

Social media is a public phenomenon, but no one pays for something that occurs naturally. Like it or not, your goal as a social business consultant needs to be on the company - altering internal habits in a way that lays the groundwork for different divisions within your client to take advantage of information about product, services, and competitors. Most social media consultants focus on content and profile creation in the hope that user inertia will create conversions of some kind.

You create a Facebook post. User reads it and forwards it to friend. Friend buys. ROI! This is 99% of what I'm reading in social media consulting. Some are smart enough to talk about conversion and calls to actions (those from search marketing), but if you search through the pages, you'll find very little of that. The areas you do see good integration are where social-savvy employees add the tools to their current jobs, which is why recruiters take to LinkedIn so well.

Social media is not just marketing.  The real value lies in the productivity an employee gains from being tightly networked to their industry.  No matter how good the strategy, the employee won't follow it if they aren't persuaded to change their work habits. 

Social media may best be understood as a public movement, but social business is about altering the way we do business, and right now, that's where much of the money companies should be spending on social needs to go. We need internal expertise in a company that takes into account how that company sells, markets, hires, and communicates. Outside strategies and strategists may be brilliant, but if you can't apply that information internally and hold the employees responsible for learning and applying what they learn, you're not really doing anything other than glorified copywriting.