SHRM 2011: The Only Thing Missing In Social Media Presentations at #shrm11? Fun!

At SHRM11 I was given a heads up to see Matt Kaiser, talent management strategist for NAS Recruitment.  Kaiser presented “Social Media: The Reinvention of Recruitment”, which was simply focused on the basics of social media recruiting.  If you were looking for the next generation of Social Media recruiting, this wasn’t the venue for it. However, Matt was a terrific and engaging speaker. Check him out.

The venue was packed! Standing room only.  Fire marshals shut the doors to the overflow attendees. Very velvet- ropey.  It is very easy to get jaded in the HR blogosphere that there is nothing new to say in this space. But if you haven’t heard it (which this crowd had not)- it’s new to you. The packed session was a reminder to the jaded that there are still so many who have a true need to learn social media recruiting.   From square one.  Now.

It was not a shock to hear 54% of comps polled by Robert Half still ban social media at work.  It was disappointing but not surprising to see only a smattering of hands raised when asked “who all is on facebook…who all is on twitter”?  It was equally non-surprising to see everybody raise their hand at “who all is on LinkedIn?” Yet it is doubtful any are really using LinkedIn to have conversations.

Nevertheless, Matt, knowing his audience, had good points for the 101er which included:

·         Know what you want to get out of Social Media
·         Set Goals
·         Solidify your Personal Brand
·         Develop a Social Media Policy
·         Think Mobile (This actually was a nice newer 101 tidbit.)

In addition, there were some interesting tidbits one may want to check into if you need to start managing ALL of your Social Media Activity from one space.  Matt suggested Spreadfast.  I’ll throw in one other you may want to check out called Crowdbooster.

After describing each point, Matt typically followed up with “you now must create an action plan” around each of his main points and all their subpoints.  After about 30 minutes, I started to see attendees glaze a bit because now it feels like work.  A lot of it.  And I am new to Social Media, and oh, I don’t even have a twitter account……eyes roll back in head….

I do not disagree with Matt Kaiser’s take.  He was a fabulous speaker with a relevant topic for the appropriate audience.  I simply suggest one thing was missing. Fun.

Where’s The Party Man?…

There is a spirit of fun these new social mediums have that simply cannot compare to typing an ad on a typerwriter in 1985. Well, not unless you were typing your ad with the sweet, sweet sounds of Duran Duran in the background.  The spirit does not include a long Franklin-Covey list to check off when you are through.

I think that presenters on social media recruiting spend a bit too much time on steps and not enough time on the fun, personalized, authentic, interaction that truly, really-really gets people to learn the tool. People, even adult people, like to have fun.  When something is fun, we simply do it more.

I may suggest a session that is “Social Media Bar”, where you give the new comer a real life taste of twitter.  Set up their account profile, set them up with a few hash tags and let the conversations begin. The magic of that interaction will transfer to the “real life” work application fairly quickly. Because, well, work is life.

There is definitely a time to have a plan, but sometimes the best strategy is no strategy at all.

FOT Background Check

Dawn Burke
Dawn Burke (PHR) is VP of People at DAXKO. That's right - the very DAXKO that our very own KD is an alum of because there are only so many people (okay, just one) in the big B'ham who are worthy of that VP of People title. Dawn would be it. Former actor/singer/retail guru, her HR career has spanned the last decade. A true Generalist she’s done a little bit of everything, but recruiting and training is where she gets her mojo. She's based in the good 'ole blogging capitol of the south, Birmingham, Alabama, where you can frequently find her listening to the Beatles and REM, watching tons of Sex in the City reruns, drinking copious amounts of coffee and wine, and wondering how in the world this theatre grad ever got into football or HR…. Talk to Dawn via emailLinkedIn, or Twitter...


  1. I gave out cupcakes.

  2. I used; those who didn’t get nauseous really liked it.
    60% of the time it works every time.

  3. Lynne Taylor says:

    Laurie Ruetterman is right – she did give out cupcakes – and her session WAS fun. Joe Rotella’s entire session was comedy-filled and laughter-infused. Both Laurie’s and Joe’s sessions were incredibly informative, and very specific in explaining different aspects of the social media space and how to play in it.
    We were so tripped out by the whole social media emphasis at SHRM we stepped outside our comfort zone and blogged about it-and that is frightening really because we move – we don’t write! (
    But we empathized with jessica lee too-and liked her post as well. So it turns out we had a couple of things to say!!

  4. Matt Kaiser says:

    Note to self – give out cupcakes at next presentation…
    Thanks for the comments and feedback. I agree – social media is and should be fun. Depending on the conference, it’s tough to gauge the level of the audience and where they are with social media. Past feedback has shown me that people want to take a step back and look at a holistic picture – focus on building a complete strategy. At the same time, they want ideas they can take back and implement immediately. Trying to speak to all levels in one session while having fun is tough, but hopefully people captured a few things that inspired them.
    Always appreciate the feedback.

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