Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Even More Networking Goodness

This is more of a cool, personal post than the last one. This week I got to hang out with an Internet personality, Cheezhead, aka Joel Cheesman. And why is this cool? ( Well, just a year and a half ago, I had no idea who he was. Here's a brief time-line of our history.

March 2007 - I joined and was introduced to Google Reader and the Cheezhead blog about recruiting and SEO.

June 2007 - I actually meet Joel and photographed him in action at the annual SHRM conference in Las Vegas.

Time rolls on and I keep reading his blog. We become friends on Facebook, we follow each other on Twitter, and then one day....

October 2008 - I get a message via Facebook that he is coming to Seattle to do a presentation for a client and wants some sightseeing advice. I offer up some best of Seattle options and suggest meeting for coffee. He says sounds good, but he'll check with Ms. Cheezhead, who is joining him on the trip. And so, a tweet later and text from Joel, we end up meeting for drinks at Anthony's on the Waterfront. Good times.

Another day passes and we meet up again for lunch at a Seattle hole in the wall place called Salumi, operated by the Batali family, and talk shop. While standing in the long line to get our tasty sandwiches, we chat about how cool it is to be able to know people around the country, who work for entirely different companies, but are tied together through like-minded interests via the 'Net. In some ways, it's just crazy, and in other ways it's indescribably cool.

Anyhow, I am pleased as punch that I got to hang out with them and show them an insider's look at my town. My tour guiding skills are still serving me well. Thanks, Gray Line!

Now, I can't wait for another opportunity to hang out with the Cheez at some HR or recruiting conference or maybe on a visit to Cleveland!

The bottom line:
Social networking ROCKS!

Networking Goodness

Next week is the annual Seasonal Human Resources Association (SHRA) conference, where HR managers who work for employers in the national parks or other seasonal operations will gather to talk about their year, their trials, their tribulations and other goodies about the wonderful world of HR. This year's conference happens to be in Portland, Oregon, and it's the 20th annual conference, so it should be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it for several reasons.

1. I get to see my co-worker, Patty.
2. I get to see my SHRA friends and most likely get to create another batch of fun memories.
3. I get to talk about how cool social networking is and hopefully win over a few more HR folks to the world of Web 2.0.

Now in preparation for my talk on social awareness, I have gathered information on some Cool Works employers who have thrown their hats into the social media ring and are giving the social networks a try, well, one social network, Facebook. But, hey, that's better than none of them.

The two employers I have found thus far currently use the site in slightly different ways, but they are using it.

Example #1: Holland America Tours

They have created a profile as if they were a person. It's an individual profile and they can add friends who have either worked there or are interested in working for them, post links, update their status which recently said "Holland is Recruiting & Hiring for the 2009 Summer Season." Of course they are and why shouldn't they share this with the world.

Example #2: Northstar at Tahoe

They, on the other hand, have created a group called A Good Job at Northstar at Tahoe, where employees or future employees can sign up to chat, get updates, and be a member of the group. At this point they have 431 members. Not too shabby. You have to ask to join or be asked to join, but that's just a click away.

Both concepts work and are FREE! What's better than free? Facebook is just another way to connect with their job seekers and employees. I especially like Northstar at Tahoe's approach, because they send messages to their fans often to keep them engaged, talking about housing, when the snow is going to fall, and who to contact if you have questions. They have personalized their brand and made it more fun. Nothing gets your employees more involved than by tapping into something that they are already doing.

Example #3:

And just to round out the post and share with you another Facebook option for gathering folks is to create a Page. Cool Works has done this and please feel free to join and share the CW love by becoming a fan.

Fans can upload videos, leave comments, and add photos. And you, as the page manager can also post comments/share links, add photos, add videos, create events (like job fairs) and update your fans about what's happening.

So what is holding you back from doing this? Get out there. Dip your foot in the social media pool. The water is fine.