Get Human Resources Involved in Social Media Marketing

10 Point HR Checklist for Social Media Marketing

Your social media marketing isn't getting doneWhile it sounds counter intuitive, human resources plays a critical role in your firm’s social media marketing plan and execution.  Data shows that, in reality, HR’s role in a firm’s social media efforts expands as experience with social media marketing expands.

Many forms of social media marketing require support from areas of the organization where the marketing department may have no clout. Often this is in the form of content development, technology support, customer service and investor relations. Therefore, it’s useful to get Human Resources involved in your social media marketing initiatives to ensure that your “support” staff understands what’s required of them and have their jobs expanded to include these responsibilities.

Here are ten elements where Human Resources can support your social media marketing efforts.

  1. Develop social media guidelines or policies. While many companies are starting to have social media guidelines for their employees, in order for them to be effective, they require monitoring and administration of any obligations.
  2. Track employee’s social media behavior to enforce your firm’s social media guidelines. Are there any infractions of your guidelines? If so, what management actions are required and have they been implemented?
  3. Adapt social media marketing job requirements and goals to existing job descriptions. If your social media marketing plan depends on people from outside of the marketing department, it’s a good idea to expand their job descriptions. Otherwise, it’s likely that your social media needs will drop to the bottom of employees’ to do lists.
  4. Provide companywide social media training to expedite social media adoption across your organization. This can take a number of formats: in-house training, Lunch and Learns, online courses or third party presentations. Getting a group of cross-discipline  employees together in an offsite venue enables participants to forge relationships while they brainstorm ways to enhance their jobs.
  5. Hire additional headcount to support social media marketing efforts. These can be new employees, consultants or outside resources depending on where your firm is on the social media curve and your firm’s approach to the use of outside support. Your human resources department will be needed to develop new job postings, screen consultants and hire new employees.
  6. Ensure internal recognition and rewards to employees who voluntarily take on social media responsibilities. This can take a variety of formats from public signage and internal newsletter features to gifts and monetary rewards.
  7. Start or enhance alumni outreach. Use of social media platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook can facilitate engagement with former employees. The paybacks of maintaining these relationships can come from new hire recommendations, new supplier and distributor relations and re-hires. Many top consulting firms have perfected their alumni networks because it reduces costs.
  8. Reduce hiring costs. The effective use of social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to get out the word about job openings can reduce or eliminate the need to pay fees to headhunters and career sites like Monster and CareerBuilder. For example, New York based agency, Deep Focus, used Facebook to announce their recruitment open house.
  9. Use social media platforms to check new employee backgrounds. The goal is to determine whether this person will fit within your organization and whether the prospect’s social media behavior is in line with your firm’s policies. To prevent issues, make company guidelines public.
  10. Keep crisis management plans up-to-date with appropriate personnel information. Since HR is responsible for all personnel changes, they can provide useful input for this vital, often overlooked function.

Bear in mind that each firm has a different approach to human resources and its role in corporate management. At a minimum, senior management should use this checklist to ensure that your company maximizes your its social media efforts and rewards employees where appropriate.  It helps to keep employee morale up and can reduce costs.

Do you have any suggestions that other firms will find useful? If so, would you please add them in the suggestions section below?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Related useful resources:

Photo credit:  Aaron Jacobs via Flickr

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6 Responses to Get Human Resources Involved in Social Media Marketing

  1. manik bd says:

    Nice post but I have a question about PR 10 Social Media Marketing

  2. Very interesting ideas great post

  3. Heidi,

    I am someone who works in the human resource space and I answer this post with a resounding, “YES!” HR professionals are the keepers of policy and procedure and are investigating claims of Facebook misuse and sexual harassment involving these platforms on a regular basis. These departments often use social media to promote their jobs and talk to job seekers. How HR is using social media is changing every day and most professionals need marketing and PR’s help.

    I’ve written about this topic frequently because there is such a crossover between what a company’s Marketing department is doing with external marketing programs and how HR is promoting job openings and the corporate brand both externally and internally. Here is my most recent article on the subject, “HR Isn’t Dead. It’s Called PR,”

    And thanks for writing about this.

    Jessica Miller-Merrell


    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Jessica–Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment on this post. I’ve been fortunate to work in companies where human resources is proactive in working across functions and helping the company develop bench strength for the future. In today’s corporate world, where social media is involved, the line of acceptability is definitely a blurred one.

      In the current social media ecosystem, it’s critical to understand that human resources require strong communications skills to break out of the ho-hum internal communications blasts online and offline to become a marketing partner. It’s important to get out and engage both your current and past employees but to provide resources for your future prospects to get their questions answered.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  4. While I agree with some of the points here, disagree with others, I think one point missing from this list is HR’s opportunity to engage potential candidates through social media – not just attract and push to openings or screen. Warming up potential candidates is important. For example, 47% of job seekers want questions answered via social media interaction [full access to research here: Answering job seeker questions before the interview process cuts down on unqualified applications and gets people interested enough to actually apply – and for the right reasons. Using social media is also a great way for HR to promote the company’s employment brand and truly show job seekers why they are an employer of choice and why a person might want to work for them.

    I believe in most cases HR would like to rise above the role of social media police officer or employee profile stalker.

    In regards to recruitment, social media can be a very, very powerful tool and should be one tactic companies use to attract and engage candidates. But, it is important that social media just be one facet to a company’s overall strategy, not it’s only approach.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Thank you for sharing your research with the community!

      You bring up a great point that HR can take a more proactive role through the use of social media. The first step is to create a company’s social media guidelines. These policies allow employees to participate in social media with the knowledge of what’s acceptable from a corporate perspective. This gives employees permission to engage in social media.

      I strongly support having HR be a positive, proactive participant in an organization and its social media involvement. Creating a presence and forum where prospective, current and past employees can congregate and have a dialog about a firm is a critical social media function. Many companies overlook the power of providing support to their former employees which can reap benefits in terms of new hires, future hires and clients.

      Like marketing and customer service, HR can use social media to engage with prospective hires to overcome potential issues. Some of this work may be better handled by a firm’s current and former employees who like customers may have more credibility with interviewees.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen