Interested in a Sales/Marketing Position? You’d Better Start Tweeting

October 28, 2013 1 comment

Traditionally, companies promote sales by initiating one-way, and often persuasive messages to influence buyers’ purchasing decisions, but social media has destroyed the “one-to-many-communication” model. And because of that, if one wants to work in the field of sales and marketing, s/he must know how to communicate effectively on social media.

 

twitter marketing Linchi Kwok BlogWell, many people have already been active on Facebook and Instagram. Isn’t it enough? Probably, at least they know how to “talk” as a customer. The challenge is B2C (business-to-consumer) communications are very different from C2B (consumer-to-business) and C2C (consumer-to-consumer) communications because everything posted on a company’s Facebook page or Instagram profile must reflect a brand’s or a company’s core value. Do you notice any differences between the Facebook messages posted on McDonald’s page and the ones on Chick-fil-A’s page?

 

A good sales/marketing manager must also know how to measure and document the ROI (return on investment) of a company’s effort on social media marketing. Very likely, most internet users do not even pay attention to how many friends they actually engage on social networking sites. If that’s the case, can they determine if a B2C communication strategy is working or not based on measurable outcomes?

 

Additionally, a good sales/marketing manager must go beyond Facebook and Instagram. At a minimum, s/he must also be active on LinkedIn and Twitter. According to the Wall Street Journal, Twitter now has over 230 million monthly active users. Some companies have already gained great success in promoting sales on Twitter. For a hotel, Twitter can be an “easy and inexpensive way to get in touch with its audience and to form community bonds.”

 

If you still feel doubt about Twitter, let’s hope the following Bloomberg video will add some weight to my argument. In your opinions, what are the important skills that a sales/marketing manager should possess in the social media era? What can a candidate do to better prepare himself/herself for the challenges facing sales/marketing managers these days?

 

 

References:

The picture was downloaded from Guladigital.com.

Social Networking at Age 13: Why Not?

August 21, 2013 Leave a comment

LinkedIn announced two updates, according to The Wall Street Journal.  First, LinkedIn introduced verified university pages, providing new cyber space for applicants, current students, alumni, faculty, and staff to engage with one another.  Second, LinkedIn dropped the minimum age for the website to 13 (14 in the U.S.).  Facing these new changes, some people are concerned about whether teenagers should be allowed to access an additional social networking site.  They ask: will it be early?

LinkedIn Teenagers Cartoon Linchi Kwok Blog

I completely understand where the criticism comes from.  Many teenagers are already allowed to use a variety of social networking sites.  Recently, Twitter even completely removed the restriction on age limit (used to be 13 or older).  LinkedIn was established as the social networking site for professionals.  What is good for teenagers to spend additional time on another network?  Also, will it be too early for teenagers to get engaged in the professional world?

When it comes to career preparedness, I always believe the earlier the better.  If I were a parent of teenagers, I would be glad to see my kids “hanging out” on LinkedIn.  The university pages can be very helpful to teenagers when they need to make an informed decision about majors and colleges.  Besides verified university pages, teenagers and college students can also check out pages for their dream employers and get a feeling of the organizational culture.  The more they know about their dream employers, the better they will understand the employers’ expectations, which will help them make a better plan for their career.

If I were an admission officer in a university or a recruiter for a company, I would also be glad to talk to a teenager on LinkedIn or just any social network

ing sites.  While students need to make informed decisions, universities and companies also need to assess the “fit” between the candidates and the job/organization.  Many universities and companies have already been actively engaging with the candidates on other social networking sites, why not on LinkedIn as well?

Besides these two, what other changes do you see on LinkedIn? What is your experience with the changes?  Please share your experience and thoughts with us.

Relevant discussion:

Reference:

The picture was downloaded from CarpetBaggery

Smartphones: An Effective Means for Employee Recruitment

April 27, 2013 Leave a comment

SoLoMo – Social, Local, and Mobile – is not a trend; it is happening right now on this moment. If a company does not have a clear SoLoMo strategy or a mobile-optimized website by now, the company has fallen behind in competition.

Job Search Mobile Devices Linchi Kwok BlogI am an optimistic person and thus believe many companies have already taken SoLoMo seriously. Otherwise, they have probably been defeated by their competitors who embrace SoLoMo. My real concern is that not every company has an integrated SoLoMo strategy. Often, companies pay close attention to SoLoMo’s effect on sales and marketing. A true integrated strategy, however, must include every facet of business operations into considerations.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported a story that highlighted the SoLoMo’s impact on employee recruitment. According to this report, mobile devices will outpass desktops/laptops and become Americans’ preferred method for accessing the internet by 2015. Among the Fortune 500 companies, 167 (33%) have already had career portals that are optimized to fit in a smartphone screen. A year ago, only 65 companies did so.

McDonald’s and Macy’s are the two examples cited in the report. McDonald’s launched its mobile career site back in 2008.  At that time, three million people visited the mobile site and 24,000 actually submitted an application on the mobile site. By 2012, McDonald’s received two million applications, with a record of 30 million visits of its mobile career site. Today, McDonald’s mobile career site brings over 10% of applications to the company.

Macy’s tested its mobile-optimized career page in 2011 with selected positions like software developers and marketers before the company rolled out a mobile page for hourly employees in 2012. Today, Macy’s receive 20-25% of applications from its mobile career page.

Recently, Convenience Store Decisions and Humetrics conducted a national human resource (HR) survey with nearly 100 convenience store chains, representing 12,000 stores in the U.S. The results also support SoLoMo’s impact on HR operations, including:

  • The two most effective recruiting tools for hourly employees are in-store ads or outdoor signage and employee referral program. For salaried positions, internet job boards and company websites become the two most effective methods.
  • Social media are being used in recruitment by 28% of respondents, significantly higher than what was reported in 2012 (2%).
  • The usage of CraigsList for recruiting hourly employees increased from 21% in 2011 to 25% in 2012 (Craigslist also has a mobile app).
  • Only 5% stores are using social media sites for screening now, but another 5% plan to add checking social media sites as a screening method in 2013.
  • About 22% suggested they will adopt new training technologies, such as e-Learning, Webinars, learning management systems, smartphones, iPad, PC, among many others.

Another market-research report by Nielsen found that 63% of Americans use mobile devices to access social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn (Weber, 2013). Mobile devices indeed provide a great means for companies to reach potential candidates. To embrace SoLoMo, some employers also use QR codes and text-messaging in mobile recruiting.

One challenge of doing mobile recruiting, however, is that mobile-optimized career sites might not be as easy to navigate as the sites on laptops/desktops (Weber, 2013). Regardless, SoLoMo in HR is happening now.

Do you think SoLoMo will play an even more important role in HR? How about its impact on other areas of business operations? How can businesses respond to the SoLoMo movement? Referring to your personal experience, for what purposes do you use mobile devices? Do you believe your smartphone can help you find a job in the future? Why or why not?

References:

Kleiman, Mel. (April, 2013). The 2013 convenience store human resources study. Convenience Store Decisions, 24(4), p. 26-30.

Weber, Lauren. (April 24, 2013). How your smartphone could get you a job: McDonald’s, Macy’s customize their career sites, but most companies aren’t moving fast enough. The Wall Street Journal, retrieve online on April 24, 2013 via http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323551004578441130657837720.html

The picture was downloaded from teczealots.com

Do We Have the Rights to Talk about Work or our Boss on Social Media?

March 31, 2013 Leave a comment

It is not new to hear people got fired because of their updates on social networking sites. In one extreme case, a man got fired even for his random thoughts posted on Facebook. So, is it legal for companies to fire employees because of their updates on social media sites?

 

Social Media Right to Talk Linchi Kwok BlogEmployees have the rights to discuss face-to-face on “protected concerted activity” as outlined by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). For example, employees can talk about their wages and work conditions with co-workers. According to The Lodging Magazine (2013), the answer to whether employees have the rights to talk about work or their boss on social media sites depends on whether the employee’s update is considered as protected concerted activity.

 

The article in The Lodging Magazine reported two cases with the published decisions from NLRB. One case involves in an employee’s sarcastic comments about the employer. This employee is not protected because NLRB believes that the comments were made “solely by the employee without any discussion with other employees.” In the other case, an employee responded to a co-worker’s criticisms of her job performance as well as the performance of other co-workers. This employee was fired, but NLRB ruled in favor of the terminated employee because the employee’s behavior is “a call to group action that related to their working conditions.”

 

Even though it is noted that the decision made by the NLRB may turn out to be invalid because the Supreme Court by the Administration is still pending on its decision on whether the NLRB “lacks a quorum and is unable to conduct business,” employers are advised to keep such decisions of NLRB in mind. In the end, the article lists six suggestions for employers’ considerations (direct quotes):

 

  • Eliminate policies that require employees to maintain confidentiality over wages, bonuses, or commissions.
  • Review social media policies for non-specific terms that need further definition or stricter language.
  • Adjust overly broad language that prohibits employees from discussing company policies, schedules, safety, dress codes, work assignments, other staff, or management.
  • Eliminate or change language that prohibits posting of company logos, company name, identification of employee with the company, etc.
  • Where legitimate issues are involved, define information that the company considers confidential (private employee data, guest information, strategic marketing plans, financial particulars).
  • Consider a disclaimer at the end of the social media policy that makes clear that the policy is not intended to restrict an employee’s Section Seven Rights under the NLRA.

 

My suggestion to individual users is to think before posting any negative comments about work or their boss. They may ask themselves: besides venting my feelings about work or my boss on social media sites, how does my update help solve the issue? Are there other places for me to vent my feelings? Are there other places I can seek solutions (e.g., the HR Office, the corporate HR Manager, the NLRB, etc.)?

 

I agree to the article that managers need to revisit their companies’ policy. Ideally, I believe that the best solution to “stop” employees from bad-mouthing the company or their supervisors is to nurture an organizational culture that value employee feedback. If employees know their employer listens to them and shows genuine interest to them, they tend to be more open to their managers about their feelings and thoughts. If their issues are solved, they will not need to vent their feelings on social media sites any more. What do you think?

 

References:

Ryan, Andria, & Lominack, Reybun. (2013, March). Word to the wise: the National Labor Relations Board is weighing in on social media communications and employee rights; Here’s what hoteliers need to know. The Lodging Magazine (The official magazine of The American Hotel + Lodging Association), p. 20-21.

Retention Management – What Strategies Are (Not) Working?

February 2, 2013 Leave a comment

The U.S. added 157,000 payroll positions in January according to The New York Times. Such job growth, however, did not result in a lower unemployment rate. On the contrary, the unemployment rate rose to 7.9% for the month. What is going on?

employee retention Linchi KwokThere must be more than one reason behind that. One could be employers now require existing employees to take over some of the responsibilities for the vacant positions until they are filled. When employers are not filling the vacant positions, the increased number of payroll positions does not help lower the unemployment rate.

Another possible reason is that fewer employers are willing to invest in candidates with less experience but great potential. Companies prefer to hire candidates who are ready to plug in and perform the job immediately — usually those holding a similar position in a competitive firm. By doing so, companies can save a good amount of training and development cost. Therefore, it may seem everyone is “hiring,” but the truth is everyone is fighting for the same candidates who have already had a job. When no one is hiring the unemployed, the increased number of empty positions has little effect on the unemployment rate.

I consider what I mentioned above the “malpractices” in HR operations because these companies are doing nothing but “digging the grave” for themselves. Today, almost every professional is on LinkedIn. Many are also active on other social media platforms. As compared to regular staff, valuable employees are more vulnerable to be seen on the internet and be approached by a competitor. As a result, when the economy is turning around, the companies that require employees to do more for less or do not want to invest in their human capital will end up losing the top talent for the competitors.

Considering retention management is a system-wise approach to encourage valuable employees to stay with the employer, I would like to ask you the following questions: What considerations a company must take in managing employee retention? Based on what you experienced in the workplace or what you have read in literature, what tactics can employers use to manage employee retention? Which tactics work well? Which do not? For what reasons?

Relevant discussion:

References:

Rampell, Catherine. (2013, February 2). Job growth steady, but unemployment rises to 7.9%. The New York Times, pp. B1. Also available online via http://nyti.ms/XxVsxP

The picture was downloaded from FrankCrum

Categories: Job Search Tags:

2012 in review

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Communication Tags:

Beyond a Profile Page: A Continuous Discussion of “Seeking Jobs on Social Media”

December 1, 2012 2 comments

It is no longer a secret that companies use social media to recruit and select managerial candidates. As a result, if a job seeker wants to catch an employer’s attention, s/he must be visible online as an expert.

Social Media Job Search Linchi KwokLast year, I published an article about social-media job-search tactics in HOSTEUR™, in which I shared some career advice with hospitality and tourism students. A year later, I was invited to write an article of the same topic for the HealthyYou Magazine, but this time my target audience is the students majoring in nutrition science and public health. I actually offered similar advice to both groups (even though with different wordings). The truth is it doesn’t matter in which area(s) a person wants to advance his/her career. The basic tactics of using social media in job search remain the same. Here are some examples,

  • A job seeker must understand the characteristics and qualifications that his/her ideal employer is looking for in order to design/develop an appropriate personal brand that fits into this employer’s expectations as well as his/her own career goal.
  • Having a presence on major social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter is good, but not enough. A job seeker also needs to actively participate in online forums and discussion. The more useful information this person shares, the better. The more this person helps other in a specific area, the more likely this person will be known as an expertise in a particular domain.
  • It is nice to connect with the industry experts, professionals, co-workers, clients, and people who share the same interests, but these connections may not mean much if we never interact with them. A trustful relationship is built over time through continuous interactions.
  • Being negative and critical is fine because it shows a person’s professional knowledge (at least it indicates that this person is capable of identifying an issue), but it can be better if this person is able to offer constructive feedback, suggestions, and alternative solutions to help solve the issue.
  • In order to leverage the power of social media, professionals and students must be willing to share their knowledge and some personal information online. A person can have the most brilliant idea in the world, but such wonderful idea might never be discovered or searchable by a potential employer if this person keeps everything private.

What do you think? Will those tactics work in other disciplines besides hospitality and tourism, nutrition science, and public health? What other useful suggestions will you make to those job seekers who plan to use social media in job search?

Relevant discussions:

Tactics of Seeking Jobs on Social Media

Privacy vs. Efficacy: Which One Would You Choose? (Using Facebook in Job Search)

One Has No Choice But to Manage His/Her Online Image
Background Check on Social Media: Now Is a Serious Business
Using Facebook for Background Check
Social Media and Job Search I
Social Media and Job Search II

Social Media and Job Search III

Personal Brand and Social Media
Managing Your Online Reputation
Ways to Clean Up a Person’s Negative Online Reputation

References:

Kwok, Linchi (2012). Beyond a profile page: Using social media to build a personal brand and impress potential employers. HealthyYou Magazine, 12(1), 14 – 15. (Available in print but not online yet).

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