Next week, SmartBrief on Workforce is co-hosting #ConnectHR, with the Society for Human Resource Management and RecruitingBlogs. I recently spoke with China Miner Gorman, SHRM’s chief global member engagement officer, to learn more about how she’s using social media to build HR’s influence. Follow China on Twitter at @ChinaGorman. I’m at @SBWorkforce.
MARY ELLEN: Last year, SHRM launched its own social media platform for HR professionals. What are you hoping SHRM Connect will do for the profession — and the people that participate?
CHINA: SHRM Connect was specifically designed with the needs of the HR community in mind. We always envisioned it as a place where SHRM members could go to discuss and collaborate about all things HR, and then share that knowledge more broadly with the HR community. And we’re beginning to see that. For example, in HR Marketer’s latest report, 35% of HR buyers said they use SHRM Connect frequently — well ahead of Twitter (20%). Granted, the same report ranked LinkedIn first at 72%, followed by Facebook at 51% — but in just six months, 35% is impressive — and clearly shows that SHRM’s original thinking of designing its social network JUST for HR is working.
You also shifted jobs last year. How does social media fit into your new mission, as SHRM’s chief global member engagement officer?
Like the HR profession as a whole, social media at SHRM is becoming increasingly important. Twitter, for example, has been a great tool in helping disseminate timely news, announcement, trends, new data — and a host of valuable and credible information and knowledge coming out of SHRM — to the HR community as a whole. And it’s been a growing tool for SHRM to engage its membership — and other HR practitioners and leaders. For example, at our annual conference last year, Jack Welch took and answered questions on stage from SHRM Twitter followers. This was a very exciting first for SHRM. And just this week I broke the news on Twitter that Al Gore will be a keynote speaker at our 2010 Annual Conference in June — an announcement that generated a great deal of comment on the Web.
When talking to other executives who find social media intriguing, I often hold you up as an example of how to do it well. What advice would you give a senior-level HR person who wants to try using these tools?
Have fun with it and be yourself. Be prepared to engage with a segment of your customer base that you’ve not interacted with before. But be careful. If you let it, it can become a big time-consumer. I try to spend no more than 45 minutes a day following the 70+ blogs in my Google Reader and engaging on Twitter. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are a lot of kind souls out there who will teach you the ropes early. That’s how I learned — and how I made some great professional and personal connections in this exciting space.