A video similar to this one, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij5yC-moPCM, was shown during a meeting recently and the person sitting next to me was blown away. There’s so much content about social media in my daily world, the video wasn’t shocking. But, when I spend time with people outside my profession, I find that while many are online personally, when their companies encourage them to create a social profile for work, they’re befuddled. Giving people a common language and tools are essential. Seeking individuals outside your company to provide you with a vantage point in this ever evolving social world is critical. Changes happen minute by minute – while the Boomers have moved to Facebook – Millennials are moving to Instagram.
And, while many travel in this social world comfortably – for others it’s a blinking cursor winking (or wincing) at them. We watched many other organizations move into social media first, learned from them and created our own persona and put tools in our associates’ hands to help them. Talent Plus creates assessments and interviews as the core of our business, so the first worry many employers have – “What will our associates say/do online?” – wasn’t necessarily a worry. We select individuals based upon our own validated science and review a value each day in an all company meeting called FormationSM. Of those values, particularly caring and the value of people, helped us create a platform for our business practice related to social media:
“…Relationships are a cornerstone to Talent Plus, and social media is yet another extension of creating and nurturing relationships. In order to integrate social networking into our communication strategies with our current and prospective clients, engaging with others in these spaces will allow Talent Plus opportunities to have a share of thought leadership in our space. Talent Plus associates should always keep the values and philosophy of The Talent Plus Way in mind as discussions are held, both professionally and personally, and information is shared. Be respectful of our brand, offer credit where credit is due, and remember nothing on social networks is private or confidential.”
We wanted to equip associates, but needed to understand their questions and their concerns. We took a social media survey and developed an understanding of who was online and what questions did they have? Some asked, “Do I friend my fellow associates at work?” “Do I want to reciprocate a friendship invitation on Facebook or do I feel better connecting with them on LinkedIn?” Many, whether because of time constraints or not feeling comfortable creating messages, just wanted us to put something in their hands.
But we couldn’t just assume associates would hear great news and intuitively think, “I should post this.” Moving into social media as a business was new – and while many pursued it from a personal stand point, some were tentative in dipping their toes into this new pool. Never fear – we had a member of our Branding Team who LIVES in this space, is a great coach and set up group lunch and learns and then in the style of the Peanuts character, Lucy and her advice booth, set up one-on-one sessions coaching people to create their social profile.
Today, each time something comes up related to clients, new products, upcoming events – a message goes out on Talent Plus’ Salesforce Chatter, via email and is highlighted in Formation – providing a variety of messages that can be posted to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – helping associates use that messaging and/or create their own. We’re trying to eliminate that blinking cursor. And, for others, we’ve helped them set up Hootsuite to plan their messaging so their communication runs seamlessly behind the scenes while they are taking care of clients and/or prospective clients.
As a team, we are looking for more volume – more repeat impressions. We see that when individuals post, tweet, connect – a spike on those platforms and that spike sends individuals to our website in exactly the way we’d hoped! (love when that happens!) Those individuals can become part of our campaigns through Eloqua and through contacts with our business developers. This past week we took a message to our associates in our company business meeting: Social ≠ The Branding Team instead Social = me and we visually walked through the process of getting from the “me” (posting on social platforms) to the website = representing our brand. Once individuals are on our website, we hope they will raise their hands – figuratively and/or literally – and become engaged with us – so engaged they become clients – and, once they do, we hope they’ll become raving fans. That keeps gives that circle of conversation momentum, adding to our social media presence, and the ripple just keeps going.
I’m a visual person and last week during the meeting, I saw light bulbs popping – and for those individuals who aspire to the adage, “I’ll believe it when I see it?” they in turn saw graphically the spikes in volume across LinkedIn, Facebook and our website based upon “campaign” effort posts. Margaret Mead knew the power of individual connections when she said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” When someone creates a plan, provides you with the tools to execute and each message makes a difference.
Being one of the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in the United States and one of the 50 Best Places to Work in North America, people are proud to work at Talent Plus, and they are eager to talk about it. Providing them with platforms, words and tools to erase the blinking cursor enables them to engage globally with those they are connected with in their own way and in their own time. We have enthusiastic net promoters – they simply needed to see the impact each of them individually can make.
Cydney Koukol serves as the Chair of Global Branding at Talent Plus. In this capacity, she evaluates, plans and implements branding, marketing, advertising and public relations strategies and coordinates special events. Prior to joining Talent Plus, Koukol worked in a similar capacity within a variety of industries, including health care, finance, legal, consultative practices and entrepreneurial ventures.
Koukol also worked as an account executive for an advertising agency, providing account coordination services. Her expertise in the financial services arena comes from her experience at First National Bank of Omaha as marketing officer and manager of retail marketing. There she created and implemented marketing strategies for consumer products and services and new product development; created and administered a diverse series of programs to facilitate interdivision communication; wrote and edited bank publications; coordinated print, radio and television campaigns; directed bank-wide research; planned special events and facilitated community relations.
Koukol received a bachelor’s degree in education, with an emphasis in English, speech and theater, from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and received a master’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Koukol has been an adjunct faculty member for the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the areas of advertising and public speaking, Creighton University in the area of nonprofit certification and Clemson University as a workshop speaker. In addition, she has spoken nationally at several health care marketing conferences.
A Lincoln native, she and her husband, Dave, have two children.