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Aug 09

Social Media Teams and HR Conferences

why_social_mediaI got involved in social media a little over two years ago primarily to promote my blog writings. I quickly learned that people don’t care as much about what I am writing as they care about who I am and the work I am doing in the world of HR. It was a pleasant surprise! As a result, I’ve gained great friendships and professional connections.

My social presence enabled me to visit beyond the boundaries of North Carolina to Louisiana, Illinois, Virginia and Washington DC as a part of teams of bloggers covering HR Conference events. Next week, I’ll travel to Orlando, Florida to participate in the 2013 HR Florida Conference & Expo as a part of the Social Tech Team. I can’t quite contain my excitement! I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about this event and the HR folks in Florida since I stepped on the scene. This event was on my “HR Event Bucket List” and I’m excited that I get to be a part of it.

It is not easy for conferences to commit to having a social media team. It can be hard to justify the funds and resources for it … Well, let me explain why your conference needs a social media team.

Is it because social media is important?

Partly. Social media adoption and usage among HR professionals is essential. People are using it in the workplaces so it is going to impact the work we do and the interactions among those people. It already does! People are hired, and sometimes fired, for the things they share on social media. Social media matters …

But that’s not why your conference needs a social media team.

Is it because the bloggers are top-notch HR experts?

Kind of.  Building a successful blog following isn’t easy. It takes consistent effort, relevant content and relatable wisdom. For better or worse, blogging is changing how information is shared and how “experts” are made and viewed. Reading and gleaning the HR wisdom shared by bloggers has made me a better HR professional. I believe networking through social media and engaging with HR bloggers is a good, right and worthwhile thing to do …

But that’s not why your conference needs a social media team.

Okay. Enough. What’s the reason?

Reach. Your social media team gives you reach and influence beyond the attendees.

The posts from the social media team will reach across states, time zones and countries! It enables people who wouldn’t otherwise know about or be touched by the event to feel like they are right there, involved in all the happenings. They can see and read about it, in real time or in retrospect. They can share in the excitement and the learning. They can connect with the speakers and the participants. They can become a better professional thanks to the reach of your conference through your social media team – without having to be there!

Ultimately, HR conferences should be about providing quality content to enrich and improve the professional knowledge and skills of the attendees. If your conference chooses to assemble a social media team, the reason should be to help attendees learn more about social media and to have positive influence beyond the conference walls. Not because social media is so cool or because the people who use it are cool or because we want our conferences to look cool … cuz that’s not really cool! “Cool” is being an HR person committed to learning, networking and professional excellence, whether you’re involved in social media or not.

If your social media team doesn’t achieve this, you’ve either got the wrong team – or your conference doesn’t need a team.  Fortunately, the HR Florida conference team got it right! I can’t wait to engage, encourage and be encouraged by the great folks at this Conference. See you soon!

About the Mouth


Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams is a practicing HR Professional with over 10 years of experience in the light industrial and retail industries. She currently works as the Director of Human Resources for a large retail franchise. Sarah began blogging under the pen name “Buzz Rooney” in 2011 at The Buzz on HR.  After two years, she made the decision to retire the nickname and cartoon avatar to write and speak under her real name.  Sarah is also a regular contributor to “Performance I Create” and has appeared as a guest on DriveThruHR.

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3 comments

  1. Joyce Chastain

    Sarah, were so glad you’re a part of our team. I can’t wait to welcome you to Florida.

  2. Curtis Midkiff

    I really liked this post and you really summed up the value of a social media team. On the National Level at SHRM we have seen some great returns on so many levels by having a Social Media Team in place. Our attendees have benefitted via the peer to peer q and a in THE HIVE and the reach of the content shared by these bloggers at Annual Conference has played a big role in #SHRM12 and #SHRM13 being globally trending topics on social media.

    Kudos to HRFlorida for being ahead of the curve in terms of outreach to bloggers for several years and for being a great case study for our other state councils as well.

  3. Jennifer

    Just a few more days!

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