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On the 20th and the 21st of July Bill Boorman (@BillBoorman) organized TRU Boston (The Real Unconference) which was held at Bullhorn, a software agency for staffing and recruiting. Those of you who’ve been to TRU in Amsterdam before, probably remember Bill and his stunning appearance.  Well, he still looks good, in a yellow  T-shirt with Dutch slang on it.

Back to the content. Because that’s what it’s all about. Whether in employer branding, on your blog or in a resume.

Work life balance
As for work life balance goes, I realized a 4 day workweek isn’t as common in the US  as in the Netherlands. First of all, simply because the Labor Code requirements eliminate most employers and employees from choosing schedule options such as part-time and compressed workweeks. Plus, most corporate companies still think physical presence of their employees is the only guarantee that they are working. Start-ups seem to be the exception here. Since many of them start with a virtual office, they even require new hires to know how to manage or work in this kind of environment.

LinkedIn and Facebook
While recruiters usually spend a lot of money on the services LinkedIn provides, there are also a few tools that aren’t that well known, which are free to use. Like  LinkedIn Signals which makes it possible to search through updates from users, on keywords like unemployed.

A great example on how to engage with your candidates is the way Deloitte in New Zealand used their Facebook page. On a livestream young professionals where telling their Facebook fans how their life has changed after they graduated and how they experience their first job, at Deloitte of course. These ambassadors also met up with graduates during campus recruitment activities. No, not on the traditional job fairs, but on a BBQ on campus!

Engaging with these candidates through social media, seems to be more effective than spending the budget on traditional recruitment advertising. UPS only spends 3% of their recruitment media budget on print, according to Mike Vangel. More about the UPS case and the importance of tracking social media in this video.

How to convince corporate to go social
However engaging with candidates through social media still needs a lot of time and effort. Not only from social recruiters or employer brand managers, the management needs to trust their employees as well. Your recruiters hired these people, right? That means they understand the concept of appropriateness, whether it is in the elevator at the watercooler or on Facebook. Don’t confront them with the rules and regulations that state they’re not allowed to say anything on the company’s behalf. They are grown-ups who can take their responsibilities and use common sense. Trust them.

A social media policy therefore should not be longer than one sentence stating something like: don’t burn bridges or don’t put anything out there that you don’t want your mother to see.

Once the managements fear is turned into trust, don’t think that those employees who were enthousiastic from the start will become active bloggers, and use Twitter and Facebook and engage with potential candidates immediately. Many of us have experienced that they also needed reinsurance after the kick-off meeting that they are not going to be fired for writing a blogpost.. ..

Educational gap
One of the other things that was mentioned in several tracks is that there is a gap between education and the requirements graduates need  in their first job. Offering students internships from an earlier age, could decrease this gap. According to Mark Babbitt, founder of  Youtern “nobody ever graduates from a music major without having played the instrument, but students do graduate for a business major without having stepped foot in a business department.” More on this in the video internships, employability and career services

These were just a few topics that we discussed on TRU Boston. In short, it was an inspiring event for everybody in the recruitment, HR or employer branding business. It made me wonder, why isn’t there a meetup group yet for professionals who work in these industries in and around Boston? Well…. the idea of starting such a group also came up, so in the near future @leanneclc and I might start one. What do you think, are you in? Let us know!

Also check out these other posts and videos on TRU Boston:

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MonsterImagine you’re a publisher with one or maybe two job boards in your portfolio. How do you respond to the way recruiters shift their budget to social media? Do you decrease your prices and wait until this social media hype is over? Or do you integrate Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook in your strategy?

Not an easy assignment for media titles that make money out of selling job ads and subscriptions to their resume databases. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, 80% of the recruiters say they are going to use employee referrals and Facebook and LinkedIn instead of spending the money on ads on job boards. And according to my own little research, 48% of the recruiters in the Netherlands say they’re going to cut the budget for job boards this year. No wonder, some job boards therefore consider social media as their biggest threat.

Monster’s social media strategy
On the 22nd social media breakfast, Kathy O’Reilly, Director of Social Media Relations at Monster, explained how the company embraces social media and sees it as an opportunity. She shared some great insights on how Monster is incorporating social media in its day-to-day operations.

First of all, Monster calls itself a powerful job matching engine instead of just a job board. Their social media objective is to increase traffic by engaging with users through Twitter (@monsterww) and Facebook, plus giving them career advise (@monstercareer). Not just by pushing job vacancies to their fans or followers, also by helping out job seekers and employers who experience difficulties using their online services. Like many other companies, Monster integrates social media into their customer service strategy.

Not a vacuum
So who is responsible for these social media activities? According to O’Reilly social media shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Therefore the social media team is part of the Marketing & Communication department. It exists out of 4 people. In addition they appointed some members in other departments. How she knew who to pick? Simple, a questionnaire was spread internally, which researched the level of engagement on social media of the employees. Those who already interact with audiences on Facebook or Twitter in a responsible and genuine manner, are well on their way to become ambassadors anyway. Why not make them part of the team? Monster is even thinking about certifying certain employees as official ambassadors.

Learn them how to drive
To make sure everybody is on the same page, Monster took the IBM social media guidelines as an example. They organize toast & tweet masters in order to talk about the do’s and don’ts. They give each other tips about what blogs to read, like Mashable, Social Media Today or Social Media Explorer for example. However, you do need one core group within the organization who enables these learning processes. In other words, somebody needs to give them the key so they can learn how to drive.

For my Dutch readers: Lauri Koop, VP eCommerce Europe at Monster Worldwide also explains the way Monsterboard integrates social media on Marketingfacts.

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Before I left Amsterdam, I had lunch with an former colleague, Michael Minneboo. Out of the blue he asked me if he could interview me about my blog and what it was about. Since it was only five days before our departure to Boston, I wasn’t really prepared for this question. However, Michael managed to make this video out of it. Well done, Michael!

I almost forgot, one of my main questions at that time was whether organisations in Boston integrate social media more easily in their business strategies or not.

My first impression
After three months, I have noticed that I could visit events, meetups or seminars where marketeers, community managers, PR and other communication professionals get together on a weekly basis, if I wanted to. Discussing social media strategies, sharing best practices or other valuable information.

In addition, all restaurants and cafés have a Twitter handle, a Facebook page and provide special offers on Foursquare. Hospitals use social networking tools to inform patients. Social media policies are integrated in introduction programs for employees. An incubator like MIT turns Cambridge into a breeding place for innovative start-ups like no university in the Netherlands is capable of. (I sincerely hope the TU in Eindhoven is, one day). Start-ups and communication agencies all seem to have a blog, which is regularly updated and not only by the junior PR executive. And the entire team, including the CEO, is engaging with audiences on Twitter.

On the other hand,  most corporations still struggle with transparency. 25% of the companies ban social media at work, compared to only 8 % in the Netherlands…

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social media ROISocial media tools come and go quicker than ever. On the 22nd social media breakfast in Boston I’ve learned about a bunch of new tools that I’ve never heard of before. Or let me put it this way: there is a lot more out there then Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or Tweetreach.

Because I’m sure many of you might want to know about these social media tools as well, I listed them below.

Some of these tools (try to) measure social media ROI, others provide you with social CRM or are able to schedule your tweets in a smarter way. I haven’t checked them all out myself, yet. So see for yourself what it can do for you and if it works out for your business. And – maybe even more important – find out if it fits your budget, because not all of them are free…

So here they are, the social media tools to check out:

There is no such thing as a tool that meets the needs of all companies. Besides, the possibilities to measure social media engagement can change overnight. That’s why big companies like Monster.com don’t sign up for any long term agreements with vendors. According to Kathy O’Reilly from Monster.com many vendors are willing to provide you with a free-trial.

Other panelists who contributed to this list of social media tools are Janet Aronica from oneforty, Ben Boardman from Marketwire & Sysomos and Forrester analyst Zach N. Hofer-Shall.

Want to add tools to the list? Please feel free to drop a line in the comments.

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pigeon, twitterbirdPress releases sent in a PDF-file will never be as effective as a press releases copied as plain text in an email.

Why? Because a journalists receives over ten or maybe even hundred(s) of these emails a day. Imagine opening an inbox full of press releases every morning. What would you do if you’d be the journalist? Exactly, hit the delete button. So what should you do as a PR person? (more…)

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Wednesday (2/2 2011) David Meerman Scott, author of the book Real-time Marketing & PR, gave a guest lecture in the Morse Auditorium of BU. One of the returning topics was that this generation of young professionals need to become change agents within many companies.

If your boss does not want to invest in real-time communication, you have three options:

1. Become a change agent
2. Collect your paycheck and be happy you’re employed
3. Quit your job

Check the video below for the explanation given during the lecture.

Go to 4:13 for the information on change agents

Personally, I went through stage 1, got disappointed and moved to phase 2. Soon, I started to look for another job, so finally I ended up in number 3. And guess what, I was hired for my next job, because I read and write blogposts gave workshops on social media and had built a valuable network through Twitter and LinkedIn.

So if you’re a change agent yourself, do not give up nor start doubting yourself. David Meerman Scott proved as well that the stock prices of companies who do engage with their public on social networks, are higher then those who don’t.

That’s why Scott (or @dmscott on twitter) advises young jobseekers to be sure to ask one question in a job interview:

‘ Do you ban social media at work?’

If the answer is yes – according to Scott, this still is the case at 25% of all companies – get up and end the interview. Otherwise, Scott explains, you simply can’t do your job.

Note for my Dutch readers:
David Meerman Scott will speak at The Growth Summit Europe, May the 18th, Nyenrode Business University

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De eerste koukleumen hebben de handschoenen alweer uit de kast getrokken. Je handen blijven warm, maar zodra je je iPhone erbij pakt, moeten ze toch weer uit. Want op jouw dikke handschoenen reageert de aaifoon niet. Sta je daar alsnog met ijskoude handen je tweets te lezen.

Twee jonge Amerikaanse ondernemers bedachten voor dat probleem een oplossing. DotsGloves zijn handschoenen gemaakt van Italiaans lamswol. Warm, maar vooral functioneel. Elke vingertop bevat namelijk een paar draadjes van een speciale vezel die contact maken met je touchscreen. Een groot verschil met de eerste versie die twee jaar geleden in Amerika op de markt verscheen.  Daar zat nog een plastic fingertip op  bevestigd. (more…)

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