HR, Social Media

SHRM and Social Media, We’ve Come A Long Way Baby.

The post below originally appeared on SHRM’s Buzz site and can be found here.

If you attended this years’ SHRM national conference this year, chances are you’re getting a good sense of the shift to social in the global HR community. Whether you visited a Smart Bar in The Hive to get some one on one social media guidance from one of the many volunteers, sat next to someone feverishly ‘live tweeting’ on the iPad during a session, or tweeted yourself – social was omnipresent at SHRM 12. This is a great thing. Why?

SHRM had a strong turnout this year with over 10,000 attendees. Many more couldn’t attend a particular session (thanks to a great many options) or couldn’t make the conference this year. Most sessions have several attendees live tweeting content, so it can be shared with anyone. Live tweeting is the act of tweeting noteworthy content from a particular conference session using a hashtag (like #SHRM12). Anyone can follow that hashtag and see a collection of tweets on that subject. This gives anyone with a computer or smartphone an opportunity to learn from what’s being shared by the presenter.

As the community of global HR professionals using Twitter grows, the ability to share more information with each other grows as well. I had the pleasure of speaking with several HR pros interested in Twitter at the Smart Bar this week and was asked the same question by each of them. Why should I be on Twitter? Everyone’s objectives with social media are different, but here are my main two reasons why every HR professional should be on Twitter – learning and networking.

I covered the learning aspect above. The networking piece is what you take home with you from these conferences. You’ve all met some great peers over the past several days. Don’t let those relationships fade away: connect on LinkedIn, Follow on Twitter, add to your circles on Google Plus. With social media, the learning and relationships last long beyond the 4 days you spent in Atlanta attending SHRM12.

Let’s Do The Numbers

I wanted to take a look at the engagement on Twitter the past three SHRM’s, as well as take a deeper dive into the #SHRM12 hashtag, to see how engagement has grown.

SHRM10 – *1,149 tweets

SHRM11 – *2,830 tweets

SHRM12 – *11,000+ tweets (*8,292 tweets during SHRM12) **659 unique contributors

* Stats from

** Stats from SocialBro

(Keep in mind archived twitter stats can be a little difficult to come by so consider these demonstrative ranges, not absolute hard data).

Let’s dig a little deeper into the #SHRM12 hashtag courtesy of

  • 61.4% of the tweets included a @ mention
  • 31.5% of the tweets were re-tweets
  • 9.6% contained a video or photo
  • 52.75% of the mentioned users were male, 47.25% female.
  • Top 5 mentions as of Tuesday evening: @JerrySeinfeld @SHRMSocMedGuy @JimStroud @HRBartender @SHRM
  • Top 5 sources: Twitter for iPhone, Hootsuite, web browser, Twitter for Android, Tweetdeck
That’s some great engagement and strong illustration of the rise of social in our HR community. SHRM12 raised the bar substantially in terms of social engagement. I’m looking forward to seeing what SHRM13 brings. See you in Chicago!

2 thoughts on “SHRM and Social Media, We’ve Come A Long Way Baby.

  1. As my Jewish Mom used to say to my Dad while at the dinner table – invariably with a girlfriend sitting next to me – “It’s like I always told your father, quality is better than quantity.”

    In order for us to talk usage, we really need to have @, RT, etc stats for previous years (except for the pic/video %); yet I’d wager that the percentages would still be about the same. One reason for the rise of usage is that device-wise, it’s just easier to put in one’s 2 cents. Real engagement is another issue that transcends quantity; it requires an analysis of content, interaction, and follow-through.

    Frankly, the profession is at a real crossroads that has in part been driven by technology; the irony is that HR seems always to be the last function to adopt potentially paradigm shifting stuff. If you’re still being asked “Why should I be on Twitter?” then you’re really being asked “Why should HR be involved in social media?” which reflects a far larger structural and learning/development issue in the profession.

    • Steve- Great points re: engagement (as per usual). I agree completely about quality v quantity. What I found promising was both SHRM’s commitment to social (Smart Bars, The Hive, expanded HR blogger presence, etc) and the amount of general attendee interest in social media. I didn’t get the sense from the people I spoke with that their questions came from a place of questioning why HR should be involved in social. I’m sure some people feel that way (perhaps for them the emphasis on social reinforced their beliefs), but those attendees I spent time with seemed generally interested in the value.

      My optimism around the general social engagement increase is really to get more talented HR pros sharing their views, thoughts, experience, etc. That will no doubt come with an increase in chatter (quantity) based purely on the volume; but should also lead to fresh, smart ideas and perspectives (quality). Another benefit is more hashtag-based content from conferences giving HR folks more opportunities to learn about what’s being shared. You’ll have to filter more quantity to get to the quality, but at least there will be more content to consume for those who are interested.

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