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Posted: rahim.hirani | 11.07.2012
Hi Rahim, great question.
Some recruiters have taken to social media from day one, others are a little skeptical and then there is the old school brigade who think it's all just a waste of time. This sometimes depends on which industry you are operating in; if you recruit PR professionals you would use Twitter as a primary tool. If you recruit nuclear engineers, you may not have much use of social media at this stage. The key here is to know your target audience.
Social media impact on UK companies
How much of an impact has social media really made for companies? Some very fresh stats about large UK companies from The Group show that:
- 1.9m people connect with companies on LinkedIn
- Over 1.7m people follow FTSE100 corporate Twitter accounts
- There are 19m fans of FTSE100 corporate Facebook Pages
- January to June 2012 there were 62.1m views of corporate YouTube videos.
This confirms that there is a sizeable following of large companies on social media, and it is growing by the day according to The Group. As a rule of thumb, people don't go on social media to look for jobs but they are happy to consider them when prompted. LinkedIn say that 20% of their users are actively looking for jobs at any given time, meaning 80% are passive candidates.
Let me elaborate on the two main areas you have highlighted; sourcing and branding and take a closer look at each social network.
Most recruitment professionals use LinkedIn nowadays, at least as a people directory as it has 10 million users in the UK (and 2 out of 3 professionals have a profile). It is a social network focussing on professionals and can be a goldmine if you know how to use it properly. There are several ways to source active and passive candidates on LinkedIn, both inside LinkedIn and using 3rd party tools. If your team aren't using the big L as a primary recruitment tool you are missing out.
As for branding on LinkedIn, there are endless opportunities. You can of course do updates on individual profiles, you can also run relevant polls and ask/answer questions (in the Answers section). You can get active in industry groups, or better yet you can run your own group and get peers to exchange useful information in your forum. You can also use your company page to do targeted updates to followers based on location, language, seniority and more.
Twitter is another social network that can be used effectively for sourcing, it's relatively easy to use tools to locate the right conversations happening. Once you find users talking about your niche, you know these people are either good for your positions or they can refer others. You can also search through every users' bio on Twitter, as it's really short it tends to cover the most important keywords that you need for sourcing.
Branding on Twitter is extremely useful, by having an account that puts out information about your industry and occasionally spits out a job or two, you let users sum up what your company is all about very quickly. If a social media savvy candidate gets two emails, both from similar agencies but one has an active and interesting Twitter feed - which one will instill more trust?
Google Plus is the newest of the 'big 4' social networks and since it's inception last year it's been the fastest growing site in the history of the web. This site has attracted a great deal of early adopters, especially technology and IT professionals. The good news is that it's wide open for searches, you can use 3rd party search tools or good old fashioned Google magic to bring out the best profiles for your vacancy.
The jury is still out on whether Google Plus is that useful for branding, there are definitely SEO benefits for your company but as the user base is still made up of techies and pioneers you won't get a good cross section for an audience.
Viadeo & Xing
If you happen to recruit in Europe as well, you may want to check out continental sites like Viadeo (France) and Xing (Germany) which have a better reach of professionals in those countries. The only snag with these is that you almost have to pay to get decent access to other users, unlike most other networks.
I thought I'd mention Facebook last as the mere mention of the name scares off the 'money is on the phone' type of recruiters. At the moment you'll find that Facebook is pretty much useless for sourcing, it's not even indexed by Google. The world's largest social network have deliberately made it difficult to find people through searches, perhaps because they expect that candidates don't want to be contacted here for jobs.
You can however still use Facebook to cross reference candidates and it is useful for branding, especially if you represent a well known brand. You can get users to 'like' your Facebook Page and thereby agreeing to get regular updates from your company - this basically adds them to your talent network. Once they see something of interest (be that a vacancy, an event or a free download), they will take action and get one step closer to talking abou their career with you.
Those are some benefits of social media in recruitment that would apply to most companies. Again, some industries will be better suited to some social networks and some may not be right for social media at all. It comes down to knowing your target audience; knowing where they hang out online and making sure you have a presence - they already expect you to.
Posted: wendyberic | 11.07.2012
Hi Wendy, thanks for your question.
Which social network would you pick to promote your business? First of all I'd say it's actually a very good thing to start with only one network and getting good traction there before moving on to others. Second, I'd ask what business you are in?
LinkedIn is a professional network and attracts the 'white collar' demographic which is very useful for B2B marketing and of course to recruit professionals. This is typically the first port of call for most recruitment agencies and it's also associated heavily with jobs and careers amongst candidates.
Facebook is anything but professional, rather it's a place for friends and family and B2C marketing. Facebook is very visual and suited well for creatives; if you run a hair salon, make cup cakes or anythng else visual there's a great opportunity to share photos and videos of your work. As for recruitment, it's useful especially for graduates and your typical 'blue collar' jobs. People don't go to Facebook to look for jobs though, it's more a case of interacting with brands and happening to stumble across a vacancy.
Twitter is more of a news and conversation tool, the demographic is made up of tech, media and early adopter people. Nowadays you find that most sales people will have a Twitter presence, as will of course celebrities and thought leaders. From a recruitment perspective, Twitter can be very useful for recruiting journalists, PR professionals, media types in general. It's also useful to give your company a voice, in many respects Twitter has replaced press releases and it's an integral part of your communications function.
So back to your question, I can't say which one is best of your business without knowing what you do. But I can say that most agencies will start with LinkedIn, then Twitter and finally Facebook (and Google Plus).
Hope that helps, feel free to contact me for more specifics.
Posted: dianebrown | 16.07.2012
Hi Diane, thanks for your question.
Social media can be a very cost effective way to market yourself and your company. When I say cost effective I mean in pounds and pennies, there is still a cost in time and effort that has to go in to a successful social media presence.
In this case I would look at the bigger picture and the actual business challenges these leaders face. Do they have a great product but not enough customers? Or do they have customers but can't find the right talent? Or do they want to learn more about their industry and perhaps even see what the competition is up to?
Whatever the challenges may be, it's worth focussing your effort on one or two particular themes. Once you know you want to, say, have more sales meetings with with operations directors about HR software - it's easy to funnel your efforts.
I would explain to these small business leaders that social media isn't any different to the business they have always done, it's just a conversation tool at the end of the day. Social media can let you target, approach and have great online chats with prospects but the end game will be to take that chat offline.
Some salespeople I know will use Twitter as the first line of contact, as it's an open channel. Once you have got on someone's radar there, you may choose to connect on LinkedIn. From there you could start emailing, then have a chat on the phone and finally meet up in person. You could see social media as an extension of your sales funnel in other words.
Another consideration is to start on a small scale. I typically recommend that you start with one social network, let's say LinkedIn. Build up your network there, understand how it works and only once you are very comfortable with it should you explore the next one.
Hope that helps!
Posted: davebarber | 27.06.2012
Hi Dave thanks for your question.
The Twitter and LinkedIn integration has been a pet peeve of many LinkedIn users for some time. When used correctly (selective tweets only), it would send one or two relevant tweets into a user's LinkedIn status. Most users got this wrong however and sent every tweet into LinkedIn. The trouble is that the tone on Twitter is conversational and on LinkedIn it's professional. On Twitter it's fine to do 10 updates in a day, on LinkedIn you'll only clutter up your network's homefeed. A very different pace of interaction on LinkedIn if you like.
Many bloggers, including myself, have been calling for LinkedIn to cull the Twitter integration or at least allow users to filter out updates they see. The recent announcement came as a surprise, not because they stopped the integration but because it was actually Twitter that pulled the plug. They have pulled the Facebook integration as well, their game is of course to encourage users to use Twitter as a stand-alone product and not as a firehose into other networks.
As it stands now, you can still share into Twitter from LinkedIn (just not the reverse). This is very simple, just click the blue Twitter bird when making an update. I see recruiters doing these updates from group discussions as well as status updates and it makes a good impact in my opinion - so keep this up whenever relevant.
If you still want to make updates from Twitter to LinkedIn you have the option of using something called IFTTT (If This Then That). This is a 3rd party application allowing you to set up automated updates from one network to another. In this case you can choose to send Twitter updates to LinkedIn. There are lots of other options as well.
In general, I would avoid doing the same blanket updates across different channels but it does of course save time and effort. I would be interested to hear from other recruiters how they do it so please get in touch in the IOR LinkedIn group.
Posted: ior | 08.10.2012
Hi Al, thanks for your question.
There is no shortage of advice out there about SEO, advertising, social media marketing etc etc - it's no wonder people get lost in all the marketing noise. I run a few sites, one is a very popular recruitment blog that has grown organically. In the beginning we tried all the short cuts, from social bookmarking to black hat SEO tactics; it was all a giant waste of time.
I has a chat with Leo Babauta about this last year in London, he runs the most popular personal blog on the planet and his advice was simple. "Don't worry about social media, ads, SEO etc - just worry about one thing: creating excellent helpful and relevant content for your readers".
So your first step is to understand who reads your blog and who you would like to target. What are they interested in, if it's clients what is their pain? If it's candidates, what are their challenges? Address these with good solid articles and add your personal experience where possible.
Over time, people will find your posts and comment, share, tweet etc - your readers will do the traffic bit for you.
Hope that helps, and do get in touch if you have any questions at all.