The idea for post was actually born shortly after something incredible happened to one of the recruitment companies I used to work for. It wasn’t that long ago and, having recently dealt with a few clients within Recruitment and HR industry, turns out the story isn’t so unique after all and yet has such a potential to damage business permanently.
To cut a long story short, due to lack of internal resources the company outsourced their social media management to a well known Public Relations (PR) company that claimed was a specialist within HR industry. No one checked their previous work or questioned the social media strategy until angry phone calls started pouring in one morning. People were complaining the article published was borderline offensive to many job seekers; it didn’t take long for strong opinions to escalate on a few social media channels before clients started picking up phones to say they don’t want to work with the company anymore either. What everyone was so upset about? It was a fairly general article about employment the PR company found on one of the popular news sites, but it was put in a wrong context whilst posting it on a social media channel. Mistake? Big time!
The story above could have happened to anyone really as there isn’t a “right or wrong” rather subjective way of doing things on social media and as much there’s general advise floating around the internet. However, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to creating a social media strategy and practise in recruitment industry that actually works rather than damages your business.
Social Media Strategy is part of Marketing Strategy
When it all started, Social Media was typically perceived as the wild kid on the marketing block where graduates or interns would be allowed to play with it and say random things in public with little to no responsibility. Luckily the perception has matured on a large scale and companies do take creating a social media strategy part seriously, but implementation part still remains a bit of a grey area where brands are allowed to have a little bit of fun and achieve measurable impact on business objectives at the same time.
The best place to start would be thinking of how social media strategy can support your business, namely helping your business to solve challenges of a modern recruitment organisation. Once those challenges are addressed, it is easy to track and measure social media strategy initiatives and see the return of investment in the long run:
The world is nearly all online these days and your recruitment website is one of the most vital selling tools available on digital landscape. Low website traffic probably will result in fewer applications and reduced chances of attracting the right candidates which will in turn affect your profits. The solution to this challenge would be to focus social media activities on making links to the website either through your own social posts or ‘influencers’.
Posting job advertisements, linking to some helpful content (such as blog for example), subpages, or even company pictures to position your website as the ultimate resource instead of a simply another cog within the company wheel. This traffic coming from social media will also help you understand your candidates and clients better as you will be able to see what sort of information attracts them to visit the site and what could be done to build a report with them in the future.
It’s a well known truth that it is a lot easier to attract a new customer than to retain one and this applies to recruitment industry as well. Building a continuous relationship with both candidates and clients that might not need your services at a time is challenging, but social media allows to stay in touch with them and stay relevant until they are ready to do business with you.
Using social media as a as a tool to support, communicate and have interaction should help you develop a powerful bond with your candidates and clients and translate into a far better perception of your organisation in return and better offline relationship as a whole.
Now, the trick is in staying relevant to the audience on your social media channels and also getting them to constantly to engage with your organisation. Based on our experience, providing your candidates or potential clients with highly useful content, job alerts and general updates about your organisation work quite well for a couple of reasons:
They are getting a good understanding of current market trends by getting job alerts and other vacancy related information; general updates about the company help them to personalise and different your recruitment company amongst the myriad of your competitors, and finally some content they can use for their own job searches never go unnoticed.
Candidates always appreciate recruitment agencies sharing their insights on current interview practice trends, common mistakes to be avoided or some other information that can help them secure their dream job. The more specific the examples, the more the engagement!
This worked very well for many companies but the only thing to watch out for is recycling “popular” content, i.e. re-posting trending articles with great titles such as “10 interview questions you should never answer” or ” How to use your network when changing careers”. The reason is that these sort of articles are seldom written by true experts and offer very little helpful advise; another reason is that your audience would have already seen them being posted by your competition and the least you want them to do is to become neutral to your content.
Another trick is to communicate relevant information to keep everyone engaged. For example, a Medical Doctor probably wouldn’t start applying for Aeronautics just because it was mentioned in a similar style article to “5 most secure careers in Britain”. Those sort of articles are great for general news sites but not for a recruitment agency that is trying to genuinely help their candidates with job applications (unless of course there’s a different message to be delivered in the articles mentioned above.
Here’s another example: “Recruitment Industry is now worth 300 billion, 20% more from the year before”; this sort of headline would probably attract attention of graduates looking to get into recruitment industry but has no relevance neither to your candidates nor clients as it doesn’t directly affect them.
All of the social media sites are gearing towards supporting more visual content because short written messages simply get lost in the sea of information that users are getting from all sources.
Here are some ideas to differentiate your content and get maximum amount of attention: creating pictures for job adverts, short videos, putting information together in a form of infographics, reports, presentations, interactive guides or short magazines.
Social reach eventually allows you to communicate your messages to a broader audience and shape your recruitment business reputation. Forming an authentic and long lasting awareness is a huge task, yet social media technology (such as the use of hashtags) targets your potential candidates and clients effectively. A very important aspect to add to your Social Media Strategy indeed!
Promoting new job opportunities or key clients you are working with is a pretty straightforward task, but social media has also the power of more sophisticated advertising. For example, you can easily find information on potential interests of your candidates/clients and then reach out to the influencers to spread the word around.
Collaborating with other niche sites (e.g. professional associations), events, Key Opinion Leaders, Career Coaches, etc. will be a lot more targeted than usual advertising channels and will save you time and money in return.
Very few recruitment organisations have a customer service department where their candidates or clients can sort out any queries or issues they may have with your business. Being able to facilitate this sort of interaction on any channel would definitely help to differentiate your business and also understand and reply to any queries in an exceedingly fast and efficient manner.
Targeting Social Media Channels that add value
Just because a specific social network has billions of users, it really doesn’t mean it’ll have a significant contribution to your brand’s objectives. Each network has its own strengths and weaknesses and rather than attempting to be everything to everyone, focus your efforts on networks that hold the key to your target market and objectives.
For example, if you are hiring senior professionals for executive positions, chances are they will be using LinkedIn for professional communication and wouldn’t even notice your messages on Facebook. If you are looking to raise overall awareness of your brand, drive website traffic and position yourself as a thought leader, then maybe Facebook would be most effective.
With all those social messages on Twitter, there’s a high chance that somebody is either mentioning your company or speaking about jobs you are recruiting for so it would best be used a client service and business development channel.
To add, Google+ has a strong focus on location and the ability to hyper-target your potential customers by Communities of related individuals.
Creating a Social Media Strategy for research and growth
With countless messages being sent across social channels daily, there’s a higher chance of spotting more business opportunities for the future.
Pretty much all of the channels have the capacity to analyze data for you but just watching people have a conversation might bring high quality leads that you can potentially convert to active candidates or clients. By watching specific terms or relevant hashtags you will be able to see those conversations easily and also give you an idea of your competition and how you could win business from them.
Building on Success
Once you have a decent understanding of what sort of content is driving most of candidate engagement, website visits and conversions, you’ll be able to use that information to further strengthen your digital presence.
It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on whether social media actually works for your organisation or there are other social media strategies to be used instead to get ahead in recruitment!