While it’s critical that recruiters have an online presence, what does it take to build the kind of social profile that will attract the passive candidates you want to place? Successful penetration of your message across social channels is enabled by the density and reach of your network, which in turn should send your posts to their networks. Justin Laliberte, the IT managing partner at Lucas Group in Atlanta, is an advocate of using social media to make an impression with other industry professionals. He shares information frequently and in a targeted way. “If you take a look at my online profile,” he said, “I push content on a regular basis. It's not a direct way of asking someone to buy what I’m selling, so to speak, it's about educating people and helping to validate useful content.” “Part of our core values is building relationships and we see social media as really the way to start doing that,” said Kelly Martinez, who manages digital and online strategy for TEKsystems in Hanover, Md. “We're always looking for ways to be part of the conversation that's already happening and then add value to it, which is very important. You're giving somebody a reason to keep coming back, anything less than that and you become part of the background noise.”
Where Candidates Spend Time
Twitter and Facebook are for frequent, rapid-fire engagement; these are the channels for job posting. “They’re quicker,” noted Martinez, “and information is more easily shared with our followers’ networks which helps us get our message out.” A key element that the recruiters mention being wary of is hashtag fatigue. When posting, don’t muddy your message by hashtagging skill sets and topics that aren’t valuable to that post or linking to those jobs.
Instagram, Pinterest and even Youtube buttons are appearing with greater frequency on recruiting firms’ front pages. “People are still trying to figure out what to do with Pinterest and Instagram,” Martinez said, “but I think there's a place for them in the strategy because they are quick wins. People find an image they like and will repost it or retweet it pretty quickly.”
Manage Your Engagement
By having a dashboard tool to help engage across platforms, you’re ensuring that you’re using social media in a controlled and cognitive way. One of Laliberte’s favorite tools is newsle, a Web application that allows users to follow news derived from their social networks. “It’s an informal way of letting someone know you’re out there,” he said. “I'll flip an article to the person that newsle pushed to me and will congratulate them, or comment on the story. I'm making an impression by paying attention to what they’re doing.” Martinez’s team has a social media manager (many large firms do), but they nonetheless push their much of their content across channels via Hootsuite, which allows for controlled scheduling. “We have a content calendar that we work off of,” Martinez added, “and we have sessions to discuss what we should be talking about.”
Things to Avoid
Laliberte bemoans recruiters who post updates for their jobs on any network with a focus on content and the exchange of ideas; it’s a sure way to turn yourself into a just a promoter of jobs. “I think it needs to be used as a way to interact with like-minded individuals,“ he said, “where it can create a forum for discussion.” “Anybody who works in social media is always worried about that errant post that somebody always puts out,” laughed Martinez. “It’s important that companies have rules and guidelines that help manage the brand. You have to be on message and must consider your audience. Stop and think before your hit post.”
Elisabeth Greenbaum Kasson is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers the collision of culture, technology and business. Her work appears in the Los Angeles Times, Documentary magazine, Los Angeles magazine, HR Magazine and other venues.
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