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Is Social the New Cold Call?
20 Tips to Drive Sales Leads with Social Media

By Brad Smith

"Dial for dollars."

"Pound the pavement."

"Spin the dial."

For years, cold calling has been a big part of many staffing firms' sales strategies. But times are changing, and sales tactics need to change, too!

The Effectiveness of Cold Calls Has Decreased Substantially

Consider some of these stats about cold calling:

  • Back in 2007, it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today, it takes 8 attempts. (Source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group)
  • The average salesperson only makes 2 attempts to reach a prospect. (Source: Sirius Decisions)
  • Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment. (Source: Leap Job)
  • The average salesperson makes 8 calls/hour and prospects for 6.25 hours just to set a single appointment. (Source: Ovation Sales Group)

Outdated Sales Tactics Can Strip Away Profits

Not only are cold calls and outbound sales activities becoming less effective, they are eroding profit margins. In Hubspot's recent State of Inbound Marketing report, they looked at the cost-per-lead of inbound activities compared to those of traditional outbound activities like cold calling. The results speak for themselves:

In a medium-sized company, the cost-per-lead from outbound activities was over three times as expensive as inbound leads. Additional research from The Annuitas Group found that leads nurtured through inbound marketing make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Now, let's get on to practical examples for staffing and recruiting firms...

Case Study: Let's look at the difference between a staffing firm that has very limited social media activity, compared to a company that has embraced social marketing:

Company A:

Light industrial staffing agency with offices throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. This company's sales force is focused on cold calling and pounding the pavement. They have a respectable amount of monthly website traffic at almost 13k visits/month:

Company B:

A smaller light industrial staffing agency in North Carolina and South Carolina with fewer offices. This company's sales force, recruiters and support staff have fully embraced social media. They continually post content, share new posts and have their entire workforce engaging with social media on both a corporate and personal level. As a result, their inbound traffic is over four times higher than Company A:

Okay, I get it! Inbound and social marketing works. But what should I be doing?

We're glad you asked! We currently help 300+ staffing and recruiting firms with content marketing, blogging, social media and other inbound marketing activities. We also collect and analyze Google Analytics website traffic data on nearly 1,000 staffing and recruiting websites -- and we put all of this information to good use!

We interviewed our social media team and developed 20 lessons we have learned through testing and analyzing data. These are real-world examples specific to the staffing and recruiting industry -- not just theory!

Social Media Tip #1

Brad Smith
Director of SEO & Social Media

Use Videos and Images to Increase Reach and Engagement

A study from Neo Mammalian Studios found that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. Not only that, but social sites like visual content better, too. In fact, we have found that incorporating video and graphics into your social postings dramatically increases organic reach and prospect engagement:

Social Media Tip #2

Brad Bialy
Social Media Marketing Advisor

Look for Past Spikes in Traffic

Past results are a good predictor of future success. Use the built-in analytics features on social platforms to determine what posts and content received the most reach and engagement. Combine that information with your Google Analytics website data and adjust your content and social strategy moving forward.

Social Media Tip #3

Jenny Keller
Social Media Marketing Consultant and PPC Specialist

Pay for More Exposure

Social media offers a lot of great "free" tools, but boosting that with paid promotion can dramatically increase your reach and visibility with new prospects. We often run very targeted paid promotion campaigns that reach the exact right decision maker or candidate. As you can see in the example below, we can cost-effectively reach prospects with specific job titles in specific geographic locations, and get your name in front of the right audience.

Social Media Tip #4

Jenny Keller
Social Media Marketing Consultant and PPC Specialist

Use Facebook Remarketing to Stay Top-of-Mind

Adding a paid component to your social strategy can also dramatically increase the frequency with which you reach prospects. One great tool we use to help our clients stay top-of-mind are remarketing ads. This type of campaign allows you to show targeted ads to people that showed an interest in you at one time. It's an extremely cost-effective way to be in the right place at the right time (i.e., when the hiring manager has a hiring need).

The process:

The result:

We implemented a remarketing campaign for a commercial staffing company and saw a 300% increase in the number of returning prospects and a 118% increase in information requests from returning visitors.

Social Media Tip #5

Maggie Hinterberger
Social Media Marketing Advisor

Use LinkedIn to Gather Intel

Before reaching out to a prospect, use LinkedIn to gain insight into their background and interests. LinkedIn allows you to see their connections, education and work history, and any shared connections you might have. This is great information to help you quickly develop a bond and increase the chances of a good conversation -- both online and off.

Social Media Tip #6

Matt Lozar
Social Media Marketing Advisor

Post to LinkedIn Groups

There is a LinkedIn Group for just about everything you could imagine (and if one doesn't exist, you can easily create it). Search for groups that appeal to your target audience. For example, join local SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) groups or chamber of commerce groups. If you recruit in a specific industry or vertical, join association groups and other groups dedicated to that profession.

Once you're a member, you can post blog articles and valuable information that drives people back to your website. With just a few clicks, you can reach thousands of potential prospects. And as you can see in the graph below, it works! Each spike in website traffic is tied to a blog article being shared with LinkedIn Groups.

Social Media Tip #7

Michelle Sears
Social Media Marketing Advisor

Connect with LinkedIn Group Members

Once a member of a LinkedIn Group, you can connect with other group members. This is a great way to build your network and get your name and business in front of the right decision makers.

When connecting, be sure to personalize the message as in the example below. Using this approach, we have seen up to an 80% success rate of prospects accepting invitations. Once connected, continue to nurture that prospect by posting good content to your personal LinkedIn status and periodically send them direct messages ... just don't overdo it!

Social Media Tip #8

Brad Smith
Director of SEO & Social Media

Endorse Prospects Before You Call

Hopefully you're not reading this and thinking that we are suggesting you abandon cold calls completely. What we are suggesting is that social media can help turn cold calls into warm calls that are much more effective. We want to be sure your name rings a bell when you do call a prospect, so they are more likely to accept your call -- instead of routing to voicemail.

One way to do this is by endorsing a prospect before you call. A few days before you plan to call (when you're following tip #5 from above), endorse your prospect for a skill or two. They will receive a notification that you have endorsed them, and it increases name recognition and creates a positive association.

Social Media Tip #9

Michelle Sears
Social Media Marketing Advisor

Use Twitter's Advanced Search to Prospect

Research shows that nearly all internal recruiters use social media as a recruiting tool. Many do so before ever working with an outside recruiter or even posting the position on a job board.

Using Twitter's advanced search tool can give you a head start on companies that have a brand-new hiring need. Visit twitter.com/search-advanced and you'll be able to search for terms like "hiring," "job," "opening" and more in a specific geographic market. You'll often find that companies push openings to their Twitter accounts early in the search and you can then present them with candidates who fit the job description before the competition even knows there is an opening.

Social Media Tip #10

Brad Bialy
Social Media Marketing Advisor

Build Your Following With Tweepi

Social can be very powerful if you have the right connections. Tweepi is a great tool (with a free option) to help build a strong following on Twitter.

Tweepi allows you to follow the followers of other Twitter accounts. To get started, think about who already has the ear of your prospects. This could be industry associations, local chambers of commerce, business associations, other vendors or even competitors. Use Tweepi to mass follow people who already follow those other accounts. You'll find that people will follow you back and in no time you'll build a great Twitter following.

Social Media Tip #11

Brad Bialy
Social Media Marketing Advisor

Connect with and Retweet Key Influencers

Once you've built a strong following, leverage it! Look for accounts in your social connections that have a highly engaged user base. Then begin building a reciprocal social relationship. Share and comment on their content. Tag them in your tweets with relevant information. Over time, many will take note and share your content with their followers. This is a great "social referral" and you'll see engagement soar just like in the example below:

Social Media Tip #12

Brad Smith
Director of SEO & Social Media

Share Testimonials and Success Stories

Having someone else talk about how great you are is so much more powerful (and genuine) than you telling people! And, 91% of customers are happy to give referrals but only 11% of sales people ask for them (Source: Dale Carnegie).

Use a tool like Haley Marketing's Reputation Management program to easily build great testimonials, and then turn those into compelling social media graphics. It will catch the eye of both candidates and clients, and people like to work with successful companies!

Social Media Tip #13

Dan Stock
SEO Strategist

Publish Content on Your Website Consistently

Publishing fresh and relevant content to your site on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to improve your search engine rankings and drive more inbound leads. By creating a steady stream of content, you can rank well in Google for a variety of different keywords and provide your team with great content to share through social media outlets.

Be sure to create content that addresses your prospects' challenges and include a strong call to action at the end of every post. Also, create content with an end goal in mind -- think about what next step you want them to take and make it easy.

As you can see below, when written the right way, blog content can be a powerful tool to attract people and get them to complete forms, visit your contact page or apply online. One of our client's blogs (aimed at attracting candidates) has 26% of all traffic going on to search for available positions -- that is an extremely high rate of conversion and a very effective recruitment tool!

Social Media Tip #14

Mackenzie Froese
Marketing Advisor

Cute Cats

Yep, you read that correctly. Cute cats, dogs, babies, monkeys, etc., get results!

That doesn't mean you should fill your feed with random kittens though! The real lesson here is to have a bit of fun and post content that people get passionate about (pets, sports, civic pride, etc.).

In the example below, this staffing firm held a "Cutest Cat Photo" contest and it received the most engagement of any post this year. Their average Facebook post reaches about 100 people, while this post reached 7,692 and counting.

Social Media Tip #15

Jenny Keller
Social Media Marketing Consultant and PPC Specialist

Creating Landing Pages That Convert

You're doing a lot of work (and in some cases paying good money) to get people to your website. But one of the biggest mistakes we see is that the pages people are driven to aren't designed to convert.

You should have a conversion goal in mind with every page of your website. Think about the next step you want a prospect to take and make it easy for them! Below is an example of an effective landing page we have developed through testing.

Offer a compelling piece of content that draws people in, provide a bit of insight to get them hooked, and then make it simple to get more information (only include form fields that are necessary -- the longer the form, the higher the abandonment). Even something as small as the color or text on the "submit" button can impact conversion rate. Test out different options until you find what converts best ... or just call us, because we've already tested this!

Social Media Tip #16

Mackenzie Froese
Marketing Advisor

More Face Time

The New York Times reported that humans learn to process faces before any other shape or sight, and specific parts of our brains are trained to recognize, prioritize and respond to human faces above other images or stimuli.

The takeaway? Add more personalization and face time into your social marketing efforts. This post is a perfect example of that. Adding a face to the name helps better engage the reader and provides a stronger connection.

When planning your social content strategy, be sure to mix in pictures of your team, your office, candidates you've placed and clients you work with.

Social Media Tip #17

Dewey Bass
Social Media Marketing Advisor

Celebrate Successes

We have found that employee of the month posts always have great engagement. They also help make your temporary staff feel like part of the team and show clients and candidates that you care.

Be sure to also share company milestones, staff anniversaries, company-sponsored events and other activities. These posts help humanize the company and build good will.

Social Media Tip #18

Brad Bialy
Social Media Marketing Advisor

Post Jobs -- Just Don't Overdo It

You're in the business of filling jobs -- so make sure people know what jobs you currently have available! Here are a few tips to make sure you're social job postings get the right attention:

  • Don't overdo it. If all you post is jobs, you'll see your followers/fans will drop-off. Our data shows that over a 40 post schedule, sharing roughly 7 different jobs is the sweet spot.
  • Promote posts. Paying to promote your job post on Facebook can get your position in front of passive job seekers you otherwise wouldn't be able to reach. We have clients that use this as a tool to recruit very hard-to-fill positions quickly.
  • Use #hashtags related to the opening to increase visibility and reach.
  • Provide a link! It sounds like common sense, but we see posts all the time that don't have a link for more information or a way to apply.
  • Use a photo to make the post stand out like in the samples below:

Social Media Tip #19

Dan Stock
SEO Strategist


The number-one complaint we hear is "I don't have time for social media." The truth is that social media saves you time ... a lot of it! With the click of a button, we can reach thousands of people. It would take your entire sales team all week to reach half the amount of people you can reach through one effective social media post.

With all of that said, we get it! You might not have as much time as you would like for social media activities. So, automate it! We use an array of tools to help streamline posting and ensure a strong social presence. Two of our favorite sharing tools are Bufferapp.com and Hootsuite. Each allows you to post content to multiple social accounts at once, schedule posts well in advance and more. And if you do have a blog, you can automatically post newly published content to your social channels.

Social Media Tip #20

Brad Smith
Director of SEO & Social Media

Get Your Entire Team on Board

Our most successful clients are the ones that get buy-in from their entire team. If everyone on the team spent just 15 minutes/week on social media, your company would have an extremely powerful social media program.

To get buy-in, clearly explain to your team why social is so important and how it will make their jobs easier, then challenge them.

Here at Haley Marketing, we challenged our team to post and share more blog content over the summer; and the results were amazing. Our goal was to post and share 90 blog posts in 90 days, and just look at what happened:

So, is social the new cold call? I'd say it's better than cold calling!

Social media allows you to reach prospects you otherwise wouldn't be able to reach. It helps you get past the gatekeeper. It keeps you from leaving endless voicemail messages that get deleted. It allows you to build a network of advocates and referral sources. It helps position you as an expert in your craft. And perhaps most importantly, it helps ensure you're in the right place at the right time so that when a prospect does have a hiring need, you're the first person they reach out to.

Need help?

As you can see, we have a full team of social media, PPC, SEO and content marketing specialists on staff and ready to help. Be sure to see our full offering of content and social marketing services designed specifically for staffing and recruiting firms, and call us with any questions you might have: 888-696-2900.

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