Big Ideas Newsletter
Social Faux Pas
Your unofficial social media "what NOT to do" guide
"It slices. It dices. It's going to revolutionize everything you do."
Have you ever seen anything more hyped, or over hyped, than social media? Everywhere you turn, there's another story about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or some other new social tool that is going to completely transform how you work, play, live and even love.
But guess what, the hype is true!
Social media has already caused radical changes in staffing. Can you remember what recruiting was like B.L. (before LinkedIn)? Can you envision a time when your employees didn't check Facebook 27 times a day. Or when Twitter did not deliver news faster than any national news network?
Yes, social media has transformed our lives, and for the staffing industry, it is proving to be the most powerful sales, recruiting and customer service tool ever developed. I know this is sacrilege, but social media might even be more valuable than (gasp!) the telephone.
Consider a few of the things you can now do via social media:
Yes, this is the power of social media.
But if social media is such an effective tool, why do so many staffing companies get it wrong? Or even worse, do dumb things that inhibit the effectiveness of their sales reps and recruiters?
At Haley Marketing, we work with hundreds of staffing firms throughout the world. Our clients range from solo recruiters to billion dollar international organizations, and one thing we've seen is that there are a lot of really savvy social media people in this industry. However, for every social star, there are many more people (and organizations) that are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to social media. Whether it's by policy or business practices, these firms are giving away the value--and free resources--that social media offers.
So without naming names, here are some of the "less than best practices" that our Social Media Marketing Advisors are seeing in the staffing industry. Consider this your unofficial "what not to do" guide on social media.
Blocking access.This astonishes us, yet lots of companies prohibit people from being on Facebook and Twitter at work. Would you block your recruiters from using the phone? Or email? Why in the world would anyone in staffing ever stop their people from using tools that provide direct access to clients and candidates?
Your social profiles are often the first thing a prospective client or candidate sees. The worst staffing offenders never bother to setup their profiles, usually stating "our candidates are not on social media." Yes they are! They are on LinkedIn, and Facebook, and Twitter. And you need to have an attractive presence on all three platforms--one that matches the image you want your company to convey.
Unprofessional individual profiles.
Do you actively manage the content in your employees' social profiles? Have you even looked at them? Your teams' profiles are a direct reflection of your firm. If they are posting inappropriate information, that hurts your firm's reputation!
While social media is a great place to share job openings, pushing every job to Facebook and LinkedIn is obnoxious, and it will alienate your followers. Stop it, now!
Desperately seeking to be liked.
Like me on Facebook! Follow me on Twitter! My question is why? There are so many companies out there begging for followers. What makes you different? Asking people to "like" or "follow" you is a good idea, but give them a reason to do so. For example, "Like us on Facebook for weekly job search advice" or "Follow us on Twitter for our most recent job openings."
Treating social media like it's a billboard.
Stop selling all the time! So many sales reps (and recruiters) never talk about anything but themselves. Think of social media like a cocktail party. If you want to be interesting, be interested in others. Ask questions. Participate in conversations. But please stop trying to sell all the time!
No goals. No game plan.
Would you let your sales team hit the streets without any sort of a prospecting plan? So why would you let them tackle the wild west of social media without a strategy or coaching. Social media can be an incredibly powerful tool, but you need to have a well-planned strategy and specific, measurable action plan for your sales reps and recruiters. Without clear direction, you'll waste a lot of time and money.
Hire my 20-something nephew to be in charge of social media.
Nothing against your nephew, but being young is not a qualification for social expertise. While younger employees do tend to be more socially literate, they are not experts in staffing, selling or recruiting. Your social media efforts need a champion that understands your business as well as the potential uses and value of social channels.
Build it and ignore it.
We're seeing more and more firms that are embracing the importance of creating an attractive brand on their social profiles. But then when they are done setting up the profiles, they do nothing. They don't share content. They don't connect with others. They don't even like their own company pages. Social media is not the field of dreams. If you build it, they won't come. Once you build it, you have to invest in networking and share great content. Do this consistently and then they will come. In droves.
Don't you just love cats?
Sharing meaningless, irrelevant content can be as damaging to your brand as sharing no content. While you don't have to be all business all the time (in fact, fun, more personal content is great on Facebook), you want to make sure that you have a game plan for creating content that's useful and interesting to your intended audience. Also, you should have a review process in place to either approve content before it gets posted or at least to regularly review your social content to ensure that everything being shared fits with the corporate image you want to portray.
Ignoring unhappy campers.
One of the great things about social media is that it gives your clients and candidates a voice. One of the worst things about social media is that it gives them a voice...to complain. And they will complain! In staffing, we can't please everyone. When people complain about your firm--either on your social profile or on a review site like Yelp--you need to respond appropriately. Deleting negative comments is typically not the way to go. Open, transparent communication is.
One of the toughest parts about social media is that you have to be consistent. While you shouldn't speak when you have nothing to say, you do want to keep your firm highly visible by having a plan for regular status updates, blogging, and other content sharing. In fact, we suggest that each person on your team has a daily or weekly quota for social media activity to ensure you are being consistent in your execution.
Don't let your corporate attorney (or paranoia) dictate your content. While you might not want to share every photo from the office holiday party, go ahead and show off your firm's personality in your social marketing. Take advantage of the different norms on each social platform. For example, LinkedIn is ideal for professional networking and sharing your expertise. Facebook is great for shedding a little light on your company culture. And your company blog is the perfect place to demonstrate your experience and show off your successes.
Your website can tell you an awful lot about why people are interested in your services. By studying Google Analytics, you can easily determine topics of interest to your clients and candidates, how people are finding your site (which social media sites and SEO terms they are using), what types of devices they are using, where they go once they get to your site, and where they leave your site. This information is critical for converting more visitors into clients and placed candidates.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Video can be worth a thousand visitors. Too many staffing firms are relying solely on text-based social communication. You'll create a richer experience, and more interaction by incorporating pictures, videos, Slideshares, and other visual and auditory content into your website and social sharing. And with all the technology available today, you can create really cool content for a really low price.
Doing everything manually.
Being active on social media can be an incredible time sink. And many staffing firms are still doing all their postings manually. While there are some benefits to manual submission, you can use tools like HootSuite, TwitterFeed, and many others to automate and even schedule content sharing.
Not linking back to your website.
Social media is the top of your sales funnel. Your sales reps and recruiters are at the bottom. And your website is in the middle. If your social media efforts are all driving people to other websites, you're going to lose out on a lot of potential business. Your goal in social marketing should be to use the social tools to drive more traffic--and higher quality traffic--from social sites to your company website.
Giving up too soon.
"I tried social media for a while, and it didn't work for me." I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard that one. Social media is not a quick-fix solution to slumping sales or a shortage of candidates. It should be part of a long-term strategy to strengthen your brand, build engagement with your ideal clients and candidates, and make your firm stand out from the competition. To be effective requires time, persistence, and a consistent effort.
Thinking that social media is a silver bullet.
Social media is not the cure for all ills. It won't make bad sales people better. It won't repair service problems. And it won't replace your team's sales skills, recruiting talents or excellent service.
Social media is a communications tool.
And it's revolutionized how we communicate. It gives you amazing, near real-time access to your clients and candidates. It facilitates conversations. It allows you to gather information faster than ever before. But like any other sales or marketing tool, it must be actively managed.
When used strategically, and in conjunction with your other sales and recruiting efforts, social media can have a tremendous, positive impact on sales, recruiting and service. And when managed incorrectly, or neglected, it can have just as big of a negative impact. The choice, and power of social media, is in your hands.