By Steven Duque
The Danger of Making Things Easy
Last Thursday I was chatting with Will, recruitment marketing and social media manager for a large software company’s recruiting team, and he told me something interesting about Bullhorn Reach. “My recruiters are using Bullhorn Reach as a crutch [for quickly posting jobs via social media],” he said. “And, that’s all they’re doing [with social media], which isn’t any better than using a job board. How can we get them to stop doing that?”
“Change is only going to happen through education,” I replied.
But Will was already a step ahead of me. “Yeah, I host at least one session a week with our recruiters on advice and strategies for social recruiting,” he said. “The biggest thing I’ve been telling them is that they have to actually engage people in their networks.”
“It’s all about engagement,” I agreed. “It’s about being a real human being. Social media are just another set of vehicles for communication.”
“Yup,” Will said, “but that’s the hardest part.”
Being a Human Being
It is the hardest part—being human. Hell, strategist and consultant Chris Brogan makes his living by helping companies act more human. And, there’s a reason why the best sales people, not to mention recruiters, are typically the people in organizations who are best at building relationships. They learn to nurture their relationships, regardless of the tools, through communication. Whether it’s a phone call, an email or a social network message, they know how to talk with people, not just to them.
Knowing how to talk with people, we all know, is a delicate art, especially if it’s about your products or services. It involves the right mix of timing, subject matter and tone—all contingent upon your audience and the context of your conversation.
Let’s take one facet of talking with people through social media as an example: the frequency of your updates on different social networks.
Facebook is to Twitter What Television Is to Print Media
Imagine you’re watching TV, and you see the same ad over and over again. To make things worse, most of the programming consists in ads. Chances are you’d turn down the volume, change the channel, or turn off your TV. The same is true for Facebook - which, as some of you know, is primarily used by people in real-time. More specifically, most of the content people consume on Facebook comes from their newsfeeds. As a result, the average lead time for receiving job applications on Facebook is comparatively shorter than any other social channel (1).
Now imagine that that you’re reading a newspaper or magazine. Most of the pages could be covered with ads, but it probably wouldn’t be as abrasive to you because you can flip back and forth between pieces of content you want to see. Similarly, on Twitter, users make use of the search tool — by hashtags and keywords — and flip back and forth between different users’ tweets.
Audiences’ Expectations Should Shape Your Social Strategy
The key here is that audiences’ expectations are different across different channels. At first blush, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter appear to have similar functionalities. For example, LinkedIn recently expanded its ability to search users’ updates, making the shelf-life of job posts longer (like those on Twitter). But, people don’t use LinkedIn search the way they use Twitter search.
The (current) fact of the matter is that each channel’s users have different patterns of behavior. Subsequently, their users have different expectations of how others should act on a given channel, including how frequently others post updates.
These behavioral patterns and expectations will certainly change over time. But, for now, it is what it is, and you should shape your social recruiting strategies — that is, your ways of thinking about how to talk with people via social media — accordingly.
It’s Not the Tool — It’s How You Use It
You can use a brush to aimlessly splatter paint, or you can use it as a way to consciously convey a message. It’s all about how you use that brush. Similarly, you can use Bullhorn Reach as a way to bluntly communicate your open jobs to your core social networks as quickly as possible. Our hope, however, is that you use it as a time-saver and streamlined interface for engaging your followers, contacts and friends as real people.
- LinkedIn follows the same pattern, but its users tend to be less engaged than their counterparts on Facebook. Read the article here.