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6 Tips for Effective Recruiting on Social Media

May 19, 2010

Filed under: General

You’re looking for a STAR employee to fill the shoes of your departing high-flying, results producing Executive. How do you start the recruitment process?  Better yet, where do you start?

Sharlyn Lauby recently posted this article on the American Express Open Forum on how you can use Social Media to your advantage. Here’s the full article:

The goal of recruiting is to find the right person at the right time. Logically, that means one source is never enough. You'll want to tap into diverse mediums to find the best candidates. Social media is no exception. Each platform has its own unique demographic. You'll want to consider that audience when making the decision about which applications to use for your recruiting efforts.

Regardless of the application, there are some common elements of using social media for recruiting. Here are six things to consider:
 

1. Create an online presence that reflects who you are
Having a nice avatar, succinct bio and current contact information will make people want to connect with you. Be sure to organize your social media profiles to provide potential contacts with a better idea of who you are so they have a reason to communicate with you and form a relationship.


"It's about being human", explains Bill Boorman, author of the Recruiting Unblog. "People connect with people, not brands. Connect with everyone because you never know who will make that referral or connection for you."


2. Make the most of your time
A large part of any success with social media is involvement. This is especially true if you want to use social media for recruiting. While mobile applications can help with this, Boorman agrees, "It takes a big investment of time to build a talent community." To target your efforts, he suggests asking people directly which channels they use and looking at what your competitors are doing. "Consider directing your messages to a single point, like a relevant blog or company website."


3. Individualize your approach
At some point, you have to connect with people you don't know and become a part of their conversations. "I actually find it easy," says Chris Havrilla, national recruiting manager for Hitachi Consulting, a global leader in delivering business and IT strategies. "I have found if you communicate with people in a meaningful and thoughtful manner, you can never go wrong."


Havrilla's approach is to connect with people who have a genuine interest in his business and industry. "I follow or connect with people related to that space, ‘listen’ to and learn from the conversations, and participate when appropriate. If you are connecting with someone directly, be ‘individualized’ in your approach – take the time to understand who you are reaching out to and be respectful of their time and attention."


4. Be authentic
Recruiters always want to see the 'real candidate' and in order to do that, they have to be real as well. Amanda Hite, founder and CEO of Talent Revolution Inc., says when it comes to social media: "Remember it's NOT about the tools it's ALL about the relationships."


So don't be afraid to be yourself. Hite adds, "Being the authentic, unapologetic you is totally on trend. But more importantly, when you embrace your own authenticity and stay committed to 'being you' no matter what, you'll attract the kind of clients and employees that do the same and are the best match for you."


5. Share interesting stuff
All work and no play is boring. So sharing news and tidbits of general interest can create what might be the equivalent of "social media small talk," which leads to bigger conversations. Sylvia Dahlby works for SmartSearch, a leading talent acquisition system and recruiting business software solution firm. She works from home and lives in Hawaii. "Before social network sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, I belonged to dozens of old-style online newsgroups. Now, I leverage the new social networks much in the same way," Sylvia explains. She says it's still important to interact with others.


One of the things Sylvia mentioned was her Twitter account because she mixes her recruiting knowledge with Hawaii tidbits. "My Twitter account is for personal branding and making connections. I mostly tweet about my work, my product and the recruiting industry during business hours, chat with friends and business associates throughout the day, and throw in a mix of my hobbies and certain interests (such as Hawaiiana). I treat Twitter as my office 'water cooler' or after-hours 'cocktail party' where I can catch the news and buzz from people in various online communities around the world."


6. Focus on substance
If someone directs a question at you via social media, find a way to respond, even if it's to take the conversation offline. "The key is substance," says Steve Browne, executive director of human resources for LaRosa's Inc., a Cincinnati based regional pizzeria with 63 locations. "I'd recommend people using social media for recruiting [focused] on substance and not just resume information. Look at how the candidate is connected in the social media arena, and are they contributing to their profession, or just lurking. If they're engaged online, chances are they would be engaged working for your company."


Many recruiters realize that when it comes to recruiting, social media tools are just that – tools. The real value is in how the tools are used. Havrilla explains, "Social media can give you a great and efficient way to engage with your community – candidates, clients, customers, partners, prospects, etc. – on a very level playing field with the companies you are competing with for talent (or business). The key is to make sure you have the time to invest in to it. At a very basic level this is all about networking. The use of social media tools has greatly enhanced my ability to build, grow, and nurture my network. These tools are not a magic bullet though – to get value from your network, you have to add value to it."

Tags: social media, communicate, conversation, network

7 things to stop doing now on Facebook

May 17, 2010

Filed under: General

Privacy is such an issue these days, especially with the explosion of numerous social media websites that have sprouted over the last few years. I have a soon-to-be thirteen year old who has requested for a Facebook Profile. We’ve made a deal that once she comes of age, she can. We’ve been carefully going through the etiquettes of social media for a few months now and I can only hope that she adheres to the guidelines we’ve established.


For those of you that are still unsure on how to use the medium, here’s a guide that was first published by ConsumerReports.org in an article that appeared in the June 2010 Consumer Reports Magazine.

 

1. Using a weak password
Avoid simple names or words you can find in a dictionary, even with numbers tacked on the end. Instead, mix upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. A password should have at least eight characters. One good technique is to insert numbers or symbols in the middle of a word, such as this variant on the word "houses": hO27usEs!


2. Leaving your full birth date in your profile
It's an ideal target for identity thieves, who could use it to obtain more information about you and potentially gain access to your bank or credit card account. If you've already entered a birth date, go to your profile page and click on the Info tab, then on Edit Information. Under the Basic Information section, choose to show only the month and day or no birthday at all.


3. Overlooking useful privacy controls
For almost everything in your Facebook profile, you can limit access to only your friends, friends of friends, or yourself. Restrict access to photos, birth date, religious views, and family information, among other things. You can give only certain people or groups access to items such as photos, or block particular people from seeing them. Consider leaving out contact info, such as phone number and address, since you probably don't want anyone to have access to that information anyway.


4. Posting your child's name in a caption
Don't use a child's name in photo tags or captions. If someone else does, delete it by clicking on Remove Tag. If your child isn't on Facebook and someone includes his or her name in a caption, ask that person to remove the name.


5. Mentioning that you'll be away from home
That's like putting a "no one's home" sign on your door. Wait until you get home to tell everyone how awesome your vacation was and be vague about the date of any trip.


6. Letting search engines find you
To help prevent strangers from accessing your page, go to the Search section of Facebook's privacy controls and select Only Friends for Facebook search results. Be sure the box for public search results isn't checked.


7. Permitting youngsters to use Facebook unsupervised
Facebook limits its members to ages 13 and over, but children younger than that do use it. If you have a young child or teenager on Facebook, the best way to provide oversight is to become one of their online friends. Use your e-mail address as the contact for their account so that you receive their notifications and monitor their activities.

"What they think is nothing can actually be pretty serious," says Charles Pavelites, a supervisory special agent at the Internet Crime Complaint Center. For example, a child who posts the comment "Mom will be home soon, I need to do the dishes" every day at the same time is revealing too much about the parents' regular comings and goings.

Wish me luck!

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Tags: privacy, facebook, social media, profile, passwords

Make Video Testimonials Work For You

May 12, 2010

Filed under: General

Social Media Marketing – it’s on everyone’s lips these days. The questions to ask yourself  is not if you should be using social media, but how you should be using it. Social media is fast becoming much more mainstream. Apart from Facebook, Twitter, Digg and LinkedIn (to name a few), another medium that has gained traction over the years is YouTube.

Popular TV programs such as Glee and America’s Got Talent opened up their auditions via YouTube. Teen singing sensation, Justin Beiber, was discovered on YouTube. Thousands of brands these days showcase their promotions and launch new products via their YouTube channel. You can do the same via YouTube or a web Video. All it takes is a little imagination and creativity.

Your customers are your best sales people. Why not build customer confidence with a web Video testimonial? There’s nothing more credible than having your customers talk about their experiences with your company, in their own words. Word-of-mouth, even if it is viral, is so powerful. Where do you start?

Ted Page, cofounder and creative director of Captains of Industry a marketing agency and video-production company based in Boston, oversees the creative development of videos, and interactive Web marketing campaigns for a range of renewable energy and clean-tech clients. He’s come up with the top 5 reasons why, plus 10 tips for making testimonials work harder for you and is based on an e-book, "How to Make Customer Video Testimonials."


WHY

1. Credibility
Having real people on camera who have had a great experience with your brand lends unassailable credibility to your message. Your customers are your very best salespeople. They are the ones who can honestly and credibly explain to potential customers that their solar panels are cutting their electric bill, or that their vacuum cleaner is the best.

 

2. Your website is a TV channel. Make sure it has good content that people want to watch
Your web TV channel is on 24/7. And the best part is, since you're not paying a network to air your commercial, or a magazine to place your ad, your media costs are zero. Accordingly, the process of having customer testimonials on your website is simplified.

 

3. More referrals
Customers are honoured to go on camera and praise your business. They know that what they say matters and that you value their opinion. It's a source of pride for them. And what do proud people do? They talk with their friends about what they've done. They become, in effect, a more motivated ambassador for your brand. Often, the result is additional qualified sales leads and a lower cost for customer acquisition.

 

4. Give people something to Tweet about
Good content and social media go hand in hand. People see something, then send tweets about it to their friends—amplifying the power of your testimonials.

 

5. Get across the personality of your company
The era of un-advertising on the Web is much more personal and human than the brochure-ware of the past. Nothing speaks to the unique personality of your company better than the people who trusted you—and are glad they did. Your customers are your brand, and they have a lot to say.

Clearly, video testimonials are a perfect fit for almost any company—including yours. Now, here are some tips for how you can make them truly effective.

 

HOW

1. Tell a story
Before you interview people, think about what story you want to tell. For example, do you want to get across that wind farms benefit local economies? Or that your software is easy to use? Once you know what story you want to get across, develop a list of questions that are likely to inspire the interviewee to tell the story you're looking for.
If you are planning to have multiple people in a single video, you can edit the piece so that the various responses string together to create a compelling narrative.

See these examples of video storytelling created for First Wind, a developer and operator of wind farms.

 

2. Make your videos "snackable"
Keep each video less than four minutes—ideally not more than 1-2 minutes long. People hunt for information and prefer to nibble short videos.

 

3. Aggregate your videos in an online media center
A media center like this one from Alteris Renewables makes it easy for customers to browse.

 

4. Guide viewers into your online sales funnel
Picture people at their computers, watching your videos. They've watched three or four, and now they're ready to take the next step... perhaps to request an estimate. The layout of your Web page that's displaying the videos should clearly show your offer and encourage viewers to click.

Think of your videos as cups of delicious coffee at Gloria Jean’s. The longer people hang around, the more likely they are to buy. Just make it easy for them to take action when they're done sipping, or you'll lose them.
You have to be careful, however; you don't want to be in the customer's face, selling overtly. Remember that this is un-advertising: You're educating your customers, but also making clear that you are there for them when they're ready to buy.

 

5. Encourage absolute honesty
When you interview customers, encourage them to tell the unvarnished truth and not to gild the lily just because they're on camera. People see right through BS; they also recognize the truth when they see it.

You might even want to have a customer talk about a situation where, for example, a problem occurred with the product you're selling, and how your company recognized the error and fixed it. That approach gets to the heart of credibility, and your customers will appreciate it far more than canned expressions of delight.

 

6. Optimize your videos for search
Do some research to see what search terms your target audience is using to find solutions such as yours. Then give your videos titles that include those search terms.

In addition, when you post the videos to your Web page or YouTube channel, include some text that's relevant and searchable and make sure the text is in close proximity to the video. Some companies actually publish transcripts or abstracts from the videos on the same page as the videos because search engines can quickly locate text, but not necessarily video files.

In addition, when you publish your videos on sites such as YouTube, add "tags" to each video that put them in easily searchable categories (e.g: solar power, cars, widgets).

 

7. Keep publishing new videos
Just as you're constantly gathering customer case histories for print, it's important to continuously publish videos to your site. Customers like seeing new, fresh stuff on your site. And search engines will rank your site higher if it's frequently updated with new content.

 

8. Interview customers who reflect your ideal new-customer profile
Look at the buyer personas of customer groups that are most likely to buy from you, then find current customers to interview who match those profiles as closely as possible. You want your Web audience to relate to the person they see onscreen.

Also, remember that you're not looking for models. You need people who look real—not like they just jumped out of a David Jones catalogue.

 

9. Intermix shots of your customers with images or video of your product
Seeing just customers on camera can get a bit dull. Spice up your testimonials with a roll showing customers using the product.

 

10. Pre-interview your customers
Have a call with each customer before the shoot to give them a sense of what you'll be talking about. You don't want to tell them what to say, but talking with them beforehand in general terms about the subject can set their mind at ease and help them to be more relaxed during the interview.

 

If your product or service is of a high quality and your customers derive satisfaction from them, they would gladly say positive things about your product in videos. The credibility and acceptability the videos would give you and your product is unquantifiable. Ready to get started?

Contact us if you’d like to develop your new website with a video feature added in. While we don’t produce videos, we know businesses that do and would be happy to point you in the right direction.

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Tags: social media, marketing, video, customers

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