These are the thoughts and takeaways from the last Think Tank on Social Media in Resourcing. For further information please contact its co-founder Jeremy at Oasis HR – 0207 11 88 444 | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s fair to say that the arrival of Social Media, and its place in business, hasn’t exactly sprung up overnight, but like many things, it’s often easier to bury your head rather than embrace the benefits that this digital ecosystem can offer. True to form in business, gaining management ‘buy-in’ and seeking an employee behavioural shift when presenting change doesn’t come easy. These issues, coupled with ownership, engagement, measurement, functionality and strategy, all feed into the desire of strategic HR professionals to perform a much-needed ‘Social Media Sanity Check’.
We’re all in this together…
The good news is, whether you’re at the beginning of your social media journey, a ‘dab-hand’ at tweeting or contemplating leap-frogging this revolution altogether, you can rest assured that you’re not the first to face social media challenges and seriously question your sanity!
Lay the ground work…
All too often when something fresh springs onto the business scene, companies put the cart before the horse and begin experimenting before clear strategic direction is adopted. And, due to the ‘instantaneous’ nature of social media, many companies begin to develop a premature online presence in a bid to gain immediate return. This in turn can result in an incomplete corporate presence, stakeholders being neglected, confusion around content, a lack of ownership and ultimately damage to a brand.
What’s clear is the need to develop social media strategies based on thorough research of the target audience, their associated preferential platforms, the content they want to hear about, and of course how using social media will tie into the company’s overriding business objectives. Identifying your key motivators to network online is essential, whether it be to: strengthen brand perception, identify talent, engage with talent, position yourself as thought leaders or add value to an audience; these factors will largely influence the channels you use and the content you publish.
Our experts’ views:
a) Once a strategy is developed, ensure a set of operational guidelines are put in place for ‘speaking on behalf of’ and ‘speaking about’ an organisation – this is crucial for guaranteeing individuals are aware of improper use of social media platforms.
Word of mouth to world of mouth…
No matter what the message: an author, film director, television script-writer, advertiser or journalist will always consider and identify their audience before communicating via their medium. Using social media to communicate is no different. It’s crucial that the content, tone and channel is appropriate for the intended audience, as this will have a direct impact on levels of engagement and interactivity – ultimately you want to give someone a reason to return to your platform. If you find yourself blindly posting job vacancies amongst nothing else, chances are no one is listening! They probably started dodging your posts after the 67th ‘Senior Recruiter’ you ‘Urgently Required’. Yes, continue to post job roles, but mix it up by generating original content and present people with value.
When we champion our own products, services or ideas, we’re all guilty of bordering on arrogant when we naturally presume everyone else is going to saddle up beside us and leap on-board. Who are we to create a Facebook page and expect our desired audience to miraculously find us? It’s crucial that we take the time to understand where our target audience hangs out, what they talk about and what they might want to hear about. Only then through a combination of targeted social media and quality content can we begin to develop valuable two-way relationships.
Our experts’ view:
a) If more than 10-15% of your social media content is organisational propaganda your audience will become disengaged. Make sure you add real value to your ‘followers’ by publishing thought-leadership, content of value and posting links to relevant third party sites / articles; this WILL increase your professional credibility.
b) Be human. People respond better to messages which aren’t too corporate.
Fear of the unknown…
It returns, the dreaded question of ownership and one that plagues all new company initiatives. In recruitment, is the use of social media a business activity to be handled by the Marketing department, the Corporate Communications Team or should it be headed up by Talent Acquisition? There is no real answer, but an issue does exist when there is no real distinct responsibility outlined. However, the bulk of the work doesn’t need to fall on one team; take time to understand all the departments that can add value in the form of social media content and share the load – your posts will be a whole lot more interesting.
When incorporating social media into resourcing, it’s all too easy to view the process as a separate entity. Make sure it’s looked upon as a tool to help reach your existing business objectives; you’ll find it easier to gain management buy-in (in particular line-managers) by illustrating its importance within the organisation’s ‘bigger picture’.
Our experts’ views:
a) As with anything in business, when demanding more of an individual’s time, something’s ‘gotta give’ – so make sure your colleagues feel that their contribution to the social media process is valued and importantly, communicate the measurable outcomes as a consequence of their involvement (e.g. number of blog comments, Facebook ‘likes’ etc.)
If we’re not fretting over the numerous different social media platforms to utilise, we’re also contemplating the best technical tools to monitor, publish and measure our content for minimal outlay (it’s a hard life!). One key thing to remember is not to outsource your voice. It’s been suggested that engagement is often lost within technology and automation, and whilst these ‘jazzy’ tools can make life easier, it’s important not to lose sight of brand personality and that personal touch. And finally, remember that Social Media is often merely a signpost to an end destination, typically a career page, so make sure it’s worthy of all this additional traffic and fit for purpose –don’t lose your organisational credibility and disengage your audience at the last hurdle.
Our experts’ views:
a) NetVibes, a free social media monitoring programme, allows you to observe what is being said about your business in the market place (as well as competitors) – so make sure you stay one step ahead and proactively involve yourself in conversations concerning your industry.
b) Schedule the posting of your content across one or multiple platforms simultaneously with HootSuite, a free social media dashboard. Use this tool to collect intrinsic statistical feedback, relative to the success of your campaign, and present it to involved parties and stakeholders.
- Organisations from across multiple industries are ultimately facing similar challenges with using social media from a resourcing perspective
- Clearly defining a social media strategy with an overriding objective will positively affect success
- Remember that social media platforms will often redirect your audience back to your website, so don’t let the content / branding ‘slip’ on this platform
- Experiment with innovation and do something different to competitors
- Social media shouldn’t be viewed as a separate entity, it is merely a series of tools to be mixed into the overall business strategy
- Identify what your audience is saying about you and where – you’re more likely to build relationships if you engage with people on their level, terms and in their language
- Stay consistent and true to your brand in all communication