"I recently saw a head of resourcing for a big brand ask in an open forum about who would be the best Recruitment Process Outsourcer to use and there wasn’t a sign of an RPO in the conversation. That was a wasted new business opportunity for an RPO. The conversation then turned to who not to use and a number of RPO’s were mentioned and the RPO’s weren’t listening so they were not able to defend themselves. Over 10,000 recruiters were listening.
It’s time for recruitment companies to learn how to have better online conversations.
77% of all adults in the UK access the Internet and 31% of those do it through mobile phones.
Blogging and social networking communication as overtaken email communication in frequency and it is pretty obvious that the UK is experiencing a change in the way we communicate online.
As a result recruiters are looking differently at how to source and engage talent and clients online through social media and online conversations and this brief guide advises recruiters on how to approach conversational marketing.
Step 1 – Plan
Be clear as to what your business objectives are and write them down. Identify who your target audience is and what action you would like them to take and identify who your competitors are.
Step 2 – Listen
Ask your clients or candidates what their three top topics of conversation are in your sector. Once you know this plug those topics into a free social media monitoring tools like Netvibes or Social Mention or paid for systems like Sentiment Metrics. Set up the terms to run as ongoing searches. You can login regularly to see what is being discussed and where or you could be alerted to those conversations by email. Following these conversations for a week or so will inform you of what your target talent and clients and your competitors are talking about online, where they are talking and to who is listening.
Don’t worry if you do your listening exercise and there is no conversation online in that particular area it can often be a great opportunity to create your own online community and conversational space where you have a direct channel of communication to the people that matter most to your business. Owning those spaces can be recruiter gold dust.
Step 3 – Target
From your monitoring exercise you will quickly know where your target audience is hanging out online Create a list of target clients, target talent and industry influencers from the conversations sourced and continue to be updated of any conversations especially those involving your competitors so you can join their public conversations with clients or candidates online where appropriate.
Step 4 – Engage
Having spent some time listening to the flow and tone of the conversations and having targeted your audience you now have the where with all to engage or connect with them. Be clear around what your area of expertise is. Don’t try to be an expert in something that you are not.
Get involved via a forum or blog post or a group conversation and make comments on relevant videos, podcasts, images and articles. Remember to stay on track with the conversation and make the conversation relevant to your audience. Where possible share a link to some useful information that ideally will sit on your blog and bring traffic back to your site where your other services can also be seen.
If you are not very good at creating content don’t worry, you can often use other people’s content like an industry expert or organisation so long as you give them full credit for it.
If you start a conversation you should see it through so make sure that you get online updates if there are further comments posted on your threads of conversation. The most important things you need in order to engage are: monitoring tools, relevant content on a content hub(blog) or content out post (social pages) and finally you need to add value to the people you are talking to.
At the right time they will ask you about your business and give you the opportunity to discuss what you do. In general you should wait for them to ask the question about your business first.
Getting the relevant members of your staff to have online conversations for just 15 minutes per day will massively increase the number of inbound links to your site and boost your search engine optimisation for free.
The three C’s of Social Media
Without relevant content it is hard to have something to talk about. You can either create interesting or relevant content like articles, images, videos, surveys etc or you can source content from others, give credit to its source and share it yourself.
From good content comes good conversation so long as that content sits on the right platform. Most website platforms don’t allow for online conversations so you will need to have a conversational space online like a blog forum or social channel. Be sure that once you start a conversation that you stick with it and keep it relevant and keep adding value by providing links back to relevant content. Have relevant and valuable conversations and don’t pitch business until you are asked.
When you have a group of people having an online conversation about the things they are interested in, in effect you have an online community. The trick is to keep the good content coming and to manage that community by asking them what they want and continuing to give it to them. Doing that will ensure they come back again and again. Creating an online community means that you ultimately have a talent or business pipeline on tap.
I recently posted a comment about an article on employer branding that sat on an employer branding forum and based on my comment the VP for a company in the US checked out my Linkedin profile then looked at our website and a few hours later called me with a business enquiry. We are due to meet his CEO next week about creating their recruitment social media strategy. It took me 5 minutes to read the thread and post the comment.
This same principle of online conversation applies to both clients and candidates and many executive search firms are using these techniques successfully today.
Remember that online conversations are the same as offline ones; if you can talk about the things that people find interesting and can add value then the conversation will almost always come around to these fantastic 6 words…..So what do you do then? Jackpot!"
If you would like to get in contact with Colm Hannon, his twitter handle is @ColmHannon
To follow me and my tweets click here @TheusAmuah