"Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery." - Joyce Brothers

This quote (I love quotes) came to mind when I started writing this article. And while not I'm not a big Joyce Brothers fan per se, I think there's more truth here than not. After all, none of us really likes being copied - but we love when someone shuts the heck up and lets us talk, right?

So why wouldn't our approach to social media (even for recruitment!) be the same - at least at its base? Why wouldn't we start by ensuring that every single soul we pull in to talk about social engagement or ambassadorships understand the importance of listening to our industry or "customers" and how it should be a priority over broadcasting to them? I think this is important - and sometimes gets missed in the rush (or pressure) to get on board and ride the social media wave. Besides - we'll have a much better feel for who is talking about us and their perception of our [employment] brand if we'll listen and monitor what's being said already.

In a previous article titled Making Friends on Facebook vs Teams at Work I mentioned a few departments that might be ideal to have involved on a de-centralized Social Media team. It was actually a follow-up article from my intial ask of the readers here to Whisper about What's Broken where I received some solid feedback about team building around social teams. So this is another quick chapter to touch on what might conceptually come next in an ideal world... Teaching our teams to listen and monitor the conversation that's already going on.

There are lots of ways to monitor what's being said about a company or brand that will enable your or team members to actively reach out and take part in conversations. SocialMention.com, Google Alerts and Searches managed through RSS feeds are just a few. And while there are several options out there that can be purchased and customized, I've always been a fan of free tools like NetVibes that can function as an aggregator of sorts. Of course if you're serious (and have a budget) you'll want to give some solid consideration to commercial options that will provide not just notifications but also analytics, reporting and even delegation of tasks.

Need some help with NetVibes? No worries! Check out this quick video on how to set up a page with some of the basics. (okay, it's not terribly quick - but it's good!)
Once you've gone through it I think you'll see easily enough how to incorporate various blog, twitter, or major engine searches. NetVibes is just one way to help manage your time and stay aware of what's going on around your brand while avoiding that Social Media Time Suck.

Enough importance can't be put on digging in and finding out what people are saying about your product or company. Once you understand what's being said it's that much easier to craft your approach or decide how you'll engage the influencers out there. I think that ideally there are subject matter experts or "point" people that are primarily responsible for listening and (gasp!) reporting on what's found online. But they shouldn't be expected to shoulder the entire listening portion of the project alone.

If a person in HR were to stumble on a message board where people were gathering to complain about an interview process or continually ask the same question about pay and benefits it would be nothing less of irresponsible to not pass along to a Recruiter (if not their "social recruiting" team) a link to the conversation. The same would be said of the Recruiter that while sourcing for retail applicants came accross a website dedicated to complaining about a particular product.

It's everyone's job to listen first.

Originally posted on RecruiterGuy.net

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