Social media is no longer new news. However, the dangers and benefits continue to reveal themselves as we learn how to operate in a world where the opportunities to connect seem limitless in opportunity and danger. As business managers responsible for growth, relationships, brand strength, customer service and development or any other organizational purpose, social media provides an opportunity to connect. While many personal reasons for mediums like Facebook and YouTube remain within the scope of entertainment, we sometimes fail to recognize that every comment, picture, thought, highlight, and information sharing moment is the development of a brand – our personal brand or the brand we represent - equally applicable to companies or individuals.
One such connection point is blogs (or vlogs if you are a video oriented person). Blogs provide an opportunity to accomplish a mired of purposes depending on how you execute. Blogs can demonstrate intelligence, knowledge, expertise, creativity, writing skills, personality, confidence, and share ideas/learning that in the past would have been kept to a limited scope of influence. Blogging raises your profile as a company or a person within a set frame of consuming minds, whether B2B, B2C or among colleagues. In the end it is all about profits – either defined as organizational bottom line dollars or personal satisfaction (loosely described by economists as ‘utility’). Everyone has a similar goals, but understanding our approach leads to better blogs and connections.
For organizations the reason to blog is very clear: drive profits (ROI), whether as a one person recruiting firm or transnational company. However, the approach to the content then becomes the defining factor of how to attain that goal. For example, in a recent survey of technology organizations 57% of the companies that do blog said it was done to raise profile awareness and thought leadership. This approach suggests a couple of things about content: first, content has to be interesting to a specific number of people (within a given target) and it has to be cutting edge. This is potentially the most difficult executional purpose of a blog because content is more than conversation or ideas, the content is required to be compelling in a thought provoking way. The investment of time can be significant for this blog strategy.
In the same survey, 55% of the companies identified blogging is done to increase the interaction with customers. This strategic approach to blogging can be relatively easy compared to thought leadership because the content needs only to be relevant. Relevant information can follow many more streams and be presented at a number of different levels of engagement, making the time investment much less significant.
Another reason cited for blogging at 36% is to increase SEO (search engine optimization). This strategic use of blogs is about driving online traffic through the optimization of Google results and other search engines. For Google this usually means content value. Writing blogs that drive SEO can be a very difficult endeavour and requires a skill set because the underlying rules of how search engines work can be constantly changing…as was the case recently for Google.
So then the idea of two birds with a single stone comes up. Can thought leadership, connecting with customers and increasing SEO be combined…of course; however, you have to have a very strong understanding of your customers and product. A knowledge product, like recruiting, lends itself well to thought leadership and consumer interaction. Conversely, mass service products or fast moving consumer goods do not lead well to thought leadership, only customer interaction. So what does it boil down to – know your purpose, product and customer. For example why do you blog on recruitingblogs.com? Personal or organizational? Content or connection? Putting effort into a blog that is correctly directed or lacks the elements you need will only waste your time and not drive ROI.
Then the question may be asked – does this all apply to candidates? Absolutely, even more so because a candidate selling themselves during a work search can have the same strategies – position themselves as experts through thought leadership (IT, engineering, law) or connections to customers or network (Sales, HR, not for Profit). This them allows us to coach our candidates in a similar manner to increase their demonstrated value, just as we demonstrate ours over time.
Executrade – Your Recruitment Specialists