The Social Marketing of Diversity

Scientific research indicates the brain transmits 90% of visual information and processes it 60,000 times faster than information in text form[1].  Digital media has transformed the reach of visual content. Digital images such as pictures, videos, infographics, word clouds, etc., can be posted and shared quickly on social networks. On Facebook alone, 75% of content posted globally are photos. On Twitter, photos and videos are re-tweeted 63% more than other types of content (see chart below). In 2013 LinkedIn purchased Pulse, a news reader that presents content visually to its member base.

Retweet stats

The consumption of visual digital content has also led to the creation of many popular platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Flicker and Vine (just to name a few).

youtube

Instagrampinterestvine

 

 
 


Its popularity has also had an impact on marketing and recruitment; specifically in the areas of diversity. As populations become increasingly diverse it continuously creates new customer and employee needs. These demographic shifts in both consumer base and talent pools have put pressure on organizations to build workforces that reflect the markets they are trying to serve. Companies such as RBC have created an integrated approach (as shown below) recognizing the fluidity between consumer, employee and community member[2].

RBC_diversity

Consumer marketing has created digital brand strategies to tap into new demographics and create an emotional experience. The image below is a great example of this. The experience is reflected in the image to create an emotional response. To make you picture yourself using the product. It’s powerful because people can more easily relate if they see images that reflect themselves.

diversity_11

Talent acquisition is no stranger to developing diversity strategies to build their workforce. For years organizations have tried to create programs to attract, source, hire and retain diverse candidates. Few have been able to claim bragging rights. Diversity recruitment has always relied on images to depict inclusion and representation. Social media has enabled this approach to go viral.

Even though diverse images and videos are much more prevalent, prospective candidates have also shifted their approach. They now rely on employee experiences to validate the diversity proposition and actual representation of their prospective employer. According to a Glassdoor.com survey; candidates are signficantly influenced by employee experiences and how they perceive their employer.

 recommendations

 They’re looking for more meaningful and authentic messages from employees that reflect themselves.

A poster for Lakeridge Health is shown in this undated handout photo. The Ontario hospital group is turning QuebecÕs proposed restrictions on religious clothing in the public sector into an opportunity to recruit nurses and doctors.

As employees build their online presence they also provide insight to the demographic composition of their organization. Candidates now have more visibility into representation both vertically and horizontally than at any other time in history. It represents the shift from an aspiration to something that is achievable. It’s this reflection of inclusion through employee experiences that are emotional and impactful. Consider the brand of two employers below:

non_diversity

diverse_workforce

Which one would you click on to find more?

People overwhelmingly chose the image on the bottom. They felt diversity and inclusion were represented and reflected by real employees. It felt more authentic. The visual digital collage created an emotional reaction. A connection. An experience.

The goal is to make you picture yourself working at this organization. It’s employee experience that lies at the heart of talent branding. Creating an experience that resonates with potential candidates. An authentic experience delivered through employees.

I’d love to hear your perspectives on topic! Share them with me @annzaliebarrett or through LinkedIn.

_______________________________________________________________________________

[1] http://tech.co/visual-content-will-rise-2015-2015-01

[2] http://www.rbc.com/diversity/why-does-diversity-matter.htm

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Evolving Your Social Recruitment Vocabulary

In my last blog post (TSPK101- Expanding Your Technology Vocabulary for Business Use); I spoke about the need for HR professionals to really understand some of the industry technology terms that are being used in strategic conversations. As a part two, I want to expand that conversation and drill down a layer further. This post will focus on deciphering the terminology behind social recruitment.

21st-century-recruiting-8-statistics-to-prove-social-media-is-the-way-to-go-1-638

The term social recruitment was first used as early as 2009, but started to become part of conventional recruitment strategy around 2011[1]. Social recruitment has now become mainstream and many vendors now offer social recruiting and marketing products in addition to their core recruitment management system (RMS) offering. With the increasing adoption and investment in social recruitment, also comes the necessity to articulate ROI and explain its success. But, despite data being available through a multitude of channels, many recruitment functions still struggle with compiling data to answer to the lingering Executive question… Tell me how social recruitment adds value?

Stumped? There’s good new… this is not a quiz!

For a few years I’ve talked about the importance of introducing new metrics into the HR dashboard that can clearly describe the impact of social recruitment.

social-media-for-recruiters

Metrics can be the gateway to tell your story. It provides the forum to share success, lessons learned and forecast strategy based on data. To anchor social recruitment, a new wave of terminology needs to be adopted into daily operational metrics, performance measures, intake discussions and sourcing strategies make it meaningful.

Not sure where to start? First, let’s examine a few common industry terms that you and your team should know and use on a weekly, if not daily basis:

Term Description Why is it important?
Click Through Rate (CTR) Measures the click from the initial link though to the content page. (e.g. the click from the initial job posting link on a job aggregator to the apply button on the job posting RMS). It provides insight into how compelling your content is. The marketing to get you to click on the initial link may be good, but if candidates are not clicking through, it could be due to your content. Companies should use click through rate metrics as an indicator on what’s working and what needs to be improved. You want high click through rates to measure applicant channel ROI.
Employee Value Proposition (EVP) It’s a unique set of offerings, associations and values that will positively influence the most suitable target candidates to choose you as an employer. The proposition must be attractive, true, credible, distinct and sustainable.[2] In a nutshell, it articulates what differentiates your company from your competitors. Why should someone choose to work at your company versus a direct or industry competitor? If you want Manager’s and employees to become brand ambassadors, they need to be equipped with EVP marketing messages to promote the company.
Engagement Two way interaction of your companies brand and content between the end user and the company. Engagement identifies people who express an interest in your brand and content by interacting with it. It provides the opportunity to build rapport, creating a pipeline of candidates engaged with your company brand. Research shows that engaged employees have higher retention rates resulting in bottom line savings to the organization over time[3].

 

engagment analytics_1

 

Job Aggregator An on line database that scrapes and advertises job postings from company websites at no cost. Job aggregators have transformed the traditional job posting model. Jobs from companies are posted in one central place and are SEO indexed. Companies don’t pay to advertise job postings, they are there for free. This makes it more appealing for candidates as all jobs can be found here regardless of where they start their search (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Indeed.com, etc.). Job aggregators provide high source of hire ROI.
Pay per Click (PPC) The amount paid when sponsored content (e.g. job posting) is clicked on a website. This helps companies stay within a budget and measure ROI based on clicks. If you sponsor jobs, you only pay for what is performing.
Reach Reach is the potential audience for content based on total follower count (Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn followers, total Likes on your Facebook page, etc). If your boards have 1,000 followers on Pinterest, then each of your pins could potentially reach 1,000 people. [4] Reach provides insight into the visibility of your content as it is shared (via a like or share) to other users networks. The higher your reach the higher the probability you will attract more applicants.
SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Is the ability for your content to rank higher on a search engine when search results are returned. Most candidates now start their job search on a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Khoj, Baidu, etc.). The higher your content appears in search results, the higher the probability it will be clicked on.
Social Sharing Sharing content through social media. Most websites recognize the power of sharing content on social networking sites. Social sharing is the modern version of emailing job postings to networks. RMS’, aggregators and job boards, now offer the ability social share jobs on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

engagment analytics_2

 

Talent Brand The highly social, public version of your employer brand incorporating what your talent thinks, feels and shares about your company as a place to work[5]. Your talent brand carries more credibility than employment brand because your employees are advocates or detractors of the message. Talent brand is important because it represents a genuine view from an employee. Tools like LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index allows companies to benchmark against competitors to see how your talent brand is performing to attract and source candidates.
Talent Communities A recruitment product that offers websites geared to specific roles, candidate types or locations where people can register and receive company information and notifications. Talent communities provide specific branding, content and messaging to candidates based on demographic information. While content on talent communities can be engaging, they also serve as the feeder for talent pipelines for specific roles.
Targeted Marketing Recruitment Campaigns Use keywords and/or demographic information to target and attract relevant potential applicants for specific roles. (e.g. Call Centre, Actuaries, Mobile App developers, etc.). Most candidates start their job search on a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Khoj, Baidu, etc.). Unlike traditional methods of post and prey advertisements, campaigns have become a game changer because it seeks out specific individuals that appear to fit the role profile of the job. This creates a relevant pipeline and/or applicant pool. In addition to Google AdWords, social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter also offer these services.

460x250xtalentcommunity

This by no means, is an exhaustive list of social recruitment terms. It’s really meant to be an introduction to some of the more common terms you can expect to hear and see in blogs, articles, white papers and research briefs. So the next time you are asked how reach impacts your sourcing strategy, you’ll be well positioned to give an answer!

If you would like more information on HR metrics, check out my blog post Are You Using Data to Drive Your HR Strategy.

I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know if you found this list useful. You can tweet me @annzaliebarrett or follow me LinkedIn.

Ann_Nov_2012Ann Barrett, Director Integrated Solutions

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[1] Wikipedia

[2] http://www.slideshare.net/duraturo/what-is-an-employer-value-proposition

[3] http://www.bus-ex.com/article/employee-engagement-retention-and-communication

[4] http://blog.hootsuite.com/beginners-guide-to-social-media-metrics-reach-exposure/

[5] http://www.slideshare.net/linkedin-talent-solutions/5-reasons-for-investing-in-your-talent-brand-v3

How Authentic Is Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)?

EVP_marketing_Image

Marketing has become an integral part of talent strategy. The use of messages and branding to foster engagement, attract candidates and retain employees have resulted in some organizations thoughtfully and others inadvertently, developing Employee Value Propositions (EVP’s). EVP’s are messages that articulate what an employee can expect when they work for the company. The promises. Most of the messages, in one way or another, tend to emphasize employee development and career progression (like the image above). Branding supplements the message by offering  visual images of what an employee can experience when they’re in the organization.

The ability to deliver against EVP’s can have a tangible impact on both talent sourcing and retention. Talent functions must realize the authenticity of an EVP will be compared to real employee experiences through social media channels. Research has shown there is a direct correlation between employee reviews on social media and job application follow through. In a recent US study of more than 4,600 job seekers; almost 50% of them used social sites like Glassdoor to research the company as part of their job search strategy1. Employee reviews have greater influence on which companies candidates will choose that more closely aligns with their values. In the example below the EVP advertised career progression, but the employee review exposed this as a misrepresentation. Candidates who value career advancement may choose not to apply to that company based on the review.

bad_review_evp

EVP is important to retain your current talent bench. Consider the following true story and how it reflects on the genuineness of the EVP.

bad_meetingA friend of mine choose to work at a company that articulated messages of career progression and development in the job description, website, branding and interview processes. As an employee, she worked hard to build great relationships and develop her skill set. Messages about commitment to career development and progression were continuously communicated in town halls, intranet sites, emails and corporate communications. After a few years she felt ready to move to the next level within her career tract. With consistently great performance reviews, she anticipated an easy conversation with her Manager on formulating a plan. She raised the subject about career advancement. Her boss listened to her and after a brief pause said; “You’ll need some of these first (pointing to her grey hair) if you want to move up.” In one short sentence the conversation had ended. The employee had taken her Manager’s comments as a clear message that seniority was equal to age. She knew she would not be advancing anytime soon.

Completely disengaged, within three months she resigned and went to a direct competitor.

Of course not every employee is pegged for progression. However, this story is reflective of a top performer who believed the company was committed to advancement, irrespective of age. The revelation that the EVP was false (from her perspective) resulted in her becoming disconnected, disengaged and demotivated. No surprise, she does not endorse this company as a great place to work to her network or family. This is a tangible example that the smaller the gap between your EVP promise and delivery; the higher your retention rate can be.

Now that we’ve seen authenticity matters, what can your organization do to create a genuine EVP’s?

  • Solicit feedback/crowdsource regularly to understand what works and what can be improved – Don’t rely on annual engagement surveys to assess how people feel. Solicit genuine feedback regularly through different mediums. Highlight what is working and document what could be improved.

feedback

  •  Action feedback to address gaps – I can’t stress this enough. Feedback is abundant on ways to improve. Yet so often nothing is done to actually address it. Demonstrate you are listening to your employees by actioning feedback. If you don’t it will be seen as disingenuous.
  • Update your EVP with endorsed content Your EVP is only genuine if your employees endorse it. Update it with validated content so it is authentic.
  • Revisit your EVP every 3-5 years to align it to your strategy – The workforce is changing. Your strategy changes. Your EVP should be reflective of your strategy.
  •  Use employees to promote genuine EVP messages through social media channels – Many companies are afraid of employee reviews on social media sites. They tend to want to “shut it down” or ignore it, hoping it will go away. Instead embrace social media sites and build it into your strategy. Provide alternative, genuine experiences on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to help job seekers make an informed decision about your company.

happy-employeeThere are lots of opportunities to build genuine EVP’s. I hope these few ideas will help you to start thinking about ways to develop authentic messages!

I would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me twitter@annzalie.barrett or pca_icon_linkedin_111w_116hLinkedIn.

 

[1] http://recruitingdaily.com/glassdoor-reviews/

Career Product Marketing- What Are You Selling?

In my last blog post I talked about how organizations are using crowdsourcing to improve marketing messages to make products more appealing. I spoke about how HR functions can also utilize this rich data to improve its employee value proposition and employment brand. As Recruitment functions start to climb out of a 2.0 model attention is being directed to use social media platforms for recruiting. In a quest to increase reach, many companies continue to push out long, traditional, wordy job postings that serve to instruct the reader rather than entice them. It looks something like this:

old_jd

If product marketing took this approach it would be the equivalent of pushing out a product specification to attract buyers. Sounds absurd right? Marketing knows they have to develop compelling messages to entice the reader to at least find out more about the product. Messages are developed into visual ads where social media acts as a forum to engage and interact with consumers. The difference looks something like this:

samsung_spec       samsung_product_ad

What if recruitment took a business approach and treated “careers” as products they’re trying to sell? Each vacancy would represent an individual product marketed through a job ad. The marketing approach would centre on crafting key messages to attract relevant prospects for the product. Job postings would be more marketing friendly focused on key communities to interact and engage in a meaningful way.

For companies who have embraced this type of thinking the outcomes are creative and concise ads geared at soliciting relevant prospects with links where the reader can learn more.

ASCPUN201006237Ad00701

1234807_10151794314309346_1163308203_n  microsoft_jobad

Think about what is attracting you to these ads. What makes you linger? Visual and emotional cues make you want to read more. Visual content marketing has a higher impact on social media because it’s easier to consume and share.

Some companies such as Salesforce.com have taken this even one step further by extending career marketing to a video format. This approach is far beyond recruitment 2.0, and actually moves into the realm of recruitment 4.0. Here, the Manager takes an active role in the recruitment process. The video is short, engaging and easily downloadable so it can be viewed on the go. Prospects are also offered the opportunity to engage with the Manager via social media (in this case Twitter) for more information. This creates the opportunity for real interaction instead of a one way push.

salesforce_pic

A forward thinking approach.

I know many of you reading this may think this is a huge amount of work that requires a lot of money. Not to mention, Managers would never do a video. To that I would say, start small. Do you have a few key roles you can start with that you can pilot? Start to create the foundation by shifting the mindset. Many companies have fantastic in-house creative, brand, communication and digital teams. Partner with them. Learn from them. Small successes pave the way for larger successes.

To help you get started, I’ve mapped out how recruitment can craft career marketing messages using the same thought process as a product marketer. Product marketing essentially has to answer three main questions for consumers:

Business Product Marketing Messages Career Product Marketing Messages
1- What will this product do for me if I buy it? (What’s In It For Me- WIFM?) 1- How will this job utilize and/or enhance my skills and develop my career? (WIFM?)
2- What are the main/exciting features of this product? What does it do? 2- What are the main/attractive features of this job? What would I do? (Keep it concise)
3- How is this product different from its competitors? 3- Why should I work for your company instead of your competitors?

I hope this blog post has energized you to think of your job postings in a new way! I would love to hear about your success stories.

 

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Has Your Company Embraced Crowdsourcing to Improve Your Employee Value Proposition?

Crowdsourcing is one of the hottest conversation topics on the web. I predict it will be the most “buzzed word” of 2013. Companies are starting to pay attention to crowdsourcing as viable, cost effective ways to develop new product lines, new technologies, solve problems and improve service. Crowdsourcing is also important to HR as it can provide a wealth of knowledge in understanding employee experiences with a company’s employee

crowdsourcing

value proposition (EVP) and employment brand.

So, what exactly is crowdsourcing? The term crowdsourcing is a mix of the word “crowd” and “sourcing” first coined by Jeff Howe in a 2008 Wired magazine article “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”[1]. In essence it’s an online database where people can contribute content (written, video, pictures) by posting it in a public forum which can be viewed and shared by others. Availability on the internet makes it easier to search and find information. Integration with social media sites such as Facebook means reviews can be cross-shared to friends. Apps let you search and review on the go through mobile platforms.

To demonstrate the power and value of crowdsourcing to the business and HR, I thought I would do a cross comparison from two strategic crowdsourcing sites; TripAdvisor and Glassdoor.

tripadvisor_logo

 

I am an avid and loyal TripAdvisor member. Over the years I have become dependent on TripAdvisor to help me make informed decisions on what hotels to stay at when I travel. I find the reviews invaluable and will not make a decision without consulting TripAdvisor first. I also pay it forward by writing my own reviews, thus sharing my experience with others.

glassdoor_logo_250I was first introduced to Glassdoor through Facebook. I got a few invitations from friends in my network requesting I join.  At first glace I didn’t understand its value. However once I saw there were anonymous reviews providing real insight into the culture, work, management and environment of an organization, i was hooked.

Sites like TripAdvisor and Glassdoor are powerful because of their reach. As the stats below reveal, the traffic, membership and visibility on these sites is enormous  More importantly…they are still growing.

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Reach
  • World’s largest travel site[2]
  • 50M visitors per month
  • 20M business visitors per month
  • 1.5 Reviews posted every second
  • 21M registered users[3]
  • 260K companies globally
  • 5 company reviews
  • A new member joins every 7 seconds
glassdoor_reviewEvery company has a vested interest in promoting how great they are. They want to you buy their product and/or attract top talent. Crowdsourced reviews are powerful because they are authentic. They are reflective of genuine experiences from a variety of people who have interacted with the company.

90% of consumers trust peer recommendations compared to only 14% from advertisements[4]. This has put pressure on companies to become more authentic in their brand promise and employment value proposition.

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Authentic
  • Reviewers have actually stayed at the hotel.
  • They have no vested interest in portraying the hotel as good or bad.

 

  • Reviewers are either current employees or former employees.
  • Reviewers write reviews based on their employment experience.
  • Anonymity allows for more genuine feedback without fear of reprisal.
tripadvisor_travllerphotosCrowdsourced reviews are powerful because they are transparent about the brand promise. They help to answer the question, Is the company/employer genuinely delivering what the promise?
  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Transparent
  • Pictures and videos of hotel rooms, bathrooms, restaurants, etc. from reviewers provide real examples of what is delivered versus what is being advertised.
  • Potential travellers have more realistic expectations about the product they will receive.

 

  • Viewers have more realistic expectations about day to day operations, work environment and management styles.
  • Employees rate the employee value proposition (career progression, growth, development, compensation, benefits, etc.) against what they experienced. This helps set expectations for future prospects.
tripadvisor_reviewsIt’s my opinion that companies should be grateful for crowdsourcing through sites like TripAdvisor and Glassdoor. Think about it. Customers and employees at no cost; are providing companies with feedback on what they’re doing well and what they can improve on.

Actionable Feedback. It’s a goldmine of rich data.

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Actionable Feedback
  • Reviewers provide suggestions for improve.
  • Reviewers provide feedback on what’s working.

Companies that are focused on continuous improvements can create action plans to fix shortcoming.

Positive feedback can be woven into marketing and advertising to highlight positive attributes, making the brand promise more credible.

  • Reviewers provide suggestions to Management on areas they can improve.
  • Reviewers provide feedback on things that are working well.

Employers can cross reference engagement results with reviews. Retention strategies can be created based on feedback.

Positive feedback can be woven into employment branding and the employee value proposition messaging, making them more credible.

 

If you reviewed two hotels at the same price point and one had predominantly negative reviews and the other had predominantly positive reviews; which one would you choose? Crowdsourced reviews are powerful because they influence people’s opinion and ultimately impact their decision. That has a bottom line impact.

 

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Reviews Impact Decisions
  • Positive reviews may yield more sales.
  • Negative reviews may result in a loss of a sale opportunity.
  • Companies can assess referral ratings based on reviews.
  •  Positive reviews may attract better talent to your organization.
  • Negative reviews may turn off top talent.
  • Employers can assess referral ratings based on reviews.
reviewsCompanies cannot ignore crowdsourcing’s impact on the bottom line any longer. Smart companies will acknowledge suggestions and make improvements to demonstrate they are listening. This willingness to change also builds credibility as reviews validate changes.

HR Departments should be conscious that employee opinions not only have a direct impact on talent sourcing strategies, but may also carry over to net promoter scores (NPS), product sales and customer retention. Dissatisfied employees may not buy or recommend company products to a friend. That impacts the bottom line.

 

 

 

 

 

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing

[2] http://www.slideshare.net/eTourismAfrica/trip-advisor-2012

LinkedIn Guide for Sales People

What once started as a professional networking site, LinkedIn has quickly evolved into a more robust tool used for a variety of purposes including networking, job searching, sourcing and consumer marketing.

Savvy sales people have also realized LinkedIn can be used for lead generation and relationship management, making prospecting faster and more efficient. Here is my Sales person’s guide to leveraging LinkedIn to generate sales.

Step 1: Making the best impression

Your prospect is most likely looking you up on LinkedIn to better understand who they are dealing with. What impression do you want your profile to convey about you and the company you work for? Secondly, your profile can act as a great ice breaker to get your foot in the door. The more you add, the higher the probability your prospects see something they have in common with you.

Here are the eight must haves for your LinkedIn profile:

  1.  A professional photo. I cannot stress this enough. PhoLI Phototographs help create an emotional connection. Many people have a better time recognizing someone based on their picture then just a name without a picture. Choose one that best represents your professional persona.
  2. Summary– Your LinkedIn profile is about you. The summary section provides a great way to showcase your entire professional persona. The best practice is two paragraphs at the most that best describe you and summarizes you overall professional experience. What makes you stand out against your peers?
  3. Update your current work experience. The best practice is about 5-10 bullet points that accurately reflect the work you do. If you are a sales person, what products do you sell, what’s your territory?
  4. Add company links under your work experience: Promote your company by adding the company website, You Tube channel, Facebook page or product videos. As people check you out, they also get to learn more about your company and its products.
  5. Education– Your university/college. No need to put dates.
  6. Solicit a few recommendations –People put a lot of credibility into recommendations, especially from existing happy customers.
  7. Interests– You would be surprised what an ice breaker this could be. Things like, traveling, biking, playing tennis, etc.
  8. Cross Promote: If you have a Twitter feed, add it to your LinkedIn account. When you add status updates you can tweet at the same time.

Need help creating a profile? Click here

Step 2: Build Your Network

What does your current network look like? Are they mostly family and personal friends? If so, it’s time to invest in building out your professional network to include colleagues, customers, propsects, industry associates, etc. Connections breed connections. As you build your network your network reach (up to three degrees) will also increase, giving you a broader pool of people to reach out too.

Here are six ways  to build your network:

Tip # 1- Seize the moment!

Whenever you meet someone always follow up within 24-48 hours with a LinkedIn network request while it’s top of mind. Always include some context in your invite such as where you met them.

Tip# 2- Use Your Network to Identify and Target Prospects

Recruiters use LinkedIn to target potential recruits and get a better picture of their experience and skills. Sales people should be using LinkedIn to seek out key contacts, influencers and decision makers within organizations. LinkedIn profiles can provide a plethora of information such as office location, projects, groups followed, recommendations, etc. With a little investigation you can quickly zero in on who you should be talking to, who they’re connected to and how you’re connected to each other. Don’t forget to check out who’s viewed their profile to get some insight into who’s viewing them.

Tip #3- Use Advanced Search To Find New Prospects

sales_LI_searchLinkedIn has a fabulous, free, search component. With advanced search you can search for people by title, company, location or keyword. What’s even better is you can save your search criteria and set up a regular alert notifying you when anyone new matches your search.  For example, you could save a search for a “Benefits Manager” within 50 miles of Tampa. Then you can get an email with anyone new who matches that search and deserves a closer look.  New prospects to contact. Once you start using this you will wonder how you ever lived without it!

Tip #4- Get Introduced to Expand Your Network Connections

sales_LI_search2LinkedIn allows you to see up to three degrees of separation between your direct connections and your network. That means you can see how you are connected to people you may want to reach out to. In the example above, I can see that I am a third degree connection to Mary T. If I wanted to connect with her, the best practice would be to see who we have in common and ask that person to help make the introduction. People are much more likely to read and accept an email from someone they know then someone they don’t. If you send an empty connection request chances are your connection/email maybe ignored.

  • Click on the person you want to connect tooLI_introduction
  • Beside the “Send InMail” drop down arrow select “Get Introduced” option
  • LinkedIn will show you your common connections
  • Select the person that you would like to approach for the introduction
  • Craft your introduction message to the person making the introduction

Tip#5- Use Groups to Connect on a Large Scale

In my opinion one of the most under-utilized features of LinkedIn are groups. Think about it. A group of like-mindedLI Group Pic people, who share information, solicit advice, participate in discussions and ask for recommendations. This is where you want to be. Discussions can provide some insight as to where some companies need help or hot topics. Questions are often posted to group members asking for referrals or experts they can connect with. Group members can also see contact details of fellow members providing an opportunity to reach out. If you are not a member of at least 5 groups you are missing out on potential prospects!

Tip # 6- Follow Companies

LI CompanyAs a Salesperson, you want to be informed about what’s happening at companies you may be targeting. Are there changes in the structure? Acquisitions? New markets? This information can be powerful and present a good reason to get in touch. The “follow” company feature on LinkedIn allows you to receive updates into your news feed.  Don’t forget to follow your own company!

Step 3: Your Daily Checklist

Okay, now that you’ve updated your profile and put some key processes in place to help you build your network and identify new prospects. Don’t stop there. Each day you should spend at least 30 minutes taking a look at LinkedIn to see what’s been happening with your network and potential prospects.

  1. Review your news feed– What have your connections been up to? As your networks update their information it will show up in your news feed
  2.  Check your groups’ digests – look for new members and for opportunities to participate.  Join the conversation so people get to know you
  3. Look at who’s visited your profile and check them out to assess
  4. Calling a Client or Prospect? Take a look at their LinkedIn profile to find out if there any changes or updates? Knowing recent information helps break the ice and makes you look more informed. Pay attention to their profile changes and activity.

So, three easy steps to use social media to align with your sales plan. What other tips would you recommend?

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

The Social Networking Etiquette Guide- Part 1

Technology has enabled us to communicate and connect with each other faster than at any point in history. Mobile technology has pushed the envelope even further allowing us to connect on the go. Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut, Google+, etc. provide forums for people to connect with one another to share information, pictures, and emails, thus classifying them as social networking sites.

imagesCAGEOSCEWhile technology has made it easier to connect, there is still a social etiquette we need to follow when socially networking. For example, have you ever received a “networking” invite from someone you didn’t know? Chances are if people don’t know you, your request will be ignored, or worse deleted. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use social tools to network or meet new people, but sending a connection request to someone you don’t know is a social faux paux.

Most people think that the bigger your network is, the better it is. I would challenge that assumption. Quality is no substitute for quality. While you may think that having more people in your network means you have the potential to hear about more information, think about the purpose of your network request. If you are networking to learn more about a subject area, hear about jobs or interact, consider networking through groups.

Here are some etiquette tips to successfully socially network on LinkedIn:

  1. Start with your own profile- The first thing people do when they get your network request is look up your profile. By putting yourself out there you need to be prepared to be looked at and judged. People will be looking at you to assess whether it’s worth their while to connect. People don’t want to network with a blank profile. Take the time to enhance your profile by adding a picture, updating your summary and work experience and skills. Your profile is a reflection of you, what first impression will you make? Social etiquette tip, don’t start seeking connections until your profile is presentable.
  1. Join groups or alumni. One of the most under estimated resources available to people are LinkedIn groups. Groups are one of best ways to engage, meet new people, participate in discussions and find jobs. The best thing? You don’t have to individually connect to anyone to join. Groups allow you to take time to cultivate a relationship, and get to know people. Think of it as dating without a commitment. Social etiquette tip; once you start to build relationships take it one step further and network one on one. This builds the quality of your network.

netiquette

  1. Group interaction. If you are participating in a group, remember, everyone has an opinion. That opinion may not be the same as yours. Social etiquette tip; when commenting or sharing your opinion, don’t belittle someone else or dismiss their comments. Share your opinion and be respectful of others comments.
  1. Ask for introductions. If you want to connect with someone who is a 2nd degree connection, (connected to you through someone else), ask your direct connection to make an introduction. Social etiquette tip, be prepared to articulate why you want to connect, not simply to “network”. This will help the person making the introduction craft a better message. People are far more likely to respond and read information from someone they know.
  1. Send a Message before sending a connection invite. Most social networking sites allow you to message people you don’t know. Social etiquette tip, rather than send a connection request, send a message introducing yourself and the context of your request to connect. This gives the recipient some more information about the nature of your request. Once interaction take place it makes sending and accepting the network request more genuine and relevant.
  1. Be Relevant: When you need information, help finding resources, or are looking for new staff/jobs, reach out to your current network and groups for help. Post a status update on your profile and groups so it appears in your networks newsfeeds and groups discussion thread. Social etiquette tip, don’t bombard people with information. If you start to clutter your networks new feeds, chances are you may be moved to the “hidden” and no longer show up on newsfeeds.
  1. Networks are for sharing: Networking etiquette isn’t only about receiving, it’s also about giving. Have you received an InMail that someone in your network may benefit from? Social etiquette tip, share information that is relevant and beneficial to your network. Sharing information will build your credibility and keep your network interactive.
  1. Cultivate the relationship. Networking is ultimately about building relationships. It shouldn’t be treated in a just in time way. Meaning, don’t reach out only when you need something. Good networking takes time. Successful networking is exemplified by having regular interactions. Social etiquette tip, add a social component to networking. Reach out to your network to touch base, have a causal lunch or meet up at an event.

What tips do you have?

Ann_Nov_2012

by Ann Barrett- Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Get Your Career Plan Into Shape

It’s the new year. We’ve made our resolutions, committed to losing the “holiday weight” and thought about what we will do differently this year. For many of us this includes making a career move.

Career planning is typically treated like dieting. We only focus on it when we want to make a change. Once we achieve our goal we stop. Successful career planning shouldn’t be thought of in a just in time manner, instead it should be approached in the same way as a healthy lifestyle. We can build mental exercises  positive thinking and networking into our daily routine creating a more holistic approach to career planning. Over time this daily regiment will help us grow, develop and learn where we can shape our own career path.

Here are some quick things you can build into your everyday routine to get your career plan in shape:

Exercise Your Mind:  Getting into shape means exercising your body and mind. Your brain needs to work out to be alert and focused. The more your brain works out, the more you stimulate creativity and build memory retention. Here are two key mental exercises you can start doing today:

newspaperRead something new every day: With so many blogs, eBooks, audio books, articles and news items, there is a plethora of rich content available for consumption. Technology has made it even easier to access and read information on the go through an eReader, iPad or smart phone. Reading is an important element in development and education. It’s a way to actively listen to content being presented and form an opinion about it. Expanding the scope of what you read is also important in building your comprehension skills and getting your creative juices flowing. Keeping up to date on new developments within and outside your industry or profession will also keep you relevant and allow you to contribute new ideas and perspectives in your job.

artLearn something new: Life is busy and we often get consumed by our routine to break out and try something different. Career balance is about being well rounded in a variety of areas within and outside work. Taking on something different not only challenges us to move outside our comfort zone, but may also reveal a hidden talent! Learning something new contributes to both your personal and professional growth and may help steer you in a career path you hadn’t considered before.

Socialize: Meeting new people sharpens your interpersonal and communication skills. Socializing on a daily basis is a great way to get introduced to new ideas which can energize your creative juices. Here are two ways to stay actively social:

meetNetworking– Connecting with people within your career stream or industry on a regular basis can foster interesting discussions and ideas which you can leverage in your current or new career. Social tools such as LinkedIn make it easy to connect and participate. Why not join a group on LinkedIn and start a discussion?

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Meet people in person: Can you participate in your next meeting in person? If so, take a moment to have that meeting face to face. Meeting people in person helps build relationships and trust. It also gives you an opportunity to practice and show off your communication and presentation skills. This will come in handy in your next career move!

MC900433947Market Yourself: In the era of social media everyone can create their own personal brand. What do you want people to know about you as a professional? No one knows more about your accomplishments , projects you’ve worked on, awards, recognitions,  etc. than you. Update your LinkedIn profile with your projects and awards. Have you had positive feedback? Ask for recommendations or endorsements on LinkedIn. Your profile will help you to track all of your successes as they occur.

excerciseHave a positive outlook: Is your glass half empty or half full? Getting in shape means focusing on the larger plan, not only what happens today. Feel good about the work you produced. The way we feel about our successes affects our self-esteem, concentration, relationships and the way we approach our work. A healthy outlook focuses on the positive, our glass being half full.

Which of these will you start doing today?

Ann_Nov_2012

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategies

Why Every Manager Should Promote Thier Jobs Through Social Networking Platforms

Recruiting and sourcing has significantly changed over the last decade. With the invention and adoption of social networking tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram, Google+, (the list goes on), more and more people are choosing to participate in these forums to share ideas, network and inevitably learn about potential career opportunities. The recruiting process has also shifted from traditional recruitment of relying on job boards, resume databases and company websites to proactively using platforms such as the Internet, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to market, engage and recruit.

So, why are social platforms so powerful compared to job boards? The answer is simple: the power of reach via a network. In the old days this used to be referred to as “word of mouth”. To understand the reach social networking has in broadcasting information, consider the status (in the millions):

social media members 2008_2012

* Data courtesy of: New Media Lab (2008) and Digital Marketing Ramblings (2-12)

In just five (5) short years the social media front has expanded moving into blogs and visual social sites such as Pintrest and Instagram. It’s a clear demonstration of the changing way people are using the internet. And let’s not forget, all of these applications are available on mobile; allowing interactions to transpire on the go. Mobile has increased accessibility to the internet.  According to eBiz MBA; the top three social sites that are accessed through mobile phones are:

social Mobile

With this type of reach and visibility it’s hard to ignore the marketing aspect social networking sites play in sharing and distributing information. Managers have a key role to play in the social recruiting process. By using social media sites such as LinkedIn you can leverage your network to broadcast and share information. Think about the next role you have to fill. What’s the probability that someone in your network may know someone who may be interested in the job? Once button and it’s shared to their network. Since it’s shared by a member of the network the probability someone in your network will respond and share information is much higher than a random email from someone you don’t know.

Ann_Nov_2012

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategies

Do Employers Really Look at Social Networking Sites as Part of the Recruitment Process?

Many employers now regularly visit social networking sites to pro-actively recruit and source candidates. The older eRecruitment model of automate it and they will come, is quickly being abandoned in favour of the social recruitment philosophy of meet them where they are.  Since social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, etc. are all public forums, by default your profile, connections and information on those sites are set to “public”/”everyone”. This means if you haven’t changed your privacy settings information you post is readily available and searchable on the internet. That includes video’s, photo’s, status updates, photos you are tagged in, etc., which also appear on your network/friends wall and news feeds.

There have been a number of articles, blogs and new casts cautioning people to be careful about how they portray themselves on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. There have even been cases around the world where candidates have been passed over for jobs or employees terminated for posts they have written about their company or fellow employees on Facebook and Twitter.

With Big Brother (internet) housing all of this information how can you keep your private information secure, so it isn’t available all over the internet?

Here are few things you can do to keep information private on the internet:

1. Adjust your privacy settings on all your social networking accounts: Every social networking platform has specific privacy settings that you can adjust. Facebook for example, allows you to limit who can see your information, provide an approval process for pictures others have tagged you in, and create lists to categorize people you know.  This is just a few examples.

  • Part 1 Facebook Privacy Settings Tutorial
  • Part 2 Facebook Privacy Settings Tutorial
  • Click here for a tutorial on how to change your Twitter privacy settings.
  • Click here for a tutorial on how to change your Google+ privacy settings.

 2. Use “lists”/ “circles” to help categorize your friends, acquaintances, family, colleagues, etc.: If you want to use a single social networking platform such as Facebook or Google+ to share information with your friends, colleagues, family, etc. you should develop lists/circles to help categorize what information you want people to see. For example, if you want to post information to your non-work friends about a party you went to on the weekend, you can create a list to determine who should receive those updates. This is a quick and easy way to direct information to those you intended if for. Click here to see a tutorial on how to create friend lists in Facebook.

3. Use LinkedIn as your professional marketing tool: While sites like Facebook are looking to integrate your business and professional life into one neat little package, there still are cross overs between your personal and professional profile. For example, if you choose to use the Glassdoor or Branchout app on Facebook, your Facebook profile picture will be used. Instead, use a single platform like LinkedIn which has been globally marketed as a professional networking tool. This will allow you to focus on building your professional network and marketing yourself in a professional way. You can then adjust your privacy settings to filter out unwanted solicitations or junk. Click here to see how you can change your privacy settings on LinkedIn.

4. Routinely revisit your privacy settings: As new features get rolled out (e.g. Facebook Timeline) there may be additional privacy settings you can change to keep your information secure. It’s a good habit to check-in once a quarter to see if there are new privacy settings available to you.

5. Periodically clean up your friends: Friends come and go. It’s a good idea to periodically do a spring cleaning of your friends and friend lists. For those you only want to connect with professionally, think about having them as a LinkedIn connection rather than a personal connection.

6. Always abide by your company’s Code of Conduct: If you are posting information about your company or fellow employees you should be well versed on what is deemed suitable content to be posted.

Happy tidying up!

Written by Ann Barrett- Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy