Recruiters: Here Are Five Reasons You’re Failing on Social Media

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You’re probably wondering what kind of results other recruitment businesses and teams are getting on social media. You’re wondering whether your business is missing out—and whether that should be a cause for concern or not. I’d like to lift the lid on this subject and share with you the kinds of results you can expect. Plus, I’ll help you to figure out how you can improve the results you’re getting—because you’re going to want to, once you realize what’s at stake.

The Size of the Prize

We have numerous clients across the world and their goals for being on social media vary enormously. But let’s try to put a marker down, so you can assess the types of results you might see in your business.

A recruiting team that has made driving candidate traffic to their website their absolute priority can expect to attract 1,000 to 2,500 candidates each month with only a modest budget (and for most small recruiting businesses and teams that’s likely to be a massive number of visitors relative to what they already attract). If you’re in a big business and have a bigger budget, the candidate flow can be many times this—and could even become the single biggest source of new candidate traffic to your careers pages.

For those who’ve prioritized getting recruitment client leads into their business, a dozen or more leads a month is perfectly attainable. While those who want to produce authoritative content for their market can expect to see their posts shared several hundred times each month (with some months breaking the 1,000-shares mark).

If any of these results sound like they would move the needle in your business, then perhaps it’s time to start prioritizing getting a handle on the right social media strategy for your business? To put things in context, you’re looking at investing a budget of about $1500 a month to start having a significant impact, i.e. far less than the cost of a new employee. Results don’t happen overnight, but striving for these outcomes within three to six months of starting is certainly realistic.

The good news is that as of today, the majority of all recruiting businesses and teams have yet to really crack their social media strategy. But with more and more figuring out how to get ROI from social media, it’s not going to be much longer until your business is falling behind in a way that’s costing you tangible dollars each and every month.

So if your team has not been getting the results you’d like from social media, here are five reasons to explore that could explain where you’re going wrong.

Reason One: No Personality

The best salespeople are those who naturally make others warm up to them, who can build rapport and who easily prompt their prospects to open up to them. They instinctively know that the harder you try to sell, the less you end up selling. Social media is no different.

Think of a recruiter or a recruitment brand on social media and the odds are you can picture them sharing an endless series of job adverts. They use it as a broadcast channel rather than as an engagement channel.

Let me ask you this: If your company were going to exhibit at a careers fair, which do you think would be more beneficial for your company? One: Handing out 500 flyers to candidates at the event or … Two: Speaking in person to 500 candidates at the event. The second option would win hands down, wouldn’t it?! Well, the same is true on social media. The strongest results are achieved by those recruitment teams that focus on being valuable, helpful, and interacting with people in their market.

(I could easily blame the various job posting software tools out there that encourage you to automatically post your jobs on social media, without question, one of the most misinformed social media tactics a recruitment business can deploy. Maybe a theme for a future blog!)

Reason Two: Poor Targeting and Unclear Objectives

To really get positive business results, you need to be thinking of your social media presence like a sales funnel. What is the end goal of your sales funnel—and to achieve that goal, what audience do you need to be reaching on social media?

An established market leader might choose to use social media to stay front of mind with its existing client and candidate base. Conversely, a newer business might be entirely focused on reaching new clients and candidates. Depending on the nature of your business, you might be looking to reach candidates who can start in a new job next week; or you may be building up relationships for the future. So as a first action point, be sure to define your target audience really clearly and communicate this to your whole team.

Your goal for being on social media also needs to be clear. What action do you want to drive?

  • Potential new clients requesting your latest market report or signing up to a webinar?
  • Past clients or existing clients setting up a time to have a call with you about their hiring needs?
  • Invitations being sparked for you to speak at key industry events and be published in specialist publications?
  • Candidates being encourage to register their resumes with you or being enticed to a Web page where they can view your open vacancies?

To be clear, everyone in your business needs to know the audience you are striving to reach and the end outcome that you want social media to produce. That way, everyone’s efforts are pulling in the same direction and the results of your social media efforts can be clearly monitored.

Reason Three: No Focus on Your Conversion Rates

Try to think of your social media profiles as if they were landing pages on a website. How effectively do they convert initial candidate/client interest and how effectively do they then drive candidates/clients to take the desired course of action? These numbers need to be monitored and then you need to tweak and refine your messaging accordingly until social media has become a lead machine for your recruiting business.

Let’s take a couple of examples. If we can get 100 candidates from your industry to look at one of your social media profiles, what percentage of them will feel compelled to follow you (effectively signing up to receive your company’s updates on an ongoing basis)? If your bio is all about your company (rather than why candidates should follow you) and your updates are mostly job adverts rather than content that candidates will find informative, your conversion rate is going to be atrocious. The difference between doing this well or doing it poorly is a 45-fold difference in candidate sign-ups. Poor performers will get a less than1 percent conversion rate of candidates choosing to follow them, while high performers could hit a 40 percent conversion rate or more.

Optimizing your conversions doesn’t stop there, though. As a recruiting team there are a variety of messages and options you could put to candidates (or clients) to try to convert them from followers into actual candidates or clients for the business. Those options—and the messaging to convey them—need to be A/B tested to drive up your results. A recruitment business might be surprised to find that e.g., in their industry, candidates are much more receptive to scheduling an evening call than to sending their resume. By continuing to suggest that candidates send a resume, the business only generates a fraction of the candidates that could be generated if all messaging were switched to proposing an evening call. Always be optimizing your conversions and learning from the data what options and messaging really work in your particular niche and location.

Reason Four: An “If We Build It They’ll Come!” Mentality

You can have the very best social media profiles for candidates or clients in your sector. You could have an industry-beating, pulverizing all-comers conversion rate of 50 percent on your social profiles. But 50 percent of nothing is still nothing!

On each social site you have to actively take steps to ensure that more and more of your target audience is drawn to having a look at your profiles. What’s more, you have to make these activities part of your routine—so that each and every week you are producing a flow of new leads to your profiles.

You have to understand each of the social platforms where you have built a presence and figure out the steps that are needed to get your profiles seen on those sites. This requires consistent and informed activity across your social networks. If you aren’t doing this, your audience and your network will simply never grow at the rates needed to become the dominant recruiting brand in your niche.

Reason Five: Forgetting That You’re on Social Media to Spark Conversations

Engaging on social media is absolutely critical. You can build up a huge audience on social media. You can cultivate legions of fans who regularly re-share your updates and help you reach an ever larger share of your total target market. But even then, you’ve yet to extract real business value from social media. You have an asset, but you aren’t using it to its full potential.

If you think back to the beginning of this article, we talked about turning your social media presence into a sales funnel—with a defined outcome that you want that sales funnel to produce. With a large audience you could start to share promotional messages—and some of your audience would act on those promotions. But far more potent is the tactic of engaging with your prospects and only then encouraging them to take the step you want them to take once you’re actually in conversation.

Compare and contrast:

  • A recruitment team who share posts encouraging all their followers to book a call if they’re interested in discussing their career options.
  • A recruitment team who looks at everyone interacting with their posts, assessing who looks like a promising lead for the business and then engaging with those people one on one. Only then, asking each person individually if they’d appreciate the chance to book a call to discuss their career options.

That second approach—being personable and engaging—outperforms the first approach by twice as much. Which is yet another reason that so many recruitment businesses and teams aren’t getting proper results from social media, the temptation to send promotional messages rather than put in the hard graft required for one-on-one interactions is often too great. But if you’re tracking results and experimenting, of course you’ll discover this for yourself and change your tactics accordingly.

Final Observations

These insights I’ve derived from our experiences of working on hundreds of social media accounts for recruiting businesses and teams around the world. If you have been investing in your presence and have been disappointed with the outcome to date, I can guarantee that one of the above is a major contributor to your poor results. You’ll need resources to address these shortcomings, but start to get the results that are possible from social media and it’ll be easy to justify the ongoing investment—of either your time or of some outside help.

Good luck—and if you’ve any experiences of your own that you’d like to share—or would like me to comment on—please feel free to get in touch.

photo credit: The Art of Social Media via photopin (license)

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Tony Restell

Tony Restell

Tony Restell (@tonyrestell) is the Founder of Social-Hire.com and works with recruiters and recruitment businesses needing outside help in growing their social media presence. He’s a published author and a Cambridge graduate.