I was recently invited onto a Crowdcast call with recruitment business owners. The objective of the call was for me to help recruiters figure out: “how do you win more business using social media?” The host, Alex Moyle, shared that he personally gets a lot of his business from social media, but could this be something that recruitment businesses could leverage more successfully?
Alex invited me onto the call because he knew we do lots of work with recruitment businesses and he knew that we haven't grown our social media agency through employing a big sales team. Rather, we’ve grown through people knowing us - finding us on social media and then engaging us after we’ve successfully initiated a conversation with them online. That’s an approach that translates directly to the recruitment sector, where business wins come from trusted relationships and where one of the biggest challenges is getting your foot in the door with a potential client when they are being hounded so incessantly by other recruitment providers.
Alex started by asking me what are the most effective business development activities that a recruiter can focus on on social media? To answer that, I brought things back to first principles when it comes to getting results from social media. If you think what the outcome is that you want from social media - whether that's to drive lots more candidates to your business or whether it's to open doors with potential new clients - fundamentally your results will come down to only two things.
To get those results you've got to have your team reach enough of the audience you want to get those results from; but you've also got to have conversion. Most recruitment businesses we talk with fall short here – they’ve put a lot of effort into social media but they can't really see tangible business results and that’s because they've got one or other (or often both) of those elements missing. So returning to the question, the most effective things to be doing on social media are i) doing the things that give you as much reach as possible to the audience that you want to ultimately do business with and ii) focusing on experimenting with ways of then converting that reach into more tangible business results.
That second point is so key because we meet lots of businesses that have massive LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook follower / fan numbers. But the end of the year comes around and they can't point to a single new client that they've picked up through all of that social media presence. These are the businesses that haven’t invested time in figuring out their conversion strategy – and are often businesses that focus on endlessly promoting themselves, rather than trying to start conversations.
This is what is so powerful about social media and the impact it can have on recruitment businesses. It should be the case that you know the next month of your calendar is booked up with potential clients who've asked for a call with you as a result of your social media interactions and strategy. So the whole activity of having to cold-call people, having to try and get through gatekeepers, well that should just evaporate with social media. Instead you create activity patterns on social media that mean you regularly have your ideal prospects asking to have a call, giving you a number to reach them on and a time they’d like you to call.
As you can imagine, that totally transforms the business development experience into one that everyone can enjoy – and ramps up the time effectiveness of your team enormously. It also makes it easier for more people to contribute to the sales efforts of the business, as you don’t have to be an awesome cold caller to start bringing in new business wins if you have warm leads coming to you each week in this way. That brings benefits to the recruitment business in so many different ways, not least of which is that it’ll ultimately make your business far more attractive to a potential acquirer.
The full recording is embedded below and I hope you’ll find is a highly worthwhile 45 minutes to invest in your firm’s business development effectiveness.
Alex’s write-up of the session highlights 9 social media tips to focus on and we expand on each of these during the call. I’ve put a quick summary of each below just to give you a flavour:
There’s an overwhelming tendency in the recruitment sector for businesses to promote and broadcast (jobs and blogs) rather than to start conversations. Conversations are where most business wins come from, so put your focus on starting conversations.
There’s a lot of emphasis put on “being visible” on social media. Whilst that’s important, a lot of the most valuable conversations happen in private. So make sure you are starting conversations with people via private messaging – and doing so consistently and at scale.
Each platform is different. You have to know how each platform’s algorithms work. What is given greatest priority in the homepage feed? What activities draw the attention of your target audience to your profile?
Allow some of your personality, weaknesses, high points and frustrations to come through. People buy from other people, so the more people feel a connection to you the closer you are to making a sale. This is true both in what you post and how you interact on LinkedIn, as well as how you come across in your LinkedIn Summary (note: click for an excellent resource from Andy Foote, who amusingly states that "Powerful, well written LinkedIn summaries are still rarer than rocking horse poop"!!)
If you want social media to become a consistent source of new business leads then you need to start doing things consistently and scientifically on social media. You should get to the point where you can say “if I do the following thing on social media ten times then that’s going to produce one meaningful conversation with a potential new client”. Thereafter your activities produce a predictable result – and justifying the time and money invested in social media becomes much easier.
When writing to someone on social media, your message should always read like you wrote it just for that one recipient. That’s what sparks engagement and conversation. By contrast, copying and pasting job descriptions or referral programmes into a message feels completely impersonal to the recipient and so is highly unlikely to produce any engagement.
Any platform that lends itself to conversation should be prioritised. Twitter is one that is often overlooked in the clamour to conquer LinkedIn. Don’t be so quick to discount the alternatives.
Social media can be a significant drain on your time. So invest in using tools that leverage your time investment and help you reach and convert more of your target audience in a shorter space of time.
Last but not least, don’t try to rush the sale. Give yourself the necessary time to build the relationship and forge some trust first. That will maximise your chances of LinkedIn – and social media more generally – becoming a lasting and significant contributor to your business development efforts.
Below please find the full recording of this session. It’s focused on giving you step-by-step ideas that you can implement in your recruitment business today. I hope you find them a great help and that the results you achieve from social media ramp up considerably after implementing them in your business.
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