This post is the next in our series of articles showing how SMEs are able to get tangible business results, in this instance from implementing the right social media strategy for recruitment agencies. Social media marketing is a particularly profitable activity in the recruitment industry because a new client win can bring many years of additional assignments to work on... whilst a stream of passive candidates coming into the business can secure placement fees that the business otherwise would have missed out on. Either way, it's not hard to see how these approaches could repay the investment many times over so it’s important to make sure the strategy is up to scratch. One incremental placement fee in the year will typically recoup the whole cost of implementing these recruitment marketing ideas, meaning it's a no-brainer for any recruitment agency that has even a modest amount of money to invest in the business.
If you've been in recruitment for any length of time, you'll probably relate to the notion that recruitment businesses are always short of something. Either they have a great pool of candidates to work with, but a shortage of client leads to fully exploit that candidate reach. Or they have more business coming in than they can handle, in part because there's a candidate shortage in their market and they simply can't present enough quality candidates to fulfil all the assignments they are winning.
Speak to a recruitment business owner and you'll invariably hear that they're battling to implement recruitment marketing ideas that can help them address one or other of these issues. It's rare to hear of a recruitment agency that has the perfect balance between client wins and candidate access - and if a business is in that situation today, chances are it will not be a few months from now!
So given the extensive work we've done with recruitment businesses across the English-speaking world, in this post we’ll be looking to share approaches that we've seen generate tremendous ROI from a modest investment in social media marketing. My hope is that by sharing these ideas with you, we can inspire you to see social media as a key component in addressing the lead generation or candidate flow issues you need to tackle in your business.
What you'll quickly notice when you talk to our team about any of our case studies is that we're always focused on impacting two key metrics to ensure we get quick and tangible results. Firstly we want to ensure that we quickly increase the reach that the recruitment business has to its target audience on social media, be that candidate focused or client focused. If your ideal candidates or clients aren't seeing your updates and engaging with your recruitment business or the individual recruiters on your team, then the chances of turning social media into a significant candidate or client lead stream are minimal.
But reach without conversion is just brand visibility and that doesn't typically pay the bills for a recruitment business, especially the small and medium sized recruitment businesses we usually work with. It's all well and good investing in brand presence if you are Michael Page, but smaller recruitment businesses usually need to be able to tie spend to actual placements or client wins. So what we want to focus on, to embed social media marketing as a key business activity for the recruitment business to invest in, is ways of turning that reach into a regular flow of new client prospects (meetings, calls, etc) or of passive candidates - both of which can then be tracked through to placements being made.
That's where conversion is key, having an end goal that you want social media to deliver for the recruitment business and then refining everything you do around ensuring that that end goal is fulfilled. What's particularly interesting in the recruitment agency sector is that many business owners will wrongly assume that social media can only be a source of candidate flow. The more senior decision makers they need to win business from they assume aren't active on social media and therefore can't be engaged that way. If you take one thing from us sharing these insights, I hope it will be that that opinion is ill-informed and is depriving your recruitment business of a significant and consistent flow of warm leads!
Our first challenge with a recruitment business is to research their particular target demographic and establish what kind of content, video interviews, reports and data have been generating the most interest on social media. In order to quickly build a niche audience for a recruitment business, you have to turn their social media profiles into magnets for the intended audience. Recruitment businesses often fall into the trap of making their social media presence be predominantly about sharing their latest vacancies. But for all but the most desperate of jobseekers, having a constant stream of jobs in their social media feed isn't what most people would be inclined to sign up to receive. Instead, think about one of your ideal prospects landing on one of your social media profiles - your challenge is to make eg. those senior executives feel like it's a valuable resource - and one that they would want to connect to or follow.
There's a far more detailed explanation of this and how we would do this in our regular webinar sessions. Details of the next sessions you'll find at the bottom of this post. But for the purposes of this article, suffice it to say that for each recruitment business we work with we would typically research what type of content was generating the most interest in their niche - as well as who the influencers were in that space and what kind of updates they were sharing. This would give us a good basis for building profiles that the data showed were likely to work in each niche sector. If you're looking for somewhere to start with this, set yourself aside a morning and have a play around with a tool like BuzzSumo.
If I think about working with a specific recruitment agency, then having done this we then created and refined a series of consistent company profiles across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. We also worked on the individual profiles of several key members of the team. We then set about running and growing the audience of ideal prospects that we enticed to follow or connect to these accounts, both corporate and individual accounts. In the example I'm thinking of, we were working with a recruitment agency that wanted to break into a new market. So we had to simultaneously help them start conversations with potential clients in that market, as well as engage passive candidates that clients wouldn't already have been presented so that placements could quickly be made. Both are achievable within a matter of months if the right approaches are being pursued.
As is typical in the recruitment industry, we were able to consistently add several hundred new targeted prospects to that client's accounts month-by-month, meaning we were hitting our goal in terms of increasing the recruitment firm’s reach in their target market. But with additional reach being achieved, what about conversion?
Much of the recruitment industry is focused on promoting and advertising to generate results. Whereas we've found it to be something totally different that produces the best results. Engagement and conversation are key. What we have found works best in the recruitment industry is to set about gradually interacting with your new network of client or candidate connections and getting conversations started with them. On the client side, this is aimed at getting them onto a call with you or attending a networking event or industry briefing you're running or attending. By experimenting with conversion approaches and finding one that works for your business (be that candidate or client facing), the aim is to get to a point where you are consistently able to convert a portion of your new social media audience into people who have taken an action that means an additional placement is much more likely to be made.
A potential client who follows you on Twitter has a low probability of becoming a new client, no matter how many times you get them to visit your website. Whereas if you get that same person to request a call with you via interactions on social media, the odds of winning new business rocket. Now repeat that many times over and you see how social media can be turned into a numbers game. It's only a matter of time until one of the calls with a potential client turns into new business - all of which has been driven via social media.
What I hope you will take away from us sharing this approach is firstly that the results enjoyed by recruitment businesses pursuing these types of strategies could never have been achieved without them having a systematic approach to researching and attracting ideal prospects to engage with the agency on social media in the first place. Furthermore, that alone wouldn't have produced results: you also have to have a conversion mechanism in place that allows you to take people you're now connected with and convert them into people who are now further progressed in your sales funnel or hiring funnel.
I hope this has been helpful and if you would like to gain a deeper understanding of how you can generate candidate or client leads in this way, you're very welcome to join our free webinars on this topic. Check either our lead generation for SMEs webinar or our social media for recruiters webinar for timings and registration.
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