Social Networking - The One Rule You Must Never Forget

By Tony Restell

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Tony Restell - Social Media Insights


I’m writing these social networking tips having been stung into action by the unbelievable demands of a so-called “social media guru” this last week. More on this in a moment, but before reading any further please pause and ask yourself:


  • Why do your social networking followers continue to follow you?
  • What is it you provide to them that they value, find informative, believe will further their career, are entertained by?...

Now please make a note of your answers before continuing any further...

I put it to you that in a world where our lives are increasingly crammed with information, updates, connections and distractions, you need to be highly tuned to why your social networking connections continue to give you a sliver of time from their daily lives. Understanding this – and building everything you do on social networking around this – I believe is the key to building an engaged and loyal following. Let’s not forget that you’re only a bad update away from having followers desert you; one promotional tweet too many and your social influence could crumble.

Recruiters: Focus On Being Valuable Rather Than Promoting Your Openings

For the recruiters reading this post, your reasons for investing in social networking may well be that you want to attract talent and make hires. But very few of the quality candidates you want to engage with woke up this morning thinking “what I really need in my life is a load more untargeted job alerts!”. What they are much more likely to be thinking is:

  • I need to stay on top of developments in our industry so I appear knowledgeable in job interviews
  • I’d love to get some insider insights on what it’s like to work in my target companies
  • It’d be a massive help to me if someone could share the most important business updates about this company
  • If I could connect on social media with some more people from the organisation I’d be better placed to research them and make the right career decision
  • I wonder if I could spark a conversation with one of the hiring managers or executives from the company?
  • ….

The list could go on and on. But in essence, if you want to be someone who your followers really pay attention to – and whose every update they look out for – then you need to be someone who feeds their hunger for information and insights, not someone who is filling their timelines with poorly targeted updates and a stream of promotional messages. Try sharing links to your company’s stock market updates; to interviews with key figures from the business; to industry publications that would be of value to your target candidate audience; to the profiles of decision makers and recruiting team members within the business. Help candidates to be more informed – and to accelerate their networking efforts – and you will set yourself apart as a recruiter who really has candidates’ interests at heart. When it’s time to share the occasional job announcement via social media, try to do it in a way that’s engaging, funny or insightful rather than purely pumping out a job listing:

  • “This one’s for anyone out there who has a blend of marketing and direct sales experience…” is far more conversational than “Wanted: Marketing Executive with Direct Sales experience”
  • “So here’s a role that’s not for anyone shy about picking up the phone! Telesales Executive in Atlanta…”
  • “Wondered if anyone can recommend a great salesperson in the Atlanta area for this role… Any questions let me know!”
  • “Just to give you a little more insight into this latest role – ….. – what we are looking for more than anything else is someone who can…”

This is worlds apart from the recruiters who are simply pushing out job listings with little effort at engagement. You’ve made yourself available to answer questions, you’ve provided extra insights into the role so candidates can determine if this is worth them investigating further, in short you’ve got involved in helping candidates in their job search. Be seen as someone who is personable, truthful, approachable and helpful and I have no doubt you will go a long way in achieving your social recruiting goals.

Social Media Guru? You Decide...

To wrap things up – and to solidify the difference between good and bad here – I’ll just recount what it was that angered me sufficiently last week that I felt the overwhelming need to write this post. So I’m someone who is followed either by candidates looking for job search advice, or by recruiters looking for recruiting insights. I share a lot of updates about how social media can be used by job-seekers and recruiters too. But in essence, if you’re not a job-seeker or a recruiter you’re unlikely to be following me. It goes without saying therefore that I try to always share updates that will be highly relevant and valuable to those in job-seeking or recruiting mode.

Well last week I had the galling experience of being berated by a “social media guru” for not having shared their updates. They’d shared some of mine – and I’d not reciprocated! Well those of you who know me know I’m a great believer in paying it forward and expecting nothing in return. If you help enough people out there then good things will happen to you in turn. But this particular person’s updates and blogs – whilst professional – would have been of absolutely no interest to either job-seekers or recruiters. None of you would have thanked me for sharing the content, as it’s not the sort of content that caused you to choose to follow me in the first place!!

I paraphrase, but “shame on you for putting the needs of your followers ahead of helping those who’ve promoted your posts”  was the gist of the abuse I then received. Would you have thanked me for sharing irrelevant content with you, for filling your timeline with updates that wouldn't help you? I thought not!... and in which case, make a conscious effort to check that you in turn are not doing that to your candidate followers. Then think this again each time you post to your networks - how is this adding value to my followers, am I making them warm to me or alienating them? This is the fine line between social networking success and failure.

If the above resonates with you, feel free to follow me: @tonyrestell



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