Social Media

Digital Strategy Ideas for Staffing Companies

In a world where there’s an app for almost everything, it’s certainly no secret that mobile engagement with job seekers continues to rise. Last May, for example, GlassDoor released the results of its Mobile Job Search Survey, which found that “68 percent [of job seekers] use their mobile device to search for jobs once a week or more.” That number highlights the importance of including mobile access in staffing and marketing efforts.

Although Mamu Media focuses primarily on helping our clients use print publications to connect with their clients and prospects and stand out in a very crowded messaging playing field currently dominated by electronic media, we recognize that digital strategies are here to stay and fill a critical role in any comprehensive marketing effort. Therefore we encourage our clients to adopt an integrated approach that optimizes the best digital and print practices.

When it comes going digital in recruiting, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Your organization probably already employs some digital efforts, and I’m sure you’ve found that some of them work better than others. Here we’ve compiled a list of digital strategies that can be especially effective. Take a look—perhaps you’ll spot a new approach that can help your organization’s recruitment efforts!

SMS integration with your CRM. SMS (text messaging) is a great way to connect with candidates for interview reminders and job alerts. Some staffing software (such as TempWorks) even allows you to manage this type of messaging from within your CRM. Imagine being able to alert multiple candidates via SMS of job openings that fit their skill sets, or have the system text a time confirmation and directions to a candidate the day before his or her interview. This sort of arrangement benefits candidates and organizations alike: for example, when Abbott Laboratories rolled out an SMS-based reminder program, the company saw an 80% reduction in the no-show rate within three months.

Video interviewing. This technology can help your organization streamline its internal recruiting process and present candidates to your clients. Some companies (such as HireVue) allow users to record candidate interviews so the clients can play, pause, rewind, and review at their convenience. Also, using free services such as Skype and Google Hangouts lets you conduct live interviews with candidates without spending a lot of time and money on travel.

Video highlights. Video doesn’t have to be limited to interviewing, however: organizations can also use it to promote their job openings and career opportunities. For examples, take a look at this video from Capital One and this one from the Home Depot.

Mobile-optimized website. People now expect websites to be easily navigable on any platform, and company sites that aren’t optimized for viewing on mobile devices can be a big turnoff to job seekers. If your website makes users pinch and zoom to see the content, has tons of graphics or popup boxes, or requires Java or Flash plugins, for example, it may actually drive candidates away! Avoid this pitfall by making sure your site follows best practices for mobile site design.

Custom apps. Some of the more adventurous staffing companies are developing their own apps for iOS and Android devices. Most of these apps will take many of the functions available through your mobile-optimized site and wrap them into a dedicated (and branded) app.

Social media ambassador program. Nearly all staffing companies are leveraging social media in some capacity, but not all of them are maximizing its social aspects. Remember, there really isn’t anything social about simply posting jobs to your social media channels. So if you haven’t done so already, consider creating a designated role—a social media ambassador—in your company for engaging with both candidates and potential employers via social media. This role would be responsible for answering inquiries, expanding current relationships and developing new ones with clients and candidates, managing posts, sourcing content, and other tasks that build connections through social media channels.

QR codes. When photographed with a smartphone, these matrix barcodes bring the user to an a specified website. They originated in industrial fields but in recent years have seen widespread (and growing!) commercial and marketing applications. Consider placing QR codes on your business cards or printed marketing materials to drive traffic to your company’s LinkedIn profile, career website, or other online content you want to highlight.

Gamification. Through gamification, in which game mechanics are used in non-game contexts, companies are finding news ways to engage with candidates, customers, and clients alike. In a recent issue of HR Insights, for example, we published an article by a Jobcast recruiting expert that discussed examples of gamification in recruitment—some of which might work well in your own organization’s recruiting and marketing efforts.

By no means is this an exhaustive list of the many (many!) digital possibilities out there! But I hope it gives you a sense of the many options available for enhancing recruitment efforts through savvy and innovative use of digital media.

 

 

 

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What's the Business Value of a Facebook "Like"?

When I logged into Facebook this morning, Facebook suggested that I “like” Walmart and Samsung because some of my friends “like” them. This got me wondering about the business value of a Facebook “like.”

If you “like” a company’s page, its content then appears in your stream. There’s certainly some value in this arrangement for the company: they get to advertise directly to you. But what do you get out of it? Do you benefit from this arrangement?

For the most part, I’m not so sure you do. Most companies’ Facebook updates are just ads and self promotion. In other words, they’re simply electronic versions of the paper junk mail that has long plagued our mailboxes. Just as most junk mail goes straight into the recycling bin with hardly a second glance, most corporate announcements on Facebook are similarly unnoticed by their target audiences. In both cases, a company pays an intermediary (for junk mail, it’s the printer and the post office; for Facebook updates, it’s Facebook) to broadcast its message to a wide and fairly undifferentiated audience.

And in both cases, the message often misses the mark. Although Facebook is still going strong, its dominance in the field of corporate social-media messaging is fading. As more and more people become aware of—and annoyed by—the deluge of electronic corporate messaging being “pushed” to them, they increasingly become “numb” to those forms of advertising. When that happens, they “unlike” companies on Facebook or turn to totally different media outlets altogether. And then the companies whose business plans include reliance on Facebook for messaging find themselves without an audience.

When you log into your personal Facebook account, do you pay attention to the corporate self-promotion that appears in your stream? Probably not. And if you’re not noticing what other companies post, what makes you think that people will notice what your company posts?

If you want to maintain a competitive edge in your market, you need to stay on top of current advertising trends—and innovate beyond them. Take the observations you gain as a social media user yourself and apply them to your business practices. Think about the way you like to be engaged by marketers. Do you prefer suggestions based on what your “friends” “like”? Or, do you prefer suggestions based on what you’re reading or searching for?

Sure, go ahead and maintain a Facebook page for your company. But don’t invest huge amounts of money or effort into it and don’t expect it to pull in tons of new business. Instead, think of it as a means to connect a bit with people who are already interested in your product or service, and then look for other ways to build connections with people who aren’t already interested in your company—but should be. 

 

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Cut through the Noise!

When you were a child, did you ever visit the ice-cream shop and have a hard time selecting just one flavor from the many delicious options displayed in the freezer case? As an adult, you have probably experienced a similar “option paralysis” when flipping through restaurant menus the size of books. You want to order your food and enjoy your meal, but at the same time you don’t want to miss out on anything noteworthy. With so many choices, how do you decide which dish is worthy of your attention?

Today’s companies find themselves in a similar situation regarding social media. Instead of food menus, though, they’re lost in a sea of content marketing with blogs, tweets, and status updates flooding them with information.

Now that social media is a major marketing tool (with more companies coming on board each day), consider the impact its increasing popularity has on the companies you’re trying to reach.

For example, if you and your four closest competitors each tweet three times per day, post two Facebook updates daily, and write one weekly blog post, the five of you are flooding your followers with 720 unique messages each month. When you combine this with social media updates from the hundreds of other friends and companies trying to get your audience’s attention, you can quickly get a sense of the staggering amount of data directed to them each day. Eventually, those messages all start to the look the same—and your audience won’t know where to direct its attention.

Under these circumstances, how can you be confident that your messages delivered via social media actually reach their intended audience? In short, you can’t.

But what you can do is deliver your message by other means as well. Social media is an effective marketing tool, but when the messages are flying by at a mile a minute, it’s hard for them to catch someone’s eye.  One proven solution: augment your messaging toolkit with high-quality, beautifully designed, engaging print media that recipients will want to keep on their desks and share in the physical world.

Branded magazines let you conduct a highly targeted print campaign that distinguishes you from the masses that depend only on online platforms for outreach. By packaging your branding in printed form with information that’s relevant and useful to your audience, you create a messaging product with tremendous staying power—both on your clients’ minds and on their desks—that helps you stay ahead of your competition.

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An Old Friend in the New Media Marketplace

Most business owners and marketing professionals agree: content marketing is one of the keys to success in today’s economy. However, while the bulk of the world is on the digital bandwagon—producing online content that leverages pull marketing that drives online viewers to their products—there’s another way of delivering branded content that will help you stand out from the pack. 

And it’s in print. Yes, you read that right. I’m talking about “new school” content marketing delivered in a decidedly “old school” medium: printed magazines.

How do you deliver content to the audience you’re targeting? If you currently use blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, e-mail, and the like, you’re definitely on the right track. Nearly every marketing consultant on Earth will agree that if you’re not doing a combination of social media, content marketing, and SEO, your business may end up lost in the sea of competition.

What many marketing consultants forget, however, is that we live in a tactile world. Consumers subconsciously desire both visual and tactile feedback when they turn through pages and pages of content. We like to hold and manipulate things. We prefer the look and feel of printed paper to a backlit screen. That’s why the best digital providers mimic the printed page as often as possible. (Don’t believe me? Take a look at iBooks, Flipboard, and other digital content delivery apps that read and “flip” like printed material.)

All of this means that print will never die as a viable means of delivering effective content marketing.

Consider the following:

  • “Print is becoming the fresh marketing tool as we get more and more inundated with tweets, e-mails, and blogs.”1
  • “Individuals have a better ability to recall after viewing materials in print rather than on screen. Brand-name recall was substantially lower for screen respondents.”2
  • “I don’t believe print will ever go away. It is tangible, you hold it, your eyes roam around the page, you place it somewhere as a reminder and view over and over again. I find I respond to an RSVP with print more than I do online.”3
  • Consumers go online more in response to magazines than to any other medium. Direct mail, blogs, social media, Internet advertising—none of those holds a candle to magazines at effectively prompting people to do online searches.4
  • “It is special receiving a well-designed printed piece in the mail or on my desk; it cuts through the online noise like nothing else. I expect to see more of that in the future.”5
  • “Magazines and social media go hand-in-hand. Sixty-nine percent of readers have posted a magazine article on Facebook, and more than six in ten have shared magazine content while chatting with friends on Facebook.”6

In this data, I see opportunity—a chance to stand out and get noticed. Add value and show your clients that you’re committed to becoming a true partner instead of a chance connection initiated by an online pull marketing campaign. 

As I pointed out in my post on using a multifaceted marketing plan to stay top-of-mind, print media isn’t the end-all tool: it’s a differentiator. Digital marketing is alive and well and is clearly here to stay. Although there are a few dinosaurs who still aren’t on board with digital marketing, nearly everyone else is. Even if you hire the best consultants in the industry, it’s tough to create SEO-optimized content, Twitter communities, Facebook pages, and other digital content that will truly separate you from the ten other companies doing the same thing with the same value proposition right in your own backyard. So how do you stand out from the crowd?

Print is the answer. The marketing principles we currently use online can easily be incorporated into the print world. New technology allows us to leverage variable-data messaging in a printed publication such as a magazine, which enables you to grab—and maintain—the attention of your audience and build a loyal following.

Imagine having the ability to vary the messaging throughout a magazine according to your audience. You could have versions of introductory letters that target different readers, for example (after all, your clients and your prospects are audiences with different needs and interests). One issue’s cover art could vary based on the recipient’s organizational role or demographic. Or content can be tailored based on geography (clients in California might see healthcare reform updates different from those seen by clients in Massachusetts, for instance).

As you can see, the possibilities for customizing a print product are endless. Why not seize the opportunity to make your organization stand out from the crowd? Ask me how you can cast your net wider than theirs by adding branded publishing to your toolkit—and start reaping the rewards that come from taking an “old school” approach to “new school” messaging.

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1 Quoted in: Kaye, Gordon. 2012. Print Is Getting Smarter: And 11 Other Things Learned from Our Annual Survey. Graphic Design USA (June): 37–62.
2 Jones, Marily Y., Robin Pentecost, and Gabrielle Requena. 2005. Memory for advertising and information content: Comparing the printed page to the computer screen. Psychology & Marketing 22 (8): 623–648.
3 Kaye, 2012.
4 See a breakdown of the numbers here: The Association of Magazine Media. 2012. The Magazine and Media Factbook 2012/2013.
5 Kaye, 2012.
6 The Association of Magazine Media, 2012.

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Business

Using a Multifaceted Marketing Plan to Stay Top of Mind

How are you staying on the radar screen of the prospects in your market? You can physically be in only one place at a time, so I hope that you’re doing some combination of blogging, e-mail marketing, tweeting, event sponsorship, etc. Most of your competitors are doing those things—and they’re ready, willing, and waiting for any opportunity to swoop in and snag that new account.

If you are doing all of these things, great! But guess what? So is everyone else. Even your current clients are just a click or a phone call away from developing a relationship with one of your competitors.

You’ve heard the old saying “If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind.” In the current business environment, if you lack a plan that not only ties all of your efforts together but also distinguishes you from the competition, you’ll be left in the dust.

A strong brand, an experienced sales force, and operational excellence can last only so long when ten other companies are doing the same thing in your market.

So how do you stay top of mind and stand out from your competitors? The key word here is “strategy”—as in “you need to have one.” A critical aspect of any strategy is developing and cultivating an online presence:

  1. Social media: Start here. If you’re just tweeting about open jobs and posting office holiday party pictures on your Facebook page, you’re still in the social media Dark Ages. Your audience expects you to add value, and you should actively engage them across multiple platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  2. E-mail marketing: A monthly e-newsletter is a great way to stay in front of your audience. Use it to share tips, news, and relevant information. Before they decide to spend the time to read your newsletter, your audience will want to know that they’ll learn something to make their lives or jobs easier—so be sure your content is always top notch.
  3. Blogging: Many experts agree that blogging should be the core of your online strategy. Once you start producing unique, timely, and informative content, you can position yourself as a thought leader in your market.
  4. SEO optimization: Make sure your site and blog posts are all optimized to increase their visibility in search engine results.

In addition to developing an online presence, use these “offline” strategies to target—and connect with—your audience:

  1. Event Sponsorship: Most of our clients offer b2b professional services. Being a visible pillar of the community is essential to staying top of mind.
  2. Publish: Write an article for a trade publication that targets your audience. Better yet, write a regular column.
  3. Branded Publishing: Take it to the next level with branded publications, which truly distinguish you from the competition. With them, you’ll get noticed—and get results. Today’s consumers are bombarded with electronic marketing through e-mail, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, and so on. Branding publications make you stand out from the electronic fray and have your message resonate.

Following the suggestions here won’t automatically put you top of mind among your prospects. You’ll need persistence, active engagement, and thoughtful attention, too. But if you start on that path today and tread carefully, you’ll eventually find yourself a leader in your field—and at the top of your prospects’ minds.

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