The #1 Overlooked Social Media Opportunity for B2B Growth

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I’ve written a lot about the impact of social media.

Specifically, I’ve talked about how it can:

  • Enhance your corporate brand
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Present networking opportunities
  • Position you as a thought leader in your industry

But social media can serve another, incredibly powerful purpose.

Social media can help companies to attract, retain and manage top talent.  And this is a particularly important consideration for fast scaling B2B enterprise.

Now, recruitment is generally an HR responsibility, and you’re probably wondering what it has to do with content marketing. But from my point of view, HR and marketing are inextricably linked. Think about it:

  • Your reputation and brand help to determine the type of talent that you attract and retain
  • The quality of your team absolutely impacts your reputation and brand
And now that social media has become such a fundamental piece of any online marketing initiative, B2B companies need examine how it can help with their recruiting efforts.

The Recruiting Impact of Social Media

Social media is all about building your network – casting that net much more broadly than you could otherwise (f you do it right).

And the broader your network, the more likely that you are going to have access to the best candidates for your team.

It’s one thing to post an ad on a job board or a website – even if it’s targeted.

But the best applicants come via referral; they have already been encouraged to apply; they are familiar with your company – and vice versa.

Even if your immediate connections are not potential hires, through your network, you can access candidates that have been endorsed by people you know.

Social media can sometimes even eliminate the cost of expensive placement firms by providing increased access, more targeted messaging opportunity and better positioning for your company.

What can you do on social media?

LinkedIn is arguably the most robust platform for networking.  You can use Advanced Search features to identify candidates with the specific skills and interests that you require.  You can also post job openings on LinkedIn and share those opportunities on select groups where qualified candidates might be members.

All of the social media platforms – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+…even Pinterest – can be used to research a candidate’s qualifications. And much like a cover letter can dig beyond the information provided by a resume, by surveying an individual’s activity on those platforms, you can get a sense of their personality and interests.

However, you do want to be careful – especially on Facebook. Checking professional profiles on LinkedIn is appropriate and safe, but sometimes Facebook information like religion or sexual orientation can obscure the line between screening and discrimination. You don’t want to make your company vulnerable to future lawsuits.

Social Media recruiting best practices

Build authentic relationships

Your recruiting success is only as good as the authenticity of your social media relationships.  5000 Twitter followers that are essentially robots and automated accounts are not going to help you find skilled and experienced employee candidates.

Be patient

It takes time to build meaningful traction on all of the social media platforms. Simply posting your job opening on LinkedIn won’t necessarily result in a watershed of applications.

Leverage your connections; share meaningful information; reach out to other thought leaders in your industry and your efforts will have much more impact.

Diversify your efforts

B2B companies tend to linger on LinkedIn, but using all of the social media platforms may give you better access. Share different messages on different groups and target your prospects creatively.

For instance, you can share a very casual and genuine message with your close and personal connections on Facebook, asking if they know of any suitable candidates for the job opening.  You might want to share a more formal posting on a LinkedIn group, and on Twitter, you might consider hashtagging certain industry terms that could pique a prospective candidate’s interest.

Your Turn

Have you ever considered using social media to ramp up your recruiting efforts? Have you ever found a job on social media? Share your experiences and reactions in the comments section below, and as always, feel free to share the post if you found it useful!

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15 Comments

  •    Reply

    As social media continues to be part of the mix, there are more and more things you can do. We are probably ahead of many with our social efforts at Lanier, but knowing social like I do, we still have so much more we can do.

    We do want to be the best of the best and people seek us out to work here; one of the ways you can enhance that is with the proper social media presence and efforts.

    We are working on it…..kind of…….at least we have something launched, huh?

    My son will start working with us tomorrow; maybe he will be ‘that guy.’ He does have a minor in Journalism.

    •    Reply

      I bet your son is the perfect ‘guy’! Is he on social, Bill? The next generation of up ‘n comers is much more savvy and comfortable on all of these new platforms, and in that sense, better positioned to take companies into the next generation of marketing.

      Thanks for stopping by Bill!

  •    Reply

    I routinely find clients through social media – especially Twitter or rather they find me. I was also recruited as a full time Community Manager for a startup through Twitter too. That was certainly a unique experience!

    One thing I’ve noticed is that clients and employers who recruit through social media tend to be more flexible and easy to work with.

    •    Reply

      Hi Samar – thanks for stopping by. That’s an interesting suggestion – that employers who recruit through social media are more flexible and easy to work with. I’d suggest that it’s because they are already thinking outside of the box, and are interested in new perspective. It takes a fairly open mind to engage meaningfully on social media platforms, so I believe there is truth to your statement.

  •    Reply

    I know that a lot of people have had issues with companies checking out their social media profiles before considering hiring them Ruth. In a way I can see why that would be important because what you share online is going to tell us what kind of person you are and let’s face it, that’s going to come over in the work place too.

    I’m glad I don’t really have to worry about this area any longer not being in the corporate world. If I was though, I would be very proud to show off my profiles. They’d be lining up to hire me! ;-)

    Thanks Ruth for this fabulous advice about social. As always, spot on.

    ~Adrienne

    •    Reply

      I have no doubt that they would be lining up to hire you Adrienne! You can be proud of your profiles, indeed!

      I suppose that the transparency provided by social media is a bit of a double-edged sword. It definitely creates more access to information, which is good on the one hand, bad on the other.

      I always tell my kids to be careful of what they actually post on Facebook, because you never know how it can come back to haunt you!

      Aside from stalking prospective employees’ profiles though, there are many other ways to leverage the recruiting impact of social media. LinkedIn, in particular, is a fabulous resource!

      Thanks for stopping by Adrienne – loved your post today. And I think that our friend Dan owes us a mastermind reunion, don’t you think?

  •    Reply

    Social media has been good to me. I have found multiple clients and business opportunities because of it. A big part of it comes from being willing to engage and sustain our effort.

    It really has been a wonderful addition to my life on both personal and professional levels. The community and resources you find out here are outstanding.

    •    Reply

      Hi Josh. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that social media is going to transform the way that people communicate, in all aspects of their life. It already has – it’s just not mainstream. But just as the Internet was viewed as a passing fancy and has now become a business imperative, so too will social media soon be a standard. And recruiting is just one way that businesses can really leverage its impact.

      Thanks for stopping by Josh!

  •    Reply

    I imagine there are thousands of people who will make use of that. Now I may well try that myself for Business Success! Thanks for sharing. Its very useful info.

  •    Reply

    Social media can give good result if properly used but as you sad be patient is the important key to get success in social media.
    Yes for sure Social media takes lot of time to get some result but continues efforts can lead to success.

  • Jeevan Jacob John October 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm
       Reply

    Another use for SM!

    Great :) I have seen this in action (for many Blogging related resources in which people team up with others, whom they found online – through SM etc :D).

    I can only imagine how powerful it can be (and of course, how dangerous. We have to be careful when working with SM sites such as Facebook where many people reveal their personal preferences; It’s easy to get a law suite these days! Many people are actually looking for reasons to sue their company because often times, these cases result in the company paying the prosecutor a large amount to settle the matter).

    I guess I could use SM when I build my own offline business :) Thank you for the tip, Ruth!

    •    Reply

      I agree Jeevan that the lines can become a little blurred between personal and professional. But from the company’s point of view, if leveraged properly, social media does present a very engaging opportunity to find qualified candidates. It will be interesting to see if there is regulation and legislation along these lines going forward.

      Thanks for your comment!

  •    Reply

    I totally agree, social media can help you to reach your goals and being successful in your profession! LinkedIn is the best platform for professional connections, I’ve already made a couple of nice and helpful friendships with the help of the site.

  •    Reply

    Nice article!

    LinkedIn Groups is good for identifying people who have an authority in an particular area. We find this helps!

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