So You’re a Social Media Expert? – How do I know??

The way we work in recruitment is allegedly changing. I’m not so sure it’s changing as much as people claim (or perhaps I’m not changing as much as other people are?). Recruitment is still about relationships and engagement with an audience. The audience may be made up of one person or it could be the mob, a mass of individuals “out  there” whose attention we are trying to capture. How we do that has changed I admit that. Social Media is one of those areas that has, according to some, revolutionised the way we (should) work.

Before I go any further I want to make one thing clear. I do not consider myself to be an expert in social media – at all. I would also not expect any of you to accuse me of being one either. I am a fledgling on the end of a branch flapping my wings with a vision of being able to fly. I am not there so I will continue to practice. There are others out there who are experts. There are those out there, like Mashable, who soar like eagles. There must also be a number of individuals out there who think that they are experts, though surely can’t be. (Shhh here’s a secret: there’s also those who know they are not who pretend long enough that they are, that even they start to believe it.) Why? Because there seems to be so many of them!! Go to tweepsearch and search for “social media experts” There’s literally thousands of them! In my network on Linkedin 17,088! Wow! A couple of them can’t be, can they? What makes someone qualify from being a “know-it-all” to “quite good” to expert? Is being better at social media than you mother enough?? Don’t get me wrong – I think that there are definitely experts out there and they are much needed by many a business (including mine!).

Many recruiters ask me about social media and I am happy to share what I know but I don’t think that would make me a guru. So what should recruiters be doing with this stuff? Where should they be as a minimum? There’s enough social media platforms out there that it has become a minefield! So where should you be socialising? (right term?)

Think about where your audience is and that is where you should be. For one person’s ideal place is another failure for someone else. I also think a lot of it has to go back to my original point. My personal opinion (not expert OK?) is that it depends what you want to achieve as to which media is right for you. Recruiting social workers? Linkedin probably ain’t a hive of clients and candidates. Recruiting IT professionals? What are you doing!! Get on Twitter, Linkedin, Digg and ecademy (good for contractor recruiters particularly web development) and engage with people (yes, yes experts will rally to point out all the places I have missed out). Work in Rec to Rec? Stop using Social Media now (I really want to put the full stop here but that would be mean) if all you are going to do is post jobs and expect people to apply. Twitter is awash with recruiters who simply tweet their current jobs and seem to expect results. Get a following and engage and be interesting.

This is musing and idle thoughts as much as any type of advice. As I type, it has struck me now as to what the issue with the UK recruitment market and social media is. They want quick results. Consultant joins Twitter, sends Tweet (to a couple of auto-followers selling wigs or viagra or social media expertise webinars), expects response, gets none and adds Tweeting to the list of “pointless” activities to do as when remembered. Will make sure that tells everyone they are web 2.0 savvy and a bit of a social media expert….It takes time to build an audience that is worth having. Auto following 20,000 on Twitter or blasting out 2000 invites on Linkedin to Toplinked and LIONs and all the other Uber networkers does not create an engaged audience. It just creates numbers. Numbers are good though not what I see as the purpose of Social Media. For some mass marketing types I suppose that’s OK but we are recruitment professionals looking to create relationships that are ideally destined to be long term, aren’t we? Yet so many want instant and consistent gratification which is why there are businesses that sell “instant results through twitter” packages – I watched a shyster video today claiming:

“This package is worth $1997 though order it today it is $47!!”

It guarantees to create thousands of click backs to your product through Twitter blah blah blah. No way on earth was it EVER worth $1997 otherwise you would be selling it for around $1997. Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay.

So; I really want to get a better handle on Social Media. With no intention of becoming an expert. I want to understand so I can utilise it better. I have a reasonable profile on Linkedin (or at least the Peter Parker behind Recruitment Dad has) and am trying to find the time resource for Twitter. Clearly I am also blogging now (which is so much fun and so time consuming!) so I think my fledgling status in Social Media is fair.  Experts out there – feel free to give me some advice and I am interested to know what qualifies the badge “expert” as there are a lot being flashed around out there! I have to say that unlike going into a strange pub (ie one you have never been in, not out and out strange) where you can have the tumbleweed moment – wherever I have socialised I have been met with nothing but warmth and helpful advice. I would also say I have gone there with open hands and no agenda to pile in and sell something either. IF you’re not embracing it and are denying it’s existence, it could prove to be your undoing. Only time will tell.

Write a Comment

Commenter Gravatar