Social Media 4 Recruitment

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5 tips for increased employee amplification

In theory, getting your employees to share your content should be one of the quickest and easiest ways to get more people seeing your message. It should also be one of the best ways to get the right people to see your message – your employees are likely to know other people who would make good potential employees. This is why employee referrals can be one of the most effective ways to recruit (there are hundreds of articles about this, one of my favourites can be found here).

In practice, actually getting your employees to do this can be tricky. Below are some thoughts on how we could improve this, both for our own marketing and for our clients. Many of these were taken from a talk I attended at LinkedIn Talent Connect: Promote & Engage: Ways To Amplify Your Talent Brand, a really interesting talk by Sarah Penrose, Global Talent Acquisition Marketing Manager at British American Tobacco. (Incidentally, I have taken a look at their channels, and they clearly do practice what they preach!)

1. Make sure your employees really agree with the message you are trying to portray. Consult them during development of the employer brand message. Employees are not going to be happy endorsing a message on their personal channels if they don’t really believe in it.

2. Communicate what you want employees to do as clearly and simply as possible. Many people might not be sure how to do something. Make sure they don’t have any excuses not to by giving them really good instructions. Also make it clear that this isn’t a scary or time-consuming thing.

3. Encourage an open ‘share and tell’ atmosphere. A lot of people still aren’t sure what is and isn’t OK on social media channels, particularly as some employers have historically been very strict on this. Eliza’s email the other day was a really nice example of someone who clearly liked his employer and was happy and confident to share this with others. It might be worth revisiting your internal social media policies to reframe them in a more positive light.


4. Focus on your most socially savvy employees first and encourage them to lead by example. These are probably likely to be quicker wins because these people will already understand the channels and how to promote their employers on them. In large companies, these people can also be really effective social media champions, helping to encourage others, drive change in the business and troubleshoot as required. These people should be easy enough to find, because they’re probably already all over the various social media channels.

5. Make it a competition. As Susie’s last blog post showed, gamification is a  great way to make people do things. And it’s what made me want to write this post!


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Achievement Unlocked: Gamification

I have a pretty short commute to work in the mornings, about 10 minutes on the train, which gives me plenty of time to scan The Metro on my way in. This morning, I came across an interesting article on Gamification, which is an ever-increasing aspect of social media.

A lot of people grew up with games, and with the growth of personal technology, the possibilities are becoming more interesting. Our lives are already full of rules, strategies and ‘keeping score’. Now employers are using league tables, reward systems and achievement milestones to engage with customers and staff and to encourage a little more friendly competition. Gamification makes every day tasks more fun and keeps people motivated.

The opportunity for recruitment is exciting, giving candidates the chance to compete, achieve and express themselves and giving hiring managers a bit more information about the candidates who take part.

Marriott Hotels have launched a mobile app that makes candidates virtually perform hotel service industry tasks, providing insight into how candidates would approach real work. This also helps to eliminate applicants lacking the patience or aptitude for the job.

KPMG’s ‘Race the World in 80 Days’ game asks candidates to fly a balloon around the world in the quickest time, having completed 10 challenges along the way. Of the 4,548 games played, 110 were completed and 136 graduate applications were made.

Did you know?

The term gamification, which is basically the introduction of game-like processes to everyday situations, was coined in 2002 by British programmer Nick Pelling.

79% of workers say they want their employer to try out new approaches.

More than 70% of the world’s largest 2,000 companies are expected to have used gamification by the end of this year.

The gamification market is expected to be worth £3.3 billion by 2018.

Here’s a link to the online article which has a nice little infographic full of stats from IBM.

Another really interesting article on the subject is Life is a game. This is your strategy guide.

So how can we use gamification more?

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My new favourite Twitter tool

Yes, I love Twitter. And I write about Twitter tools a lot. But that’s only because there are so many awesome and clever things out there. And RiteTag is my new favourite (sorry Buffer, I still love you too…)

RiteTag is a seriously clever tool for figuring out which hashtags to use. I have tried hundreds of hashtag tools, and generally been unimpressed. This one is much sleeker and much more impressive.

So when you log in, the first thing it will do is analyse your own Twitter feed. You can run 10 of these audits a month for free or go pro to get more. Here is a sample from my own personal feed (note most of these aren’t very good because I’m often quite lazy with hashtags on my personal account…)


You can look through all the recent hashtags you have used and see what similar tags you could have used. For example, #NowPlaying is ridiculously overused (not a surprise, as Spotify adds it automatically when you share a playlist). If I actually wanted people to see the tweet, the drop down box informs me that #Spotify would have been a better choice. It’s not perfect, because it also suggests #ValentinesDay as a suitable alternative, but this can easily be resolved with a little common sense.

As well as reviewing this for my own posts, I can also run searches from any Twitter users, from tweets I have favourited and by uploading planned tweets in bulk (up to 100). Again, you get a certain amount for free each month and can then go pro to get more.

Finally, you can create and schedule tweets within the tool. Obviously there are several other tools that do this very well, and this may not be the best option for our clients. However, if you have a chance, I would recommend having a play with it – it is extremely well set-up for split testing and might be a good option for, say, outreach campaigns where we are posting a lot of very similar tweets. If you do create and schedule through RiteTag, you can also build up an idea of what hashtags perform well, which could be really useful on an ongoing basis. Obviously I’ve only just started playing, but you can see below what analytics I currently have available:


I know there are a billion Twitter tools out there, but I really, really recommend you give this one at least a cursory glance. Even if you only log in once a month to see what hashtags are worth using for each of your clients. It could be a great way to build up a bank of effective hashtags.

Just remember, it is still in beta, so things are likely to change a bit and it is a bit slow sometimes… But it really is worth persevering with!

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The Holy Trinity of Content Sharing: Feedly, Buffer and Followerwonk

I love Twitter. Lots. I love reading it and I love finding interesting articles to share with my followers. But it can be really hard to find the time to manage this sensibly. It can be really tempting to blast out 6 tweets in a row when you have a spare 10 minutes, but this is likely to just annoy your followers.

Luckily, there are a wide range of free Twitter tools entirely devoted to making this easier. My favourites are Feedly, Buffer and Followerwonk. Individually, they’re useful. Together, they’re amazing.

Find great content with Feedly

Feedly is a content aggregator (or RSS news reader) – one of the many that sprung up after the death of Google Reader, but this one is particularly nicely designed. It’s really easy to find interesting content and set up lists to categorise this content. When you log in (which can easily done through a Gmail account), all the recent news stories for feeds you are following will be shown to you. To start getting content in your feed, click the ‘Add content’ button on the left and type in a keyword. If you find a feed you like the sound of, click the plus button next to it. You can add it to an existing list or create a new list. There are lots of social sharing buttons along the top to allow you to share to your social network(s) of choice.


My personal Feedly. My two great loves are social media and gaming…+

Space out your content with Buffer

Now you’re finding all this great content from Feedly, you’re going to want to share it. But your followers probably aren’t going to appreciate 6 tweets in a row. This is where Buffer can be brilliant. You can sign in with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The first time you sign in, you are going to be greeted with a blank screen. This is where all your scheduled content is going to go. Buffer will show you what is going out and when, and also let you edit and change this from this screen:


For illustrative purposes only – I haven’t been sharing enough recently…

In reality, while you can share messages straight from the web app, this is unlikely to be the main place you share from. The best thing about Buffer is that it is integrated into all sorts of other apps. Including Feedly. So when you find all this great content, you can share it all at once using the Buffer share button at the top of the article, and it will schedule it to go out sensibly for you. Just remember you can only schedule 10 messages at once on the free app (although if you’re a true addict, you can spend $8.50 per month on unlimited posting).

There are lots of clever things about Buffer. If you install the Chrome app, the Buffer button will appear next to your URL, so you can easily add any articles you find. The Buffer button will also appear on Twitter, so you can Buffer retweets. You can find a full list of clever applications here.

Maximise your impact with Followerwonk

So you’re finding great content and scheduling it sensibly. But we can get even cleverer. Buffer can also integrate with Followerwonk. Followerwonk is a fantastic tool that (among other things) tells you lots of data about your followers. Including when they’re online. It can then share this information with Buffer so tweets are automatically scheduled for when your followers are likely to be active:


My followers are most active between 5-6pm and 8-9pm, which is fairly common.

To access this data, go to ‘Analyze followers’ tab. Enter your Twitter username in the box and select ‘analyze their followers’. Click ‘Do it’ and scroll down until you see the screen above.

It literally takes about three clicks to get this all connected together and working sensibly. And then you have the holy trinity working for you.

One of my favourite things about all of these tools is that they are so incredibly user friendly that nobody should have any trouble replicating this. But give me a shout if you do have any questions. And happy sharing!

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Guy Kawasaki’s 10 tips for building a social media following

On Friday afternoon, I listened to a webinar by Guy Kawasaki on how to build a social media following.

He started by explaining why a large social media following is important. For him, social media is always a means to an end and just another way to do business. This means that he can never have too many followers. While quality engagement is key, he believes that the best way to get that is to build quantity first (I would argue that this isn’t quite true, but that the methods he suggests using are generally likely to increase both quantity of following and quality of engagement).

He then provided the following 10 tips on building a following:

1. Start yesterday – you need to be building a social following as soon as possible.

2. Segment the services – be aware of how each channel is used. He divides them as follows:

  • Facebook – people you already know
  • Twitter – broadcast to the world
  • Google+ – share passions with other people (who you may not already know)
  • Pinterest – find cool stuff to share, aesthetically pleasing
  • LinkedIn – show yourself as an influencer

3. Make a great profile – he used Peg Fitzpatrick as an example. Key tips include:

  • Banner should tell a story.
  • Profile image should show you as likeable and trustworthy – nothing else. Some people use profile image to try to tell the full story, which gets complicated. Banners should tell the full story, profile images should have a simple message. Ideally the profile image will be a high quality image that is 90% your face. Guy likes that Peg’s image is slightly off-centre.
  • Fill in all the information that you can.

4. Be a great curator and linker:

  • Every post should have a link to the original source.
  • There are a number of good tools for curation, including Alltop and StumbleUpon (both of which I have used and would recommend).
  • Find great stuff and share it to tell your story.

5. “Cheat” – use quick wins, such as:

  • Get people to share your content, so that they are showing your expertise – social proof.
  • Use your knowledge of your audience to give them what they want.
  • See what’s already popular – use tools such as most read/most commented on news stories.
  • Share hot stories – what’s working for other people will probably work for you.
  • Give credit to good curators and develop good relationships with them – they may start to curate your content.

6. Restrain yourself – Guy recommends that 19/20 content pieces should be informational and 1/20 should be promotional.

7. Add “bling”:

  • Guy shares a relevant picture that he has sourced to accompany every single post to draw people in and make the posts stand out. These are about 4-500 pixels wide. He will always credit the source.
  • Wikimedia is a great source of stock images.
  • Embedding videos is a good alternative.

bling   bling 2

(Click on images to enlarge)

8. Respond – don’t just push out content, make sure you are engaging too.

9. Stay positive or stay silent – there is no benefit to posting negative content or comments.

10. Repeat posts:

  • Post in large quantities and post often.
  • Guy repeats all his tweets 4 times as 8 hour intervals.
  • Most people will miss the post first time – you may upset a couple of followers by repeating, but you are likely to gain more than you lose.
  • Most companies do not post enough.
  • Nothing in social media is gospel – there are no set rules on how often it is OK for brands to post.
  • Guy repeats all posts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Q&A session

Q1: How do you deal with complains?

A1: 1. Fix the issue. 2. Send a message saying, “Sorry about this, let’s resolve it offline.”

Q2: What images is it OK to use?

A2: Using images that aren’t yours is a grey area, but Guy feels it is OK as long as they are clearly credited. Stock images from sites such as Wikimedia are a great resource.

Q3: Do you post the same content on different channels or tailor to each channel?

A3: It depends. Generally the content is the same for Facebook and Google+, and as similar as possible for Twitter considering the character limits. This content will be around 70% information and 30% bling. He will vary timings and formats across each network as appropriate.

Instagram and Pinterest are both for eye candy, so he will post about 70% bling and 30% information. On Instagram he will post things “just for the hell of it”, but on Pinterest he is more selective and will only share great images.

Q4: Are there any companies that shouldn’t be using social media:

A4: It’s fast, free and ubiquitous – why shouldn’t they use it? Anything can be made interesting. Even for B2B, every transaction is between two people, so the same principles are relevant. He spent a little while trying to think of any type of company that shouldn’t be on social media and couldn’t find any strong examples (except potentially plutonium salesperson…)

Q5: Should business avatars use a person or a company logo?

A5: It depends on the business. If you are a small business owner, then you are the business so it might be best to use that. The larger the company gets, the less important a face is.

Q6: How should companies measure success?

A6: Some marketers will find variables they can control so that they can justify their fees.

The key question is: are you selling more or not?

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Testing the Colleague X-ray toolbar

Earlier this week, Gemma sent round an email about the Colleague X-ray toolbar. I’ve been having a play with it today, and it’s fantastic.

By default, the toolbar lets you search Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Xing on Bing. However, it is also possible to add Google (and other search engines) as well as other social media channels. For example, I have just run a search for customer insight analysts in Nottingham on LinkedIn using Google:


This was fairly simple, but it is very easy to create a search that drills down much more deeply. You can set up 8 different filters, across all standard Boolean string instructions, for example:


Once you have set up a search for candidates, you can use the methods I described here to find out more about them. You can also copy paste anything from the search results into the toolbar to allow for easy cross-referencing.

I can see a number of uses to this toolbar:

  • Candidate identification on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
  • Identify influential users on these channels who may be worth engaging with.
  • Finding popular content in these channels and using this for inspiration.

While this doesn’t technically let us do anything we couldn’t already do, it is a much quicker and easier way of doing it. I think this could be a great time saver and a way to expand what we do (particularly for greater engagement on Google+, if this is an avenue we want to pursue).

I love this toolbar, and would be very happy to show you all how to download it and set it up so you can start using it.

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Social Media predictions for 2013

I’ve been reading a lot of articles recently on ‘Social Media predictions for 2013’.

Here are some of the key changes we might see:

  • MySpace relaunches: MySpace’s new owners (which includes Justin Timberlake) have teased that it will be coming back as a ‘media-centric social networking service’. It will still focus on music but will compete with Facebook, Twitter and Spotify. I think it will cause a huge buzz, won’t necessarily affect recruitment, but is certainly something to keep an eye on.
  • The Twitter-Instagram photo rivalry will continue: After the Facebook-Instagram acquisition, Twitter began rolling out new Instagram-like features such as filters. It is likely that Twitter’s photo-editing and sharing services will grow but remains to be seen whether they can catch up with Instagram.
  • Content creation grows in importance and becomes more targeted: Econsultancy found that only 38% of companies surveyed had a content strategy in place, but 90% believed it would become more important over the next 12 months.
  • Focus on visuals: The growth of Pinterest, increase of image services for Twitter and the importance placed on content, all shows that images, videos and infographics are an important part of social media strategy for 2013.
  • Facebook will offer a premium version of Facebook Pages. This premium version will include advanced analytics that will give marketers greater insight around specific fan segments (top commenters, customers, new fans) and the ability to do ‘frictionless email acquisition’ (click “join” within a Page update to opt in).
  • The fastest-growing social network will be SlideShare.
  • Twitter is going to start “personalising” your Twitter feed based on an algorithm that might be called “TweetRank,” or perhaps “TwedgeRank.” The algorithm will include Influence, Engagement, Alignment, Gravity and Interests.
  • Google+ will become a ‘must use’ service (but still not get the engagement levels of other channels).
  • LinkedIn will get bigger: With the new company and personal profile changes rolled out in 2012, it is likely that LinkedIn will have increasing relevance in the social space. People are treating LinkedIn more like Facebook’s news feed, encouraging more engagement and more regular posts.

What are your Social Media predictions for 2013?