Social Media 4 Recruitment

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How AT&T Powers its Employee Advocate Program

I came across an online video with a speaker from AT&T, an American multinational telecommunications corporation (thank you Wikipedia), who discusses the company’s Social Circle program.

This is AT&T’s brand advocacy initiative that is used to engage the company’s most social online employees, and its potential social online employees, in order to extend the brand’s reputation in the social space without being too marketing-focused.

To view the video yourself, click here, or for the key takeaways, read on.

The AT&T Social Circle

What is it?

An online hub that provides a central location for employees to access and share content. It contains a community of 1500 exempt managers who actively post and tweet from their personal accounts to share AT&T news and information.

Content is placed on the platform and community members are then able to share the updates to their preferred network. It can be accessed through mobile devices and is very user-friendly.


The personal approach

The hub is kept personalised and focused around the employees by including information they want to see, to keep things fun and make it a valuable resource for them.

For example, content includes tips on how employees can build their personal online brand and expand their reach.

The hub will also share content that is not related to the company, such as interesting content from key influencers (e.g. in business (Richard Branson), in the music industry, etc). AT&T understands that if people are fully engaged with the hub, they become regular and better advocates.


Incentivising through spotlighting and rewarding excellence

The hub develop recognises awesome work by members by:

  • Contents to boost activity or promote specific actions (e.g. 10 days of sharing during Christmas – because people are generally less active during this time period).
  • Award badges based on activity or expertise – gamification based on participation within the hub.
  • Highlight very active members in internal communications (e.g. hub member of the week).
  • Share experiences or guest speakers.
  • Find unique ways to surprise and delight employees.

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Google Plus Hashtags

Back in 2012, Google announced it’s intention to start using hashtags on the site. Originally, users would do this in a very similar way to Twitter, by inserting hashtags when writing a post to link similarly-themed posts together.

Last year, this feature was updated to make it more valuable.

Google Plus will now automatically generate the top three hashtags for a post. The algorithm for this is relatively complex, but the major point is what people are already talking about, and what will have the best SEO value.

These automatically-generated hashtags hold a lot more value than those generated by the poster. Google Plus hashtags will have a pre-populated page, containing relevant content, and this page is optimized to be easily found when searching Google. 

For example, if you were posting something about painters, you might choose to hashtag it painters, painting, decorating, paint…If you leave this up to Google, it will decide what the top 3 hashtags are, and include those.

Not only will that then be linked to other posts about painting, painters, etc, but it’ll also show up on Google when someone searches for painters. That means more people will see the post, and be able to share or interact with it. Google does this often, because it’s a great way to show people that content that they want to read is on Google Plus, and therefore encourage new members! 

The catch…

If you write your own hashtags, Google will either not generate any automatic hashtags at all, or it will simply pick similar words to the hashtag that you chose, rather than using SEO/current search data.

Unless there is a good reason to use a specific hashtag, I’d recommend letting Google pick.  


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LinkedIn SWAM: What it is, and what it means.

On a Webinar today, LinkedIn unveiled plans to take their current SWAM guidelines to the next level – prompting a wave of backlash from users who believe that they’ve been unfairly targeted. It seems a good time to learn exactly what this means! 

What does SWAM mean? 

SWAM stands for Site Wide Auto Moderation. 

What does SWAM do?

If SWAM is activated on your profile, any messages that you post into groups or company pages will require moderation before they can be seen by other group members. SWAM can also affect your ability to connect with new people, and the visibility of your posts once they are approved.

What’s the issue?

LinkedIn estimate that 65% of the 3 million groups on the site have no active management. That means your post would sit in a moderation forever. The true number of groups with no active managers is thought to be much higher, but with LinkedIn planning on making groups a paid feature, being coy about this suits them better.

For our purposes, this means that when we post outreach or job discussions, they will simply never been seen. Even in groups which do have an active manager, a post requiring approval is much more likely to be deleted than one which posts automatically, especially if it contains a link that sends the group member away from the group, which many of our posts will.

LinkedIn recommends that group managers clear the pending posts “at least once every six months”, which means that jobs are likely to have expired, anyway.

How does a profile become SWAM’d?

A profile now only needs to be “blocked and deleted” from one group for SWAM to take effect. LinkedIn have placed a warning under this setting to alert people to it’s meaning, but it is still the easiest way to delete all pending discussions from a specific group member, and prevent them from rejoining the group.

Group members have the options to delete and block and delete on every group post. 

The warning from LinkedIn looks like this: 


How does a profile become un-SWAM’d?

There is currently no easy way for a profile to become un-SWAM’d. LinkedIn will not change the setting manually, under any circumstances. They advise that affected profiles review their behaviour in groups, and then manually contact the management of individual groups to have their settings changed. Manually changing a group member’s permissions is labour-intensive, and requires a group to have an active manager. 

Avoiding SWAM

LinkedIn has offered some advice on how to avoid having your profile SWAM’d.

  • Only post into highly relevant groups.
  • Don’t multi-post the same or similar messages into many groups. LinkedIn’s algorithms will automatically flag a message to the group owner if more than a certain percentage of the message has been posted into more than one group. The amount that needs to be different is kept secret to keep the system fair, but 60% is the most commonly quoted figure.
  • Avoid linking away from LinkedIn. Messages containing a link are 4 times more likely to be considered promotional, and deleted.
  • Read the group rules before you post. Some groups will have no rules, and some have huge rule documents, but the only way to ensure that you are not breaking the rules is to read and understand them.
  • Offer value. Someone who is genuinely valuable to the group is more likely to be deleted and warned, rather than blocked and deleted.

I hope this has been helpful – send me an email if you’ve got any questions! 

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Social Media Developments – 2nd August 2013

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

This will allow companies to promote their content in much the same way as Sponsored Stories on Facebook and Promoted Posts on Twitter.  Sponsored Updates will be displayed on the home screen of LinkedIn, letting companies promote themselves to users beyond just followers of the company profile.

Facebook launches photo comments for pages

After the recent introduction of photo comments, Facebook has now broadened this functionality so company pages are also able to do this. As with all Facebook changes, this is gradually being rolled out globally.

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Advanced Digital LinkedIn Strategy

I watched a webinar on ‘Advanced Digital LinkedIn Strategy’ earlier this month and found it really insightful, not only for its target audience, recruiters, but for all other users as well.

It includes plenty of useful tips not only for newbie LinkedIn users but also for the more advanced LinkedIn users.

Webinar promised results including:

1 Higher ranking in search results on LinkedIn.

2 Increased profile views.

3 Learn how to be the top recruiter on LinkedIn.

3 See real deep changes to your sourcing results.

The webinar emphasised the way in which LinkedIn is drastically changing the way recruitment works; it is now heavily about attracting passive candidates. The onset of social has also changed recruitment whereby “clients/candidates are now searching for us [recruiters]”. There was also a mention of the importance of Glassdoor and how it is valuable for recruitment.

Recent key statistics about LinkedIn:

  • It is the recruiter and candidate search engine.
  • 5.3 billion searches for 2012.
  • 172,800 searches per day.
  • 11 million UK members.
  • 74 million US members.
  • Will become the globe’s dominant and main candidate database.
  • Dominating LinkedIn like Google for business is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It is essential.

The webinar stressed the following key points:

  1. Successful recruitment requires having a dominating presence on LinkedIn.
  2. Building your own network both strategically and effectively.
  3. The necessity of having strategies in place to create talent pipelines.
  4. LinkedIn is rapidly changing the way its search function operates; recruiter fees are rising.
  5. LinkedIn is fast-maturing, similar to Google.
  6. LinkedIn is pushing forward as a savvy search enginer.
  7. LinkedIn is becoming a more ‘commercial’ entity.

The webinar guarantees the ability to gain a large number of quality inbound enquires from clients and candidates through incorporating the recommended LinkedIn strategy.

Heavy emphasis on SEO optimisation on LinkedIn, which was broken down into primary and secondary steps –

SEO Primary Steps:

  1. Define keywords.
  2. Headline Optimisation (LinkedIn has a keyword density score, equating to the number of keywords on a profile, most particularly on the headline.)
  3. Headline equates to 30-40% of density score.
  4. Need to optimise current job title.
  5. Past job title optimisation.
  6. Summary key word density.
  7. Current job description keyword density.
  8. Past job description keyword density. 

SEO Secondary steps:

  1. Build a network strategically.
  2. Skills keywords density.
  3. Endorsements are good for SEO  – this has been confirmed by LinkedIn that these contribute towards your SEO ranking. Recommendation to gather endorsements both for you and your candidates.
  4. Anchor text in web addresses.
  5. Group memberships & own groups – Essential to be a member of 50 groups as this is a key driver to SEO.
  6. Personalise your vanity URL.
  7. Activity, interaction and status – Significant towards building a stronger SEO ranking.
  8. External marketing promotion contributes to SEO – This is driving traffic to your website.


What I found especially unique/interesting about the webinar:

  1. The recommendation to use to build tag clouds that will help you visualise the most dominant and important keywords that are present in a job description.
    1.  Eg, plug in five similar job descriptions into the wordle text box, then hit ‘Create’.
    2. After creating your tag cloud, you can then implement these prevalent keywords into your own recruiter profile, thus enabling you to have a stronger search ranking.
    3. As much as possible, avoid highly over-used buzzwords. Eg. ‘team player’. Instead, list down outcomes and concrete achievements.
    4. Sharing content/relevant articles is highly important and will establish your knowledge of your sector and also strengthen your SEO ranking.

Key benefits of a strong network and highly optimised profile are:

  1. High levels of traffic for your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Get found easily by candidates.
  3. Grid client search results.
  4. Personal exposure.
  5. Company brand growth.
  6. A more ‘personalised’/’humanised’ recruiter profile.

There was a lot of emphasis on keywords on a LinkedIn profile, so make sure your profile is fully optimised for search!

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Pinterest launches an analytics tool

Pinterest has finally launched an analytics tool, making it easier to collect metrics around the way users interact with pins originating from your website. Pinterest Web Analytics will provide you with information about how many people have pinned from your site, how many people have seen those pins, and how many people visited your site from Pinterest.

With this tool, it’ll be possible to determine if the information and content you’re sharing from your blog or website is resonating with an audience (and if so, which audience) as well as what’s not working.

To access Pinterest Web Analytics you first need to request access to Pinterest’s new look then make sure that the website listed on your profile is verified (this is to prevent spam). Once the verified checkmark appears next to your website, go to the top right menu and click on Analytics.


This is a new tool so it’s bound to have some teething problems. However, once established, perhaps the ability to measure your ROI will convert Pinterest into a more serious channel beyond recipes and interior design?

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Facebook’s New News Feed

Facebook revealed last Thursday that their news feed has received a long awaited update. Unlike other components of Facebook, the news feed has been left relatively untouched for a long time with users complaining of clutter.

So what’s it about?

According to Facebook it’s about taking the best from mobile and bringing it to the web. It’s about de-cluttering the news feed and “giving control to the user.”


What are the changes?

Photos will be playing a huge role in this news feed; Facebook says it’s about creating photo stories. This means that for better for worse, high quality photos will be as important as ever for our clients if we want them to stand out on the news feed. This also suggests that as well as posting photos from our clients, it would be a good idea to continue posting about famous bridges and other engaging visual that can inspire candidates.

The cover photo is more important. When a group of friends Like or otherwise interact with a Facebook page, that page may be highlighted in the News Feed with its cover photo on display. Facebook recommends a cover photo that tells an engaging story.


Post a trending story. News stories about a single topic will be highlighted in thumbnail-rich carousels, making it more advantageous to share trending rather than outlier stories on Facebook. This will be a challenge for recruitment where we have to consider the employer branding and a lot of trending stories will not be relevant. However it might highlight the need for a calendar of notable dates such as International Women’s Day as these can trend on social media.

People can be more selective about what appears on their news feed. This allows them to choose news updates from their close friends which could be restrictive for our clients. However by selecting following, they will only see news updates from the pages they follow.


New changes; new challenges but that is the excitement of working in digital!

To find out more about Facebook new news feed or to join the waiting list visit: