The Die-Hard Phone Jockey’s Guide to Facebook

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Oct 18, 2011

Before I persuade you that Facebook is the most amazingly powerful medium with which to transform your recruiting practice, let’s review what we’ve worked on so far in this series.

First, we established that improving recruiting performance is our only goal. If social media can help us do that, then we’re interested.

With that in mind, there can be no question; LinkedIn is the leader of the business pack. And, even if a recruiter uses it for nothing else than to collect stunning recommendations from raving fans, we’ve made progress. If you’re only going to invest in one form of social media, LinkedIn is it.

Blogging comes next. If I want to know you, I should be able to fill that need by reading your blog. Even the smallest, most random investment in writing a blog can be an awesome source of progress. And, if you have the dominant blog in your space, you’ll win business that you can’t win in any other way.

Our last lesson was about email marketing and the power this gives you to reach out and win the treasured status of domain expert in your space. Your newsletter will help your prospects come to know you, and this awareness of you will warm up your cold calls. Your newsletters make doing business with you easy, and comfortable.

And that brings us to this week’s medium, Facebook.

First, let me acknowledge the reasons floating around in your head telling you that you shouldn’t be on Facebook, or that it holds no power for your recruiting practice.

  • It’s just personal; it’s not for business.
  • It was built for college kids.
  • Why do you want to hook back up with all the “friends” you left behind and hoped never to see again?
  • Your family will get involved, and then how do you separate work from life and keep your family from embarrassing you at work?

In honor of those reasons, I have to say, yes, Facebook is by all means the medium you can most easily reject. And if you do, no problem. You’ll still want to read this lesson though, because one day Facebook will break into your professional life and you want to be prepared! If, however, you can keep your mind open, my hope is actually to persuade you that this is the most powerful of all the media available today — which is why it is the largest and most successful by far!

My own Facebook love story

On that note, let me share a bit more of my own story with you. You may recall that without my son, Nico, I’d never have entered this world of social media. When he finally brought me out of the last century, the two I started out with were our blog and our newsletter. They seemed a bit more like 20th century writing/marketing to me and so that was a bit easier for my 20th Century brain to tolerate. Rapidly though, I knew I had to dig into the “real deal,” and so it was only a few weeks before I dived into LinkedIn and Facebook.

Considering that I promote LinkedIn as the single most important medium for business, it may seem strange to you that when I got started with it, I found that I instinctively disliked both its interface and its look and feel.  For all that, I absolutely saw its power, immediately and gave myself completely over to working on my profile and collecting my testimonials.

But Facebook, well, it’s embarrassing, but I loved it from day one. I found it easy to use. (It’s less easy now, they’re always changing stuff there and that’s a bad thing in my opinion.) There is a story of reunion I could tell, and I do have to warn any non-users, your old fiends (FRIENDS?) will find you, for sure. But, I did have the advantage of approaching Facebook as a business strategy from day one, and that is a point worth emphasizing.

The very first epiphany about Facebook’s impact on my business will likely surprise you. It humanized me. That’s a very big statement.

My work is done over the phone. I meet with my clients for 80 minute sessions, most typically every other week or so. In our work, we go everywhere. There are no “lines” and we work on family and golf and life as much as we work on making placements, hiring and firing and replacing recruiters, etc. So, when I discovered that Facebook humanized me for my clients I was shocked.

Here’s what happened. The very moment my clients could see my face, on Facebook, I instantly felt a shift for the better in our relationships…across the boards. It didn’t matter if it was a new client or an old one. The fact of seeing my face made me more human to them. I protest that it didn’t work the other way around, as I believe my own emotions were absolutely unchanged – but I might surely be wrong about that. Whether I am or not, I can tell you, the change was so significant that I was hooked on Facebook as a tool for my business, instantly, and I would NEVER want to go back to the bad old days when I was dehumanized for lack of technical presence.

Try to picture that with me. I thought of technology as dehumanizing, for my entire life, until Facebook showed me how technology could be a key to becoming more human, not less.

You need a strategy

And that is why I so strongly recommend it for your consideration. Now, you do need a strategy, but it doesn’t have to be complex. Let’s say you simply put up a single picture of yourself at work, and you let your clients know it’s there. Here’s a tactical example of what this can do for you:

When your clients are traveling, this so often brings your hiring process to a screeching halt. But, if your client is in communication with you via Facebook, you can simply let them know you want to see pictures of their trip. Everybody posts pictures of their trips now. This information is rich and ?? helps you, and helps you hugely. More, you really DO want to see pictures of the trip. It is precisely this sort of connection that bonds you into your clients’ world in a way you’ve never been connected – in general – until now.

Simply knowing when they’re leaving, when they will return, and being able to talk about the pictures (or even the fact that they’re behind the curve and didn’t post any) is exactly the kind of real world connection we so rarely enjoy as recruiters. And, do you instantly see how this feeds into your search process and in tying the communication cycle down? It’s awesome!

Building on your basic strategy, you need your professional photo up, and you need to get your clients to become friends with you. The only other thing you require for your basic strategy is a status update plan. Your status, at Facebook, is simply your short answer to this question: “What’s on your mind?”

As you’d expect, I update my status every working day. You, however, don’t need to do so. You can, and it isn’t difficult. But, you don’t have to. Once or twice a week will be plenty often enough. The simplest method is simply to actually answer the question. I also recommend this slight alteration: “What’s on your heart?”

And what topics will you post about? Myself, I’ve learned to incorporate a strong flow of information from my real life, since my clients and friends are actually interested. My first strategy, though, was to build a set of four themes that guide everything I do at Facebook. My themes are:

1. Dream, 2. Daily Line FOR Your Dream, 3. Thrill, 4. Agony

You’d be amazed at how much real content such themes can generate. A set of such themes you might use could be:

1. Team Building, 2. Career Building, 3. Change, 4. Conquest.

That’s just one example. You’ll find that having a set of themes gives you a fresh perspective and empowers great postings on a regular basis.

Here’s another way to build a posting strategy. As a recruiter, what do you think about every day? The first answer is really easy – PLACEMENTS! So, at your Facebook page, talk about that!

  • Talk about the placement you just closed, and whoop it up a little.
  • Talk about the search you’re working on, and give people an idea of what your work really is.
  • Talk about the features of great companies and great management.
  • Talk about the features of great performers and the contributions they make.

The one thing you should NEVER do

There is a single law, though, which you must NEVER break. Regular folks, that is, non-professional users, can be negative. You must NEVER be negative. They can whine, get all heated up about the current political situation, scream about their local sports franchises, etc. I’m not saying you can’t talk about politics or religion; you can, but not too much. Me, I almost never do. But, I am saying whatever you post MUST BE POSITIVE. In your communications at Facebook, you must never forget for a moment that you are a professional and as such, people are following what you do. You must seek to inspire and inform, to serve and to help, and most of all to simply be a positive part of their day.

Managing your Facebook time

So then, what about recruiting brass tacks, and how will you justify the time spent at Facebook? Here, it isn’t a law, but it is a rule, you do need to honor prime time. Your calling hours need to be executed on the phone, not spent prowling or updating your Facebook. Ah, but even here, when you do become friends with your clients you will find yourself checking out their Facebook page right while you speak to them. You may be surprised, but I support this 100%. More, I am happy to encourage you to let your client know you’re looking at his or her Facebook as you speak to them, real time.

Other than that, keep Facebook off while you work in prime time. Be it morning or evening – I do mine each morning as part of my professional warm-ups each day – pick a non-prime time moment to check out or update your Facebook, keeping a special eye to those partners of yours who are your friends on Facebook and who are involved in deals in progress. This one task will be so profitable to you that you’ll be addicted like me before you know it — that is, if you get it right. Get it right? Yes, who are the people with whom you’re working? Who are they really? What is their real life? How does the deal you’re working “fit” into the rest of their life and world? When you’re using Facebook for those purposes, you will definitely be getting it right.

The grand purpose of Facebook, for you as a recruiter, is to empower you to humanize your relationships at a deeper level. When you do this, you will stop being “just a recruiter” or worse, “just another recruiter” and become a real person in their real life. It may not be quite as black and white for you as it was for me. But, the general impact will be immediately noticeable, and the longer you work at it and the better you become, the higher your skills rise, the more power and benefit you’ll receive, and the stronger you’ll be in serving on the phone.

Now that we’ve considered our four examples individually, LinkedIn, Blogging, Email Marketing, and Facebook for Die-hard Phone Jockeys, in our next lesson – the last of this series – we’ll pull all four back together again in summation.  But more, we’ll consider what an investment into all four might look like as well as consider the gains and losses of opting against all four, which IS, I propose, still an option, but a decreasingly attractive option as our business continues to move forward.

Stay tuned for the final installment of the Die-hard Phone Jockey series next week…

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