Note: Don’t miss “5 Places to Source Candidates for Free.” Coming tomorrow.
Social media offers an infinite number of tools and techniques to market your contract staffing services and source contract candidates. But social media can be daunting. Here are some tricks for using the most popular social networks based on our own experiences, research, and discussions with recruiters.
The key to success in this social network is LinkedIn Groups. By joining multiple groups of recruiters and starting our own group (Contract Staffing Recruiters), we have connected with thousands of recruiters we may have never reached otherwise. Recruiters should join groups specific to their niches.
You should not overtly sell your services or advertise jobs. Many groups will reject self-promotional posts. Instead, you want to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Share helpful, relevant articles you find on the Internet. Share your own (not self-promotional) blog posts linking back to your site. Add insightful comments to existing discussions and start your own.
We recently spoke with Software Advice’s HR Analyst Erin Osterhaus, who advises clients on the best recruiting techniques. She suggests adding hashtags to Tweets. This is done by simply putting a # in front of a phrase you think people will search on. Some common hashtags for job postings are #hiring, #tweetmyjobs, and #jobopening. You can even use hashtags to target your exact niche. For example, to reach software developers, try hashtags such as #hadoop, #linux, and #ubuntu. Hashtagify.me can help you find hashtags trending in certain industries.
But think beyond job postings. Again, establish yourself as an expert by posting relevant, useful articles. We try to post different items in Twitter (@TEContracting) than we do in LinkedIn. In LinkedIn, we strive for articles that may spur conversations within Groups. We post more newsy articles with statistics and trends in Twitter.
Facebook’s new “Open Graph” search allows you to search publicly available data from the network’s vast database. As a semantic search engine, it understands the meaning behind what you are searching for. Here are some common types of searches.
- Job title + location. Example: Developers who live in Seattle
- Job title + employer. Example: Developers who work at Facebook
- By education: Example: People who graduate from Yale in 2014
- For contractors. Example: Programmers who are contractors
Contacting people can be a tricky because they are often more reluctant to connect with strangers on Facebook. You could send them a message, but if you are not Friends with them, the message will hit their semi-hidden “Other” box. One way to get around this is to send a paid message. For around $1, you can send a message to someone you are not connected to, and it will go into their main inbox and likely pop up on their smartphone screen.
Many people think of Pinterest for finding recipes, not candidates. But you can find a wealth of information about candidates on Pinterest, especially for creative contractors, such as graphic artists and web designers, who often share work on Pinterest. Try searching for terms such as “resume,” “cv,” and “portfolio.”
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Pinterest can also be a branding tool, as niche recruiting firm PediaStaff has found. PediaStaff‘s Pinterest account has become the biggest source of traffic to their website, said PediaStaff partner and social media expert Heidi Kay. But their boards include very few pins about specific jobs or about PediaStaff. Instead, they mainly post classroom ideas for school-based therapists.
“On Pinterest, and in all social media, it is important that you make most of your message about your followers and not about you,” Kay said. “Once you develop a loyal following, you can get good marketing opportunities to discuss your job openings, placements, etc.”
The jury is still out on Google+, but experts say it’s going to be huge. It certainly has a few things going for it. For starters, it allows you to easily segment connections into customizable Circles. So if you recruit for multiple niches, you could post a job opening to a circle of only candidates in that niche.
Google+ also has video chats called Hangouts, which allow you to conduct candidate interviews virtually. This is especially useful for contract placements that need to be made quickly or for when the candidate is in a distant location. And many believe that Google+ will have a positive impact on search engine rankings. The main thing to keep in mind is that Google+ is more social and fun than LinkedIn, which is very professional, so you do not want to post in-depth or complicated items on Google+
While all of these networks are different, you will notice a common theme here: be useful, self-promote sparingly. And make sure all of your profiles mention that you offer contract staffing. Your goal should be making sure that when they do need a contract staffing recruiter, they think of YOU.