One of biggest issues facing publishers over the last decade has been the rise of Social Media.
In one respect it’s an obvious opportunity to promote brands and build communities in a way that hasn’t been possible in the past.
The major issue has been a lack of understanding about how to do this effectively and, most importantly, how to turn this engagement into revenue.
Many newspapers and online publications are now doing this very effectively. I’m sure most of the people reading this piece will have seen an increasing number of relevant articles appearing in their news feeds and (in my experience) these are highly effective. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn now provide the main reference tool in determining my online reading habits.
Of course these companies are chasing advertising revenue, which will increase in-line with audience size. There is also an argument that this also adds to online subscriptions, as people become more dependent on the content and publishers begin to move content behind pay walls (I know I would have trouble surviving without access to The Daily Telegraph on a daily basis).
So how has this affected recruitment media providers?
For a long time the standard job board/ employer/ recruitment company response to social media was to pump out a constant stream of job adverts and hope to engage as many potential candidates as possible. This approach just didn’t work, and most resourcers soon learnt that they have to engage an audience; and this involves a lot more effort than simply streaming job adverts.
The best way to engage a community is to provide content of interest; Webinars, Q&A sessions, exclusive news and, yes, career opportunities, will ultimately build the desired audience. The problem is that these services require resource, and social media tends to lose its USP to many people as it ceases to be “free”.
Just as many people labour under the misapprehension that (once built) a website is “free” (when actually they cost a fortune to market, resource, update and maintain) this is also true of the way many people view social media.
The truth is that building a qualified audience is never “free”, whether that is in social media, through a website or via print subscriptions.
But do recruiters have to employ dedicated marketeers, editorial teams and webinar providers simply to make the most out of social media?
There is another way……
It used to be said that the pillars of a successful website community were exclusive news and career opportunities. Recruiters provide exclusive career opportunities all the time, and the providers of exclusive industry news (be that individuals, publications, societies etc.) with established and well qualified communities can benefit from careers content.
Alliances with these providers can be far more effective for recruiters than trying to build and engage these communities themselves.
With the Wiley Job Network we have formed social media alliances with numerous communities which have proved far more effective than our own WJN accounts.
Amongst my clients there is currently a lot of demand for German speaking chemists; so what better way to attract these candidates than by feeding our jobs through the Twitter feed of Germany’s leading chemistry journal “Angewandte Chemie”? This alliance, along with 29 other Wiley communities has allowed us to reach an additional audience of over 200,000 social media users with very little resource from our end.
In my experience this has been by far our most effective use of social media and has meant that we are able to provide an audience for our clients that we could never have done independently.
I would urge those recruiters looking to find candidates in niche areas to look towards building alliances with established communities. There are plenty out there, and these relationships can be mutually beneficial.