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Monster Hiring Podcast: Your Social Media Business Strategy

By: Connie Blaszczyk

As a business owner, how much time do you have to dedicate to your company's social media? If you're like many busy business people, it may be a struggle. Yet it doesn't require a lot of time to create a social media strategy and it's time well spent. Social media can help your company attract the talent you need as well as customers. 

In this Monster Hiring Podcast, Patrick Gillooly, Director of Digital Communication and Social Media at Monster, explains how you can master social media for your small company. 

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Bill George

Monster: Patrick, thanks so much for coming in.

Gillooly: Really glad to be here.

Monster: How much time should someone be spending say on a daily basis -- average basis -- to create a successful social media strategy for their company?

Gillooly: It's a little bit of a tricky question but it depends on the resources available to any small business owner. First and foremost, what I would say is this isn't going to be your primary activity, right? We're very well aware that you've got billing and hiring and many other things going on during your day that are really important to making sure your business not only survives but thrives. I put social media marketing into that thrive category. 

You can spend a small amount of time and I like to say 15 minutes a day really can do it to help you grow your business, grow awareness of your business, grow your customers, bring that foot traffic in the door and doing it in a really efficient and resourceful way.

Monster: Is the first step to think about audience because you're projecting out and to understand who is it you're trying to reach?

Gillooly: Yeah. Absolutely. If you are a local business in which you know 50% to 90% of your clientele is within 3 miles of your location, social media has many different ways to think about how you could target just those people.

So it's about your location. It's about interest. It's about demographics. You want to hone in on where can you be most successful first because it all starts with the goals. What do you want to get out of this? Who do you want to get in the door? And if you don't know that right upfront then you're just going to shoot into the void, right? That's what you definitely don't want to do. You don't want to just join these social channels and say, "I've got to be there because everybody says I've got to be there." 

That's silly. Don't be on Facebook if you can't handle spending some time on Facebook. Don't be on Twitter if you don't think you can spend the time on Twitter. 

But most importantly, don't be on those platforms if you know that people that are those are not the people you're looking to draw in. Instagram is really hot right now and if you're a restaurant, absolutely you should be on Instagram. But if you're a dry cleaner, that's where you’ve got to think about, "Is it right for my business, in growing my business, in growing my clientele to be in this space where this people are?"

Monster: How can someone assess what are the different various social media platforms that resonate for their business?

Gillooly: Luckily, there are some really definitive lines in terms of what platforms draw what type of people. It's actually funny, I was looking the other day at a breakdown of the average Facebook user and it was described as male, white, IT, in their late 30s to early 40s, and that's not necessarily true, right? Because there's 1.5 billion people on Facebook so there's a lot of demographic so to group them into one, that's like saying the whole world is a white, IT, 35 to 45 year old male.

Monster: What a world that would be? [laughter]

Gillooly: Yeah. That would be a terrifying world actually. Within Facebook, there are hundreds if not thousands, if not millions of micro-communities that you can be a part of that are already built out. There's pages, there's groups, there's ad targeting within Facebook to these organizations and these types of people. 

But on other platforms, it's a little bit more cut and dry. So you want to reach to young audience, right? Instagram, Snapchat, all the data tells us that users of those platforms are under 35, they're tech savvy.

You can do a quick Google search for who's on what platform and you'll get all of this information really quickly.  But it breaks down along some really easy lines to say, Okay, if I want to reach a young, tech savvy audience, we’ll invest in Instagram. If I want to reach the every man, Facebook is probably more appropriate. If I want to blast out news and updates to a very connected person who might be a brand advocate, that's more like a Twitter.

Tons of resources on the web, we have a lot of them on Monster. It's good to do a little bit of your homework to dig up some of these details but as soon as you do, you'll see, "Okay, I know my business fits into this demographically pretty easily."

Monster: How can a business owner find those resources to help guide their strategy?

Gillooly: Sure. One of the great resources that I like is a social media tool called Buffer. It's a social workflow management tool. There are others out there like Hootsuite, Sprinklr and other tools that you may have heard of. But Buffer's really great because they have an awesome content marketing team and they're always putting out the most updated information on demographics around each platform. 

They have one Google doc which I love which is called the always updated image size document. On a lot of these platforms, success is about knowing how to be perfect on these platforms. How does a link display? How does an image display? How does a video display? 

So Buffer's always updated image document tells you that when a platform changes, here's a new spec size that you're going to want to get a designer to give you an image for or you're going to want to crop your own images too if you have that ability. So Buffer's got tons and tons of these resources. On top of that, those resources are a little bit more generic to social media marketing kind of writ large.

And on Monster, what we're trying to develop on our blog and on the Hiring Resource Center is more content around how do you transfer that knowledge into specifically recruitment knowledge. We talk a lot about brand and employer brand. They're really one in the same and that's a much bigger topic probably for a little bit later on but the key is realizing that you've got to be very active in these spaces and you've got know what success looks like to the end user. 

And so get to that, we're building on a lot of content on all of our sites to say, "Okay, how would I target somebody on Twitter? How would I target somebody on Instagram? How would I target somebody on Facebook? With the right messaging that would get them to join my team, to grow my team."

And what we've realized in a lot of that work too is that when you talk about your brand, and when you put content out in the world about what it's like to work at your company, your customers come along too and then vice versa is also true. When you talk about your consumer brand, you draw in an employer audience as well.

Monster: In the sense of how do you assess your company's social media success, I know that there's probably been a little while back now but  -- do likes count on Facebook? How do you know if you Tweet and nobody re-Tweets you, it's kind of like the tree in the forest, does anybody hear it. Is that what I should continue to be doing if I don't see any traction on it?

Gillooly: Yeah. I think it's a 2-part answer to this question. 

A little insider information from the social media team here is that likes are not that important. There are more important when you're at a smaller business and you want to go from 100 likes to 150 likes. Obviously, that's big to you, that's a big grouping but you have to realize too that a lot of these platforms can pull that right out under the rug from you. You build up all these likes and all these followers and you think you're blasting out information and you think you're hitting all of them, well you're not. 

There is Facebook's algorithm, Twitter's algorithm, everybody's got an algorithm in place that basically allows it so that you don't hit everybody that you captured, your community with the single post. That's because they want to drive advertising revenue and they want to push you to advertising. I would A) strongly encourage you to think about advertising if budget permits because it's a very powerful tool but B) definitely keep in mind that growing your community shouldn't be your only goal.

Why it's a 2-part answer is that the goals are purely dependent or success. I should say it’s purely dependent on the goals that you need to define right up front. You need to say to yourself, "Do I want to drive traffic to my website? Do I want to drive foot traffic into my store? Do I want to build community?" That could be your goal. It's up to you but you got to pick one and you got to go after it. 

You have to really think about how you can build content and build out a structure and build out engagement that gets you to that goal because you're going to get fringe benefits of some of those other goals -- that you're going to get foot traffic even if you're trying to get website clicks. You're going to get website clicks even if you're trying to build community. But if you try to do all of them, you're not going to be as successful as if you try to do one really well and then get those fringe benefits.

And I can't steer anybody who's listening on any one direction because it really is dependent. Website clicks are the way that we think about it at Monster because we're a digital platform and we want to drive foot traffic into our digital domain and so we go after how we can get the most click thru's from our content. 

But on some platforms, that's not even a goal at all. Look at Instagram for example. You can't put a link in an Instagram description so there is no way from an organic capacity to have click thrus on Instagram even be a goal. That is why Instagram is much more of a brand play and more like how do I get foot traffic into the door.

Monster: We talk about the age now where there's so much content out there, there's so much information that when someone is looking for a job whether they're going on a trip, whatever it is -- they go to the Internet and they find a lot of information. Should employers be Googling their own company to see what's coming up and as they start to get into this endeavor of creating a social media strategy to see how that's resonating through search?

Gillooly: Absolutely, and I would expand that to say that search is not just Google and I don’t even mean that it's Bing and other search engines  -- it’s Twitter. 

One of the big things we talked about here is that Twitter is a search engine more than anything. You know you can do an advanced search on Twitter for what's called the geofence location so I could say, "Show me Tweets that are near me right now." So you could pump in your company's name, your @ Handle, if you have one, or maybe just the name of your company or the way that somebody might refer to you, and say “tweets near me and you can see everybody who's talking about you on Twitter right now. You could go in and respond and engage to all those people if they’re good; if they're bad, you could help them solve their challenge to get them back in the door.

But you've absolutely got to be looking at how people are talking about your company today. I mean, you've got Glassdoor. You've got Yelp. You've got so many of these platforms that are coming up that are specific to people talking about your brand that you've got to be there, because the conversation's going to happen whether or not you're there, so you might as well be there because you can get a lot of benefit if you're in the conversation and you're responsive. 

I've been on the negative end as a user tweeting to a brand and saying, "Help me. Help me. Help me." And when I sent that tweet out, my first thought was, "That's it, this company, I hate them. I'm not going to do business with them anymore." They responded back pretty quickly, resolved my needs. 

It wasn't like I got free stuff out of it but I felt that they had listened to me and that it wasn't a robot on the other end and as a result, it changed my entire mentality back and I said, "Okay. I'll give them another chance."

Monster: Is that kind of responsiveness coming into play with this dialog between employers and job seekers? Or you say you post something about a job, you're looking for whatever the role is, the skills, you tweet about that and then you get responses back. Does it require the same immediacy of engagement?

Gillooly: I would say immediacy is required across the board. If you're gonna play in the space and be active, you have to make sure that you are responding. 

There's actually a statistic out there that says that an average call in, somebody who emails or calls your company expects about a 24-hour response time. On social, when they tweet you, they expect a 4-hour response time.  So not just as the conversation is happening whether or not you're there on these platforms, but there's a higher expectation of your service on these platforms.

So if you’ve got a handle that you're on Twitter, for example and somebody tweets at but there's nobody there to respond, that's more detrimental than if you weren't there at all. That is absolutely true of customers and employees or potential employees should not be seen any different. They should be served in exactly the same way because they both could be both down the road as well. 

You could absolutely have someone who is applicant for a job that is a future customer. You could have somebody as customer today that's a future applicant for a job. 

There's actually interesting anecdote, I won't name the company, but I've heard that there was a large internet business in which they had looked at their recruitment pool and they had found out that 50% of their recruitment pool was also people who are using their services because they were coming from email addresses that were of the company. 

And so having done that analysis, they realized, "Oh wow! We have to change the way we think about everything we do. The candidate experience is much more important than we thought, because who knows, one of those candidates comes and applies has a terrible experience -- all of a sudden they're like wow, not only do I not want to work there, I don't want to have this company services anymore." Then it's a dual hit.

So it's really important to make sure that things like the candidate experience and things like the customer experience are not seen as mutually exclusive that they have tendencies of the same activation in both. 

Again, always boils back down to this idea that like treat people with respect, treat them as humans, talk to them, engage with them. If you don't do those core things, someone's going to look at your brand today and say, "I don't want to do business with them, that brand."

Monster: We're just finishing up 2015, 2016's ahead, do you see any big shifts in the social media space and particularly social media recruitment?

Gillooly: Snapchat, I will say over and over again, this is the platform to look at in 2016. If anything for how fast it's growing and how brands need to figure out how they could participate in that platform but more so what the platform is. I mean, it's basically close to real-time video. 

There's platforms like Periscope and Meerkat, which are about streaming real-time live video, but Snapchat was really first in that space where people were sharing experiences as they are happening. 

Before, it was like, "Okay, I'll take a picture, I'll post it to Yelp." Then there was, "I'll take a picture, I maybe post it later to Instagram." Then there was, "I'll take a picture and I'll post it right to Instagram." Now, it's like, "I'm going to live feed this person that I'm engaging with at a company who is being a jerk to me."

And what does that mean? What does that mean for all of us? How can we be more responsive than we are today with the resources continuing to dwindle? Are we going to be monitoring live feeds of videos of our businesses to make sure that we are able to participate in that conversation? And if not, how are we going to respond when those kind of things happen? 

So I see that we're moving toward a tighter and tighter time table in terms of when content is created and how quickly it is disseminated to the masses and then how quickly brands have to think about engaging with that content?

Monster: And obviously, platforms like Twitter that are really big beehives of interaction will continue.

Gillooly: Yeah. Absolutely. I think Twitter has gotten a bad rep, truthfully. It's still a growing platform and then it gets a bad rep from Wall Street for some weird reason because it's probably one of the most financially sound of the social platforms today. But it's not going anywhere and it's going to hone into one of those niches. That niches is news and discovery and big, real-time issues. The stuff we're seeing on a college campuses right now, the Arab Spring, those kind of things happen because Twitter exists.

How is Snapchat going to play a role on those kind of things going forward? I don't know. We'll see, but it's going to be interesting.

Monster: Fascinating stuff. We'll be watching and I know your team will be on top of it here at Monster.

Gillooly: Absolutely.

Monster: Fantastic. Thanks so much Patrick.

Gillooly: Yeah. Great to be here.

Monster: Patrick Gillooly is Director of Digital Communication and Social Media at Monster.

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