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Getting the most out of social media 14/03/2011

Social media tools are a great platform to PR your business. But how do you go about maximising social media opportunities?

Getting the most out of social media

Click to jump to section

  1. Getting started with social media
  2. Twitter & tweeting
  3. Leveraging LinkedIn
  4. Blogging - how to do it
  5. Stepping up with social media

Getting started with social media

2011 is in full swing, the job market is improving, and many professionals are on the lookout for a new position. If your company is recruiting top talent or looking to boost its position as an employer of choice, you need to consider that social media can be a great tool to assist you.

For those who are unfamiliar with social media, or who may be unsure of which platforms to use, the good news is that it can be simple, yet effective, once you know the basics. There is often a misconception that you need to be active using each and every tool.  However, once you understand the benefits of each and the audience they appeal to, you may want to consider a couple to start off with and concentrate on, rather than spend a small amount of time on lots of different platforms achieving very little.

Twitter & tweeting

There's been an increase in the number of businesses and individuals using Twitter to attract candidates or to seek a new opportunity. Although there are many cynics who believe it’s just a tool for telling the world about your lunch choices, Twitter is in fact widely used to shared links and information with your audience. From a HR or recruitment perspective, it can be a good place to gain further industry knowledge, engage with potential candidates and portray your company as an expert in its field.

Twitter is easy to set up. Once you create a profile, take some time to research people and organisations to start ‘following’. Browse relevant publications within your sector to see if they have a Twitter feed, start to promote yours on your website, and tell candidates and employees so they can begin to follow you. Once you have a few people that you are following, keep an eye on what they are talking about and join in the conversation. The more comment you make, the more likely users will start to engage with you and see you as a respected commentator.

You should also consider setting up a separate job feed for your business so each new vacancy is instantly posted to potential candidates. A tool such as Twitterfeed will help you do this.

Leveraging LinkedIn

The number of UK professionals using LinkedIn is increasing rapidly and as such it's a great platform to network and search for talent. However, visibility on LinkedIn is determined by your network of contacts. It's therefore important to connect with people you know and join some of the many groups at your disposal. By joining groups and linking in with people, you will expand your network, not only giving you access to more connections, but also making you more visible to others.

Whether you already have a LinkedIn profile or are thinking of setting one up, it's important to optimise your profile. When individuals are searching on LinkedIn you want to be right at the top of the search list. When filling in your information and summary about yourself keep in mind the keywords that people may use to search with and add these in.  Make sure you add the links to your website, Twitter and blog if you are using these too. It's also a good idea to add a picture to your profile; people like to know who they are engaging with.

LinkedIn also allows you to add a status update to your profile, this can be useful to post a job vacancy but also to link to recent articles you find or may have written.

Blogging - how to do it

Blogs can be used to further promote your brand to both customers and potential employees. Blogs allow a business to communicate with an audience in an informal manner and can be set up easily on websites such as Wordpress.com.

You can use blog posts to showcase your brand as a thought leader in your field and if promoted successfully a blog can start conversations with others in your industry. If you set up a blog, it should be updated regularly and publicised through any other social media platforms you use, as well as on your website. You may also like to use it to post information aimed at sourcing talent for your business.

Stepping up with social media

To be successful with social media you need to take the time to understand the basics and choose the most appropriate tools for your business. The three tools above are by no means a definitive list - Facebook and YouTube are two other channels that are also definitely worth looking at.

Start off with using a couple of social media channels and see how you get on. Most importantly try to get buy-in from the whole organisation to get the most out of your social media channels and don’t try too hard to sell your business. Social media is about engaging with others and showcasing your industry expertise - remember that golden rule.

Sam Woodward, BlueSky PR

Sam Woodward, BlueSky PR

Sam is an Account Manager and Head of Digital at BlueSky PR, specialists in PR and communications for the HR and recruitment sectors.