In the last few months, I've noticed some recurring themes in the calls I've had with recruitment business owners. Most of these business owners are only now opening their eyes to the power of social media as a business tool. They're realizing that instead of investing in their social media presences in truly scalable ways, they've only been dabbling.
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Perhaps most important of all, these recruitment business owners have also begun to appreciate how realistic it is for their small, niche agencies to punch way above their weight classes – how possible it is to achieve the visibility and business results on social media that they'd assumed were the preserve of larger corporations only.
What do niche recruitment agencies need to do to succeed on social media? Having worked on both our own social media presence here at Social-Hire.com and on hundreds of clients' social media accounts, I believe the following three things are key:
The size of your relevant follower or fan base
The multiplier effect of other people sharing your posts
The social endorsement of other people who share your content or refer your business on social media independently of what you post
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Let's look at each of these elements in turn, with a focus on how your recruitment business could use each to become a dominant brand in its niche recruitment market:
1. The Size of Your Relevant Follower or Fan Base
The initial audience who will see the updates you share on social media is composed of your existing followers, plus those who find your content through searches for hashtags and keywords. It stands to reason that the more followers you have who are highly targeted members of your niche market, the greater the visibility you have in that market.
On each social site it is therefore key that you learn how to maximize your follower growth, with a heavy focus on winning followers from your ideal demographic. You need to understand how to do this on each social site, and then you need to carve out time each week during which your business consistently carries out these efforts. This isn't rocket science, but it does necessitate becoming an expert in the workings of each social site.
As an aside, the amount of work you have to put into growing your follower count is a compelling reason for why you may want to focus on being outstanding on 2-3 sites, rather than building a presence on absolutely every site.
2. The Multiplier Effect of Other People Sharing Your Posts
Follower count is important, but many business owners are overly fixated on it. They believe that this number is, above all else, the ultimate measure of their social presence. However, the reality is that a business can be seen by an audience 20 times bigger than its follower count – as long as the right influencers and professionals are sharing its posts.
How does a business get people to share its content? You have to earn that by being genuinely valuable to people in your niche market. You can also encourage followers to share your content by consistently thanking people for engaging with your business and spreading your message. Everyone likes to be appreciated, and your business will stand out on social media if it's one of the very few organizations that genuinely interact and engage with people, rather than simply promoting the brand every chance they get. If you can build strong relationships with influencers in your market and get them sharing your posts regularly, you'll have an even easier time saturating your market.
3. The Social Endorsement of Other People Who Share Your Content and/or Refer Your Business on Social Media
Being seen by a lot of followers is great. Being seen by 20 times more people through followers sharing your content is even better. Being regularly recommended by professionals in your market, however, is priceless. When people in your market start seeing other people they know and trust recommending your business in some way, that is when you're really harnessing the full power of social media.
Want to see this in action? Have a quick look at the Twitter stream of people sharing content and events from the Social-Hire site. Notice how frequently this is happening and the fact that this stream mostly consists of other people's updates, rather than our own. Every hour, new people are made aware of our business and brought to our site through these tweets.
Now, imagine if this same sort of thing were to happen in your niche recruitment market. Think of all the visibility and website traffic you'd be generating for free!
Unfortunately, many businesses fall at the first hurdle when it comes to achieving results on social media. If your business focuses too much on selling, pushing its latest vacancies, or asking for referrals, you will simply never build a sizable follower base in your market. Without that base, you can't go on to achieve huge social media wins. Focus on being valuable to others in your market; that is the essential building block upon which everything else we've discussed here can be developed.
Tony Restell is the founder of social media agency Social-Hire.com. You can find Tony on Twitter: @tonyrestell.