First Staffing Company to Hit 1M Followers on LinkedIn: What They are Doing Right
June 15, 2015
On Friday, Hays became the first staffing firm anywhere to reach the incredible milestone of one million followers on LinkedIn, an achievement matched by fewer than 20 other companies in the world.
Hays is part of a wide and fast-growing group of staffing firms thinking and acting more like marketers than salespeople. Adecco, Manpower, MichaelPage and Randstad all have followers numbering in the hundreds of thousands. This milestone represents a concerted strategy for Hays as a company to adapt to the rise of social media and what it means for their business and their industry.
Today, around half the world’s professionals are on LinkedIn, and they’re updating their profiles even when they’re not looking for a new job.
In this world, a staffing firm’s ‘little black book’ of contacts is no longer its competitive advantage. Small and large recruitment businesses around the world have been shifting away from acquiring names as a measure of success and towards engagement and conversations with, and among, those professionals. This is the new competitive playing field.
With this shift comes more conversational engagement on three sides: with the employers that they want to work with; the consultants that they want to hire; and the candidates that they want to place.
But what Hays has done isn’t an anomaly. Other recruitment firms can put similar milestones within their reach by focusing on some simple best practices.
The first step for effectively engaging your audience on social media is to bring them together. On LinkedIn, two of the main sources of your audience are your organisation’s Company Page, and the connections of your employees.
Company Followers are a significant asset for many businesses in the social media age. Having an up-to-date Company Page with information about your organisation’s focus areas, the type of clients you work with, and the opportunities you can deliver candidates is table stakes. According to our research, followers of a company are almost 95 per cent more likely than non-followers to respond to an InMail message from that company. They are also more than twice as likely to recommend the company, and more than 60 per cent of a company’s followers also share content published by the company on social media.
Recruitment firms should be encouraging their consultants to establish engaging profiles and build networks of relevant contacts across their specialist areas on an ongoing basis, not just when relevant opportunities come up. This could be through searching for professionals with the relevant skills and experience you typically place, or by joining discussions in LinkedIn Groups. The key here is offering value to the professionals they want to connect with, which can be relevant industry news, research, relevant experience, or other engaging content.
Imagine your firm as the publisher of a magazine or newspaper. Followers are your circulation. Or, more precisely, followers are your subscribers: the people who receive every issue and feel an affinity towards the brand. They are your best means of engaging your more casual readers, or the ones who leaf through a copy that has been left behind on the train.
The content you develop and publish through social media is therefore vital to nurturing your existing audience and attracting and engaging new followers. Of course, content needs to be compelling if you are going to successfully inspire existing followers to share it, making new followers of those it gets shared with and expanding your network of prospects. Otherwise it’s just more noise. This means investing time and effort to make everything you produce relevant and timely for your target audience. It also means using your Company Page, LinkedIn Groups, and your own employees to extend the reach of your content by sharing it with their personal connections.
Once a recruitment firm has built an audience of relevant potential candidates, and has an ongoing dialogue with them driven by relevant content, the final and most important step is far easier. With a growing and engaged follower base, job opportunities can be dropped into ongoing conversations between existing connections, not just used as a reason for starting a conversation from scratch and, at the same time, trying to build trust with the candidate.
We don’t yet know what the next big disruption we’ll have to face in the world of staffing and recruitment will be, but the companies that are adept at adapting are far more likely to still be around when the next big change comes. A massive congratulations to Hays on its milestone, and we look forward to watching more recruiting firms see their audiences and engagement grow in the future.