Social Media and the Contingent Workforce

Join the RevolutionIt is no secret that social media is being used more and more by both job seekers as well as staffing firms. A 2011 study from Jobvite shows that social recruiting continues rapid growth among U.S. companies with 89% planning to recruit through social media in 2011, up from 83% in 2010. As competition for talented contingent labor grows, social recruiting continues to be the most popular area to increase investment.

While almost all surveyed companies (87%) use LinkedIn for social recruiting (up from 78% 2010), most target talent on at least two networks. More than half (55%) use Facebook and 47% use Twitter. The Jobvite Index found that over the first six months of 2011, 73% of all social hires came from LinkedIn, 20% from Facebook and 7% from Twitter.

A recent article from Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) Join the Revolution states that 82% of staffing firms are using social media to source passive and active candidates. In the article, Jerry Wimer, Vice President of Global Operations and Staffing Center of Excellence at Staff Management | SMX,  explains “Social media gives contingent workers the opportunity to connect with each other and our staff in ways that weren’t possible before.”

At Staff Management | SMX, we entered the world of social media after careful considerations about the best ways to reach our target audience. We use social media to connect with potential job candidates, current associates and employees, current and potential clients, and industry peers. Social media allows us to network and to stay engaged with these key constituents and to enhance our brand.

In addition to engagement, we use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in both a paid and non-paid capacity to generate awareness of job openings and drive applicants to our online recruiting and onboarding portal. We have the ability to get real-time reporting based on unique codes that are associated with different social media outlets, and can track how candidates flow through our application process from the initial click on the link through the interview process and ultimately what percentage of those applicants are hired. These quantitative measurements help us make data-driven decisions about our recruitment and social media strategy.

Although social media can be used to connect with prospective employees and stay engaged with current associates, it’s important not to overlook the positive brand awareness that can be created through social media and content creation. While we have found that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the best places to post jobs and content directed at the contingent workforce, a blog can be more targeted towards current and potential clients and industry peers and e-newsletters are a great way to connect with clients via email marketing. Every company is different, however, and it is important to take a good look at your efforts and determine the appropriate strategy for different outlets.

Top Tips for Staffing Firms Entering Social Media:

  • Stay Engaged: With social media you can’t set it and forget it. It requires time, attention and engaging content.
  • You Will Get Negative Comments: While vulgar or inappropriate comments should certainly be removed, use discretion when it comes to deleting negative comments. Negative comments can often be turned around with a helpful, appropriate response. If you solve a problem, it will ultimately create a better situation and a more satisfied associate than if you simply deleted the negative post.
  • Stay Ahead of the Curve: Anticipating change, such as the frequent page layout redesigns on Facebook, helps you to stay ahead of the curve and your competitors.
  • Blog: People often quote the saying  that online “content is king” – what better way to promote unique content and thought leadership than through a company blog? Additionally, it can help drive traffic to your website and social media profiles. As stated by Join the Revolution, “According to a recent study by HubSpot, companies that have a blog receive 55 percent more website traffic on average than companies without one, yet the American Staffing Association recently reported that only 18 percent of its surveyed members are blogging directly on their websites or on platforms that are easy to find through search engines.”

How do you use social media in your recruiting and branding strategies?