SI Review: May 2012

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Beyond the Cool Factor

Best practices for social media campaigns in staffing

By Jim Lanzalotto

Social media has become an intriguing topic for many businesses, and those in the staffing industry are no different.

Curiosity among company leaders is rising rapidly and marketing and sales folks have been cajoling and prodding their bosses for resources to test ways to apply a wide variety of social technologies to  their business.

There’s one significant problem with this scenario: There’s more misinformation than know-how about how to  apply, integrate and measure social media.

All of which is why Scanlon.Louis has teamed with Staffing Industry Analysts to identify best practices in social media in the staffing ecosystem. So business leaders can see what works for peer companies and learn about how organizations measure success using a variety of social networking tools.

Nominations for this best practices program came directly to Staffing Industry Analysts via a dedicated online submission form. The nominations were reviewed along a variety of criteria, including strategy, creativity, impact on the business and measurable success.

The greatest learning from this compilation has been the evolution of staffing firms regarding social media. Until recently, nearly all firms evaluated the success of their program by counting followers or likes. Today, the most successful social media programs not only sum volume, they also measure traffic directed to websites as well as tie that traffic directly to  revenue and other business development activities. The savviest users of social media have learned it’s a unique way to generate and qualify leads and service customers.

Best Use of LinkedIn

Company: Bayside Solutions www.linkedin.com/company/162656
Primary Market: Professional staffing
Program: Customer Testimonials
Why it’s a best practice: For many companies, LinkedIn is nothing more than a place to  put up a profile. More forward-thinking firms are creating groups of potential — and current — customers to  curate leads. Take the path followed by Bayside Solutions, a Northern California-based professional staffing firm. The company launched a campaign through LinkedIn asking consultants and customers to  provide testimonials and feedback on their services. The promotion was distributed through Bayside Solutions’ corporate blog, on LinkedIn, Twitter and Face- book. It was also distributed through email marketing and word-of-mouth.

How it’s measured: While the company measured growth in followers from 160 to more than 1,000 today, the greatest value of the campaign is the 159 recommendations and testimonials the company generated on LinkedIn. For a lesser-known firm like Bayside Solutions, testimonials on a third-party site like LinkedIn add significant credibility, especially given how users can link to the endorser to further assess the source’s overall value.

Best Use of Facebook

Company: Kelly Services www.facebook.com/kellyservices
Primary Market: Staffing and managed services
Why it’s a best practice: Forget for a moment that Kelly is one of the largest players in the U.S. market and that it has one of the widest global footprints in staffing. Just focus on the fundamentals the firm has built into its Facebook presence — basics that companies of any size can implement. In each of its markets, Kelly identified the top five social networks that matter to its customers and they use those spots as listening posts. In the U.S., Facebook fits the bill as a way to extend the relationships the firm has with customers, especially candidates for its open positions. But the firm does more than provide a job search engine; it engages its  followers in conversations and works to  build advocates and referrers to  enhance the local one-to-one relationships it has built. One key asset on Facebook: featuring hard-to-fill jobs on a Hot Jobs page.

How it’s measured: The easy way: more than 16,600 likes. The uncommon way: followers that turn into advocates (and their impact on the business).

Best Blog

Company: Yoh* blog.yoh.com
Primary Market: Professional staffing and managed services
Program: The Seamless Workforce
Why it’s a best practice: The cornerstone of Yoh’s social media strategy is a blog called The Seamless Workforce. It provides original content and insight into how the firm’s services contribute to  workforce composition and management.

Currently, a team of 12 (almost all from the business) publishes an average of 25 blog posts per month on topics related to workforce strategy. The Seamless Workforce has an average monthly readership of approximately 3,800 unique visitors and 8,500 blog visits per month.

How it’s measured: Yoh’s overall social program drives approximately 35,000 monthly visitors to the company’s online properties. The visitor-to-conversion ratio is roughly 0.4 percent, yielding an average of 140 leads per month. Revenue derived from Yoh’s social media activities is approximately $5 million.

Best Integrated Social Media Campaign

Company: Harvey Nash www.harveynash.com/socialmedia
Primary Market: IT staffing and outsourcing
Program: Connecting Talent
Why it’s a best practice: Harvey Nash’s social media program is one of the strongest in the industry. What’s most impressive is the planning and effort that went into building an integrated approach, including a detailed strategy with ROI goals, the creation of an internal team to support implementing the plan and assimilation of social media across marketing, sales and recruiting functions. In other words, it’s not just a marketing program. It’s part of the way the company does business, especially in the way online and offline recruiting are unified.

How it’s measured: Harvey Nash’s social media program has directly generated revenue of more than $1 million. An example of that success is how a prospect searched onshore application development in Vietnam, found a link to  a Harvey Nash blog on the subject and reached out directly to  the blog author — a combination of blog, strong keywords management and search engine optimization with an option for lead capture. Plus, the company has built an exceptional foundation for buy-side lead generation with 1,200 CIOs in a focused and interactive LinkedIn group that’s an extension of a unique offline CIO survey. On the candidate side, social lead flow comes from a variety of sources, including referral programs and a career makeover contest.

Best Integration of Social Media and Digital Recruiting

Company: The BOSS Group www.creativeconnects.com
Primary Market: Creative staffing
Program: CreativeConnects
Why it’s a best practice: CreativeConnects is the online companion to  a series of networking happy hours for the creative communities served by  The BOSS Group in seven U.S. markets. The forums are held to build an ecosystem of hiring managers, consultants and candidates and www.creativeconnects.com is a destination site that collects photographs from events as  well as  a job search engine and links to  interactive content on Facebook.

Having the offline events alone helps facilitate The BOSS Group’s place in the market. Continuing the events online drives traffic and enables the development of relationships with both buyers and candidates.

How it’s measured: Buoyed by the success of CreativeConnects, social media accounted for 7 percent of the total jobs filled by the company in 2011 (up from 1.5 percent in 2010), compared with an industry average of 1 percent, according to Bersin & Associates.

In 2011, CreativeConnects generated more than $500,000 in revenue for The Boss Group.

Over the next several months, we’ll continue to highlight best practices in social media. To read about what additional firms in the staffing world are doing with social media, vote on your favorite social media program or submit your program for review, go to www.staffingindustry.com/socialmedia.

Jim Lanzalotto, a member of the Staffing 100, runs Scanlon.Louis, a strategy and marketing outsourcing firm, and Evalu8, a digital media buying company. He can be reached at jim@scanlonlouis.com or (610) 212-5411. You can also follow him at twitter.com/jimlanzalotto.

*The author served as vice president of strategy and marketing for Yoh from 2000 to 2008.

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