CWS 3.0: April 11, 2012

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Why Your Staffing Suppliers Need to Be Social

Back in January, Staffing Industry Analysts Research Analyst Andrew Karpie wrote about how spend management program leaders need to work with their managed services and vendor management software partners to determine how well staffing, SOW and project providers leverage social sourcing to find the best talent.

Karpie set forth a strong argument for why it matters how your suppliers are using social sourcing. (Hint: It’s because social networking helps companies mine untapped sources of talent in places where those resources hang out.)

To add to the ongoing conversation about social strategies and to help the industry better understand its applications, I worked with Staffing Industry Analysts in the first quarter of this year to identify best practices in social networking. Through company self-nominations and some focused research, we identified the most effective users of a wide variety of resources, from blogs to networking and even happy hours to learn how companies use social tools to improve their interactions with customers and grow their business.

Now, I can’t provide the details of our taxonomy or what the exact best practices are. You’ll have to wait until the May 2012 issue of Staffing Industry Review magazine for that, which will be available at the end of this month. But I can give you an overview of the major trends and findings we uncovered. Best practices in social networking include:

  • Aggressively measuring the outcome of social networking programs. Not just in terms of likes and followers, but in ways programs affect company sourcing as well as revenue growth.
  • Evaluating customer service. By monitoring customer comments and feedback via social media, companies can get a unique view of how customers view their service.
  • Converting followers into acolytes, ambassadors and advocates. Because the best way to build a true network is to have disciples who will spread the word about a company. And that leads to referrals.

Armed with this type of information, you can do several things. First, work with your MSP and VMS partners to identify which members of your supply chains adhere to these best practices applications. Then, during supplier forums or other events, recognize those high-achievers so that other suppliers can get the hint that you’re looking for firms that successfully identify talent and resources in unique ways. Finally, make sure that your RFPs for managed services, technology and supply chain partners include questions about how they use social networking in their business.

Jim Lanzalotto, a member of the Staffing 100, runs Scanlon.Louis, a strategy and marketing outsourcing firm, and Evalu8, a digital media buying and social networking company. He can be reached at jim@scanlonlouis.com or 610.212.5411.You can also follow him at twitter.com/jimlanzalotto

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