#Socialrecruiting and the Hashtag – #WhoKnew

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What’s going on? Remind me. How long has Twitter been around? Who hasn’t used, or at least, noticed hashtags since then? So why, oh why, all the fuss and ReTweets since yesterday for a blog post: #Socialrecruiting and the hashtag?

You’d think recruiters had never heard of them. Or even know what they’re all about. Really? If you’ve been in the recruitment industry during the past 5 years – have you never heard of social media?

Interestingly, your candidates (aka consumers) have been lapping up hashtag related marketing for years. Getting involved with them across social platforms. Engaging with brands through them. Having fun. Buying the products.

So what’s the difference when they’re looking for a job? None. But I guess you’ll need another blog post to tell you that.

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Winning awards is great, but…

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Last Thursday, we were awarded Best Use of Social at this year’s RAD awards for the #ReadyforXmas campaign we created and managed for Boots UK. It was great to be recognised by our peers and the industry for what we and Boots were able to achieve across multiple social channels. It means a lot.

However, the recognition and reaction of the social audience, and not just potential candidates, on the various social recruiting accounts that we run often means that little bit more. Unlike award’s judges, they don’t have to do or say anything. But if what you do connects with them, enough to make them tell you, then that’s such a powerful message. It’s one of the things that makes the long hours and hard work so much more enjoyable when you know it’s being appreciated by the people you ‘talk’ to every day.

Why are we saying this now? Well, ironically, almost at the same time as we were going up on stage to collect this recent award, there was a TwitLonger being written to one of our other client’s accounts which sums all of this up and made us feel just as proud, as it included the following message:

“I’d like to say what a great job you do running the twitter, making what would normally be quite a boring twitter feed into one that engages people.”

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It’s about connecting with your audience… through employer branding

Who should an employer brand connect with? Your own employees? Potential candidates? Both? Should it sell your products and sell your culture? Are using your people the best way to do this? Can they truly show your employer personality through their own? Do the mechanics of an EVP have to be transparent in all that you do?

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Take SC Johnson. A multi-national business with a multitude of brands. You know them all. Glade. Mr Muscle. Brillo. Kiwi. To name a few. But who knows the company behind them? And why would you want to work with them? Being known as ‘A Family Business’ meant they have a reputation to live up to. And through focus group after focus group they certainly did. Everyone in the business had a true connection with the brands, the ethos, the company – in fact, everything about it. They felt a real responsibility in what they did for the business. A gratitude for what it did for them, the local community and the world itself.

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Responsible Careers summed up the employer brand. Caring for their employees through training and well-being programmes. Giving to local concerns through the Charitable Trust. Looking after the environment – locally and globally.

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Who better to tell you about all this than the people themselves? No one. So everything on the careers site came from them. Telling you about the company, the family, etc in their own words. Their conversations became the ‘voiceovers’ for the animations used externally and internally to inform everyone of the ethos, nature and structure of the company.

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When there was talk on the website about the Community Days that they hold – this was led by the same ‘branded’ content internally helping them to choose which charities should benefit from their help. The same for development. The same for everything in fact. A seamless brand no matter where you connected to it. And most importantly, for SC Johnson, a responsible one that everyone believes in.

SC Johnson are shortlisted in Employer Brand tomorrow night. After success in the same category in both CIPD RMAs and In-house Recruiter Awards last year, we’ve got all our fingers crossed for a hat-trick.

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It’s about connecting with your audience… through your careers site

Notice how we haven’t referred to it as a careers ‘website’. As we all know this is the age of the mobile site. Every one should be. No matter what the sector. Take hospitality, in this case. We’ve seen that this industry is the most mobile friendly. It is a ‘mobile’ industry by nature, not desk bound. Nor time wise with multiple shifts to accommodate the 24/7 service. This is definitely one sector which is time poor for taking in information. They want it quick. Easy. And engaging. (Or they’re gone.)

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For Le Manoir aux Quat’Saison, the approach needed to be all around quality too. In hospitality circles, it has a renowned reputation as almost a ‘training ground’ for the industry. Not just the chefs, experiencing life in that 2 Michelin star kitchen and being inspired by Raymond Blanc, but also the rest of the teams at the hotel and especially in the restaurant itself. But it had to reflect that in a way that the target audience would embrace.

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So, real people with real stories, real expertise and real experience was on the menu from the beginning. A mobile first site. No point directing someone after their late shift via social media to a site that has less impact on a mobile than the desktop version. So the site is bursting with videos and no copy. Most take under 2 minutes to watch. Tasters of the life and experiences at Le Manoir. Bite size appetizers of what Le Manoir has to offer.

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Together revealing what the whole combination means as an opportunity and career. Showing everything from the importance of the Kitchen board to the drive for constant excellence of Raymond Blanc. And all styled a la instagram (months before said platform introduced video itself).

The result of a bounce rate of only 1% (after 9 months) with an average visit lasting over 5 minutes demonstrates how that audience have truly engaged with Le Manoir so far.

So how will Le Manoir Careers fare on Thursday night – as it is shortlisted in Best Use of Mobile and Employer Website. We’ve obviously fingers crossed for both.

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It’s about connecting with your audience… on the right social platforms

There’s so much choice out there. General platforms. Niche platforms. Popular platforms. New platforms. But which are the right social media platforms? We’ve blogged before about our #BootsStyle campaign in our CIPD series, where we touched upon reaching a niche audience to attract them to join the high street retailer as a Hair Stylist. But how did we know that there was an audience out there and when was the best time to reach them?

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Simply, a mix of social listening and researching with the Boots hair and beauty colleagues. Who better to know how active certain channels are than those who use them? And when. Instagram being the influential platform of choice. And the army of bloggers writing product reviews, hints and styling tips week in, week out. Both creating a real community of not just advocates, but potential candidates.

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Late Sunday night was by far the optimum time for activity on the #bbloggers and #fbloggers streams – and when did we find the most visits on the Boots website for these opportunities? Monday and Tuesday. See that old cliché – right place, right time – does have some truth in it.

On the other hand, what if your roles are open to everyone. (As we’ve said before, social media can be used for so much more than just recruiting graduates.) Take Christmas Customer Assistants. Often the bane of every retailer. To get the best people for their busiest time of the year. This year Boots wanted to get in first. The roles would be opened in June.

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Now if there was ever a campaign where the old joke of Christmas coming earlier every year could be the strategy this was the one. Traditional British seaside imagery with a festive twist lead the way on Facebook. Store colleagues getting ready for Xmas by carol singing on Skegness seafront on video. Sharing a special Festive playlist on Spotify. And offering Christmas gifs on Twitpic. While making Lists for Santa on Twitter. All on the populist social platforms.

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Now you’d think that asking everyone to get #ReadyforXmas six months before the day would have had some ‘bah humbug’ effect, but the fun and engaging approach had the exact opposite with over 80% of the roles filled in those first 3 months.

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With both #BootsStyle and #ReadyforXmas shortlisted not just in Best Use of Social but also Best Integrated Campaign, we’ve our fingers crossed to see what the audience of judges finally thought on Thursday night.

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It’s about connecting with your audience… our #RADS2014 blog event

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Yes, it’s back for a fourth year – the andsome annual blog series inspired by our shortlisted work in the RAD awards. This time around we’re blessed to have a brilliant 7 nominations for Boots, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and SC Johnson.

You’ll find them all here – two in Best Use of Social, two in Best Integrated Campaign and one in each of Employer Brand, Employer Website and Best Use of Mobile.

The common link – they’re all, obviously, based in being social – wherever you are – offline, online or on your mobile. But more importantly, they’re about knowing their audience.

So starting Monday, we’re having a three day blog event focussing each day on reaching and engaging the right audience through employer branding, social platforms and website strategy.

We hope to see you here after the weekend (or at the RADs on Thursday night).

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What is content?

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Reading the majority of blogs you’d think the main source of content worth sharing (and talking about) are other blogs. Plus pieces and the odd infographic from ‘news’ sites. That’s what seems to be the backbone of many a content marketing strategy. Is that it? Especially in recruitment, is content created by others and shared by you (and a multitude of others) the best way to interest candidates to engage with you as a potential employer?

Back in the day, you sold the USP of the employer – by any means necessary. Today, it’s not really any different. We say USP. Most would refer to EVP – but how many of those are truly unique? It may be hard to define that uniqueness. (Hasn’t it always been?) But it is there. No matter what the business, never mind the sector – you have your own corporate personality.

That USP can now be brought to life. Social channels have enabled it to really live and breathe. Nowadays it’s referred to something softer than selling – storytelling, employee ambassadors, social advocates, the list goes on. But whatever the label it’s still about selling. It wants a reaction. Desires to be noticed. Except now you can see exactly by who, when and where. What works. What doesn’t.

Your content enables that. Your videos. Your employee tales. Your Instagrams. Your candidate Q&As. Your Vines. Your Snapchats. Not that ‘here-we-go-again’ blog of 5 tips about how to get a job through social media, written by a recruitment ‘guru’ that’s been seen in your streams, your competitors updates and everyone elses. If that’s all you do, what does it say about your organisation?

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andsome is dead, long live andSoMe

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Times they are a-changing in recruitment and HR and never seemingly more so than in the world of recruitment comms. That’s why after almost 17 years as a generalist communications agency, we’ve decided to go all butterfly again.

From day one, up to the day you’re reading this, we’ve been different. Always staying small, never any ‘departmentalisation’, keen to multitask and looking to be multiskilled.

To begin with we had a website full of games, with none of our work on show – that was over a decade before gamification became the buzzword it is today.

In January 2008, we changed from ‘and advertising’ to ‘andsome’ – as we saw how recruitment was developing from ‘selling’ to ‘engaging’ through a multitude of media.

It was just after that time, we took our first steps on the platform of social media – and have since ended up with some award-winning, creative and effective #socialrecruiting approaches under our belts.

Four years ago, we were the first recruitment comms agency to put out our own mobile app.

At the CIPD RMAs 2011, we had the first Tweet ever shortlisted for the Best Copywriting award.

Then on 26 March 2012, guess who was the first (and only) agency to ditch their website in favour of a Facebook page?

So now, what is next in line for our andsome history?

The clue is in our evolved branding up there – SoMe. The abbreviation of Social Media. It’s a subtle change but one that says a lot. (We think.) As over 90% of our clients and projects are now in the social media space, involving everything from community management, content creating (words/pictures/video) and social employer branding, we are no longer just a communications agency, we’re now a Social Media agency.

Social media for recruitment shouldn’t be a nice to have option for your campaigns or simply an add-on to your existing employer brand plans nowadays. It can (and should) be integral and lead the way. What better medium is there to chat with, get to know and engage your potential candidates every day in real-time? It’s how the world has changed. Which is why it’s all about evolution. We’ve taken another step on our journey. Who knows what will be next?

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So what happened to 2013?

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This time last year, we listed our take on 13 things we hoped not to see so much of during 2013.

How did it go?

Copy Heavy Careers Websites.

Nope, still around and strangely as more sites become mobile-focused, so the content remains more copy based than visual/video

Employer Blanding.

Still plenty of me-too companies out there and for all the talk of the importance of employer branding, due to social activity, still not much movement on differentiating. (Guess that the focus on content curating means similar content?)

The Like, Comment, Share Game.

Thankfully RIP for 2013 in most cases.

Chip Shop Award Entries.

Again another one that seems to have died away, real entries for real clients is the name of the day.

Token Social Media-ism.

A difficult one – determined by how you define tokenism. Running a campaign using social media for it then leaving it to become mundane, or non-existent, would say it’s still around. But most now seem to realise the benefits, even if they’re still toe-dipping.

Social Recruiting Conference Overload.

This one has gone into overdrive this past year.

Big Data instead of Big Ideas.

Data still seems to be everyone’s fav, but…

The Over-Importance of Liking and Following.

Still here and still being used to say how successful your presence/campaign/employer branding has been unfortunately.

Design by Powerpoint.

Doubt this will ever go away for some people.

Facebook is just for Recruiting Graduates.

Nope, still the focus for so many. Shame that other sectors of recruitment are missing out.

Technology over Real Engagement.

Tech has remained the big beast as more often than not it promises engagement but then fails to deliver.

Curating Content rather than Creating Content.

More and more it’s been about creating content – for blogs. Wish for 2014 that there’s a realisation that blogging isn’t the only content creating that’s valuable on social media (especially in recruitment).

and not forgetting the infamous #NewYearNewCareer

Doubt that this perennial will ever disappear, no matter what the media.

Happy New Year from the andsome bunch.

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