A #hashtag isn’t just for Christmas

Over the past week, christmas has officially arrived. And never more so than on social media. This year, how many of the big Xmas ads have been launched on Twitter and Facebook? John Lewis on Twitter. (#Obvs) Tesco on Facebook. M&S. Lidl. Argos. Santa’s list goes on.

Their hashtags are integral to the ads as much as they are the Ad titles. #MagicandSparkle #MakeChristmas are ‘calls to action’, #SpecialBecause are involving, while others such as #MontythePenguin merely tags to remind. Hashtags are the ‘new’ straplines. They have been for a while – we’ve always thought they were (#unsuprising).

To those in Recruitment and HR who still think social isn’t where they should be, or how they can make the most of it, or even what can we do with it. Look and learn. It’s not all about the new-faddism of storytelling. Or the oft-quoted content marketing. There’s more. So much more.

All of the Christmas ads are just…well… advertising. As it’s always been. In many ways they’re as traditional as mince pies and brandy butter. They could have been broadcast years ago. But now they have a more guaranteed way to get talked about than just down the pub or over the kitchen table.

But social media has to be part of the mix at the start. Not the end: “Oh, let’s see how you can promote this over twitter now”. Or the middle: “We have this idea but we need to see how it can work on Facebook”. No, it’s at the beginning. The use of social can be as, if not more creative than, the ‘creative idea’ itself.

And that’s for everything – employer branding, careers websites, grad presences et al – it’s not just for campaigns at Christmas. Unless it is a campaign for Christmas, of course.

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#socialrecruiting the unrecruitment way

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This is a tweet from a candidate after applying for a Marketing role.

To a Twitter account that we community manage.

It’s the kind of feedback that we love. Not solely because it’s complimentary (although that does help).

But because of what it represents. And it’s from a normal person. Who’s applying for a job. Just making a comment they didn’t have to make.

It means a lot to us. More than any compliments from a social media expert. An awards judge. An industry peer. Even a client.

As it vindicates much of what we believe. That your tone and style should represent your brand on social. (Even if your brand is ‘represented’ by outside sources).

He thinks it’s one person. But more accurately, it’s one voice. The ‘employer brand’ voice.

They’d be surprised it’s actually two people. A fifty-something male. A twenty-something female. Both with an interest in the industry sector. But you wouldn’t know.

Why the comment? Possibly because ‘the account’ treats everyone like a person. Not a candidate. We like to chat.

We don’t tweet like a careers account. We don’t ‘sign’ our tweets. We never share a streamful of so-called useful career/interview/recruitment stuff.

Oh, and we tweet jobs. Everyday. All day.

But we also do more. We have conversations every day. Just like people do.

We engage with the followers. Everyday. All day. (And night, in some cases.)

We do silly things. Tweet in Rhyme. We take the ‘mick’ out of people. Promote jobs with Bonnie Tyler lyrics. We make fun.

We don’t wait to be talked to. We start the conversations. (Dutch, Turkish and German included.)

We never plan content. Or schedule updates. It’s reactive. Proactive. Above all, real.

I guess, (we hope) it’s entertaining. That’s what social is about, right? That’s what social recruiting can be. Don’t you think?







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CIPD #RMAs14 – What the Grand Prix means to us

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The Grand Prix at the RMAs last night for a #socialrecruiting campaign.

It’s not just the winning.

It’s the journey we’ve been on to reach it.

Not only with Boots but with all the other clients who entrust us with their social space.

We care about each and every one of you.

Since we started down this road over 6 years ago, we’ve achieved many milestones along the way.

More than the winning of Best Use of Social Media categories at most of the industry awards.

It’s the recognition we’ve achieved for our social media effort in the ‘non-social’ categories.

Like the social media approach that won CIPD Diversity Initiative for ITV over 3 years ago.

My personal favourite of being nominated in Best Copywriting for a campaign of Tweets.

Winning the Grand Prix in the Digiawards against all the mainstream social marketing accounts for a niche recruitment approach.

The satisfaction and involvement we get with candidates across the platforms.

We’ve always championed the social approach.

Way before the many now coerced to join the flow.

We believe in it.

In the doing, rather than the talking.

After all, that’s why we evolved ourselves earlier this year.

It’s not a commercial strategy.

If it was, then our integrity over it wouldn’t sometimes lose us new business.

We give a lot.

Sometimes probably too much.

But that’s just us.

That’s who we are.

And last night, was a pinnacle reached.

So far.

Thank you.

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CIPD RMAs Two Parter – Part 2. Sociable Employer Branding.

Welcome to the 2nd parter of our annual CIPD RMAs blog series inspired by our nominations in 2014. It is the turn of our nomination with The Original Bowling Company in Best Employer Brand to provide today’s topic.

This year’s Best Employer Brand shortlist is quite interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it is so short. Shorter than even Best Copywriting (which only managed a mighty two listed last year). So it does make you wonder with all the industry talk and conferences covering the importance of EVPs and employer brands in this mobile, digital, social world of today, why there are only three contenders here?

And secondly, referring to the ‘social age’ we live in – that only one has ‘sociality’ at its heart? (Although, strangely enough the others have suddenly switched on their socialness in recent weeks as the awards grow closer.)

As a Social Agency, I guess we couldn’t look at any other way but to create a social employer brand. But there always has to be a real reason for it. For social media, for mobile, even for employer branding itself. It shouldn’t be a foregone conclusion. It has to be right.

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The case for TOBC was clear. The employees are predominately young, social and mobile friendly – on shift work in an environment that they’d go out in, if they weren’t working in it. The research confirmed this need for a Social X Mobile approach. A true Sociable employer brand was born.

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The site wasn’t designed for responsiveness or adaptiveness. It was designed mobile first. To be quick and easy. TOBC is anything but corporate. So we grasped the old adage that people don’t believe what company careers sites tell them and let the employees sell the jobs and company themselves. Through their updates, biogs, words, pics and videos. Just like they’d tell you about their day on social media. That’s why the whole site acts as a ‘Social Hub’. And like the working environment of the bowling centres, the site is constantly full of movement through video and animated gifs, it never stands still.

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Which brings us neatly to the Social media aspect. This was integral to the initial strategy. It had to be there from day one. After all, the employer brand is summed up in a hashtag. The job titles are hashtags. The gifs and videos come from the Meme generation. That Meme theme has been taken on into the social platforms across #TBT (ThrowbackThursday) and #FridayFAILS. It’s not all about the jobs here. But when it is, the latest jobs feed on the site comes from the Twitter account, while Facebook generates the updates about Careers at TOBC.

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There is a total ‘living’ brand experience – from special ‘recruitment events’ on Twitter to Days in the Life of the Centres, from charity fund raising to CSR initiatives. These experiences are set to grow and develop in the coming months.

It’s early days, but in the first 3 months over 40% of traffic to the site is through mobile and increasing month on month. The calibre of applicants is improving. Not to mention that their knowledge of what it’s like to work in the two bowling brands is too. And the enthusiasm, realness and fun of the content is proving a decision-making difference, which a recent applicant sums up in a better way than we could:

“I looked on your website and saw the videos of your team members who were really enthusiastic and upbeat about working there. This inspired me to send in my application as I like to have fun at work and being surrounded by a great team.”

Sociable Employer Branding – there’s not really any other way, is there?

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CIPD RMAs Two Parter – Part 1. Recruitment social media isn’t just campaigns

Welcome to the 5th annual CIPD RMAs blog series inspired by our nominations in the awards. For 2014, it’s going to be a two parter. This first one is in recognition for the two nominations for #ReadyforXmas with Boots in Best Use of Social Media and Best Integrated Campaign.

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We are delighted to have two more nominations for the #ReadyforXmas campaign. But it is just one of several that we have created, and continue to do so, over the past 15 months for Boots. Each one might be targeted by nature to different audiences, and that adaptability is just one of the beauties of social media, but the overall ‘social media effect’ for Boots as a recruiter says so much more. It never stops. It’s constantly on. And for those who think that a ‘job advertising’ strategy isn’t the way to do social, maybe you need to think again. It’s not what you do, but how you do it.

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Externally, with this strategy, followers across the Twitter and Facebook have grown over 16,000 in just over 12 months. From zero candidate engagement, there are now constant daily conversations and private messaging across the platforms. As testament, according to the Social Recruitment Monitor, @Boots_Jobs tweets out 3 x more times every week than the majority of accounts. (That’s around 150 tweets and @replies). Click thrus, likes, RTs, Shares, have all increased, as you’d expect. So has the quality of applicants, which you may not. The creation of new campaigns and ‘events’ plus utilising more ‘social platforms’ in an unexpected way is constantly keeping the buzz alive.

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Internally, there is an organically growing awareness (and pride) of the Boots recruitment social media. Advocates and ambassadors have come to the fore naturally. Certain departments of the business champion the updates for their area without any need for activation, they do it naturally. They’re proud to be associated with what it stands for. There is a willingness and enthusiasm to represent the business in words, pictures and video across the social platforms that wasn’t apparent a year ago.

And all of this wouldn’t have been achieved without the trust and partnership between Boots and andSoMe. Isn’t that what recruitment in Social Media is all about? Engagement inside and out. Awards like the CIPD RMAs still seem to only recognise the old-fashioned virtues of finite campaigns where as, in all honesty, social media ‘campaigns’ should just run forever.

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Watch out for our CIPD RMAs Blog Part Two tomorrow where we look at Social Employer Branding.

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Happy with your content?

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Content Marketing. It’s everywhere. And I don’t mean in reality, I’m referring to the buzz, the noise, the constant chatter regarding it. Back in the day, pre-social, it was just marketing – or even, dare the word be spoken nowadays, advertising. That’s now a dirty word for many. Along with broadcasting. No, it’s true – the world has moved on. (But maybe not as much as you think.)

People don’t mind advertising. If it’s good. Interesting. Intelligent (in its own way). Social can be abuzz with the latest TV marketing extravaganza. John Lewis, Nike, Adidas, anyone? It can still be the best art of storytelling around. One that everyone can engage, share and feel part of. Better than a ‘clever’ tech gimmick. More human than many a blog post.

And all this talk of content? Be it visual. Blogs. Video. Infographics. Instagram. Vines. Snapchat. Even Soundcloud. And more. It’s nothing without one thing. No, it’s not Strategy. It’s an idea. A big idea. The bigger the idea, the better. Now that’s what makes great Content Marketing. Funnily enough, it’s also how great advertising has always happened too. See somethings really don’t change.

PS. At this point on many other blogs, you’d probably get a cheesy ‘advertising’ sales pitch about getting in touch if you’d like to talk about your Content Marketing.

PPS. We’re not like that.

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Burst that #socialrecruiting bubble

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Sometimes it’s good to get away. Too often it’s quite easy on social media to stay sucked in your niché. You see too many examples of recruitment people, agencies and recruiters doing the ‘what everyone says you should do’ approach. Putting out ‘interesting’ content. Sharing blogs. Retweeting industry titbits. Tweeting under conference hashtags. You know… the usual.

The danger is that you see/think/believe that everyone on social behaves like you do. Take the regular user. Or even a passive candidate. They don’t necessarily share blogs constantly with their friends. They probably haven’t thought to Favourite tweets to save them for later. The hashtag streams they get involved in are for TV programmes, ads or the latest random trending one that breaks through their friends streams. It’s about the enjoyment of using it for what it does. Rather than the ‘mechanical’ action of content sharing for the sake of it. On the spur of the moment. Not planned. Unscheduled. Literally, it is ‘Real’ time.

So forget you work in the ‘business’ and use it like a noob. No rules. No expectations. You need to burst that social recruiting bubble every now and again to feel how and why your candidates use it – that way you’ll know how to use it for them. For recruiting. For the better.

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#Hashtags – used and abused.

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Taken from a recent Social Recruiting tips blog:

Overusing and misusing hashtags. Hashtags are one of the most overused and abused marketing tools on social media platforms Twitter, Instagram and now Facebook. Many people think that adding 10, 15, 20 tags is a great way to generate interest in a post. And sure, adding hashtags like #love, #peace or #tranquility will probably get you a few likes, but it won’t actually create real interest in your posts OR brand. The best way to use hashtags is to promote specific events or to aggregate updates regarding a particular topic, like #SXSW2014. Look at hashtags as a way to find people talking about your topic of interest, not to generate likes or shares.

This advice kills me. Firstly, it’s so wrong. We’re proving that everyday on Twitter with a careers #socialrecruiting account were the jobs are posted with an average of 7 hashtags. (We even get the community to create their own for us to use.)  We use them not only to get noticed by a wider audience but it’s the Tweetstyle tone of voice that we’ve evolved for that account. And it works. The account followers have grown threefold since this approach began a year or so ago. The engagement with them is constant. And the hashtag overloaded tweets? Well, they all get retweeted and favourited every time. Oh, and much more importantly it achieves an average 1000 clicks a week through to apply for the actual jobs. Not bad for a so-called over abused technique. But hey, you should steer clear as they don’t create any real interest in your brand or jobs, do they?

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Whatever happened to Community Management in Recruitment?

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The advent of a new buzz phrase called Content Marketing, that’s what. The all-encompassing obsession until the next new thing comes along. And how many times when reading all this buzz of Content for recruitment, do you see the mention of scheduling? Plenty. There’s talk of sharing. No sight of interaction. And definitely hardly a whisper of any reaction from your audience. Do conversations with your ‘community’ not count nowadays? Good community management should lead the way. There’s more to good Content Marketing than a scheduled Content Plan. You need to adapt, react and be proactive. At the time. On time. That’s what good community managers offer.

Take one of our Social Recruiting accounts on Twitter. We’re unable to share any regular content – the client/projects are too secretive to openly share day-to-day. So with zero shareable assets, what can you do? Well, you could just take the auto-tweet ATS route and share inane job tweets. There’s always the ubiquitous sharing of ‘helpful’ content like every other corporate account does. (That makes you really stand out, doesn’t it?) Or with some creative Community Management, you could engage your audience every single day. Involving them in how you should promote any jobs that particular day. Talk to them about topics they’re interested in. Gaining a following of loyal engagers. That takes insight. A real knowledge of your audience. It takes an interest in the sector.  As an external Community Manager, you need to be as passionate for the brand as an internal counterpart – in fact, you can become more so.

That’s the true value of being engaged with your audience, as they are with you. Isn’t that more insightful and important than knowing what time to schedule that piece of content?

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In #socialrecruiting, no one can hear you scream

It’s been a while since the last andSoMe blog post. Over 2 months in fact. One distraction has been just general busyness – putting what we do day-in, day-out in front of our ‘own interests’. We honestly love what we do. The people we work with and the people we talk with on social. Quite often, they really do make our day. Especially the candidates out there. The communities that have developed on certain platforms. The comments we get back. The chats we have. They ground you. Make sure you never forget. Remind you of what this is all really about. It’s not all about creating content. This world of recruitment in social media. The human side of it is what makes such a huge difference.

Which makes the second reason for our lack of blogging… probably all the more surprising… so, what is it?


10 Ways To Use Google Plus For Recruitment In 2014

Using Twitter As A Social Recruiting Tool

Is Your Employer Brand Social Recruiting Ready?

Social Media Recruiting For Talent Acquisition

50 Things Recruiters Can Do on Facebook

Why YouTube is Essential for Social Recruiting

How to Leverage Social Channels for Recruiting

#SocialRecruiting with #Instagram

5 Great Articles About How to Make Candidates Like You!

Social Media, friend or foe?

The Social Recruiting Trends To Watch Out For in 2014

Top 12 Twitter Tips for Social Recruiting Success

How Social Recruiting Gets the Next Big Job Placement Won

This is a snapshot of tweeted blog titles. All seen within a 24 hour timeframe. Mostly full of over generalised opinion. A lot of talk. A hell of a lot of theorising. Complete lack of real practice. But ever-so overwhelmingly off-putting. Just so much noise. As if each one is being discovered and written about the very first time, every time. (Which in 99% of the cases it isn’t). It’s in danger of becoming… dare we say it… boring.

So why would you ever want to write another blog on #socialrecruiting again?

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