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Ask Haley: Staffing and social networking sites (a clarification)

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Q: In last week’s Ask Haley, you noted that staffing companies have nothing to lose by creating pages on Facebook and Myspace, but that the time might be better invested elsewhere. 

What about LinkedIn?

A: First, my apologies. In last week’s Ask Haley, I responded to a question about using MySpace and Facebook to create company pages for staffing firms.  Unfortunately, I think the way we worded our email created more questions than it answered.  The question in last week’s Ask Haley was: “Should our staffing company jump into social networking sites?”  But it really should have been: “Should our staffing company jump into social networking by creating pages on MySpace and Facebook?”
Here’s my answer to last week’s question:

For the bigger question that was asked about using LinkedIn and other social networking sites in general, yes, I firmly believe they have become essential tools to just about every staffing and recruiting firm. Here are just a few suggestions for ways you can (and should) be investing time with social networking sites:

1. Recruiting*
– Build a network of passive and active candidates in the disciplines you serve.
– Research candidates you can directly recruit.
– Develop a network of people you can solicit for referrals.

2. Prospecting
– Research specific companies to find contacts you can target for direct marketing.
– Join industry groups to learn more about the companies you serve.
– Follow thought leaders in your field on Twitter and in their blogs.
– Constantly grow your personal network by inviting everyone you meet to be part of your network on sites like LinkedIn and Plaxo.

3. Company Branding
– Become members of relevant groups that support the types of clients you serve.
– Become a regular contributor to industry blogs.
– Answer questions related to staffing issues for the groups you join.
– Start groups around topics that tie together your expertise and the industries you serve.
– Blog about your clients and the successful ways they use your services.
– Build a positive online reputation by encouraging endorsements.
– Set up a Google News alert to keep tabs on your online presence.

With social media, the best advice I have read is to be everywhere your customers are.  Make yourself visible by sharing your expertise and solving problems. Be genuine. Be sincere. And be persistent.  Social media is not a quick lead generation tool, and you definitely do not want to be salesy or self-serving. Its best uses appear to be for research and branding, and while the value of creating a company page on MySpace or Facebook may be questionable, the value of building an extensive online reputation and network is undeniable!

* If you’re looking for some true wisdom on maximizing the value of social networkings sites for recruiting, contact Mark Berger at SWAT Recruiting or Shally Steckerl at Job Machine. These guys are THE experts!

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