The goal of a staffing agency is to find qualified people to work for clients who are willing to pay for the service. While this sounds simple, we all know it can be a significant challenge. The logistics of managing such an operation is daunting, but just like diners to a restaurant, or drivers to a car dealership, ultimately there has to be an awareness that your business exists by both sides of the labor market. Creating awareness is more than just existing. It is about breaking through the noise, standing out, and getting attention.
Thus enters the social media dilemma.
Twenty years ago, promoting your staffing firm might have included an ad in the newspaper, a listing in the phone book, or a promotion on a park bench. Now, you’re concerned about SEO, tweets, posts, engagement measurements, and email opens and click-throughs as tools to ensure you’re gaining the attention of the top talent that you want to source.
The explosion of digital marketing can seem maddening, but even more maddening is losing opportunity and business, simply because you are unable, or even worse, unwilling to accept that this is the how business is done.
Google started in 1998. Facebook was founded in 2004. YouTube, 2005. Twitter, 2006. And the list keeps growing, including LinkedIn, Google+, and visual powerhouses like Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram. Not to mention the number of job boards that staffing also uses, like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, ZipRecruiter, and more. And many of us think that we have to Use. Them. All.
With these new platforms have come new terms, techniques, and processes. And just staying current as a user – and becoming proficient – can become all-consuming. It can be overwhelming trying to create and track original content tailored for each of these platforms or, better still, trying to manage your online reputation.
But never fear. Take a deep breath. You can always contract the services of a marketing firm to handle all this for you or you can keep it in-house and use tried and true methods.
First, use the principles of the marketing funnel – awareness, interest, consideration, conversion, and advocacy.
The marketing funnel is as true today as it was years ago. The goal is for people to know you exist, buy your product, and eventually sing your praises. From these principles, everything else follows.
Second, identify your market audience.
Who are you trying to communicate with? What message are you trying to send them? You can probably assume that the fifty-year-old-male industrial worker is not likely hanging out on Snapchat. Of course, do your research first to determine exactly where your audience is located and how to reach them. Never assume.
Third, plan your content.
Are you going to use visual imagery? Are you going to “boost” the messaging? How should your content “read”?
As an example, consider this recent campaign from a staffing firm in Virginia. The agency was having a difficult time attracting assembly line candidates until they did three simple things:
- They changed the job description to “if you are interested in a dependable job, steady income, and predictable hours, then consider applying at our branch office for assembly line work.”
- They created an image that best represented the work.
- They ordered up on Facebook an ad for $200 to run over the course of a week targeted at ages 18-65 living within twenty miles of their branch location. This simple investment, combined with visual appeal, a defined audience, and precise language yielded a strong group of applicants to select from for the client.
Of course, this same game plan could work for a myriad of possibilities (including traditional media). But while many platforms are certainly willing to accept your hard-earned dollar; don’t feel compelled to choose them all. Choose the one(s) that make the most sense and will yield the best results.
Fourth, evaluate campaign effectiveness through measurement.
Almost every social media platform has some form of analytics. Facebook offers “Insight”, Twitter and LinkedIn have back-end analytics, and all of these inbound sources can be tracked through Google Analytics if installed on your website. You can also use helpful tools like Bit.ly or Hootsuite to track campaign clicks. Or it can even be as simple as asking a client upon conversion “how did you hear about us”?
What matters is not how you get the data, but that you get the data.
Tracking is fundamentally important for the entirety of a campaign otherwise you might as well be evaluating how many stars are in the sky through a fog. By tracking, you’re able to determine how people are moving through the funnel. Where are the drop-off points? You will be able to see the ROI and make effective course adjustments to your marketing campaigns with precision, as opposed to trying to do everything with hopes of something working. (As an aside, Hootsuite has the added bonus of being able to post to multiple social media platforms simultaneously.)
Finally, all of this matters very little if your company does not provide value. If the client and applicants don’t see your service as genuine, helpful, and effective, then be prepared for your efforts in marketing to be unsuccessful.
The bottom-line is that it’s easy to get caught up in the social media arms race, and there is plenty to consider in the process, but standing firm on fundamental principles of business and communication will bring your marketing into focus.