Is Social Media the Silver Bullet for Hiring?

two guys on a computerSocial Media isn’t just a fad anymore. When we take a look at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we don’t think of them as fun little widgets. Instead, we often see them as platforms that can make or break us. Social media, it seems, is here to say.

But here is the question that begs asking: how much time and money should we invest in our social media marketing? And is it really a silver bullet for hiring?

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Checking in on Our Favorite Social Media Platforms (Part II)

Socialmedia

As we mentioned in our previous post, taking the time to keep our recruiting tools in good shape is one of the most important factors to having a successful recruiting program. And nowhere is that truer than with the most fickle of our recruiting tools: social media platforms.

On Tuesday, we gave you a brief rundown on some of the things happening with Facebook. Today, we are going to finish up with one more update on the social media giant, as well as the next big contender, Twitter. Take a look below:

Facebook nips mobile bug

For those who have an iOS product (iPhone & iPad), you have most likely experienced a crash or two while using the Facebook app. These crashes are often quite frustrating, especially when you are in the middle of something.

After much investigating, Facebook discovered that the large number of crashes were due to an issue with the coding (Check out Mashable’s post to read in full detail). Fortunately though, Facebook was able to fix the problem within a few hours, cutting the iOS app crash rate by about 50%.

As for what this means to companies who use the social media platform as a part of their recruiting arsenal/general work—it shows that Facebook is putting in the time and effort to expand and improve their mobile app. They are expanding their platform to wider audiences, as well as gaining a better following from their current users. In turn, there is the potential for your company to tap into a larger pool of users (i.e. potential candidates or clients), especially considering the amount of people who are now using their mobile phones to access the Internet.

Twitter now has Favorites in the Main Timeline

Much to the chagrin of “tweeters”, Twitter has now added favorites to users’ main timelines, (similar to retweets).

The new update has become somewhat controversial since the favorites do not necessarily pertain to anything the user actively does or retweets in their timeline. According to Mashable, the new update will either show tweets users they follow favorite, or tweets from accounts a user they follow follows.

Suffice to say, this may deter users from using the social media platform since it can potentially remove the aspect of Twitter that many enjoy –maintaining your own profiles and reaching your target audience. In particular, the new timeline feature could disrupt businesses that use Twitter to show how their brands personally engage in certain conversations.

Twitter has a new shopping service

On the bright side, Twitter has begun rolling out a new feature that will allow users to make purchases on the social media platform. Though it is unclear when it will become fully functional, or how companies will be able to go about using the new feature, this will potentially be a great feature for businesses that want to get in on the mobile-buying market but haven’t been able to do so in the past.

What do you think about these new updates? Do you love them or hate them? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!


photo credit: Book Worm Laser & Design via photopin cc

Job Seekers: Are You Taking Advantage of Twitter’s New Layout?

twitter logo painted

On Friday, we talked about some of the brand new updates that Twitter has begun rolling out this month and why they are so important to businesses looking to maximize their outreach on the social media platform.

As we mentioned, these updates will be a big game changer for businesses when it comes to exposing their brand, recruiting efforts, and leads.

But these big changes will benefit more than just businesses. They’ll also make a big impact on job seekers, too.

Believe it or not, your professional social media presence is similar to that of a business’–you are responsible for maintaining your image (i.e. brand), your credentials, and much more.

And, since “54% of recruiters turn to Twitter when vetting candidates”–which Mashable contributor Stephane Le Viet believes “is likely to increase” due to the new features–it only makes sense that job seekers take the time to update their handles too, in order to benefit from the redesign.

To show you how do that, here are a few ways to take advantage of Twitter’s new layout in order to better your chances of landing a job on your next job hunt. Take a look below:

  • The visual resume. Twitter has gone more visual than ever, with its banner update, embedded videos/photos, and filter feature. Take advantage of this by creating a profile that will show off your professional side.

    For example, you can add a formal headshot or semi-formal photo for your profile image, a personalized, but tasteful banner, and a nice selection of career-oriented videos and images that you find relate to your work ethic and credentials.

  • “Pinned” and best tweets. Gone are the days of sequential tweets. With Twitter’s new “pinned” tweets and best tweets, you have a chance to choose what your Twitter profile says about you.

    Take advantage of the “pinned” tweet feature by showing off your credentials, work ethic, or whatever you think is the number one trait that will get you hired. As for the best tweets, a lot will depend on your followers, but you can take advantage of the feature by strategically tweeting and retweeting (hopefully get others to return the favor) what you think will showcase your qualifications as a professional.

What have you done to take advantage of Twitter’s new layout? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: eldh via photopin cc

Checking In On Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn After Their Fourth Quarter Earnings

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn–the all-important trifecta of social media platforms–recently reported their fourth quarter earnings, giving investors and commentators a chance to weigh in on how they’ve been doing.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked a little bit about two out of three of these social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) and how they’ve been doing individually as they make their way into the New Year. But how have these companies been stacking up when we put them up against one another?

Well, by the look of things, we have somewhat of a mixed bag.

Shares for LinkedIn plunged 11% in after-hour trading last Thursday after the company reported a disappointing outlook–total sales ranged between $2.02 to $2.05 billion, which is well below analysts’ forecast of $2.2 billion.

LinkedIn also reported a 13.8% increase in sales, clocking in much lower than Twitter, which rang in at a 44% increase, and Facebook, which registered a 28% increase.

On the other hand, LinkedIn reported double the amount of user growth, with a 6.9% increase compared to Twitter’s 3.9%–down from a 6.4% growth in the previous period, which led to a devastating 24% drop in shares, and Facebook’s, which sat at a 3.4% growth rate, despite Facebook’s 63% increase in revenue and an eightfold increase in profit for the fourth quarter.

While taking a look at these companies’ earnings might not be all you should think about when weighing in on their potential for growth (or whether you should call it quits on the platforms) it does help to give you a better idea of where they stand.

By now, you might be wondering how to decide which social media platform to concentrate on in 2014. But honestly, the biggest takeaway from all of this is not that you should go ahead and pick one social media platform to use from now on—quite the opposite, actually.

Instead, think of this as a way to review all of the social media platforms that are a part of your recruiting/marketing arsenal. As we always like to point out, it is essential that you keep yourself acquainted with the ins and outs of all of your tools.

And at this point, even though we have a mixed bag as far as platform growth is concerned, the best strategy here seems to be to continue working with a mix of all the main social media platforms. Do that, and you should be safe all throughout any future growth or retraction.

Should We Be Concerned about Twitter’s Sluggish User Growth?

Yesterday, Twitter’s market value plummeted amid concerns over the social media platform’s slow-moving user growth, with shares falling as much as 24%. 

Twitter has also seen a drop in its “timeline views,” its own advertising metric, which the company uses to gauge existing user engagement (timeline view is measured every time a user refreshes a page on a desktop or mobile device).

Not surprisingly, loss of interest in the social media platform among its current user base, coupled with the sloth-like user growth has left investors unimpressed, with Twitter showing just 3.8% (9 million) users more than the previous quarter, down from a 6.4% growth in the previous period.

As a result, Twitter now finds itself in a similar predicament to Facebook. However, Facebook’s growth peaked at a much higher number than Twitter’s–around 1.23 billion.

Changes are coming 

Fortunately, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo admitted that there are certain changes that need to be made if the company wants to improve their user numbers.

The hope is that new features and updates to the service will help to make the platform much more user-friendly (such as organizing conversations by topics)–a concern that some think has kept Twitter from becoming as popular as the social media giant, Facebook.

One good thing we can point out is Twitter’s rise in revenue, which jumped from 97 cents per 1,000 timeline views in the previous quarter to $1.49 currently, which that shows Twitter is drawing more revenue from its users. However, as it stands, that’s still not enough to keep investors confident in the company, which means that Twitter needs to act fast.

How concerned should we be about Twitter’s future? While we don’t think you should jump to any conclusions and abandon your Twitter account, we do think that you need to keep on eye on the social media platform, just like you would for any other recruiting tool in your arsenal.

Things can always take a turn for the worst, which is why it’s always important to have a backup plan if and when you need to get things back up and running–and one way to do that is to ensure you have a well-rounded and fine-tuned recruiting arsenal.

What do you think about Twitter’s current situation? Do you think these new updates will help improve the platform? Let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Finding the Right Balance When Engaging with Followers on Social Media

Last Friday, we talked about the recently published study by Simply Measured on the Twitter accounts of 98 of Interbrand’s top 100 global brands. In that study, they found that within a three-month span, around 92% of the tops brands tweeted at least once per day, yet 54% of the brands sent less than one @reply per day.

As we mentioned, engaging with followers on social media is an essential part of using these platforms for your business. But of course, how you go about engaging them is equally as important, too.

Case in point? A few weeks back, a story surfaced on Buzzfeed about the most unlikely of friendships between a man and his local Applebee’s Facebook page.

Chip Zdarsky, a Toronto-based journalist and comic book artist, noticed the lack of response by followers to the status updates of his local Applebee’s page. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and began what would end up being a months-long relationship with the chain.

The local chain was more than willing to respond to Zdarsky’s comments, which varied from questions about the food to what movie he should watch that night.

What’s the takeaway?

This, of course, ended up providing the Internet with some good laughs and in Zdarsky’s opinion, was a very lighthearted attempt at revealing the human behind the computer and not an attempt at trolling the page at the company’s expense.

Still, it does bring up a good point as to how far companies should go in terms of engaging with their followers. Here are some ways to handle it:

  • Assess the situation. Before you respond, it’s always good to try and put the situation into perspective. Things can escalate pretty quickly on the Internet, so figure out what you want to say before you go ahead and say it.
  • Not every question demands an answer. While we always think you should try your best to answer every inquiry that comes your way, sometimes it’s easy to tell whether or not the person is really serious. If you can tell that someone is just looking to cause trouble, you don’t have to respond.
  • Politely and quietly end the conversation. Although it’s better to try your best to avoid these situations altogether, if and when you find yourself in a situation that has the potential to go south, simply try to end the conversation. It’s better to try and move on rather than add more fuel to the flame.
  • Keep your cool. Above all, make sure to keep your cool. It’s never a good idea to pick a fight on social media, especially when it comes to trolls. What you don’t want is to give them an excuse to fire back.

We’re all for engaging with followers on social media, but sometimes it’s not worth it. Keeping these tips in mind can help you prevent any social media meltdowns from occurring, and saving you the grief of picking up the pieces. While stories like Zdarsky’s and Applebee’s are funny, other people you interact with on social media may not be as kind.

Are You Engaging with Twitter Followers More or Less than Top Brands?

In the past, we’ve talked about why engaging your followers is an essential part of using Twitter for your business. Yet, as we noted, there is an abundance of businesses on social media who rarely try to communicate with their customers. 

But we’re not just talking about small businesses that simply make Twitter handles and never use them—we’re talking about some of the top brands who frequently update their Twitter multiple times throughout the day.

Recently, Simply Measured, a social media analytics provider, did a study during the final three months of 2013 on the Twitter accounts of 98 of Interbrand’s top 100 global brands.

Here is what they found:

  • About 92% of the top brands tweeted at least one per day.
  • The average company tweeted at least 12 times per day
  • However, around 54% of these brands sent less than one @reply per day
  • Simply Measured noted that “while top brands are dedicating resources to brand promotion, many aren’t engaging with users in a one-on-one capacity.”

One limitation of report, as noted by Simply Measured, is that some brands may engage customers with direct messages to their inquiries, which Simply Measured does not track.

Still, one-on-one engagement in a public setting (i.e. Twitterverse) is an important way of showing all of your followers that you are listening. One company who understands the kind of impact this can make is Pizza Hut, which Simply Measured said was “one of the most engaged brands on the list,” averaging about 33,659 @replies during the three-month span –accounting for nearly half of total @replies (68,000) of all Interbrand companies on the list.

Other companies paled in comparison, with top brands like eBay only averaging 5 @replies during the three-month span, Amazon with 4 @replies, and Disney at a measly 1 @reply.

While looking at these numbers may put you at ease for the time being, it should also be a great incentive to push you towards engaging your followers more often. Sure, top brands like eBay and Amazon might be able get away with not replying because of their strong presence, but smaller companies can’t really afford to let customer inquiries slide by. Make sure you make a conscious effort to engage your customers and show them that you care.

What do you think about this study? Do you think you engage your Twitter followers more or less than these top brands? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Is Google Trying Too Hard with Google+?

In 2013, we had our eye on Google+ as one of the up and coming social media platforms to emerge in 2014.

As it stands, Google+ certainly seems like a force to be reckoned with, but not exactly in the way we had predicted. To put it simply, Google+ is steadily gaining momentum, but in a way that might actually turn away users. Here’s why:

Recently, Google made some changes to its services that would allow any Google+ user to send emails to your Gmail account, even if they don’t know your email address; the email would only be revealed if the recipient responded back to the sender. Still, the response from Gmail users wasn’t exactly positive. Many found it to be an invasion of privacy and found it even more irritating that the change ran on an “opt-out” model rather than an “opt-in” one, which meant users would have to go into their settings in order to stop the changes to their email.

This, of course, was only the most recent attempt by Google to integrate one of its services with Google+. At the tail end of 2013, Google tried to require users on YouTube (owned by Google since 2006) to sign up for a Google+ account in order to comment on videos. Users were outraged by the change, including YouTube co-founder, Jawed Karim, who had more than a few choice words to say.

We can’t say we entirely blame Google for wanting to pique people’s interest for Google+. The social media platform did, after all, get off to a slow start with a two and a half year lull. Still, Google’s idea of requiring people to join their social media platform in order to use their other services seems a bit forced, if not extreme, especially considering Google’s past tactics that usually got people interested in their services because of how exclusive they seemed (i.e. Gmail’s invite-only model).

As Mashable contributor Chris Taylor puts it, “The parties we want to join, it turns out, are the ones that might be just a little too cool and exclusive for us. And right now, that’s certainly not Google+.”

If nothing else, this serves as a reminder that not every recruiting tool or social media platform is as cool, or performs as well as it seems. You always have to take step back and make sure they’re working correctly; otherwise, when things finally do go south, you’ll be out of luck.

What are your thoughts on Google+? Did you have high hopes for the social media platform? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you.

Is Social Media Worth It for Businesses?

In many ways, social media is incredible. Estimates last year found that nearly 1 in 4 people worldwide are on social media, making it an incredibly far-reaching method of communication.

And here on this blog, we’ve said before that social media can have great benefits for your brand. From boosting the effectiveness of your job postings, to helping you recruit new employees, and everything in between, social media has a lot of practical applications for brands today.

Even so, there’s no denying that social media platforms can be fickle, meaning that brands online have to be able to adapt at a moment’s notice unless they want to run the risk of losing out on precious time and resources.

Recently, contributor Jason Abbruzzese of online tech-site Mashable wrote about some of the roadblocks that companies have been faced with due to the constantly changing algorithms of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

For example, social media king Facebook went through quite a few changes within the year 2013 alone. As a result, brands began to see a decline in their organic reach, which in turn affected a lot of the time brands spent building a following.

Facebook’s recommendation? Increase your ad buys in order to offset the decline.

As Jason noted, “[Facebook’s] move highlighted a frustrating reality for advertisers: Social media efforts operate at the whims of companies that own the platforms.”

And, because social media happens to be such an important tool, Jason argues that there’s not much companies can do other than to adapt or look for ways to supplement their Facebook advertisements.

So, is social media worth it for businesses seeking to build their online presence?

Here’s our takeaway: Yes (and no).

Social media platforms are incredibly powerful tools when it comes to getting your brand and company out there. That being said, you shouldn’t become a slave to them all, and one way to fight that is by having a keen sense of what social media platform your target audience goes on.

By being able to properly identify where your target audience gathers online, you can increase the effectiveness of your time on social media, making your business less susceptible to big changes like Facebook’s that we mentioned above.

This also serves as reminder that you should have a well-balanced and well-rounded recruiting tool kit. Doing so can help you weigh out the options of how much time, effort and money you should put towards tools like Facebook, any other social media platform, mobile recruiting apps, etc.

Relying too much on one thing is never a good idea. As with the case of social media platforms, the worse case scenario would be that you would have to shell out a lot to pay for advertising that may or may not be fool proof, which can be a pretty risky move.

If nothing else, this is a statement of our support of social media—but only if used correctly. Too many brands haphazardly get online and hope for the best, and that’s not acceptable any more. Social media is only worth it for businesses if they put in the right amount of time and effort into crafting a well-rounded (and well-executed) online strategy.

At AIM Careerlink, we have some great tools that can serve as a foundation (and beyond) for the ultimate recruiting tool kit. Start with us and you’ll have a better recruiting experience!

4 Hashtag Hijacks (and What We Can Learn from Them)

Hashtags are a great way to start a conversation about your brand or campaign on social media–but the tables can be turned if you don’t use them correctly.

There have been a few bad hashtag hijacks (or attempts to start a hashtag gone wrong) recently. To help you know what to look out for if you’re thinking about trying to start up a hashtag, we’ve collected a few of the worst, adding in some advice how to avoid becoming a victim of your own hashtag hijack.

#AskJPM

We already detailed this JPMorgan Chase fiasco in a post earlier this week, but seeing as this is the most recent hijack on the list, we figured we would mention it again.

The lesson: Keep hashtags from being open-ended. Open-ended hashtags invite people to say whatever they please, and can turn negative very quickly. The more specific your hashtag is, the less likely it should be to be taken and used in a way you didn’t intend.

#McDStories

This one is biggest hashtag disaster on the list. Rather than sparking a conversation that would show people’s immense love for McDonald’s, #McDStories became an epic bashing that detailed horrific happy meal moments, from fingernails and feathers in food, to stomach-churning sandwiches. It also included stories from former employees of the mega-franchise, which definitely didn’t do much for its employer branding.

The lesson: This is another example of why you shouldn’t use vague hashtags. But even more than that, we can also learn that you should 1) never underestimate the creativity of internet trolls and 2) never overestimate the popularity of your brand. You should always weigh the pros and cons of what you say and do before starting any campaign like this.

#CleanWins

A few months back, Tide started using the hashtag #CleanWins. Here is the original tweet:

When your wife washes your Super Bowl Miracle Stain, you don’t get mad. You get even. #cleanwins http://t.co/veW1gK5y8T

— Tide (@tide) September 5, 2013

This seems like a pretty tame tweet, but rather than helping to promote the brand, the hashtag became associated with a mishmash of religious quotes, racist remarks, and other weird things. And, the only tweets that actually mentioned Tide said that the original tweet was sexist.

The lesson: Tide’s #CleanWins is somewhat of a mixed bag. The bad news is that #CleanWins was so vague that it confused people about its source. In turn, it never really got off the ground as a successful hashtag for Tide. The good news is that because it had Tide’s name nowhere near it, it made it harder for the hijack to really stick.

While we aren’t necessarily advocating that you use a hashtag without your name, if you afraid of getting your hashtag hijacked, it is an option to consider.

“Boots on the ground”

Although this one isn’t a hashtag, it certainly is a hijacking of sorts (you can see the original tweet here). Suffice to say, Kenneth Cole chose the wrong topic to push his marketing campaign.

The lesson: It’s always best to stay away from controversial topics. Some businesses try to be too edgy, and end up getting in trouble as a result. Stick to topics that aren’t polarizing, and never get political on a company account.

To help your brand grow and increase your recruiting opportunities, sometimes, you have to try new things–like your own hashtag. But especially in the social media-driven world we live in today, you always have to have a clear plan for your campaign before you ever launch.

Although there’s no surefire way to completely avoid people using your hashtag in the wrong way, there are a lot of things you can to to greatly decrease the chances of that happening. These tips are only the beginning, and we encourage you to do lots of brainstorming before giving anything too radical a try.