There should be no doubt that connecting to people through social media can position you in the mind of a job candidate as a trusted employer that has integrity. Cultivating a community of people that are interested in your company’s work, and better yet, that are willing to vouch for your reputation as an employer – how much is that worth? When done right, the potential to harness job candidate and employee evangelism with social media tools, is the most exciting development I have seen happen in recruitment marketing. So, what’s the smartest new way to increase your ability to connect with candidates? No, not SEO – it’s SMO: Social Media Optimization.
SEO has evolved dramatically in the last decade. The increase in the use of search engines like Google has resulted in companies devoting huge amounts of effort to SEO. For those that don’t have the time or talent to figure out the page rank riddle, they can pay an SEO expert to increase their organic search ranking, or they can pay to appear as ‘Sponsored Listings’. The value and necessity of search engine marketing in any online recruitment strategy is indisputable. But if you are a recruiting blog participant – understanding the reasons why the new emerging field of Search Media Optimization will play an increasing role in your recruitment marketing strategy is not rocket science. In simplest terms, some of what SMO encompasses is:
- Linking. Increasing the reasons that people would want to link to you through the creation of original relevant content that can be distributed through social media tools (blogs, podcasts, digg, del.icio.us) as well as traditional methods like the distribution of white papers. Further, visibly rewarding inbound links from other people.
- Content. Carefully selecting content in an organized way that will be relevant for your audience. Continually updating content but also making it as ‘portable’ as possible for the widest reach (think blog posts, YouTube Video, Google Base, and Odeo).
- Interaction. Encouraging commenting and training authors to create and facilitate discussions. Polls, survey’s and homework assignments (seriously) are all proven ways to increase interaction. Encourage readers to USE your content and even go a step further to let them participate in the creation of the site’s content.
- Functionality. Adding widgets that encourage interaction like Meebome. Meebome is an ‘In Blog’ contextual IM client that for recruiting, would allow job seekers that are reading your blog to immediately interact with you right at the point of sale so to speak.
- Promotion and Syndication. Promoting RSS feeds or the receipt of your content via email – however the reader wants it. As well as adding humanizing elements such as Flickr or YouTube elements. Increasing the use of popular tags along with other techniques to increase visibility in searches on social media search engines (like Technorati).
Social Media has the ability to attract and engage job candidates in a way that organic search results and ‘Sponsored Listings’ on a search engine never will. We’re betting that this emerging field will grow with the same speed that social media itself has grown, as new tools and practices are shaped into coherent SMO tactics. If you use social media tools like a blog for recruiting – then your focus should be on attracting job candidates to visit your site in order to participate in relevant conversations about you as an employer. SMO is about increasing the volume and richness of those interactions – that’s the whole point.