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April 22, 2013

Let’s talk about community.

No, not the show. Although that would be a lot of fun.

Instead, we’re going to talk about your Facebook community. It will be just as engaging, I promise. Well… maybe not as engaging as that infamous chicken finger episode, but I’ll try my best!

Last week we learned about online tribes. We learned what they are, how they work, and what they can teach us about running our own online communities.

This week we’re going to focus more specifically on Facebook communities.

Your employer brand and Facebook recruiting efforts are dependent on this thing called reach. In order for candidates to apply for your jobs, your job posts need to reach those candidates. Your employer brand grows when it reaches a greater number of users than it has in the past. The more active your Facebook community, the better your reach. It’s your online community that shares your posts, links back to your content and refers job-seeking friends to your Facebook Career Page. As such, you should love your community as much, if not more, than hilarious sitcoms and chicken fingers.

You should also do everything in your power to make that community as active as possible. Sure, you could bribe them with hot chicken fingers, but implementing the following tips into your Facebook strategy will be far less messy:

Know what you’re working with!

By determining what stage your Facebook community is at, you can come up with a better strategy for growing it. Use this template to figure out if your community is in the On-Boarding, Established, Mature, or Mitosis stage. It’ll help you decide how to interact with your community members and what types of content to post.

The On-Boarding stage is the earliest stage of your community’s development, and it requires the most hands-on managing. You’ll need to court new members and set the tone for future interactions. This TNJ article has some great advice for this stage of online community building.

If you’ve been working on your online community for awhile, it’s probably moved on to either the Established or Mature phase. Now, you can be a little less hands-on, as you’ll want to let your community begin to dictate the kind of content you post. Pay close attention to consistency. This article covers 10 ways to accomplish this.

The Mitosis phase is when your community gets so big, that it is no longer cohesive, and has to split into smaller factions. This is something most of us will never have to deal with, unless we work for Apple or Coca Cola, in which case, refer back to this article for some advice.

But, no matter what stage you’re at, you’ll want to …

Post great content

Your content should be helpful, varied, entertaining, and in line with your employer brand at all times. Obviously that’s easier said than done. Here’s some tips:

1. Divide your posts into categories. For example, your strategy could be to make 25% of your posts into links related specifically to your field. 25% could be witty observations (this is where Seth Godin’s blog comes in super handy) or questions posed to your Facebook fans. 25% interesting non-business related content (blogs like Lifehacker are great for this type of post). And 25% self-promotion.

2. Only post content you’ve vetted. If you haven’t read, watched or listened to it — don’t post it!

3. Post content that you would want to click on. Think about what shows up on your own personal news feed, what you like about it, and what words make you click through to a shared link. What would you share with your own colleagues and friends? Let this inform your own posts.

K.I.S.S. it

Always aim for the minimum. I know it sounds a little weird, but posting non-stop is kind of annoying. Having a presence on every single social network tends to water down your efforts, and responding to every comment someone makes on your Page with multi-paragraph answers is exhausting.

So, aim to do the minimum, but do it really really well. Post solid content consistently, but not constantly. Use Facebook as your main hub and select only a couple of other networks to use, instead of trying to spread yourself thinly over every social platform out there. Keep your interactions short, friendly, and to the point.

Engage and listen, but not too much

Always respond to your community members’ questions, ask them for input, and re-post interesting comments that they leave on your Timeline. People love to feel heard and you can learn a lot about how to grow your Facebook employer brand by listening to what your current community has to say.

But, (there’s always a but!) don’t listen too much. There will always be differing opinions, overly critical comments, and people with terrible ideas. For some reason, there’s even more people like this on the internet than in the real world. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone, just pay attention, engage and always stay true to your brand. You’ll do fine.

And the final and most important bit of advice is…

Be a human

No one wants to interact with a machine. That’s why thousands of iPhones are smashed every year due to Siri’s inability to understand me as an individual… Moving on… Don’t make your Facebook Fans karate-chop their laptops. It’ll really hurt your recruiting efforts (and their hand), and they will no longer be able to email you their resumes.

Be yourself, not a machine. Respond to people in a conversational tone. Own up to mistakes or gaps in your knowledge. Avoid jargon. Make bad jokes, or even better, make good jokes.

In other words, do as I say, not as I do!

Happy Facebook recruiting.