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What Drives Social Influence? Insights From Recruiting Circles

Written by Carter J. Hostelley, CEO, Leadtail

Marketers change jobs a lot. So every few months I hear from someone who’s job hunting again. Typically, we get together to grab coffee and chat about their situation. And at some point, they ask, “Hey, are there any recruiters you’d recommend I talk to?”

Now, imagine you’re an executive recruiter sitting nearby and listening in. Wouldn’t you like to pull up a chair and join our conversation? Sure you would. And maybe you’d also wonder how to influence me, so that I recommended you.

Social Listening Isn’t Enough

These days, you don’t need to hang out at coffee shops to listen in. You can just tap into your favorite social media news feed to discover what’s being discussed and shared at any moment. But pretty quickly you’ll get overwhelmed. Why? Because you don’t know which conversations to join, whom to engage, and how to influence them.

Without context, social listening isn’t helpful. To make social media more relevant and actionable, you need to tune-out ambient noise. In other words, you need to move from social listening to social insights.

Case In Point: How Do Recruiters Engage on Twitter?

Let’s say you’re an executive recruiter who wants to know what other recruiters are up to on social media. Or maybe you work for a company that sells to recruiters. In either case, you’re looking for social insights about recruiting professionals.

That’s exactly what ERE.net asked my company to do recently. So we developed a report: How Recruiters Engage on Twitter. It summarizes how 557 North American recruiters participated, engaged, and were influenced on Twitter, from June-August 2013. During that time, our sample of  recruiters generated 173,903 tweets, 106,343 shared links, and had a total of 1,533,429 followers.

Why look at Twitter activity? Because it’s a good proxy for social media behavior overall, and offers an advantage over other data sources (such as surveys, polls and focus groups), because it reveals what people actually do, versus what they say they do.

Leadtail Chart Social Influence (2)For example, here’s a visual representation of the people who are most retweeted by recruiters we analyzed:

This report also provides other useful social insights, including: most popular hashtags, most shared content sources, and the top 25 industry publications shared by these recruiters.

Best Practices of Top Influencers

Exclusively for this post, we dove even deeper into Twitter activity among the five people who influence recruiters most. They are:

@MeghanMBiro — Meghan Biro, Founder & CEO, TalentCulture
@blogging4jobs — Jessica Merrell, Editor of Blogging4Jobs
@jimstroud — Jim Stroud, Director of Sourcing and Social Strategy, Bernard Hodes Group
@YouTernMark — Mark Babbitt, Founder & CEO, YouTern
@GlenCathey — Glen Cathey, SVP Talent Strategy and Innovation, Kforce

What did we discover by examining the behavior of this elite group?

•  Influencers tweet a LOT. 4 out of 5 of these top influencers tweet 15+ times a day. (Meghan blows them all away, with an average 107 tweets/day!)

•  Influencers develop a “brand” of their own. Each top influencer has a style and focus that’s unique. For instance, @JimStroud focuses on social recruiting and job search strategy, while @GlenCathey’s approach is decidedly more tech-and-data driven.

•  Influencers don’t lean on retweets. All 5 of the top influencers go light on the RT, keeping them to less than 15% of overall tweet volume. Instead, they share lots of links and often mention other folks.

•  Influencers embrace the community. 3 out of 5 of these influencers will most likely follow you back (they follow 70%+ of those who follow them), and 4 out of 5 include an “@” mention in most of their tweets.

•  Influencers tweet with a goal in mind. Whether it’s to get the word out about their next event, to sell their services, or to grow their audience, these folks tweet links that drive traffic to their other online channels (websites, other social media sites, etc.) 10%-50% of the time.

While these “best practices” come from observing the Twitter activity of only 5 key influencers, they also provide insights into how you may want to consider approaching Twitter and social media to boost your influence.

Tips To Increase Your Social Influence

How can you move from social listening to social insights (and perhaps have an impact on the right people)? Here are 5 tips:

•  Listen to your target audience. Who cares what anyone and everyone is saying? Instead, listen to what’s on the minds of customers, prospects, and key influencers.
•  Be where the right conversations are happening. So many social networks, so little time! Invest your efforts in the social platforms where your target audience is active.
•  Talk about relevant topics. What issues, news, and events have captured the attention of the folks you’re looking to engage? Shouldn’t you be talking about that, too?
•  Discover who’s doing the influencing. Which publications and people do your buyers read, share and interact with? Pay attention to who is popular and influential, and how they engage.
•  Work the aisles. Just being present in social media is not enough. You must cultivate relationships with a community that you develop over time. Eventually, you’ll be in a position to influence those who matter most to you.

Now, imagine we’re back in that coffee shop, where you’re listening to my conversation with my marketing colleague. Let’s say you decide to introduce yourself. Wouldn’t it be great if I said, “Thanks for coming over, I actually follow you on Twitter! I love your comments and the content you share.”? That means you’ve done a great job of influencing me, before our conversation even begins!

Now It’s Your Turn

How are you generating social insights today? What strategies have you found successful in becoming more influential on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

Carter Hostelley (2)(About the Author: Carter Hostelley is the Founder and CEO of Leadtail, a B2B social media and insights agency. He and his team have developed and implemented social media programs for leading business brands and technology startups including WageWorks, Alcatel-Lucent, Symantec, Adaptive Planning, NetBase, and PunchTab. They also publish periodic social insights reports on senior marketers, HR professionals, and recruiters. These reports have been covered by publications such as: Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, ERE, MarketingProfs, AllTwitter, and Social Times. Carter also has over 15 years experience working with venture-backed technology startups in numerous executive roles, and is a contributing author at CMSWire. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.)

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome for events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Can You Hear Me Now? Influence Goes Social #TChat Recap

“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.”
–John Hancock

Wherever you find people, you’ll find influence. The concept is as basic as civilization, itself.

John Hancock understood its importance in business contexts. But as business moves to the digital space, the way we gain, use and respond to influence is shifting into overdrive. How does this digitally-enhanced version of influence affect the way we engage and motivate others across organizations and in the world at-large? And why should it matter to everyone in today’s workplace? These questions were top-of-mind this week at #TChat Events, as the TalentCulture community welcomed two influence experts:

Mark Fidelman, author of the book, Socialized!, and CEO of RaynForest, an influencer marketplace;
Mark Willaman, Founder and President of Fisher Vista LLC, owners of HRmarketer software and Fisher Vista marketing services

(Editor’s Note: See #TChat Twitter slideshow and resource links at the end of this post.)

Defining Social Influence

What is a “social influencer” anyway? If a static persona accumulates social media followers, is that enough? Or is it about behavior that attract the attention and interest of professional peers? Is it when your presence (or absence) affects the nature and flow of conversations on social channels? Or is it when you write blog posts that draw an extraordinary number of readers and comments?

Of course, it can involve all of these elements and more. Effective influencers use social tools as a means to an end. It’s not just about building an audience. It’s about engaging and interacting with people in ways that leave them enthused, passionate, and eager to tell others about that experience. As word spreads about influencers, word also spreads about their company, product or service.

Social Influence In Action

Take a look at some of today’s most prominent business influencers — people like Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington. They really put the “social” in social media. Unlike “image-first” personalities like the Gagas and Biebers of the world — social influencers invest in real community connections and conversations.

It’s smart to focus first on quality rather than quantity. (What would you prefer — 100 engaged industry peers, or 100,000 random followers, who may not even care about you or what you represent? Where can you add value, and get value in return? I would pick 100 targeted connections with whom I can have purposeful interactions. If those interactions create a gravitational pull that expands my sphere of influence, then I’ve done something right. As someone mentioned last night at #TChat — don’t be mislead into thinking that it’s a quick process.

Why Should We Care?

I think of social influencers as “go-to” resources. When I want advice or inspiration, I turn to my network. These are trusted professionals, and use their influence for broader purposes than self-promotion. They build relationships based on integrity, transparency, vulnerability and humor — all the best traits we look for in humans. No doubt that’s why TalentCulture CEO, Meghan Biro, encourages everyone to “live your brand.” It’s the most unique, powerful asset any of us can offer.

Social media is an extraordinary tool that helps us establish immediate connections with business leaders, employees, customers, stakeholders and others. It can provide companies with valuable insight about market perceptions. It can be a powerful force that shapes business brands, cultures and communities — if organization are willing to show up, listen and participate. This is where leaders can make a difference. Committing to an active social presence is the first step toward empowering employees and customers as brand ambassadors. There’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

#TChat Week-In-Review: Social Influence as a Competitive Advantage

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See the videos in the Preview Post now…

SAT 11/2:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured brief “sneak peek” hangout videos with our guests. Read the Preview: “The Rise of Influence in Social Business.

SUN 11/3:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested why and how modern leaders should invest in a social media presence. Read: “7 Traits of Highly Influential Leaders.

TUE 11/5:

Related Post: Guest blogger Paul Bailey helped us look at influence from the outside-in, with advice for job seekers on using social media intelligence to get hired. Read: “How Social Sleuthing Can Land You A Dream Job.

WED 11/6:

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Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Mark Willaman and Mark Fidelman how social media is transforming the concept of influence in today’s world of work. Fascinating stuff! Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and guests joined the entire TalentCulture ommunity on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open conversation focused on 5 key questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Competitive Advantage of Social Influence

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mark Willaman and Mark Fidelman for sharing your insights on the evolving meaning and importance of influence in the social era. Your knowledge and experience are invaluable to our community.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about influence-related issues or opportunities? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we take a closer look at how the social/mobile/cloud revolution is redefining the entire hiring process. So save the date (November 13) for another powerful #TChat double-header!

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

The Rise of Influence in Social Business #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for full highlights and resource links from this week’s events? Read the #TChat Recap: “Can You Hear Me Now? Influence Goes Social.”)

Think for a moment about the brands that have the deepest impact on your professional life.

What companies and people do you look to for credible information, relevant insights and valuable connections? And which ones would you include on your “who’s who” list?

More importantly, how would you develop that list?

Influence Isn’t What It Used To Be. Or Is It?

In less than a decade we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the logic and tools we use to create and shape our professional circles. “Influence” is no longer limited to an elite and somewhat static class of highly prominent organizations and individuals. Today, social channels make it possible for anyone to claim a corner of the marketplace, earn a share of voice, and develop a loyal following.

So, what do these new social dynamics mean for the future of employer and employee brands? And how can we all do a better job in leveraging the “currency” of influence? That’s what we’ll explore this week at #TChat Events, with two experts in the art and science of influence:

•  Mark Fidelman, CEO of RaynForest, an influence marketing platform
•  Mark Willaman, Founder and President of Fisher Vista LLC, owners of HRmarketer software and Fisher Vista marketing services

To frame this topic, I spoke briefly with both guests in separate G+ hangouts. First, Mark Willaman discussed the “what” and “why” of influence:

Then Mark Fidelman offered a quick take on how influence is measured:

What are your thoughts about the role of influence in today’s world of work? Join us this week to share your ideas and opinions!

#TChat Events: Social Influence as a Competitive Advantage

#TChat Radio — Wed, Nov 6 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

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Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mark Willaman and Mark Fidelman about the role of influence in today’s social world of work. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday afternoon!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Nov 6 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream, where Cyndy Trivella will moderate an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: How can “industry influence” impact the world of work?
Q2: In what ways does social listening shape culture, marketing and branding?
Q3: Why would brand influencers make better employees? (or not?)
Q4: How do leaders know who is an influencer, and how does this impact culture?
Q5: What social tools do you use for brand marketing and talent recruiting?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

Will The Real You Please Stand Up? #TChat Recap

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde

Looking for yet another staggering social era statistic? Try this from personal branding tools provider, Brand Yourself:

Google processes more than 80 million “people” searches each day. Yep. 80 million. Chances are someone will be searching for you soon. So ask yourself this — if someone “Googled” your name right now, would the results do you justice?

Brand Positioning: It’s All About The “C” Words

As a marketing and communications professional, I’ve spent years persuading business organizations to mind their messaging, so the world will understand their brand promise. I preach the “5 C’s” of brand positioning: Clarity, Completeness, Cohesion, Credibility and Consistency. And now, after a week of “brand you” discussions with the TalentCulture community, I see how those very same concepts can be an equally powerful force in our professional lives.

Turns out, I’m not the only one who likes “C” words! Earlier this year, after #TChat conversations about how professional recommendations influence personal brands, our very own Kevin W. Grossman offered some handy “C” advice of his own on the Reach-West blog:

“…Ensure your online profiles are as consistent and accurate as possible across all social points of presence. In other words, whomever you say you are, and whatever you say you’re doing (and have done) is close (if not the same) on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, G+ and the many other industry and association niche networks and communities where you’re visible.

Consistency and accuracy are critical keys, because those searching for you and reviewing your profiles will be looking for anomalies that don’t add up — and you want everything to add up. You want to stand out, but you want to add up — and for goodness sake you want to be accurate and truthful about everything. That includes your recommendations and endorsements. Never over-spin, or allow others to go there. Not only that, but at the very least once a quarter review and update your online profiles, and kill those you no longer want to maintain, even if you’re not looking for work.

Why? Because you never know when that great new opportunity will be looking for you to add up. It’s your personal employment brand. Take care of it.”

DIY Brand Makeover

Reinventing You

Learn more about “Reinventing You”5 C’s of Brand Positioning

Hmm. I guess I’d better spend the dog days of summer cleaning my personal brand “house.” How about you? From what I saw on the #TChat stream yesterday, few of us would disagree with the importance of proactively managing an online persona. But for some people, focusing on themselves is almost as enjoyable as flossing their teeth.

That’s why we asked a fearless brand management expert to lead the way this week — Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You. Dorie clearly understands the issues that hold people back from “owning” their brand identity, and she offers practical tools to make it work.

Below, we’ve captured the week’s highlights — including a tweet-by-tweet Storify slideshow from #TChat Twitter, and other resource links.

We hope this sparks a desire to start your own brand makeover. Let us know about your progress…here or on the stream. The TalentCulture community, is always open and ready to offer ideas and support. Rock that brand!

#TChat Week in Review: Reinventing Your Personal Brand

SAT 7/13

DorieClark

Watch the G+ Hangout with Dorie Clark

#TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, outlined the week’s topic in a post that features a great “sneak peek” G+ Hangout with Dorie. See “You 2.0: Reinventing a Personal Brand.”

SUN 7/14

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered 5 ways to tap into your true professional identity. Read “Rethink Brand You: Find Your Authentic Self.”

TUE 7/16

Related Post: For people who need clarification to redefine themselves, Dorie explained how to gather actionable input from a full-circle brand review. Read “Considering a Career Change? Take a 360 Snapshot.”

WED 7/17

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Listen to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio: To kick-off this week’s #TChat double-header, Dorie spoke with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman about the power of proactively managing your brand. Even if you’re not in the market for a new position, you’ll hear ideas you can use. Listen now to the recording.

#TChat Twitter: As the radio show concluded, we fired-up the Twitter chat engines for a dynamic, community conversation about the role of personal branding in our professional lives. As always, the crowdsourcing energy was breathtaking. Thanks to everyone who contributed! To review highlights, see the slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights: “Reinventing a Personal Brand”

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Dorie Clark for helping our community think more intelligently about the “why” and “how” of personal brand management. You inspire us to reach higher!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about work/life integration issues? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat events, we’ll continue our summer “professional restart” series with a special crowdsourcing forum. Check for details in a preview post this weekend.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned website. The gears are always turning at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

 

 

 

HOW TO: Build & Maintain A Talent Community

What is a talent community?

According to Wikipedia:

A talent community is a collection of social cliques (or talent networks) of people that are part of the job seeking process. These people may be seeking a job themselves, offering career advice to others, recruitment professionals, college campus recruiters, sourcers, and friends seeking jobs or advice. Talent communities inherently provide 2-way interaction between the individuals.

A talent community is not a list of candidates on a web page or in a spreadsheet; it is an environment consisting of people who can share ideas for the purpose of career networking or social recruiting of candidates.

Employers can interact and communicate with prospective employees as well as inform candidates about employment opportunities, receive referrals, and handpick qualified individuals from inside the group. A talent community can include prospective candidates, past applicants, current employees, and past employees. Talent Communities are managed by recruiters and/or hiring managers.

The benefits of building a talent community

  • Qualified candidates at your fingertips
  • Less dependence on expensive, ineffective job boards
  • Less money spent on job advertisements
  • Increased interaction with potential candidates in order to help them understand what your organization does
  • Better quality of applicants to job openings
  • Creates a talent pipeline for future job openings
  • Attracts passive candidates

How to build your talent community

Turn your “careers” page into a central hub for past (“alumni”) employees, interested candidates, recruiters, hiring managers and current employees. Incorporate tools for communication and interaction to drive conversations in your talent community. Provide an exclusive look into your organization, its employees and the culture behind the company. Use video, multimedia, photos, testimonials, etc.

Create smaller talent “networks” within your talent community to target specific audiences.

Social recruiting solutions (such as Cachinko) provide separate plugins or an overall solution for managing talent.

Maintaining your talent community

When you start engaging candidates through a talent community, it’s important to continue to provide value on a regular basis. There are a variety of ways to do so, such as sending updates or an e-newsletter, providing additional information on new job openings and internship programs, creating contests, writing blog posts, or connecting via social media.

ERE.net author Kevin Wheeler said in an article about talent communities, “Communities of candidates are powerful and reduce the need for special sourcing or the use of outside recruiters. They can increase the number of positions a single recruiter can handle and provide higher quality candidates in a shorter time. They always trump databases.”

What do you think? Ready to start building your talent community today?