HR Needs to Hire More Marketers

3084612861_16f030986f_zYou know what most HR departments are missing? Marketers. HR needs to hire more marketers. I’m not talking about hiring more people for the marketing department. I’m talking about hiring people with a marketing background to work in HR.

In a recent survey (full disclosure: they are my employer), about 70% of HR professionals say they are using social networking sites to attract talent (that’s called social recruiting for those who slept in). According to that same survey, though, only a quarter (27%) have adopted content marketing as an approach to get the attention of candidates. And fewer still are using pay-per-click advertising.

“Only 27% of HR pros using content marketing to attract candidates” Click to Tweet

I’d say this is a problem for HR and an opportunity for under-employed marketers.

It’s a problem for HR because social recruiting, just like social media marketing, is really all about playing the long game. Developing relationships, engaging with your target audience and trying to entice them with your calls-to-action, without actually putting them of. That’s not HR’s forte. They’re more about writing job ads and searching LinkedIn for candidates. That’s not going to bring in the big fish. That’s going to get you the candidates who are already looking. The mediocre, the failing, the unmotivated and disloyal. Sure, there are some gems in there, too, but it’s not the majority.

The gems, the types of employees companies would love to attract, are already doing great where they are. They’re exceeding performance reviews, getting bonuses, promotions, great parking spots (is that still a thing?). You won’t get them with lame job ads and unsolicited InMails.

It’s an opportunity for marketers because what they need is exactly what we can provide. What we have been doing for years to help our companies attract prospects. HR needs good content marketers, community managers and SEMs.

The same strategies that have been working for marketing to prospects will also work to bring in passive candidates. So, here’s a common marketing approach:

Develop your buyer persona; find out their pain points; develop content that addresses those points and establishes your brand as a thought leader; engage them in social channels, adding value; target them with PPC ads and banners in the places they spend their time; take them through a sales funnel and close the deal.

Now, replace “buyer” with “candidate” or “employer” and add “employer” before “brand” and you have an HR marketing strategy; a social recruiting strategy.

Better Leaders Leads to More Social Recruiting

Want more proof? Okay.

That same survey also found that companies with stronger leaders (as rated by respondents) were more likely to use social recruiting (81% versus 62%).  They were more likely to use content marketing and target PPC advertising, too. They also said they were getting higher-quality candidates through social channels.

So, it works. All they need are marketers to help them pull it off.

I’m not sure if HR will actually start to hire more marketers. My bet is the smart ones will. I also think those that do will gain a huge advantage. They may even bring some validity to that cliché “people are our greatest advantage”.

What do you think? Should HR hire more marketers?

Image courtesy of Flickr cc and Adam Bowie

How to get your staff to treat customers like crap

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I saw this sign while I was waiting for my daughter to use the washroom in the employee area of a local drug store. I actually thought I must have misread it at first.

I strongly believe that people treat others the way they are treated. This sign does not bode well for wowing the customer. Obviously the store has a problem with employee theft, but there are better ways to deal with it than a pat down on the way out of work. If it were me, I’d feel a lot of animosity towards my employer, and that kind of strong emotion is hard to shake off. Being told I’m not trusted, but put on a happy face go out there and be awesome just doesn’t work.

With a little creativity, the management could likely make a big impact on morale and customer satisfaction.

It’s not all content on social media

Twitter birdIts been said by many people smarter than me, that you have to be human and engaging in social channels. A story in the Globe and Mail reported on a scientific study that showed just that.

The researchers were able to reliably (83% accuracy) identify whether a tweet came from a person, a corporation or a bot WITHOUT looking at the content. If scientists can work out a formula to do this, you can be pretty sure the human brain is doing it, too; even if its on a subconscious level. What that means for marketers is that we need to spend a lot more time trying to be human and not just pushing out content.

Why? Because people like to interact with other people. Not corporations – even if those corporations have great content.

The study also found that individuals are most active on Twitter at the end of the day, while companies are more active during work hours. That makes sense considering an employee is manning the corporate Twitter account, but it means that they are trying to engage with people who aren’t there. Companies would do well to bring in an afternoon Twitter shift to carry activity on into this high-engagement are.

Summing it up, the lessons are more common sense: act like a human in all your interactions, and fish where the fish are (when they are there).

What do you think?

Have you ever left a job with nowhere to go?

This one is mostly for me. Kind of talking to myself …

Sometimes you know when it’s time to go. It becomes obvious. It can slap you in the face or just keep building until you can’t deny it any longer.

For me, it was both. About a year ago I got the slap in the face, but I’m stubborn. I hung in, convinced I could make it work, make a difference, help chart a new path. Finally the evidence was too much for even me to ignore. It was time.

So here I am: gone. Fresh start. A break. A chance to figure out a new path. Find a new way, a new place to make a difference. It’s exciting. And it’s scary.

Have you been through this? How did it feel? What did you do? I’d love to hear.

For me it starts with a rest. A chance to recoup. More time to think, to read, to write, and, I hope, figure things out. Stay tuned.

How to choose flowers for Valentine’s Day

Flowers on Valentine’s Day are expensive. Insert ‘duh’ here. I’ve struggled with that a lot. Should I really spend that much money on flowers? Wouldn’t I be smarter to take that same money and do something else for my wife? Sound familiar to any of you men out there. I feel guilty every time I question the logic of paying the inflated price, but that’s what I do. Continue reading

No more free lunch, er … I mean news

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Today the Globe and Mail announced that it will begin to charge for online content in the fall, following the lead of the New York Times. My gut reaction is to move on from the Globe and seek out my online news elsewhere. I, like so many others, have come to expect this – among so much else – for free. Continue reading

People are strange

We demand lower taxes, but we don’t want long line ups when we go to renew our passport or driver’s license.

We don’t like to hear stories of big companies exploiting workers, but we want lower prices at Walmart.

We don’t want to contribute to harming the environment, but we want fruit and vegetables shipped to us out of season.

We want a lot, sometimes there’s a choice.

Today I asked

A lot of people – myself included – never ask. They think about asking. They imagine the conversation, have it in their mind a dozen times. Each time answering for the other person until it seems pointless to ask because the conversation has already happened.

Only it hasn’t.

Well, today I asked. And I got an answer; a real one. It wasn’t the one I wanted, but I have it and now I can move on. Move on to the next question, and ask that one, too