There's no question; social media has become a crucial part of our lives and our businesses. We use social media to connect with far away friends and families, maintain casual social connections, and to connect with brands and companies in which we have interest.
As a business owner, you may have heard from other HR professionals about the power of the Internet to help you search out new employees, but be at a loss for how to make that happen. Sure, you can post on LinkedIn that you're hiring for a certain position, but how do you go from there to actually finding star talent on social media?
Know what you're looking for, and look for people who do it
Any successful talent search for a company or employer starts with knowing what qualities and traits you're looking for in your next employee. Do you need someone obsessively detail oriented, or are you looking for someone who specializes in the big picture? Are you looking for someone who expresses themselves eloquently in writing, or do you need someone who is going to represent your brand to your clients in person?
When you have the employee profile that you're looking to fill, you will then be able to look for these traits in your social media contacts. If you need someone who can compose eloquent and clear arguments in writing for a grant writing position, for example, look for someone who can have passionate but clear headed debates in text.
Hire people already passionate about your brand
Whatever positives and negatives there are about the Internet, one amazing power of the interconnectedness of our online lives is our ability to connect with people who share our niche interests. Every business is more successful when its employees, from its CEO down to its newest sales representative, are passionate about what they represent and what they're doing. Social media gives you a unique insight into who is already involved in your brand and a committed ambassador to other customers. Rhett Power, co founder of Wild Creations, refers to these people as influencers.
To identify potential influencers for your business, look for people who maintain a niche blog that gets impressive visit numbers, or the person who regularly posts about different products and brands on their social media and seems to inspire people to try them. Not everyone can speak authentically and convincingly about their interests; find the people that can do this naturally to help grow your business.
Join online trade groups and focus areas
If you work in a very niche industry, you may attend your local Chamber of Commerce and SBA meetings, but find yourself feeling unconnected and out of touch. While everyone else is discussing retail trends, for example, your insights about the latest trends of online search cause blank looks all around the group.
Businesses used to promote the personal side of their business by recruiting and headhunting when they were out and about in their day to day lives. This technique still has some use, but if your niche is specific, you might struggle to find someone who understands your business walking through your local downtown.
But the Internet has a group or a focus for everyone in every trade. Start by finding blogs and social media accounts that focus on your industry. Make friends and build connections with other commenters who express things in a way you appreciate. From there, apply the same recruiting process you learned in business school.
If the Internet has replaced anything in our modern life, it is the social coffee hour, that time when everyone stopped and took some time to gossip and connect. By moving that focus on interconnection online, we also bring many of the associated activities of that time online. Instead of passing out your business card during a dinner party, a businessperson might find themselves reminding online connections, “If you ever need a job, you know who to call.”
The key is then in finding the right talent to grow your business. Really, that part remains exactly the same.
Image Credit: Flickr/FRΛNCISCΛ ♦