Not too terribly long ago, life was a lot harder. People spent hours growing, finding and hunting their food, only to spend equal amounts of time cooking and preserving it so they wouldn’t starve in the winter. But as technology progressed, it brought along a couple of the more noteworthy inventions in recent history: the refrigerator and the microwave. Now, with the pop of a box and the push of a button, people can eat food that is grown anywhere, anytime, whenever they want.
And even more recently, something else amazing happened. While it seemed that the possibilities were endless, people started to realize that they didn’t need to be. Instead of wanting processed foods that are grown, frozen, shipped and eaten out of season, our culture has taken a step back and has begun to embrace fresh, locally grown foods.
Believe it or not, creating content on the web isn’t that much different. Providing a regular diet of fresh, organic content is the best way for you to stay engaged with your employees as well as active and passive job seekers, and grow your company’s social media presence. Because most interaction takes place on users’ News Feeds or timelines instead of a profile or page, posting new content is often the only way to stay connected with your online community on a regular basis. In fact, Facebook users are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume content via their News Feeds rather than visit actual pages. Fresh content also simply lets users know, “Hey – We’re here!” since a page with stale content or a stream of RSS-fed items doesn’t assure users that it’s a community where they’re likely to find new, useful information or have their questions answered.
Aside from keeping your company top of mind for job seekers, fresh content can truly differentiate one brand from another, separating you from your competition. Say, for instance, that you’re a relatively small lifestyle clothing company and you keep losing your target talent to your talent competitors – three more established clothing companies that also have a focus on lifestyle. When you obtain your target talent and hire them, 90 percent of individuals to remain loyal employees for at least five years. Meanwhile, your talent competitors experience consistently high turnovers every other month. Instead of simply bashing your competitors by announcing that they have much higher turnover rates or that their former employees are now a part of your team, take a different approach. Use social media to invite your current employees to share what they love most about working for your company. Interview individuals who have been with your team for years, highlighting their growth and career paths at the company. You could also take a flip cam to various retail locations to conduct store spotlight, featuring both employees and shoppers. It’s through these types of content and more that you can use social media to share your company story, allowing you to increase brand awareness, brand influence and your recruitment reach as well as build relationships with those in your community.
As a whole, to be successful in recruiting on social media, companies must produce engaging content that earns attention, creates trust, establishes credibility and authority, and, above all, converts fans/followers into people who take action. Sticking to the fresh food analogy, here are some ways to make the most of the content you’re producing.
Organic is *Usually* Better
Most people would agree that foods left to develop in their natural environments provide the most nutrients. The same is true of content. While third-party tools can be useful to cue up a large chunk of posts, studies show that using such devices can reduce engagement on Facebook by 88 percent. Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to determine what appears in any given person’s News Feed; it is based on overall interaction, the type of content, and when it is posted. The algorithm does not prioritize content posted through third-party APIs, thus lessening such posts’ exposure.
When creating content for Facebook, it’s important to keep two other nutritional strategies in mind as well: variety does a body good, and watch your portion size. Recent studies show that status-only updates receive 94 percent higher engagement. But that doesn’t mean it’s all you should post. After all, Facebook users have the option to personalize their News Feed settings, so using a variety of content – such as links, photos, and videos – can help ensure you’re reaching the largest possible audience. Similarly, don’t gorge yourself, and keep updates concise and to the point – posts with 88 characters or less receive 66 percent more engagement, according to Social Media Today.
It should be noted that other social networking sites, like Twitter, don’t rank posts the same way as Facebook. Therefore, using tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck will enable you to schedule posts at different times of the day without severely impacting engagement.
Consistency is Key
Not eating all day and then binging on two pieces of chocolate cake at night is a great way to whack your metabolism right off track. Meanwhile, a consistent diet with a normal calorie intake is key to staying healthy.
Instead of pouring a week’s worth of content onto your account at once, space out posts to maintain a consistent level of engagement. It’s recommended to post 0.5 times per day, meaning most accounts should post 3 to 4 times per week. In addition, post around noon local time, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays to get the highest levels of engagement.
Content has a shelf life
We’ve all been there. You’re starving, you go to the fridge, and all that’s there is an iffy box of week-old leftovers. In today’s world, as new numbers and studies are readily available online, stats have a short shelf life. While it’s tempting to schedule posts months in advance with a third-party API tool, content should be recent and relevant to current trends and events. Make sure out-of-date content is pushed out of sight on your social pages by updating them regularly.
It’s All About the Experience
One of my favorite nutrition books, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, argues that the experience of eating is equally as important as the food itself. Relaxing with a glass red wine and enjoying good company are ultimately better for your health than eating on the run or in your car. Social media should strive to create a similar experience and engage fans in two-way conversation – not just shove content down their throats. After all, 80 percent of active and passive job seekers say they will not follow a company on social media if posts are irrelevant, uninvited or solely self-serving. Asking questions, listening to your fans, and answering their questions are some ways to create a strong community online.
At the end of the day, each community is different. Finding just the right recipe often takes trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment identify and your target talent and create content specifically for them. What types of engaging content have you used on your accounts lately?