From October 10th to 12th, the social networking giant, LinkedIn, hosted their annual conference – Talent Connect. The conference, also known as the “corporate recruiting event of the year“, brought together top organizations and their HR teams to discuss the rise of social recruiting and the critical role of LinkedIn to this new, here-to-stay approach to talent acquisition. Though I did not attend in-person, I did utilize the live streaming feature and took away some important insights that can be applied to social media strategy in any industry.
Conversation on Twitter about LinkedIn’s Talent Connect
Lesson 1: Evangelize your brand by tapping your own talent.
Your biggest advocates work for your organization already, and they are the best way to spread the word about your organization through social media channels. In higher education, institutions are doing this already in many forms. Alumni blog and tweet, current students like posts on Facebook, and staff share pictures on Flickr. As social media platforms and technology continue to change, it is critical to keep your advocates on message by understanding your brand based on the target audience.
By this I mean, what is your employer brand versus student brand versus alumni brand, etc. What can your advocates highlight based on who they interact with the most on social media? For example, if a staff member shares a photo of a career fair on Flickr, who is their target and where is the photo displayed? To me, I would say that is part of the student brand if its shared on Facebook. It says to students: “Look at all these employers who want to recruit you, your degree can lead to a successful post-graduate life.”
Lesson 2: Get leadership on board with data, lots of data, and trainings for staff.
Data talks, and it is no surprise this is what Talent Connect speakers listed as a top strategy to get leadership on board with an active social media presence. In higher education, as Kevin and I both explored in our Social Media ROI entries, it is difficult to define the return in our industry because the bottom line is not measured by profits alone. Whether you are only on the basic platforms, or you are ready to take your strategy to the next level, gather all the numbers you can. How many students? How many interactions? How many views? Did visits to your website or office increase? Kevin suggested some great tools to help get those numbers.
The other important piece is training your staff. As Lesson 1 noted, your biggest advocates are your employees. Before any leadership is comfortable with relinquishing control, there needs to be a level of comfort in knowing these advocates will in fact advocate and stay on message. Some speakers noted they have training “universities” in-house and retreats. I know in higher education things are a bit busy during the academic year, but we’re at the mid-semester point and this can be a good time to get a winter in-service day on the books to get more of your team trained to share some of the social media responsibility. It also is a good idea to look at what your department has accomplished thus far and what goals you have for the rest of the academic year and where social media can come into play. For example, I’d like to incorporate Google+ Hangouts and plan on hosting a few test hangouts with my colleagues to get them comfortable with the tool.
These are just two quick lessons I took away, but there are a lot of posts circulating around the web as others reflect on LinkedIn’s Talent Connect. Search for them on Twitter using the #intalent hashtag. Of course, please feel free to share here on Social @ Edu if you attended the conference or have any other insights that are relevant for those of us in higher education.