There seems to be this overarching assumption that the way the general populace uses social media is the same way that technical talent will use social media. And while that might be true on a larger scale (for example, social networks as a whole are gaining more members and more professional members at the same time), is it really true on a more tactical and operational level?
The folks over at GlobalSpec put out a report recently on the “industrial use” of social networks. And while the report is geared more towards marketers and sales professionals, there’s much in the report for recruiters. First, let’s touch on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn membership grows, groups usage examined
From 2010 to 2011, LinkedIn continued to gain more members across the board and around the world, and the same seems to hold true for this survey. Among the groups surveyed (engineering, technical, manufacturing, and industrial professionals according to GlobalSpec), LinkedIn usage grew from 37% of professionals to 55% from 2010 to 2011. That’s a big year-to-year jump.
While using LinkedIn was probably a no-brainer for many recruiters, it is good to know that this continues to be an area that LinkedIn might be even better at covering than the past. Yesterday, LinkedIn reported it was up to 161 million members, and nearly two-thirds of those joining are from outside the U.S.
Another part of the survey examined the use of the group functionality in LinkedIn. More than three in four people surveyed were in five groups or less. I think anyone who has searched for people outside of the recruiter, and super-networked groups of people isn’t too surprised. Maybe more surprising is that nearly a quarter are in more than five groups. Even for recruiters creeping up on their group membership limit, that means a better chance of possibly connecting.
Most group members are understandably passive. While most are reading discussions, they are doing little else. Nearly half report themselves as simply being a member.
Trends: Facebook tops, Google+ beats Twitter?
Adoption rate of Facebook is still number one, capturing 66% of those surveyed. And the survey indicates that people might be using Facebook for more business-related activities.
Three in five surveyed like pages of companies, and join groups in their industry on Facebook. A little less than 40% participate in work-related discussions or read content related to work on Facebook.
That indicates to me that at least some of your likely audience is open to work-related discussions on Facebook (which, of course, includes employment).
Maybe the most surprising stat is that while only 22% of those surveyed had a Twitter account, a sort of shocking 29% have a Google+ account. That would be the same Google+ that started in 2011. Considering Twitter’s tepid growth in comparison to other social networks among this sector of professionals, if you are doing major sourcing in this area, Google+ might be worth a second glance to make sure you are making efficient use of the platform.
Usage trends and changes to consider
Overall, techies still seem largely consumptive when they use social media. They are using these networks to primarily gather information and network with people in their industry. Nearly a third admit using it to find a new job.
So what can you take away from this?
- Think consumable content – If the main way people are using LinkedIn groups and other social media is through content consumption, be a giver. If you don’t have the expertise to contribute or know what is good to share, ask around or get help.
- Connections in odd places – It may feel weird to connect and contact through Facebook, but this survey seems to suggest that the idea of Facebook being a personal-only experience might be outdated. While some won’t want to connect with you through the platform, it could be less taboo than before.
- That new network might be worth something – Count me among the people who still doubt Google+ can truly stand out among other social media sites, but the suggestion that Google+ is popular among the technically inclined seems to be confirmed by these numbers. As always, stay on top of news and keep the door open for possible searches on newer, more niche sites.
You can get the entire report from here with a few fields of the form filled out.
BranchOut announced yesterday that it got $25 million in new funding, raising the total investment in the professional networking service to $49 million, and spurring talk the nearly two-year-old company is positioning itself to take on LinkedIn.
Besides the cash, fueling the talk on startup blogs and Silicon Valley news sites is the company’s dramatic growth spurt. Now at 25 million registrants, BranchOut says it has been adding 2 million members a week since since launching its mobile invites app in February.
“It’s unprecedented to see this type of growth, which makes BranchOut one of the most-used apps on Facebook,” said Tim Chang, a managing director at Mayfield Fund, which lead the Series C investment. “I’m excited by the opportunity BranchOut has to introduce the notion of a professional social network to the 90 percent of the population that is not on LinkedIn.”
BranchOut is layered atop the Facebook platform, creating a separate profile environment specifically designed for business networking. BranchOut members can search companies, and find who among their friends — and their friends’ friends — work there. BranchOut pulls business and education information from their members’ Facebook profiles, and these can be public and searchable. In October, BranchOut launched RecruiterConnect, giving recruiters a way of sourcing candidates from Facebook and enabling them to build private talent networks.
“RecruiterConnect fills a major void for companies that have wanted to recruit on Facebook in a way that is safe, secure, and private,” according to Rick Marini, BranchOut’s CEO and founder … “it not only allows recruiters and HR professionals to leverage Facebook’s network … to find more relevant candidates quickly, but also to identify higher quality candidates by matching jobs to individuals in their employees’ extended networks.”
BranchOut and its most direct competitor, Monster’s BeKnown, grew slowly until BranchOut launched a mobile app late last year. In a TechCrunch post about the company’s hockey stick growth, BranchOut was reported to have just a million monthly active users at the beginning of the year. A month later, it had more than doubled. Then, after adding a feature allowing mobile users to invite their Facebook friends to join, the numbers of active users, usage zoomed. Today, AppData says BranchOut is averaging 13.3 million monthly users.
By comparison, BeKnown is floundering. The most recent data shows its lost about 10,000 users in the last month.
Marini told TechCrunch, “It took LinkedIn four years before enough people were there. In network effect businesses, it’s not interesting to anyone at first. Slow, slow, slow. Then it picks up steam, and then everyone body piles on.”
Referring to LinkedIn, again in a TechCrunch post, Marini says, “LinkedIn is a great company, and I think they do a really good job of addressing the ten percent of the global workforce who are white-collar executives. And we, of course, address that market as well. But if you think about the other 90 percent, these are the people on Facebook.”
The comparison is to the demographic differences between the 150 million members of LinkedIn, and those joining BranchOut. LinkedIn’s members are mostly white collar professionals, with more than just a few years of experience. BranchOut members skew younger and are at the beginning of their careers. “We power the professional profile for the Facebook generation,” says Marini.
With the new money, BranchOut says it will add to its 45-member team, based in San Francisco. Continuing to grow is clearly a priority. TechCrunch suggests an IPO is likely in the company’s sights.
“We are heads down growing a big company,” Marini told TechCrunch. “We’re not even thinking about selling. We want to go big on this one.”
The NonProfit Times reported today that, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the amount of nonprofits in the U.S. decreased by 18 percent last year. As you probably know very well, a lot of people rely on nonprofits for affordable services, especially in this tough economy.
This news made us wonder whether nonprofits have noticed an increase in demand for their services during the past year. We went to Twitter to find out, and were given the following responses from our followers:
What are your thoughts on this issue? Tweet at us @nonprofittimes or respond in the comments section below. We will update this post with new tweets from our followers.
Remember when you spent Mondays fielding calls prompted by your help-wanted ad in the Sunday paper?
It wasn’t that long ago — not even a dozen years ago — that newspapers were where recruitment dollars went. In 2000, the watershed year for newspaper employment advertising, the take came to nearly $9 billion, and some newspapers — the Dallas Morning News and the (San Jose) Mercury News in particular — had Sunday jobs sections larger than today’s entire editions.
Last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America, employment advertising revenue was $743.4 million, far below the combined $1.1 billion in North American revenue of industry leaders CareerBuilder and Monster. The last time newspaper employment revenue was so low was in 1977 when it totaled $589.4 million. In today’s dollars, that would be $2.2 billion.
While newspapers have aggressively moved online, they’re falling further and further behind, studies from the Pew Research Center show. For every $1 in new online revenue, newspapers last year lost $10 in print ad revenue. That was worse than in 2010 when they lost $7 for every new $1 in digital ad revenue.
To wring value out of the editorial content online newspapers have historically given away, the industry has begun experimenting with ‘paywalls,’ systems that allow some free reading before users must pay. The New York Times began charging for full access a year ago and now has about 400,000 subscribers. Many other newspapers are now beginning to charge or report plans to do so by year’s end.
There’s considerable doubt that charging for content will do much more than stabilize the loss of print subscriptions. Neilsen, the market research firm, found only 19 percent of American tablet users paid for news content last quarter. Compare that to the 62 percent who paid for music and the 51 percent who paid for a movie, and its clear how much distance the newspaper industry has to go.
However, employment revenue, once the single largest classified ad category, is unlikely to return. When was the last time you even though about running an ad in print?
Exactly, which is why once several years ago newspapers started cooperating with job boards. CareerBuilder, was bought by a partnership of three newspaper publishers. A few years later, Dan Finnigan, now CEO of Jobvite, masterminded a broad collaboration of newspapers with Yahoo!’s HotJobs, which he then headed-up.
Two years ago, when HotJobs was sold to Monster, the company inherited hundreds of newspaper partners who took a percentage of every ad sold via their call centers or online ordering. Now, with Monster potentially for sale or dismantling, the future of its newspaper network is in jeopardy.
The troubles are only compounded by the rise of social media, and especially by LinkedIn, which is growing its recruitment revenue more quickly than any of its job board competitors. Yet job boards themselves continue to show they produce more hires than every other source but referrals. Print as a source of hires falls far down the list.
So even as newspaper executives predict the curtailment and eventual demise of print editions altogether, the industry’s path to online revenue is not at all clear.
“Fifteen years into the digital transition, executives still feel they are in the early stages of figuring out how to proceed,” Pew researchers report.
One of the largest entertainment festivals in the country, South By Southwest (SXSW) kicked off last Friday in Austin, Tex. The event is a mecca for music film, and entertainment fans, as well as people interested in hearing about the latest advancements in social media and other technologies. Prominent panel speakers have already taken the stage, including former Vice President Al Gore, Napster founder Sean Parker, and author and scientist Ray Kurzweil.
- Ambient Location and the Future of the Interface: SXSW Keynote with real implications for Nonprofits
- Social Philanthropy: Raising Money on YouTube and Twitter
- Stand with Planned Parenthood: Lessons from Crisis Response Campaigns
A now infamous viral video released to YouTube by a nonprofit has sparked a social media campaign to bring an African rebel leader to justice, showing once again the power of viral marketing.
The Wall Street Journal reported today about the nonprofit’s viral video “Kony 2012,” which spotlights the crimes the leader of the Ugandan rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has allegedly perpetrated. Kony is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, sexual slavery, and using children as combatants. Invisible Children’s video features interviews with Ugandan children, many who are afraid to speak for fear of being captured and killed.
“Kony 2012″ (Warning: Graphic content) was first uploaded to YouTube on Monday and, by Thursday afternoon, it already had 44.7 million views and more than 170 related video clips, according to the online measurement firm Visible Measures Corp. The video also reverberated in other areas of social media, with social media analytics firm PeopleBrowsr reporting that Twitter users mentioned Kony 950,000 times. It was sites like Twitter and Facebook that allowed Invisible Children to get people aware of their video in the first place. Invisible Children’s campaign also allows participants to directly message specific celebrities and policy makers through their website to encourage them to speak out on the issue. The site includes a wide array of personalities to message, from Lady GaGa to Mitt Romney.
The goal of Invisible Children, which was founded by Jason Russell along with two other filmmakers, is to bring Kony to justice this year. They plan to do this by bringing awareness of his alleged crimes through “Kony 2012″ and the Invisible Children Protection Plan. The nonprofit’s financial statements show that this program has a five-step strategy that includes creating an early-warning radio network and deploying search and rescue teams.
There are some who question whether this viral marketing campaign is effective. Scott Gilmore, chief executive of NYC-based Peace Dividend Trust, told The Wall Street Journal that while Invisible Children’s efforts are commendable, they are ultimately for an effort that didn’t need awareness. He also said the efforts won’t bring back the children who were already kidnapped by Kony and the LRA. Invisible Children has responded to these types of critiques on their website.
You can read the full story in The Wall Street Journal.
I cannot believe how many of my clients/followers tell me that they don’t or won’t use job boards because their clients either won’t pay for job board candidates or don’t want to see job board candidates. Many tell me with a gleeful condescension that they simply “don’t do the boards.”
All of you should be using job boards.
Why should you make this a key part of your strategy? Isn’t LinkedIn enough?
Let me make this clear: no, LinkedIn is not enough. I am a huge fan of LinkedIn and one of the top industry trainers for it; however, LinkedIn and job boards really need to be worked together. You have really forgotten the great blessing of the job boards. All people on job boards are active candidates. All people on the job boards will take your phone calls or reply to your emails. All people on job boards are sitting ducks for sourcing.
LinkedIn is a tremendous tool and superb for networking, sourcing names, and email communications. It’s a great way to find passive candidates, since many people today have their LinkedIn profiles completed. As of this writing, LinkedIn has more than 135 Million people. So, use it and use it well. What I am proposing, though, is that you use your job board strategy in conjunction with LinkedIn.
The key to this is to tap into the active candidates that are like fish in a barrel, on all of the top job boards. As noted, all are active and most will take your call or reply to your emails. So, that gives you a great opportunity for easy and live sourcing. Yes, sourcing, and by sourcing, I mean the manual, old-fashioned kind where you actually talk to the person (or yes, you can email them), but you ask them to point you to other great people.
Be a Master Prospector
Any great recruiter or salesperson knows that being a master prospector is the key to the game. Prospecting is the very first step in any sales training you ever will take. Prospecting guru Paul J. Meyer put it best, when he said, “I’d rather be a master prospector, than be a wizard of speech and have no one to tell my story to.” The job boards simply give you the best opportunity to source for candidate leads and for job leads. Use this to work your game plan to make sure you are “telling your story” to the right people and in the most time effective manner.
I am not even proposing that you place the job board folk (although you will here and there and pay for the fees associated with the boards), but rather take advantage of the fact that they will take your call. Build a quick relationship and they will direct you to their former boss, current boss, great peers, and so forth.
Frankly, as part of your LinkedIn strategy, you should use your 3,000 lifetime invitations wisely (that’s right, you get 3,000 and you’ll learn that as soon as you send out your 2001st invite. At that time, they will then tell you that you only have 999 left). Ask every person you contact on the job boards to join your LinkedIn network. You can be certain they will accept and now you have online access to their entire network and work history. This is much more powerful than spending hours hoping to add people in LinkedIn Groups to your network or risking getting banned by LinkedIn for adding people who don’t know you. Many of you have learned the hard way that as soon as three or so people click “I don’t know” on their invitations, that LinkedIn will block you. Then they require that you have an email address of the person before allowing you to send out an invitation again.
Who Do You Know?
When people tell me they don’t use the job boards, I immediately ask them how much sourcing plays into their strategy. Almost always, they can’t answer the question. If you are a true sourcer, you know that every call should end with an “Oh, by the way….” That leads into questions about who they know that can help them with candidate leads or job leads.
Anyone who sources for job leads knows that the route to go is with an active candidate base. This group will always tell you what companies are interviewing or hiring people through agencies or who is hiring temps/contractors right now. It’s the best and most effective — and efficient — strategy to do this business. Someone who is good at this knows that the job boards just make it easier. They don’t necessarily look at these people as potential placements but as guaranteed relationships and as referral sources and future LinkedIn connections.
Take Job Boards for a Test Drive
Here’s what I propose: If you already have some form of job board access, then begin searching! If not, simply buy one job board job posting for one week. Post an open position you currently have that is also common for your niche. Talk to every single person you can that is somewhat related to your search that you either seek out or responds to your posting. Then, for this group, always end the call with “Oh, by the way, what other positions have you been interviewing for? What other agencies have called you and for what? Where are you currently temping?”
You’ll be shocked at how many leads you get. Do the same for names to call for candidates and your business will explode!
One final tip: if you provide temp or contracting services, then go ahead and create a Boolean search that lists all of your competitors (along with variants on how your competition may spell their name) and do a job board RESUME search. You will find hundreds (if not thousands) of candidates who list your competitor as their employer (since they are employer of record) and then list where they are currently temping/contracting and/or where they have in the past. These are incredibly hot leads and ones that you should follow immediately. You’ll also see that many are kind enough to list the hiring manager as a reference right in the resume.
I think I’ve made my point: you really must start using a job board and use it in tandem with LinkedIn. Your results will be exponential.
Have you ever heard of Pinterest? If you haven’t, it’s time to get out from under that comfortable rock you’ve been living under, because it’s the next big social media craze. So what is it? It’s a pinboard style social photo sharing website. Users are able to create boards and then decorate them with pictures that best represent their interests. These photos can either be taken from the web or uploaded from your computer. Once the picture is up, the user can link it to a website of their choosing.
Although it was launched back in March 2010, Pinterest has only recently gained steam. As of January 2012, the site had 11.7 million unique visitors, the fastest any site has reached that mark. It’s clear the social networking site has reached the level of “phenomenon” so now the question is how can your nonprofit make use of it?
Mashable, a social media and tech website, recently published an article on the top 10 strategies for nonprofits when using Pinterest. Here are five of the tips we like the best:
- Know Your Audience: This is the standard rule for other social networking platforms and it still applies to Pinterest. For example, did you know that of the site’s 10 million plus users, 87 percent are women, and the average age spans between 25 and 54. Keep this information in mind when deciding which pictures you want to pin.
- Get Personal: It’s true: People respond better when they think a real human being is behind the scenes of your social network. Give your pins some life by personalizing your descriptions, and don’t be afraid to show some humor from time to time.
- Make It A Team Effort: Social media campaigns are most successful when you get multiple staff members involved. Mashable gives the example of charity: water. Sarah Cohen, the communications and development manager at the nonprofit, told the site that one of their recently added boards, “Products We Love,” is comprised of the various nonprofit brands that the group’s staff admires.
- Fundraise: Pinterest has a feature that makes it extremely easy to raise money. All you have to do is pin a picture of something (maybe a money jar, a fundraising sign, etc.) and enter the “$” sign and price in the description box. This will create a banner in your image that will allow users to donate that amount of money into your Pinterest’s Gifts tab.
- Highlight Other Nonprofits: Pinterest is a great place to promote your nonprofit but you also don’t want to go overboard self-promotion. Other users get notifications when their pins have been “re-pinned,” and this will help you get more followers and, who knows, maybe the nonprofit will re-pin one of your items.
For years employers have been screening candidates based on content on social networking websites. Candidates using poor judgment online may be screened out of the process. Now employers and recruiters are turning to social media to aid in the selection of knowledgeable and well-connected employees.
Klout measures an individual’s influence across social media entities, such as Twitter. Data under consideration are network size, amount of content generated, and volume of interaction. That data is processed to produce a Klout score ranging from 1 to 100. The higher the score, presumably the higher the individual’s social media influence. Klout scores are categorized into measures, including “True Reach” (size of engaged audience), “Amplification Probability” (rate of action taken on message, such as retweets), and “Network Score” (value of a person’s engaged audience).
Consideration of a candidate’s Klout score is the latest trend in recruitment. As social media proficiency and influence are becoming more valuable in many occupations, the Klout score is becoming a valued source of knowledge contributing to a hiring decision. It may not be a primary determining factor, but it could help tip the scale in a candidate’s favor. All things equal, a candidate with a high Klout score may win the day.
However, sometimes a new trend can lead a manager to make a costly hiring mistake. Some managers are eager to hop onto the next great idea, even when it’s not the appropriate method for all job vacancies. In other cases, a hiring manager may place more importance on a Klout score than appropriate. It’s the job of a seasoned recruiter to put the Klout score and other candidate data into perspective to facilitate the decision making process.
For example, is a low Klout score a sign that a candidate is less valuable? Does it weaken a candidate’s brand? Not necessarily. For every individual actively building a social media empire, there are hundreds of candidates reviewing, analyzing, and utilizing the data found on social media sites.
Obviously, in some positions, social media interaction is critical; in others not so much. A community manager with a low Klout score may want to spend some time on his personal brand to build his clout in his area of expertise to increase the Klout score. A database administrator with a high Klout True Reach score may be very impressive if she is using her time blogging about her field. However, if she is known in social media as the ultimate authority on the Battlestar Gallactica, it is very impressive but may not give her the edge when interviewing. There are many instances when a Klout score is not relevant due to the occupation or industry.
There are legal aspects of using social media to make a hiring decision. As a recruiting professional, it is important to stay abreast of changes in this area of employment law. One reason it may be a risky addition to a formal hiring plan is that social media provides a glimpse into a candidate’s religion, sexual orientation, marital status, gender, and age. Because those items are protected by anti-discrimination laws, an employer is forbidden from using that data as a hiring factor. The line could be blurred unless filtering safeguards are implemented so hiring managers do not receive those details. Additionally, this is an opportunity for training of both human resource managers as well as hiring managers.
The bottom line is that this is an area to watch. As a professional recruiter, you can increase your clout with your clients by remaining knowledgeable in this evolving space in the world of employee selection.
Gen Yers aren’t specifically using Facebook for business, but with an average of 700 “friends” and a propensity to change jobs after two years, the lines between social and business are so blurred they aren’t even aware it’s happening.
Data out this morning from a study of Facebook’s Gen Y members (18-29) shows that, on average, each has 16 co-workers as friends. While the average is skewed by those who have many more, the study found that half have more than five workers as Facebook friends.
What’s the significance?
“When they go home,” says Gen Y branding guru Dan Schwabel, “they are still connected to the workplace… Their co-workers are their friends. And because people change jobs so often and have so many friends, their friends become co-workers.”
Ironically, Schwabel says, most Gen Yers aren’t intending for Facebook to be a business tool; 64 percent of them don’t bother to list a single employer in their profile.
That’s why, he says, Facebook is “inadvertently a part of their business life.”
His company, Millenial Branding, analyzed data from Identified.com uncovering the inadvertent consequence of friending co-workers. While BranchOut and Monster’s BeKnown are intentional business networks for Facebook users, at least for Gen Y business networking is occurring on the mainstage.
Another key discovery, says Schwabel, is how few Gen Yers work at large companies. Only 7 percent of those listing a job currently work for a Fortune 500 firm.The largest share (7.2 percent) work in the hospitality and travel industry, and 2.9 percent give their job title as “server.”
However, ranking 5th among titles is “owner,” suggesting, says Schwabel, that Gen Y workers are entrepreneurial. For recruiters looking to hire Gen Yers, the implication is clear. “Large corporations need to rethink their corporate recruiting strategy,” he says. ” Companies have to be more flexible and give Gen Y more control over schedules, and their work.”
The best way to reach a Gen Yer, he says, is through their friends or by friending them directly. Don’t message them until you are a friend, he recommends. “They don’t think of Facebook that way.” Referrals by friends are the best way to reach out. “They trust their friends. They listen to their friends.”
Schwabel also had some counsel for his Gen Y peers — advice anyone with a workplace friend should keep in mind: “Be careful what (you) say. It could be the office gossip next morning.”