August 8, 2013

“Questioning” Traditional Advice

young boy sitting on a big book with different science, math and physics icons around himI get a lot of emails, subscribe to a lot of blogs. Heck, I still receive enough marketing and business mags to fill a sizable doctor’s waiting room. I would wager that few recruiting resources are as helpful as many of the sources I turn to for marketing help. I inevitably see recruiting applications in the articles PLUS, in most cases, there is a business case or ROI attached to the marketing initiative, something that recruiters have started to do and need to do more of (both in corporate and when addressing third party clients). Anyway…

One of my favorite sources is Hubspot’s marketing blog. They always pay attention to the latest developments, have a stable of solid writers and are low on the snark-o-meter (I don’t love blogs that make you feel stupid for having a question). In addition, Hubspot has been particularly good about reporting on social media changes, something that vastly affects talent acquisition pros.

Their latest infographic focuses on the somewhat traditionally held belief that asking questions of your Facebook audience automatically increases engagement. The underlying assumption here is that we’re all narcissists, otherwise Facebook wouldn’t be so successful; so, of course, we’re going to answer a question directed at us (and 13,874 other followers) from Oreo Cookies.

For those who are simply too busy to look at the whole long infographic, I’ve compiled the interesting bits:

It depends on how you define engagement. If you define it as actually talking and interacting with your “following” or in a company’s or recruiter’s case, your candidates, then questions do work slightly better than other kinds of posts. However, if part of your strategy is to get likes and comments on posts so that you can reach more suitable candidates (a beehive-like approach) then questions might not be the right approach since those tend to get shared less.

It depends on the question. Wondering questions that ask for “advice” or include words like “would” and “should” tend to get slightly better play than straight forward questions that demand a concrete answer (who, what, when , where, why, how). The marketer in me believes this is because people loathe to answer the same way their predecessor did on a specific thread. If the answer is undeniably “California” instead of  the more personal “dipped in milk till they get all crumbly”. So, preferences trump trivia.

Polls and Controversy. A couple of things that this infographic doesn’t cover are polls and controversial topics. Polls are particularly useful for the recruiter looking to build up a community that includes potential applicants and also his internal employees. He may look to create camaraderie and even get a bit of market information from his group. Polls can be an excellent way to do this, but based on the information gathered below, might be too concrete for folks to participate.

Controversy on the other hand, is something that works far better for consumer-based companies than B2B endeavors. Generally, asking controversial questions can get a ton of views or shares but alienate a large chunk of your base. In many cases, talent acquisition and HR are working on social in tandem so controversial queries on social media may have to wait a few years.

Does it work? Take a look:

Do Questions Work on Facebook? [Infographic]

Do you have a favorite way of connecting with folks on Facebook? Does your company have a Facebook strategy? How do you view Facebook as part of your professional social recruiting toolbox? Talk to me in the comments!

Read more in Employee Engagement

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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