Last week we ran our first coronavirus helpline live recruitment marketing Q&A on Twitter, hosted by Vickie Collinge and Dan Stobbs, who answered all the marketing, PR and social media questions you tweeted in to us.
Here's what was covered:
Vickie: Hello everybody, I’m Vickie Collinge, Head of Practice at BlueSky PR, and I’m joined today by Dan Stobbs, our Head of Social Media.
Thank you for joining us, I can see the numbers going up quickly now. Wow lots of people coming along. Hello. Hi.
I hope everyone’s ok. I hope everyone’s healthy, both physically and mentally and that we’re all kind of coping in this chaos shall we say.
This is going to be the first of our weekly Twitter live Q&A’s where we are going to run through any questions you have. Anything to do with marketing, PR, content, social media or if you just want a general chitchat with us.
I think we are all in the same boat in that we are working remotely and perhaps feeling a little bit isolated. We’re here to help, we are here to support each other.
I’m going to be running this week’s Q&A and will be taking turns with the rest of the team each week. We might even compete to see who can get the most engagement. The winner gets a bottle of wine at the end of all this!
If you’ve got any questions do share them with us, Dan is monitoring the @BlueSkyPR Twitter handle and DMs so he will be sharing any questions with me.
Before Dan starts sharing any questions you guys are posting now, I just wanted to cover off a question that everyone’s asking me at the moment, clients included. And it was something I covered off on a recent TRN free webinar and that’s:
How on earth do I market and stand out from the crowd with all this noise about COVID-19?
I want to cover this first and foremost as it may spring up a few more questions for everybody. So, my answer to that question is, you need to have something different to say. If you don’t want to be involved in all of the virus conversations that are going on that’s absolutely fine if you’ve got something to say that’s relevant to people now. That could be something along the lines of something positive about what happens when we’re all back in the office. Some positive news stories, you know, share it but the answer is there is always going to be the noise around coronavirus and there is always going to be a lot of conversation about it until things settle down. But you can stand out as long as you have something different to say and that’s relevant. And don’t go and start posting content that’s not advisable such as how to get a job overseas because that isn’t going to get any interest from anyone at the moment and might actually backfire on you. You can stand out, you just need to take a bit of a strategic viewpoint on what you’re saying and make sure it is relevant now and engage and share online.
So, Dan, have you got any questions coming through?
Dan: One you’ve covered slightly but we’ve had a DM through saying:
Do I need to re-do my entire marketing communications plan given the current situation that we’re facing?
Vickie: Absolutely is the answer. So with all the accounts that we have, we have been re-evaluating all content, all comms that’s going out from them at the moment and if you haven’t already done that it’s really crucial that you do. Case and point, if you have someone managing your social media who uses perhaps a scheduling platform for example, you might have some evergreen content that’s not best to be pushing out right now. Like the example I mentioned before, if you post something out on Twitter about international or cross-boarder job opportunities, it’s not going to go down well. Look at anything you have scheduled, have another look at your content plan that you had in place for the next few months and re-evaluate it. It doesn’t mean you have to throw everything out the window but people are still trying to go ahead with business as usual activities so there is some content you will still be able to use, maybe some general advice pieces. But you do need to evaluate it and I’d say sooner rather than later so that you don’t land yourself in any hot water. I hope that answers the question, if you have any further questions on this that we don’t cover off, we’re happy to follow up, so please do tweet us any questions, we are doing the live Q&As every week but if you have anything you want to ask just tweet us and we can reply or we can cover it next week.
Dan: We’ve just had another question through to say:
Should we still be pushing out blogs that aren’t coronavirus focussed?
Ok, good, I like that one. Yes, please do. I think we are all probably tired of the coronavirus conversation, it’s very similar to the Brexit conversation, we’ve all had a bit of Brexit fatigue at some point. Everyone I think hit it at their own different stages but there is a point when people want to hear about more than just the coronavirus. Obviously don’t ignore the fact that the virus is impacting recruitment and businesses and all of us, I’m not saying pretend nothing’s happening but if you have any blogs you can share or any blog content that you want to push out that’s non-coronavirus related, I think people will definitely welcome it right now. It’s nice to have something refreshing, something different and I know, try to keep it upbeat and light. I really want to point out to anyone putting out content on their blog, coronavirus focussed or not, try to keep it upbeat, to have constant negative messaging going out there is going to impact everybody and I think what we all want is to see more of us trying to keep the country running, trying to keep employment at a level that can hold the fort until things get back to normal. There is going to be an end at some point to all of this, so pushing anything out that isn’t coronavirus related I think will definitely help us all in the longer term. And also remember that we are going to get through this, we are going to get back to business as normal and you have to reassure yourself that anything you post out now is going to be relevant then, that you’re happy that you shared any content on your website, would you be happy looking back in a month or a few months time? Or would you see that it was opportunistic? Or would I be happy that we went quiet? Or would I then find that my competitors have pipped me to the post and stood out more than us? I think this is something all businesses need to consider at the moment. Consider that for yourselves when you’re reviewing what content you’re posting.
Dan: Can I just add to that – in terms of pushing out blog content that isn’t coronavirus focussed on your social channels, it really does stick out. No matter who you’re following at the moment, it is just coronavirus dominated in the feeds and if you do push something that’s upbeat out there it really does get eyes on yourself and your brand and help you to be remembered particularly in this climate, people will remember your name for having that content that sticks out and adds value and is positive. Definitely, definitely focus on blog topics that are uplifting and upbeat.
Vickie: I completely agree with that sentiment Dan and I don’t know how anyone else feels about this that’s listening but I’m engaging more with the positive tweets that I wouldn’t necessarily normally reply to just because I think we all need it and I think that’s definitely going to be carrying on for the next few weeks at least.
Dan: Definitely and we’ve just had another message come through which says:
We still have candidates seeking work, yet jobs have dried up, what kind of content should we be producing?
Vickie: Ok, in those situations I think first and foremost you need to be having honest conversations with the candidates that are applying, I think we’ve got to remember that people are potentially losing their jobs and there’s going to be an uptick of people looking for employment opportunities but jobs are drying up temporarily. I think that’s the key message I want to get across here for any content that you are sharing, this is temporary and there need to be more people sharing that message in their content. So, if you are noting that more applicants are coming to you or if you’ve still got applicants coming to you but you haven’t got the jobs then there needs to be a first and foremost a level of look this is a temporary situation, we are working with candidates at the moment to best ensure they can find their next opportunity, bear with us, keep engaging with us and as a nation we are all working to try and support everybody’s employment and support everybody in general, every business. Messaging like that will keep those candidates engaged an I think that’s going to be crucial going forward, keeping them engaged when you may not have the job opportunities for them but then there’s sort of a second strand communication that needs to go out there to employers directly themselves and is sort of calling them to not be tempted to take knee jerk reactions in these tough times. There are numerous sectors at the moment who are seeking staff still and they will naturally see an uplift in recruitment activity such as the healthcare field for example but then those who are perhaps a bit quieter, there needs to be a reminder to employers that when we get through this, they are going to still need people, they are going to need talent and if they ignore those who are engaging with them now, they are going to set themselves up for problems further down the line. If you stop sharing your jobs and you stop engaging with candidates then someone else is going to get them at the end of the day. That’s where recruiters can perhaps fill a void that is going to be noted, they can engage with employers and clients and say to them, look we have these candidates coming in, you may not have a job yet but I think we can work together to engage and motivate and connect with them so that when you are in a position to hire you have a pool of talent that’s engaged with you. And you know, that message is going to work to support businesses with their growth plans after coronavirus. It’s something you can certainly be pushing out in your blogs and any of your marketing mailers.
Dan: We’ve just had another question through, and it says:
In terms of marketing content output, should we be keeping it the same as prior to this crisis or should we be increasing it?
Vickie: I would actually say it’s worthwhile increasing it. I can’t remember who it was that I heard say it recently, but I think it’s very true, someone from my network said, ‘we’re going to communicate our way out of this crisis‘, and I think that’s going to be the way forward. If we think about it from an individual perspective, whether you’re a candidate or employer, most people are now working from home, so they are slightly isolated and we all want to talk to people more, we want to hear from people more, communicate more. So, it’s actually more crucial now to be communicating with your target audiences because if your competitors are talking to your audience more than you are then they are going to stand out in comparison. People are going to remember the actions of everybody during the crisis, so if you are only communicating as much as you always do, you are not going to be showing you are doing more, adding value for your target audiences. You need to be communicating more and doing more and pushing more out because you are just going to stay front of mind that way. It will stop people as well from taking some of those knee jerk reactions because we all read the news all the time and the news is undoubtedly quite negative right now with everything that is going on with regard to coronavirus. If that’s all people are hearing, they are going to listen to that and they are likely to make knee jerk decisions, they’re going to cut everything, they are going to shut everything down. If they are hearing more positive messages, repeatedly, you know, over and over again, and that message is being reinforced, that actually we are going to get through this that actually for businesses this is what we can do for our staff, our people, this is how we can all support each other. That supportive and collaborative mindset and community will grow and build, so I think we are all going to put ourselves in a better position if we are communicating more and sending more of these uplifting, upbeat and positive messaging out there. So, if you can, ramp it up. I do understand there are a lot of people who are facing increasingly heavy workload and perhaps less resources at the moment but that doesn’t mean you should be stopping or slowing down any of your communications at the moment, it needs to be a priority.
Dan: We’ve just got one more:
With more people than ever working from home, we’ve been looking in the past at producing webinars, so is now the right time to be launching a webinar with all of our audience sitting at home?
Vickie: 100% yes. I’ve been involved in a huge amount of videos, more webinars and just general video content in the last two weeks than I have this year yet. The reason being that webinars and online networking is all we can do at the moment because we can’t do face to face networking. So, I think anyone who was thinking about it beforehand will now see that it’s much more valuable to be taking part or driving your own webinars. Particularly if you work for a company that has traditionally relied on face to face networking events. Webinars are to replace those now and for the definite immediate future. So, where you can, I would advise looking at webinars. And make them regular, make them interactive, and I am going to sound like a broken record here but make them positive, make them upbeat, no-one is going to join in if all they hear is things are a bit crap out there, nothing is going on, we have nothing to say. And make sure as well, if you haven’t done webinars before, trial it and test it before internally because you only really get one shot at a first impression on a webinar. If it was the first one you’ve done for your audience you don’t want to be outshone by technical problems that prevent the webinar from running smoothly because people just won’t want to login for the next one. And make sure that you market it correctly as well, you can host a webinar but if you don’t tell the right people about it you’re not going to get the results that you want and may then put you in the position where you can get the buy in to do the next one. So, make sure you have a very clear and strong marketing plan to promote it, use your social channels, utilise any marketing mailers and look at online partnerships, is there a trade body you can get involved that you are connected with or that you’re a member of? Are there any publications that are looking to take part in any current webinars? Case and point, the Recruitment Network, who we work with, have opened up their membership to everybody and were offering free videos to everyone and anyone to watch on their site. If you are hosting a webinar, look at who else you could work with, who you could partner with because now is the time to collaborate on these things. What you are going to do that way is get your brand name out there in front of a much wider audience, which will really be beneficial to you during the longer term future.
I hope that answers your question.
Anyone listening if you so have any other thoughts after this. If you’re watching after the live event, do tweet us and share your questions and we will answer them.
I just want to wrap up I guess with one final thing, and that’s there is one question that was asked of us from pretty much every single one of our clients the second coronavirus chaos really started to happen, and that was:
Is it inappropriate for me to be pushing out my sales messages at the moment? Should I just be going quiet?
And I know we’ve had a few questions similar to that on the live Q&A but I just really want to emphasise to everybody that it’s not inappropriate to be communicating at this time, obviously don’t communicate anything that is overtly salesy that could perhaps rub a few people up the wrong way but you know, marketing and communications is more crucial now than it’s ever been. So, please do make sure that you are investing time, that you’re investing effort and that you are focusing still on your comms, no matter how tough times are getting at the moment.
Brilliant, well thank you so much to everyone who’s been joining, thank you so much for all your questions, I really do appreciate those. We are back again next week, same time same place. We’ll go through any more questions that you want to cover off. Who knows what’s going to happen between now and then as everything is changing so quickly, anything could happen, we could all be back at work you know, who knows? But thank you so much everyone for joining us and tweet us any more questions you have and we’ll answer and if not I will speak to you all soon.
Thank you Dan for joining.
Dan: Thank you, take care guys.
Vickie: Take care, bye everybody.
The live Q&A will be running again Wednesdays at 12pm on Twitter for the next few weeks. Send us your questions in advance or live or the day 🙂