In our most recent live recruitment marketing Q&A, hosted by Vickie Collinge and Dan Stobbs, we focused on the future of recruitment PR and marketing,
BlueSky's @VickieCollinge and @Stobbzy are live for our recruitment marketing Q&A.— Tracey Barrett (Dunn) (@BlueSkyPR) May 18, 2020
They are discussing how agencies can future-proof their comms strategy. Send in your questions! #RecruitmentMarketing #Recruitment #Staffing #HRhttps://t.co/pSyvEkRPPX
Here's what was covered: .
Vickie: Hi everyone, it's Vicki here from BlueSky PR.
I hope everybody's well, at least the sun’s out today, which means that we can at least enjoy ourselves while we're at home. My colleague Dan will be joining us shortly and posing the questions people have been asking over the last couple of days and during the Q&A.
Dan: Hey, how are you?
Vickie: Not too bad, and thank you very much for joining me again. I was just welcoming everyone, quite a few people are joining at the moment.
I think we've had a couple of questions in over the weekend but before we go into any of those, I just wanted to give a bit of overview for listeners as to the topic and why we're focusing on this topic for this week. So, essentially we wanted to focus on the future of recruitment PR and recruitment marketing for this particular Q&A. And the reason that this topic emerged is based on the conversations we've been having with current clients, and those within the recruitment field, so we thought that as we're now at a stage where the tide is turning, we could actually talk about the big picture and something positive. And all of our clients, without me asking, have been asking us what we do now, in the future, what we need to plan for our future. Because, I'm sure you'll agree with me, but let me know if you have any other views, I think when we were first locked down everyone panicked and had a period of crisis communications that really took place. But since then, we're now looking forward at the future, so we start to plan again, which is certainly encouraging from my point of view, and it's just nice to see people are looking forward at long, long last.
So, Dan, do you want to kick off with some of the questions?
Dan: Yeah, sure. So, again just echoing what you said really, it’s really great that a lot of agencies are now mapping out the coming weeks and months, it is fantastic.
We had a message come in yesterday, and it says:
With things moving so quickly, is there any point scheduling anything or planning for the future?
Vickie: Okay. That's an interesting one, and I have a couple of thoughts on that.
First and foremost, we spoke at the beginning of all of this about anything that's being scheduled that you do need to review, because I think when this all kicked off a number of agencies asked about some of their social posts. So, there were a few scheduled posts that we wouldn't have advised sharing in the current climate, I think you know with scheduling stuff, review and take with a pinch of salt. Because, you know, what you schedule might actually be irrelevant in a week's time as you're talking about the latest news and update information. That doesn't mean that you can't schedule anything or that can't plan anything at all. And I think in order to keep content being pushed out you do need to have some form of plan, something scheduled. I think if you are working with, let's take an industry for example, financial services at entry level. The career advice that you'd give candidates isn't going to change massively at the moment in terms of how they can access jobs, there may be certain tips and advice that you can be pushing out as content for that particular audience because it won't change as much, you're not going to perhaps set yourself up for some controversy by talking about something you shouldn't in this economy. As a case in point, you could even have a blog and then some social media content going out about devising and making the most out of video interviews, because that type of information isn’t going to go out of date. At this time anyway, that's for sure, but at the moment that's not going to be impacted by what's happening across the economy because people are still going to need it. Even if things are a bit, you know, negative in your industry there are some advice pieces that you can be putting out such as how to maintain engagement with your audiences, for example, it is broad enough to engage people, so you can keep creating content and you can schedule stuff still, so I'd advise doing it. I wouldn't say switch off scheduling anything because you'll find then that there'll be a different agency posting here and there where you've forgotten to share some posts, and that's going to go against your favour. So I would definitely advise scheduling but think carefully anytime you schedule anything and just make sure you review it really just so that you're not setting anything out that's no longer relevant. Would you agree with all of that Dan?
Dan: Yes. And I think people who have evergreen content, you can always post in a tweet or LinkedIn post for example, saying you wrote this four months ago but this advice is even more important now for what's going on. Again, just that context can help shape it sometimes. I can see it was X amount of months ago, just setting that context initially helps people understand why that content is being posted.
Vickie: That's a really good idea actually Dan, thanks for sharing that.
Dan: Okay. A second direct message came through yesterday that says:
Can I use the data I have? Because there's a huge drop in hiring – can I do anything with this information?
Vickie: Okay. So to answer, we work with a number of companies that print out a lot of hiring data, so we have addressed this question quite a few times before. And I think a year ago, companies that had hiring data that showed some vacancies were dropping in the sector would have just been reluctant to push it out. Obviously, that's your business but all you're doing is saying that there is no business for your company at the moment, so most people wouldn't want to do anything with that data. I think until the crisis like this. And it's actually possible to share that information because everybody's being realistic about the environment at the moment. And when you're thinking about your recruitment marketing activity, key messages out that are all positive or just ignore what's going on in the industry and the economy - that is not going to be useful. And if you have the data that has information then I think people will be interested in hearing on how the situation is, and how much things have changed. In order to make sure that you are putting something positive out there, I think agencies need to be looking at the data and then saying okay hiring has changed significantly in the last few weeks. Looking forward we expect to close, so if we take construction for example, at the beginning all of this hiring completely dropped because projects were shut down across the UK. And now, there's been an uptick in hiring, so a couple of weeks ago if you were a construction recruiter and you noted that vacancies were continuously dropping, that is absolutely fine. Everyone understands that is the case but showing that you have access to that data shows that you have the insights and the connections that are valuable to employers and candidates. A few weeks ago, you're sharing that information and then saying, however, you know, once the bounce back does happen, we predict there'll be an uptick in demand for x, y and z nationals. As the UK tries to get back to work, sharing the insight, then when that does happen, you can say, well “we predicted two weeks ago that this would happen.” It just really stands you out in the crowd and shows everyone that you know not only your data on what's currently happening, whether it's negative or positive, and it also shows you have that knowledge and expertise to say this is going to pick up at some point and this is what is going to happen, we expect these trends to happen etc. etc. And it just keeps you front of mind and I know some people are reluctant to share negatives when it comes to hiring data but, you know, as I said, we're all realists, we all expect certain areas to drop. It's not just one sector that’s suffering, it is every sector. So now is the time to actually share that but supplement it with that forward thinking insight.
Dan: Thank you very much Vickie. Really good advice there. And I'd like to add as well, I've certainly seen a few agencies over the past fortnight or so putting out data about research, figures falling in certain sectors and they’ve moved some of their messaging across from just saying this has fallen by going on to aspects such as employee retention, and employee engagement aspects as well to show they have a clear understanding of the market and have experience in other areas of recruitment and HR, as well. So again, you can just broadened your knowledge a little bit and just show that you have expertise in those areas as well.
Vickie: Very good point.
Dan: So the next question we’ve had in is:
I’ve seen the trends information being released by the likes of APSCo and have been sharing it on my personal channels such as LinkedIn, is there anything else I should be doing with this?
Okay, yeah, I mean just there's so much data being pushed out by various people at the moment, as I mentioned a minute ago, we work with a number of clients that have data that they push out and sharing that information that you're privy to is certainly advisable. But if you look at how people are sharing stuff online, everyone's doing it at the moment where there’s really good data, and I mean APSCo’s data is fantastic. But where's the data, there’s going to be a lot of people sharing it and I know APSCo’s data does get shared far and wide. And I think to add real value, and that's what ideally you want for your agency and for your marketing activities to add value to the reader, just sharing or just liking what someone else says doesn't stand you out too much because essentially they could get that same information from the source themselves. And what I would highly recommend doing is commenting on the data or commenting on what your views are, are your conversations mirroring that insight that APSCo are pushing out for example. Do you agree? What do you think? It’s back to that whole forward thinking topic, what do you think will happen to these trends in the future? I think that's where you’ll add real value as an expert. And you know when you're sharing stuff as well, I don't know the ins and outs of the person who's asked this but if you're sharing it as a person that's fantastic but don't forget to share and comment as a business as well so that you know you've got both the company that you work for and yourself and all obviously if you're a marketer you’ll be doing anyway in an agency but make sure that the whole team is sharing and commenting on this insight. Where you’ve got consultants who aren’t on furlough for example, who are actively hiring people, who are placing people at the moment, get them to share that data and say you know, you can even do a bit of a plug and say we absolutely agree with this, we've seen a real uptick in demand for x type of professionals, in fact we've had these roles as our highest roles of the week or whatever. That kind of insight and conversation and joining that conversation, will add a lot of value to your readers. And again, it's just another way of showing people that you know the industry that you operate in inside and out and you’re not just relying on someone else's data, and yes, they may have published that themselves but, you know the sentiment from the people you're speaking to, so share that information and drive that conversation. And I'm not just talking about social media posts, I think it's important to share this as well that when you have access to data that you have taken interest in, and the only reason you'd like to share it is when you find it interesting, share your thoughts on your blog, you know you've got a chance there to really expand on your experience and your view point on what the data is showing at the moment. And if you disagree, say that and say why you disagree, and obviously make sure that you've got the support and the insight to back up your claims but use the likes of the blog to really get your point of view across because it gives you that chance to give your readers and your audience visiting your website an insight into who you are and what you know but also your response to what's going on in the industry at the moment. And always remember when you're pushing out anything like this or sharing anything that you've got to give the reader something different. And if you are just giving them what they need elsewhere, they won't come back to you again but if you are giving them something that they can only get from you then you’re going to get people coming back again, and you're going to get people engaging with you and that's ultimately what you want for any marketing and comms that you’re putting out.
Dan: Thank you very much Vickie, some great advice there. We have another question, which is:
What is your advice when it comes to creating a future proof recruitment marketing plan in this environment?
Vickie: That one's quite a tricky one to answer, I’m not going to lie. But that's what we're doing at the moment with our clients is trying to create future proof strategies, and there are a couple of pieces of advice that I would give out here. The first one is that you can create a strategy. It is going to be tough at the moment because things are changing so quickly but just because things will need to change quickly and need to adapt, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't plan it doesn't mean you shouldn't have a strategy because if you don't have those in place, you’re settling yourselves up for failure essentially because in three months’ time, you might look back and say, okay, what were we trying to do with our marketing and what were we trying to do with our PR over the last three months. If you haven't planned, you don't know you were trying to do, and you don’t know if you’ve hit your goals and if you’ve done everything that you needed to. So you can plan, and you can stretch it out, and I would absolutely advise that you do that but to make sure that it is future proof, essentially the main point is to evaluate it regularly and review it regularly. Weekly at least you need to be looking at what you've got scheduled, what you've got planned, what advertorial you've got, what comms you're pushing out, what research you're doing, and monitoring the news agenda and adjusting any of your plans accordingly. So, if there is breaking news about lockdown being lifted or eased across the globe, that is relevant to your market, you need to then change your strategy accordingly because you need to be getting a reaction out straightaway and anything you've had the pipeline for that particular field or geography is going to change. And so, making sure that you're reviewing these things regularly is crucial to really develop a future proof plan. And I think that's not just in terms of crisis either, I think once we come out the other side of all of this, we'll see more people, more agencies actually setting up recruitment and marketing strategies that they do review regularly because they'll think more of us will understand why that's important. And why that needs to be done, so you know I hope that that does change long term.
My other piece of advice would be, to have one person to really own the strategy, because there's no way you can really monitor what needs to be changed in any plans that you've developed, unless you have one person who is solely responsible for it. We’ve seen it quite a few times where there's maybe five or six different people involved in pushing out a particular marketing or comms plan. The problem with that is that one slight miscommunication can mean that something doesn't actually happen, so you may have a team of five, but someone might be sitting there thinking it’s okay, Bob over there is responsible for this, and Jane over there responsible for this, so I won't do anything, Bob and Jane don’t now that and so nobody does what should be done –the changes to social media posts that have been scheduled for example. Or where you've got blog topics developed, nobody tells the consultants that actually you're going to change the focus for the month because of what's happened in the economy or whatever. You need to have one person who is solely responsible for it, who then delegates accordingly, otherwise things will be missed. Whether that be a marketing person, if you have one, or whether that be the CEO or a very senior member of the team who has some experience in marketing and comms at least, it doesn't matter who it is, as long as one person can really direct everybody, and make sure that the plans are pushed through and managed and adapted.
And I think that's really it in terms of advice. I would definitely say, speak to others, find out what others are doing and maybe seek expert advice because, this is very broad advice from me but every agency is different, every situation is different, and you could have a team of four, you could have a team of 400, you can have a team of 4000, and what your strategy looks like that is going to work now and in the future is going to be completely different depending on the size your business, and the industries that you operate within.
Do you have anything you can throw in there Dan?
Dan: I was just going to echo your point, in terms of having a person who takes sole ownership of the recruitment marketing because that’s something I frequently find out when I speak to other recruitment marketers, that they do struggle because they don't have that one person who is in charge of everything. Because if you want a fully cohesive and integrated approach to your recruitment marketing, you need to make sure that your website, email marketing campaigns, social, and even offline stuff in terms of brochures etc. have one person that overseas all of that to a certain degree, otherwise you are going to have silos in the process, you’re going to have hurdles and things just don’t get done.
If you have that one person who oversees that and make sure that everything is integrated with one another, you really have a successful approach and can really measure your results, and set KPIs that you can achieve, otherwise, if you didn't have that, then it is really really hard to be successful in recruitment marketing.
Vickie: Absolutely, very true.
Brilliant. Do we have any more questions?
Dan: That is the last one.
Vickie: Okay. We just want to finish off really with something that I mentioned at the beginning of this - we have had quite a few interesting conversations about planning for the future and one of the questions that does crop up quite a lot with our clients, and it might just be because we have those close relationships with them that they feel comfortable asking this, and people might not perhaps want to put this publically on Twitter, but we’ve had a lot of people say to us, “is it too early to start planning the future?” And I just want to end by saying it's never too early to start planning for the future, no matter what we're going through, no matter what the economy is doing. And I think we need to start looking forward and start planning for what's going to happen in a month, three months, six months and even next year, because we're going to get to the other side of this at some point. What the world of work and recruitment will look like is most people's guess at the moment and we need to start looking forward, rather than focusing on just the here and now, so that we can help everybody get through to the other side of this and a little bit of positivity goes a long way. So, simply talking about what's going to happen in the next three to six months’ time is going to help people to start see the light at the end of the tunnel and start realising there is an end to this at some point. So that’s my final point.
Thank you for joining us.
We’ll be hosting another one of these on Friday 5th June 2020. Follow @BlueSkyPR on Twitter for the latest posts and updates on this. I'm @VickieCollinge if you want to follow me. Dan is @Stobbzy and he’s always pushing out some great social media tips and tricks.