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DemonsWe here at TruLondon all want social media to succeed and to be embraced quickly and vehemently. That will, however, only happen if we take a considerate, balanced, even critical approach to all it offers. And, if we resist the temptation of positioning social media as the be all and end all, the solution for everything and replacement of all “traditional” methods and techniques.

For this reason I take issue with those I’ll flippantly term Social Media ‘fascists’ – those who brutalise the purity and beauty of social media by completely misunderstanding and misusing its central tenet. Those
who put themselves at the heart of social media, rather than the individual.

Not only that, Social Media Fascists take a rather naive view of the communications world order – believing that social media alone delivers today’s consumer centric conversations.

This is despite Marketing making the move over 10 years ago from the 4Ps to the 4Cs (Promotion to Communication, Product to Customer Solution, Place to Convenience and Price to Cost), reflecting the shift from company centric to consumer centric approach.

In addition, Public Relations never was, and never will be about mere press releases. It is about person to person interaction, about individual and community engagement, about influence, about relationship and network building, and about content within context.

So what do Social Media Fascists need to accept about the new communications world order?

Hybrid is the new pure play

It just doesn’t make any business sense of replacing every approach with social media. That might work in the mind of our Social Media Fascists, as they put their beliefs and desires before the practicalities and needs of running a successful business. However a successful business requires an understanding of, and appreciation for, the individual and the way and methods in which they want to be engaged.

For example, our research (run independently and in line with research guidelines) shows that only 29% of job seekers consider using social media sites for job searching. This is down from 35% in August 2008. By only embracing social media therefore, we would immediately rule out more than 2/3 of candidates.

For example, Jobsite’s newsletter Worklife has 500k subscribers. Should we stop it and just communicate via Twitter? Of course not. But what we can and will do, is embrace and include social media attributes and attitudes when communicating with our subscribers via email.

For example, candidates value the convenience, the speed, and the control of online recruitment. Social media just can’t provide this at the moment. Mervyn Dinnen – newly appointed Content and Community Manager of Jobsite – told me that yes, it only took him 5 weeks to find a new job, but it took him 2 years to build up the enabling network.

So let’s give social media credit where credit is due (and a lot is due: LinkedIn is already used by 6% of direct hirers that is on par with CVLibrary and Jobserve). However, let’s also give a healthy marketing/recruitment mix (based around the engagement channels chosen by the individuals) the importance that it deserves. And let’s advise companies and run our companies accordingly.

Instead of talking about social recruiting, let’s just talk about recruiting. Instead of trying to do everything, let’s concentrate on our core competencies. Instead of being blinkered in our views, let’s be open minded. Instead of choosing just one approach, let’s – in the spirit of this century – take the best from all worlds, stitch it together in a meaningful way and create an even better, more competitive and unique approach.

Mobile recruitment doesn’t exist

Moving away from social recruiting towards recruiting, means that mobile recruiting doesn’t exist. Therefore this year won’t be the year of mobile recruiting, nor will next year, nor the year after.

However, mobile changes the landscape even more quickly than social media. Mobile has a greater impact on the behaviour of the individual than social media. Mobile is more convenient and more direct than social media. Mobile gives the individual more control then social media.

Undoubtedly social media highlights an underlying change in human behaviors and attitudes and will certainly breakdown some barriers. However mobile is the real change agent, whereby social media is only an outlet. Mobile is delivering instant impact and instant results in every corner of the world, whilst social media has a slow adoption and ultimately rides on the back of the mobile wave.

So my advice to businesses is: Get involved in both – as the combination of mobile and social is extremely powerful – but if you have limited resources, emphasize mobile.

Data is the real enabler

Both social and mobile are allowing the individual to share more data, in the hope of a more tailored service; a service that not only gives recommendation and prediction on clearly defined desires but also fulfills latent needs that will surprise and delight the individual.

In the #TruLondon Masterclass I will share more of our research data: the preferred communication and recruitment channels of job seekers and hirers, their attitudes towards online recruitment and some of our latest mobile data. Obviously, I’m also looking forward to a lively debate. Hasta la victoria siempre!

Creative Commons License photo credit: ciscai

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