Being christmas, it’s time to look back at the things that have happened, and forward in to what might be. These are my thoughts on how social media and social recruiting could change during 2011, in particular how we use the channels.
The channels are definitely changing along with the way we use them. From a business perspective, I think social is going to be more about selective conversations and public broadcasts of very targeted, tagged content. With apps like Replyz on twitter, Jibe on Facebook and Linked In and many of the other similar tools available, there is much less need to be active in the streams. The tools find the conversations and the people who are relevant to you and bring them to you. The posts need to be key-word rich and findable. This will change our social thinking as to how we communicate. Being found will be more important than being heard.
Looking at Linked In, the average user only visits the channel twice a month. Most of the Linked In communication, updates, following and tracking goes on outside of the channel, either through the in box, an application like Jibe, (which also spans Facebook.) or a purpose-built toolbar. You don’t need to log in to a group to post or comment or to post an update. You can do that from one of the linked in toolbars. You can share content from anywhere with your network or comment on their posts. I think the move to opening groups and the API for cross-channel discussion sharing and google listing is an attempt to counter this and draw people back in to the channel through tempting conversation, I will watch this with interest.
With the launch of Linked In referral engine later this year, the alpha launch of the new company pages, the delivery of matched jobs to profiles and other initiatives that the boffins in the Linked In labs will be developing over the coming year will make this channel a real threat to third-party recruiters eroding some market share, as sourcing candidates gets much easier and the prospect of direct sourcing and applying becomes much more attractive, fueled by a reduced cost of hire. As new Linked In applications prove there worth, they will move to the paid for options and by the end of next year the paid for options may well become a necessity rather than a luxury. how long do you think it will be before the 2’nd degree search loopholes (via Bing) get closed, and names and contacts disappear completely unless you pay?
Across all channels, social searches on Google deliver the conversations you want to be a part of through alerts triggered by key words or phrases without you needing to be present. Social toolbars like Rockmelt are adding to this. You can dip in and out of the channels without needing to hang around.
In Facebook, plug-in applications like Brave New Talent negate the need to search. The app makes it easy to create a social profile, without the need to friend anyone outside of your real friends, and hide the content you don’t want seen. This will definitely be the route for other apps on Facebook, with a leaning towards opt in and allow partial access, without having to open everything up. Brave New Talent aggregates the updates, again delivered to your in-box. the in box becoming the social media central that spans all channels issuing updates.
In blog terms, readers are close to bursting. I think there will be less following bloggers and more following content and relevance. While some bloggers will retain personality follows, for the majority it will be a passing readership, triggered by content or tagging alerts. I’m already seeing this coming via searches in WordPress blog topics. More users, weighed down with content, will switch to having content delivered rather than searching for it.
Applications like the recently launched Hashable, along with twitters own suggested follows will change the way follows happen. Rather than look for follows in directories, jumping on hashtags or following streams, they will be delivered to you according to the relevance of their content and popularity. (I prefer the term popularity over influence!), popularity being measured by shares, likes and mentions per follower. (You can find this on the second page of Klout). Popularity rankings will come across all channels rather than purely twitter.
However much others might try to denounce it, these popularity contests will become increasingly important. I think klout will come out top of the pile once they have sorted out some glitches with the algorithm and integrated properly across all social channels. The people who will become most courted in social circles will be the trusted sharers that manage to get people to look at content. rankings will be dictated by opens and shares, opens ranking the higher of the two. Getting opens will increasingly become about targeted shares of relevant content to the right people. those that spam out links will soon get ignored, where as those that are known to share only good and pre-vetted content will rise in popularity, as their links will have a high open ratio. You can trick people in to opening links in the short-term, but you really can’t sustain it.I would not be surprised to see the sharing platforms and applications adding a “rate the share” function to further grade sharers, similar to an e-bay type function. A high-ranking will denote reliability and raise the popularity ranking, making relevance of share even more important.
Applications like Branch Out on Facebook, Jobs2Web and Work4 will make social job sharing and posting standard. All career sites and job boards will need to incorporate this simple share functionality and referral. Encouraging people to share with their friends and contacts on a tailored, rather than broadcast basis will become key in locating the right talent. The more that can be done to reward this (even something as simple as on-line badges and rankings), the more this will happen.
Listening tools will make social media communication reactive rather than pro-active. The engagement triggered by mentions, comments, questions or your name. Social will be far less spontaneous, with content in all channels geared to hitting the searches and rankings. Some might call this gaming the system, others, sound marketing. In the same way as Twitjobsearch delivers job posts from twitter by location and sector, other apps will find and deliver local posts and conversations, or conversations by topic. The conversation will come to you rather than you try to find it. This means lots less grazing time and a focus on content by topic in terms of posting. Social S.E.O.
Video, being the simplest to post and easiest to share will continue to grow in popularity. I’m expecting live video to really take off this year, as livestream fully integrates in to Facebook.
I would also not be surprised to see Skype (or another provider) integrating live calling in to Facebook and other social places. Soon you will be able to message, chat, watch or call direct from the profile.
For screening purposes, video will take over from the telephone screen. With products like Ovia and Hire Vue increasing in popularity and getting technically quite clever, I see this becoming mainstream rather than funky. The new launch of ZuZuhire is now bringing in other forms of assessment like tests and text answers to accompany video in the mix. At the moment, Ovia wins for me because it’s the only platform of its type that candidates can respond directly from an ad on a job board or similar without the need for extended e-mail communication, but this will no doubt even up over the year. While I’m not a fan of the video C.V, I’m a big fan of video selection. this will grow during 2011.
Platforms like Bullhorn Reach or Paper.Li are already proving to be great at content collection. You no longer need to do the work to collect targeted, relevant material from the web and distribute it in social places.As greater controls become available, particularly with Paper.Li to organise content in the order you want it, users will choose to go to trusted “information centres” rather than graze the web in the hope of finding the right links.
One aspect of Bullhorn reach that I think will become the most popular is the social profile. This links all of your social content and places in one independent location (as well as adding other found content.) What I also like about it is the way the profile links with the operational database to show success rates over the year as well as current and live searches. You can promote your current activity as well as showing a results based referral. This comes with high SEO content to raise your ranking. I see this stand alone profile having real potential and the principle applies across many sectors, not just recruitment. It’s like a public, real-time linked In profile, perhaps a function for About.Com. Everyone should now be looking at creating these type of profiles as an on-line business card.
Whatever marketing channels you elect to use, your presence will need tailoring to that channel. A careers site duplicated on Facebook as a fan page or linked In company page becomes boring fairly quickly. Each site needs tailoring to the channel, encouraging engagement and following, as well as looking at the habits of the users in each channel. While each needs to over lap by being connected, make each channel location unique. more companies will figure this out during 2011 and start doing this, recognising that if you want fans, you have to earn them.
Mobile social will continue to impact on how people use the channels. With the increased proliferation of smart phones with even greater sophistication, mobile apps are a must have marketing channel. Over the past year I’ve seen many of these apps being a simple link to existing web content. More of a mobile reader. I see this changing this year, with apps needing their own functionality unique to this channel. I have been impressed over the last year with many of the developments coming out of All The Top Bananas in the UK, who have increasingly added unique features to their apps. I will be watching closely to see what they come up with next during 2011. The job boards are clearly responding in the mobile space, making the application process from handset simple. It will be essential to offer job seekers the facility to create profiles and store multiple C.V.’s/resumes, profile links and easily customisable cover letters available and accessible by mobile. In the U.K, Jobsite have really developed in this area, recognising the 3 key things job seekers really want.
1: A simple application process.
2: Easy upload and retrieval of C.V./resume for applications.
3: Accurate job matching, recommendations and alerts via e-mail and other channels.
Everything else is nice but really packaging. I don’t see this changing significantly over the coming year in terms of job seeker needs. Job boards will continue to develop these capabilities to compete, possibly stripping everything else out or building the community element independent to the job board itself. Smaller job boards will need to be really niche with an emphasis on specialist and community.
The other application I will be watching closely in the mobile space is Layar, the augmented reality people. Layar is now installed in the Samsung Galaxy as standard, which is creating a lot of buzz. I’m not sure how this will work for recruiting yet, although I see lots of uses for the more transient, local temporary staffing markets, though in retail, real estate or any sector that needs drop in customers, it’s going to be a must. point your phone and find what you want in the vicinity. Think of the opportunities for shops, restaraunts,bars, banks, the list is endless. Expect to hear lots more about them in 2011.
Lastly, social will come of age for internal communications and learning. I’ve been really impressed how Ryple have developed a feedback, coaching and internal communication platform that looks and feels like a social-media platform, just operating internally. I recently got a look around the TribePad platform, and saw how this is being used to create a private network for engaging internally and building a real talent pool in particular. I have also joined a few Yammer closed communities which are invite only, one through #connectingHR and two companies that sent me an invite. All of these platforms have real social traits that are immediately familiar to the users, and have real benefits for internal comms.
You should certainly be exploring them as a great way to communicate in your own business, looking to create internal fans as well as external ones.
I see the channels themselves returning to what they were intended for. With much of the social finding, communicating and sharing going on through external applications and tools including mobile, people will use the channels themselves for recreation, fun, keeping up with established contacts and joining organised events like twitter chats or live stream broadcasts.
That just about wraps up my thoughts for 2011. 2010 has been a great year for discovery, social will go a lot more mainstream in 2011. Still only part of the mix, but an essential part no less.
I’m only a social-media amateur and observer so I could have called it completely wrong, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Where will social media and social recruiting be this time next year?
Have a great christmas, and remember your entries for the #truvlog, be great to see more faces!
Thanks for being ambassadors and heart-felt thanks for reading my blog this year, however many times you have visited.