I first signed up to LinkedIn on the very first day of my new job as a sourcer. I spent a couple of months discovering the platform, trying to learn something about recruitment that went beyond the initial training. I thought I was really that there’s a tool out there dedicated to professional content. And then, as I was connecting with more and more people, I started noticing the other type of content. The puzzles, the “funny” memes, the maths questions… I think you know what I’m talking about. I’m not sure how much time it took for the first “this is not Facebook” update, but I imagine it couldn’t be more than a couple of months.
Here’s something I wish someone told me at the time that I had to figure out all on my own, spending long hours reading other people’s blogs on recruitment: some time at the end of the 20th century (or at the beginning of the 21st depending on a couple of factors such as location or industry) it became acceptable to be a human being at work. And not behind the closed door of your office but as part of official company communications too! Which is why it’s so tough to tell LinkedIn and Facebook apart these days. The platforms themselves have started introducing changes to further confuse things: between Facebook at Work and LinkedIn’s new messenger allowing you to send stickers to your professional contacts, how are we supposed to know which is which?
I have some good news for you though: it doesn’t really matter what these platforms were originally intended for. The only thing that does matter is if you your activity on social media is helping you achieve your goals, whether you’re using them for recruitment or branding purposes. So when you’re trying to decide whether an update is or isn’t appropriate for one of the social media platforms you use, try and answer the following questions:
While it doesn’t really matter what your competitors are doing or what the general best practice is, forgetting about the preferences of your target audience is a big mistake. A lot of professionals I speak to mention that LinkedIn is where they want to reach their clients, while Facebook is more about showcasing their company culture to potential candidates.
The truth is there’s nothing stopping your clients from checking your Facebook page out instead of your LinkedIn, so be mindful of that. Similarly, your candidates can just as easily check out your LinkedIn page. That being said, you can share the same information using a slightly different tone of voice. That can mean anything from less smiley faces to a more neutral vocabulary.
Social media used to be considered an attractive communication channel because it was free. But not spending money is hardly a great business goal – it’s all abouot getting a return on your investment. Posting math quizzes or a photo of the new car you bought with last year’s commission may help you get likes and even comments, but is this really what your social media efforts are all about?
Whether you’re on LinkedIn, Facebook or any other platform, it doesn’t matter how many people see your updates. The number of followers you have, the levels of “engagement” as defined by the platforms themselves, have no impact on how many candidates you’re able to source or encourage to apply. Trying to come up with the next piece of content to go viral is ultimately pointless from a recruitment/employer branding perspective and has you wasting time that could be better spent sending out individual messages or getting on the phone.
Spamming your audience is annoying no matter what channel you use to do it, whether you send it in a direct message or post it in your news feed. What makes an update fall into that category is failing to offer something of value to your audience.
A joke or a math quiz clearly delivers some value: entertainment. I would however question whether it’s the type of value your potential candidates or clients are looking for and if so, how often can you use them before it gets annoying rather than funny. And make no mistake, just because you post on Facebook doesn’t really change matters dramatically. It’s a more casual channel but if a person is looking for entertainment, they’re more likely to watch a movie than to visit your company page, no matter what type of content you publish. Adding to the noise gets you unfollowed, muted or blocked so don’t overdo it.
Ultimately, there are no easy answers as to what is and what isn’t ok on a given platform. The best way to go about things is to consider your taget audience(s), perhaps use personas to help you with that process, and to keep adjusting your approach based on what works and what doesn’t.