Still waiting for the economy to come back to grow your business? Stop. It's time to get proactive. The game has changed and you have to think differently to reach your audience online. This post is part of a series discussing 10 web marketing tips your healthcare staffing agency should do right now.
Social networks are a great way to increase your brand visibility, gain new insights into your business and provide better customer support. However, a social networking strategy is more than simply creating a Facebook page and waiting for people to 'Like' your company. You need to understand your audience, develop goals, implement a mechanism to measure those goals and educate your staff.
Why should your staffing agency engage in social media?
- Social media is a conversation that is happening with our without you. Your customers and competitors are already there. This year Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers. 96% of them actively use social media every day*.
- If Facebook were a country it would be the 4th largest in the world (500M+ users)*. Additional Facebook demographic data is just as impressive.
- The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 55-65 year old females*.
- 80% of fortune 500 companies use LinkedIn as their primary recruiting tool*.
- It's an excellent place to conduct client and competitive research.
- 78% of U.S. consumers trust peer recommendations over any other form of promotion or advertisement*. Getting your customers to engage and promote your brand through these channels is invaluable.
- It provides an affordable & effective customer service & support channel.
- It is the easiest place to monitor your brand and measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
- Social media significantly enhances the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your staffing agency, driving more traffic to your website.
How should your healthcare staffing agency get started with social media?
- Define your goals. Do you want to drive more website traffic? Promote brand awareness? Improve recruiting? Understand what you want to accomplish.
- Develop a strategy and stay committed to it. Ensure your messaging across all of your social media channels is consistent throughout every campaign.
- Stop being afraid of social media. Remove any policy that disallows your employees to engage in social media. Like anything, it is critical to educate your employees on the value and merits of using social media. Keeping them from it only keeps them from promoting your brand. Develop a policy on how employees should engage with social media when it comes to work. If you have the proper monitoring tools in place you won't have to worry about having employees say something you don't want them to. And if they do, at least this way you'll know about it.
- Use the right tools. There are several socialmedia websites and applications available that will allow you to engage with social media in a smart and efficient manner. Focus your efforts on reaching the largest audience possible with automated methods.
- Remember, social media is about providing valuable content and engaging your customers and potential prospects in a way that provides information, results and value. Listen more than you talk and don't oversell.
How do you know if it's working?
- If you are promoting your brand on the web you must also monitor your brand. The web is too big to think you'll magically just hear about it if someone says something about your company (positive or negative). There are several mechanisms available for brand monitoring that include simply setting up Google and Social Mention alerts to implementing an comprehensive brand management system for your staffing agency.
- Measure your website and social networking site traffic. Most large social networks like Facebook will provide you with page interaction data. You should also properly install Google analytics tracking on your site. Be sure it's the most current version of the Google analytics code and make sure you are tracking every page.
- Don't spend money on tools – spend money on data analysis. There are many analytical tools out there that change a lot of money for what they do. However, most of the free tools give you all the data you'll ever need. More importantly, the data is useless without knowing what to do with it. Setting up reports or working with a company that can analyze and provide you with staffing industry specific insight to this data, delivers the best return on your investment.
Once you begin engaging in social networking it's important that you continue to participate and build the relationships you start online in order to see results. Keep educating yourself on the trend changes in social media and the various platforms out there for engagement, monitoring and analytics. There as hundreds of social networking sites on the web. Most will waste your time and others will increase your business. Keep trying new sites and methods until you figure out what provides the best results for your healthcare staffing agency.
Next post – Updating Your Staffing Agency's Website
In the next post of this series we'll discuss the advantages of updating your company's website. Find out why if you haven't updated your website in the last 3-5 years you could be missing out on a lot of business.
*all data comes from a study conducted by Dartmouth University in 2009. The study measured the use and effectiveness of Social Media by Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. Click the link (.pdf) to download this study: Download Socialmedia2009.