LinkedIn’s move to become “The Definitive Professional Publishing Platform” is taking shape. Less than one year after providing mainstream access to LinkedIn members, the results are compelling.
In December 2014, I published an article titled “Uber Job Ad Reveals Company Mindset” on LinkedIn. I was astonished by the results: 111K+ views, 500+ likes, and 200+ comments. I also received 25+ connection requests, and 400+ new followers. My experience was an eye-opener, and I immediately saw a clear connection with using the platform for recruiting.
While you cannot expect those results on every article you post (this is my 14th), you can’t deny the overall opportunity to engage people on a subject you have in common. There were hundreds of prospects to engage with as a result of the 90 minutes it took for me to publish the Uber article.
Imagine the opportunity this provides for recruiting. A reasonable and consistent investment of time can help your team build the candidate pipeline you’ve been clamoring for.
Here’s a few tips I’ve learned that can optimize your recruiting strategy with LinkedIn Publisher:
1. The golden rule
Do not post jobs. I repeat. Do not post jobs. The success your team has with LinkedIn Publisher depends on the value you create. Not to mention, posting jobs won’t create trust with your intended audience. It also won’t build trust with LinkedIn. Do not post jobs. Don’t be spammy.
When LinkedIn opened Publisher to 25K members in February 2014, some recruiters started posting jobs on the platform. This practice was quickly rebuked by industry experts like Stacy Zapar. And for good reason. It came across as spam in the news feed. Or worse, through alerts from your first degree connections.
Consider utilizing LinkedIn Publisher as a tool for building relationships that will ultimately lead to a stronger candidate pipeline. Writing articles that are revealing, and helpful to others, is a great place to start. The article is what will gain people’s interest, so make sure to prioritize value.
2. Get employees on the bus
One of the biggest things a candidate wants to know is who they would work for (and with) in your company. LinkedIn Publisher provides an opportunity to bring hiring managers and key employees closer to desired candidates.
Find employees in your company who are active with blogging and social media. And try to find people in different departments that you’d like to feature as well.
Employees in Sales and Marketing can be a natural fit. Technology may be more of a challenge, but you’ve likely got technical employees posting to HackerNews, Twitter, etc. They’ve likely got an interesting (and engaging) content to share. Utilize that if you can.
You have to make sure you provide value back to your employees who participate versus just making it about the company. One of the biggest benefits they receive is that your company is provides and promotes an opportunity to stand out in the professional community. This is a big benefit for the employee as they gain connections, followers, etc. It’s an obvious win-win for your employer brand as well.
If that’s not enough, you may also explore incentivizing employees to participate using referral bonuses, more responsibility, furthering education, etc. If you’ve got the right people, they’re likely to get on the bus with minimal coaxing anyway.
3. Choose contemporary topics
You’re going to get higher engagement by using contemporary topics, and relating them to business issues. My article on Uber perform well largely because of the deluge of recent news about the company. People are interested in all things Uber, plain and simple. What I did was relate the subject of Uber to employer branding (my business issue). Your team can utilize this strategy as well.
For example, if you’re in Marketing and using a platform like Hubspot, you’ll have plenty to write about. Marketing professionals using or evaluating the platform are likely to click on an article sharing best practices for Hubspot. It also connects you to professionals with a common interest.
If you’ve got a Sales team employing strategies like The Challenger Sale, you’ve also got plenty to write about. You’ve got real stories about how The Challenger Sale has impacted your sales reps and overall business. Again, this is an article which is likely to be clicked on by professionals with a common interest to yours, and can provide value to connections and followers.
As mentioned, Technology could be trickier in terms of getting employees to share articles on LinkedIn Publisher. However, there are real opportunities to reach the Technology audience on LinkedIn. A good example could be to write about how utilizing New Relic has impacted your DevOps team. New Relic is a technology the DevOps audience likely knows about, and could be very interested in with their recent IPO.
4. Use inviting headlines, images, and postscripts
A great headline is going to get more clicks. But you’ve also got to pay close attention to the images used in each article. Especially the main image. The main image will be the first thing readers look at when scanning their news feed for interesting articles.
You need to give your employees their creative freedom, as that’s what creates real traction on LinkedIn Publisher. However, you’d like to have employees who are open to coaching with regard to the headlines and images they use. The benefit to them is that they are sharing better content, and viewed as more of an expert in their field.
If employees don’t want to be coached, don’t sweat it. Having articles written from the heart will resonate with readers (and potential candidates) anyway. Try to make the most out of each post, but don’t get too hung up on perfection.
One last thing…don’t forget to place a postscript at the end of each article (see mine at the end of this article). It can be the same for every article your employees write. A simple paragraph that highlights what your company does, with a link to current job opportunities would be ideal. Again, some employees may not want to include this. Give them the creative freedom, but get the postscript in at every opportunity.
5. Utilize Pulse channels
Map your employees to specific channels in Pulse. Your employees can’t control if and when they will be featured on a specific channel. However, they should write about topics that will increase their odds of being featured.
Think about the previous examples of Sales, Marketing, and Technology. You can gear your employee’s articles to be featured on relevant channels, and this can provide an exponential boost for engagement.
For example, Sales articles can be geared for Leadership & Management (10M+ followers) or Sales Strategies (162K+ followers). Technology articles can be geared toward Big Ideas & Innovation (8M+ followers) or Software Engineering (212K+ followers). And Marketing can be geared toward Social Media (3.9M+ followers) and Online Advertising (292K+ followers).
And if you want to get more specific, there are a multitude of channels available. From Accounting to Construction to Insurance to Real Estate, you can really focus your target audience to reach maximum engagement.
While the ultimate goal is to be featured on one of these channels, you can’t control it. However, you have a much better chance of being featured if your team is writing great articles providing value to a specific audience on a consistent basis.
6. Engage commenters, connectors, and followers
For recruiters, engaging target candidates can be the most fun. And it’s also where you have the biggest opportunity to build your candidate pipeline. The potential for engagement with LinkedIn Publisher is awesome.
When I wrote the article about Uber, I was able to view the profiles for hundreds of people who had commented, connected, followed, liked, and shared the article. Not everyone was a good prospect for me or my company. However, there were dozens of people that were good prospects. The door was opened to dialogue with these prospects who are interested in the same topic. This was a big win.
As your team publishes articles on LinkedIn, you’ll want to closely watch who is commenting, connecting, following, liking, and sharing. You’ll spot potential candidates very easily. Your employees now have an opportunity to engage potential candidates directly without the hard recruiting pitch. But there’s also an opportunity for recruiters to reach out with the pitch when it’s needed.
The other thing you’ll want to do is make sure you are leveraging your company’s social media channels to promote the articles. This provides a big boost to the employee writing the article, and attracts more employees to want to write as well.
Make sure to pin the article to the top of your LinkedIn and Twitter feeds. Have employees share on Facebook, and in groups of other social media sites they utilize. You’ll have an opportunity to engage candidates on LinkedIn, and beyond the platform as well.
7. Be consistent
Folks on your team are busy, so writing one article a month can seem like a burden. But you need to look at LinkedIn Publisher like a 401K. Not all of your investments will have a big return. However, the sum of the investments are likely to result in a much higher return.
Once you have employees on the bus, establish a frequency for writing they can commit too. Make it clear that they do not have to write War & Peace (1,200+ pages) once a month. Articles can be very quick-hitting and to-the-point. It’s more about consistency than anything.
You should then consider keeping an editorial calendar and list of potential topics. The calendar should be shared with your entire writing team to stay on the same page. The same goes for the list of potential topics. The list of topics will save time when your employee is in a crunch to write a new article.
The key is to be consistent. Take whatever you can get from your team, and maximize what you do with it. The 401K approach will help keep things in perspective as not every article is going to have great success. But when certain ones do, the payoff will become much more obvious.
Ongig is the first ever Employer Branding SaaS — it allows enterprises to create, distribute and measure interactive job descriptions at scale. American Express, Autodesk, Intel and Yelp are among the early users of the Ongig SaaS.