Recently, I was judging the ‘Best Entrepreneur’ category for a leading recruitment publication’s annual awards. Some terrific people with very worthy and successful businesses. Some people who are awesome at selling themselves, and their impact on their company, team, the local community, charity efforts, integration into their industry, and CSR endeavours.
So me being me, I then looked at their social media profiles.
Of the 12, only eight had well presented LinkedIn profiles. One didn’t even have a LinkedIn profile. 4 were excellent profiles.
9 of the 12 had a twitter profile; but only 2 or 3 were using it regularly, or for business profile benefit.
Only 2 had ever written articles on LinkedIn, and none of the 12 had a personal voice on a blog, or their own website.
Yet in their award submissions they had so, so much to tell us all – about how fantastic they and their businesses are. In fact the guy (yes, they were ALL men) with the greatest stories of all – was the one with no online presence whatsoever.
But they are hugely successful individuals. So really, does it matter whether they are actively on social media or not?
I say yes. I say that they have a duty as figureheads in their business, their local/industry community, and to their employees; to have a position of vocal authority to aspire to. We call it a Professional Personal Brand. It accentuates the profile and credibility of the individual, but carries their work and business with them. People by people, and what they represent.
The maligned phrase ‘thought leader’ comes to mind – but what we see here, in most cases are fantastic leaders. But genuine thought leaders in the market? – well actually yes, some of them are – but they are not telling the story to the wider world how much they are, and in doing so, enhancing the profile of their business to the most widely accessible sources of readership – social media audiences.
If I gave you the list of names, you wouldn’t be able to read anywhere very easily, how significant their partnerships are with local and national charities. And in only 2 cases, will you see any stand-out content on their online profile, that tells you you’d want to work for their organisation.
What we must remember, is that the culture and character of an organisation starts at the top. In a tough working environment and a tough industry, people want to be inspired by their leader. When the chips are down, they need to see that their leaders are influential, heading the charge to raising the company profile in all the right places, and giving them the opportunity to sell with pride.
We also have to consider the wider industry and the aspirations for good recruitment and better perception; and each leader’s contribution to that.
In my opinion, Recruitment Agency leaders should be:
1. Leading their industry as an influential figure
2. Having an authority and opinion on their industry’s news
3. Contributing to the eco-system and development of the industry
And I’m talking about their client/candidate industry; not the recruitment industry, by the way. They should be recognisable faces that have the ear of leading figures within the industry their serve – and positioning their recruitment business as chest-deep in the developments and trends of the industry they operate in, in order to have the credibility to assess talent correctly.
Social Media is an easy route to inbound business. But you have to be highly engaged and credible. You could give that to an intern or graduate, as so many limp-wristedly do – or you could head up the content strategy from the leaders.
Everybody wants to hear from the leader. Credibility starts at the top.
Steve Ward has just completed a 22 year career as a hands-on recruiter in the recruitment industry, and as an award-winning social strategist, is now an advisor to agency and in-house recruitment teams on using social presence to attract talent, win business and develop reputation management. Connect and drop me a message if you’d like to chat how I can help you.