At a recent Social Fresh Conference , there was a presentation given by Jay Baer that has caused quite a stir – Shotguns Trump Rifles: Why Social Success is now a Volume Play.

Check out the full video below if you didn’t catch it, or you can see the slides, read the takeaways or watch his original presentation here.

Weapon of Choice: Social Recruiting Success Strategies

We all know that when it comes to engaging with an audience on social media, reliable reach is more important than reach.

Jay outlined two approaches to reaching your audience – via sheer volume over every social channel (the ‘shotgun’ approach) or via ‘outstanding content’ over a limited number of social channels in order ‘to build a great community’ (the ‘rifle’ approach). The truth is not as simple as that.

A shotgun approach simply will not work.

Let’s deconstruct this messy premise.

If a staffing agency or employer were to engage with their audience on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Myspace (well, you get the idea) – it would have to be sure there was a relevant audience on that platform.

As an example, let’s pretend the recruitment company specializes in finance. Its thought process when creating a social recruiting strategy might be something like this:

Are there financial executives on LinkedIn? Yes.

Are there financial executives on Instagram. Maybe…

Are they on Myspace? What’s Myspace?

images (9)The shotgun approach – championed by Jay – involves bombarding multiple channels with content to overcome the poor reliable reach.

Inevitably, the channels and audience will suffer from a lack of quality curation as the marketing team’s workload is spread too thinly.

If the recruitment organization were to focus solely on just the four major platforms (generally defined as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn), it would be able to locate its target audience and engage with them much more closely.

This is the rifle approach. It would also boost its reputation by providing appropriate, well-curated content that actually resonates with its clients and candidates, rather than rushing to find vaguely relevant content or blogs, interviews or infographics that have been quickly put together just to have something to share.

GEM Recruiting AI

What about the lack of reliable reach?

Jay was right about social media having a poor level of reach. This is partly due to the ‘stream’ layout of channels, making it is easy for your content go unnoticed. The number of algorithmic factors that feed into the equation that works out who should see your content ranks into the thousands and beyond – it’s immensely complicated.

However, understanding how user influence, number and method of engagement and interactions and other factors such as geography and assumed relevancy only make up a small fraction of acquiring success.

Pay To Play: The New Social Recruiting Reality

As user numbers on social media continue to swell, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach the target audience. The shotgun approach may result in more of your posts being noticed, but it is a time-inefficient, poor-quality method of doing so. The rifle approach is at the whim of ever-dwindling organic reach.

There is a third approach. Social media giants are now placing a much higher premium on paid marketing services, guaranteeing reliable reach – and results, since most of these programs are on a price-per-click model.  The tools available within these platforms to measure performance and identify success are comprehensive and highly effective.

The misconception that social media is a free ticket to reaching your target audience damages hundreds of businesses every day in missed opportunities.  Here’s an example of the heavy weight placed on paid reach using the sliding scale employed for boosting the relevant reach for a Facebook post:

Just £120 increases reach from approximately 300 to anywhere between 46,000 – 120,000 – an increase of approximately 15,000% – 40,000%

Those who aren’t taking advantage of this enormous return are missing a trick. You can specify who receives your advertisement beyond the gender, age and ‘other’ visible. Those people who will see the advertisement all have an interest in recruitment.

The customizable targeting is a fantastic way to ensure your time spent on social media isn’t wasted. Spending a little more to guarantee reach rather than wondering why all your efforts are being ignored is more likely to provide a real return on investment and, judging by the lack of recruitment companies using paid advertising on social media, a way to position yourself ahead of the competition.

Log onto one of your social channels and experiment with the predicted reach yourself. Then, compare it to your current reach.

Combining the rifle approach with paid advertising is the only way to build up quality, reliable engagement with your audience.

Read more at the 4Mat blog.

39fa6aeAbout the Author: Warren Davidson recently returned to the UK to join 4Mat, a leading recruitment marketing and online recruiting firm, as Head of Marketing Services.

After nine years in recruitment, Warren broadened his communication skills working for a full service marketing and creative agency as Head of Client Services and Media Buying in Ireland.

He spent six years working with brands such as Bupa Ireland (now Laya Healthcare), Ford, Corona, Unilever Food Solutions, O2 Media, Morgan McKinley and Aer Lingus.

Follow Warren on Twitter @WDavid5on or connect with him on LinkedIn.