Monday, April 28, 2014

Why is Social Media Important? Answers From a Game Industry Recruiter.

Recently a reporter asked me a few questions for inclusion in an online story. Seeing as how they usually pull a few responses to use as quotes, it seemed useful to post the entirety of my response here. Enjoy!

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I work as an Executive Recruiter in the video game industry for Mary-Margaret Network. All of our employees use social media in one way or another to promote our company as well as our own personal "brand."

Social media is absolutely vital to Mary-Margaret Network because it is the main way we maintain our clients' trust. For my company we all post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn regularly so we can stay active in the community. We share relevant recruiting tips, ask questions and provide answers, and of course, list jobs. 

The most important thing to remember when you are using social media is that you have to be honest and genuine

The first law of social media is that you have to 100% honest. There are simply too many people that read your work to be able to lie or even mislead people online. If you make a mistake, admit it as soon as possible. Fall on your sword. Your customers respect when you are willing to accept responsibility for your mistakes. 

The second law of social media is that in order to connect with your friends, followers, or fans, you have to be genuine; you must really care about them. People know when they are being played and when they are being manipulated. Tell them how you feel; you must confide in them because that way they know that you are human, too. 

The third law of social media is that you are a click away from obscurity. Your customers are fickle; they can leave your site with the click of a button, never to return again. You have to build up their trust, and trust is what it is all about. You are investing in them and hopefully they reciprocate with purchasing your goods or services. 

The fourth law of social media is that you have to maintain your presence. When you start participating, you have to keep participating. Customers can tell when you don't care, so you have to really commit if you are going to stay social and relevant. You can't develop loyalty with 2 Tweets a quarter. Too many companies have abandoned social profiles, and that is bad business. 

What social media channels are you finding the best to engage with your current customers?
The best way to engage with our current customers is to go where they are. In our case, "they" means applicants. For video game recruiters that means at the very least, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Sometimes we venture out to other, more specific sites, but in general we stick to sites where we are committed to posting. We also regularly write blogs. LinkedIn is the professionals network, so we tend to focus on business-related items there. We post links to our blogs or other interesting recruiting items: resume tips, how to interview, and other ways to increase the value of our potential applicants.

How has social media helped you to retain customers vs. other more traditional channels- i.e. phone, face to face, events? 
Social media has helped us retain customers through our combined use of our email newsletter and engaging them through Facebook and LinkedIn, where we have our job postings. Providing job search tips, such as how to write a resume or interview for a job are ways to prove to our potential applicants that we care. This is in many ways better than face to face for those types of customer education because we just do not have the time to spend with each candidate to give them that type of information. That said, there is nothing that replaces face-to-face to truly build trust with people, but running a global job agency means that you can't be everywhere at once. We do go to large events, but we can only meet with the people that travel to those events. Talking to our clients and candidates by phone is the next best way to retain our customers because there is just no way to run a people centered business without becoming part of their job search personally.

Do you have any specific examples you can share?
As with everyone that uses social media well, we run metrics on the effectiveness of our posts and blogs. It's interesting to me that, while our job / career related posts do well with our clients and candidates, the posts that do the best are ones that are funny and even unrelated to our field. The personal touch that adding things that we think are hilarious seems to resonate with our friends and followers. We're just as geeky as they are!

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Billy Joe Cain is an Executive Recruiter with Mary-Margaret Network (www.mary-margaret.com) and focuses on the video game industry. He has worked for Electronic Arts and started three game studios in Austin, TX. Since 1992, he has created games such as Wing Commander: Prophecy and SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman.

Please connect with him on LinkedIn! www.linkedin.com/in/billyjoecain

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