You’ll know from my last post here that I’m a great fan of using twitter for social recruiting. However, there’s also the danger of twitter becoming a monumental time drain!
The key to ensuring you stay productive is having the right tools to manage your follower activity, engagement and content sharing in a time efficient manner. This article will share some insights for achieving just that outcome.
But First A Social Recruiting Warning!
This post should have been a breeze for me to write. Had I scheduled to publish it a couple of months back, it would have been! But within the last weeks and months, several of the tools I’ve come to use most prolifically have either been mothballed or retired.
Herein lies a social recruiting warning you should really stop and take on board: You don’t control the ownership of your social media accounts; and you don’t control whether the tools you use to stay on top of social media will continue to be available to you.
I could cite examples of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all having changed their service offerings or their API in ways that have really messed up social recruiting strategies that companies had invested heavily in developing. I could also cite prominent examples of people having lost access to their accounts, either through being hacked or through the social networks having restricted access to their accounts.
So whenever you decide on a course of action in terms of social recruiting, try to avoid over-reliance on any one platform or on any one tool, as you never know when access to them may just be taken away from you! Also try to plan your activities such that they result in actions being taken that build up an asset you control (eg. your mailing list, CV / Resume database), rather than one you don’t.
Top Twitter Tools To Aid Your Social Recruiting Efforts
So with that warning out of the way, what tools can you turn to to maximise your productivity and effectiveness on Twitter?
Tools To Manage Your Follower Activity
I’m broadly a fan of quality over quantity on Twitter – you need to be connecting with the right people, both in terms of their profile for your business AND in terms of them actually being active users of the platform. But it’s also true that your recruiting success on twitter will be amplified significantly if your following is substantial rather than meagre.
With that in mind, it’s important that you have tools that will help you to quickly follow potentially relevant candidates and influencers; and unfollow people who subsequently abandon their twitter accounts or cease to be useful connections.
Following (with SocialBro) A tool I’ve found helpful for following people is SocialBro (an App for the Google Chrome browser). It’s capable of a great many tricks, but for following purposes it allows you to analyze competitors’ accounts, Twitter lists and Twitter searches and to quickly pick out accounts you want to follow. With the tick of a box you can easily select new followers / competitors’ followers / influential people – allowing you to follow lots of prospective candidates in a very short time window. The above link takes you to the Free Google Chrome App. There are paid service plans too, accessible on other browsers and with enhanced services on offer. But for the basic functionality described above, the free version should meet your needs just fine.
Unfollowing (with ManageFlitter) Up until a week ago, I would have been singing the praises of TheTwitCleaner. This free tool reviewed everyone you were following and created lists of all the people it considered could be inappropriate accounts for you to follow. You could see people who hadn’t been active in over a month, people who were only (auto) tweeting out blog content, people sending marketing junk… and a ton of other useful red flags. With a simple drag of the mouse you could mass select people to unfollow – and then it would unfollow them for you a few at a time over the following hours. Unfortunately the recent Twitter API changes have caused the founder to abandon the project rather than completely re-write the code to make it work again. This after several years of building up the service. I leave the recommendation and link here, in case a white knight should appear and rescue the service in the coming weeks…
Assuming TheTwitCleaner service isn’t working, the tool I’ve turned to instead is ManageFlitter. Like SocialBro, this service has lots of features to help you follow accounts, manage relationships, etc. but the free account plan allows you to mass unfollow up to 100 people each day (or several times that if you invite colleagues to use it / tweet out a promotional message for them). There are fewer categories of red flag accounts for you to review, hence I don’t find it quite as informative as TheTwitCleaner reports. But as a service to allow you to quickly unfollow accounts that appear fake, inactive or aren’t following you back it’s a good tool to have in your armoury.
Tools To Manage Your Engagement Activity
The Twitter interface itself I find a dreadful resource for engaging with your followers. You really want one screen where you can see all the important interactions at once – direct messages you’ve been sent, @mentions of your twitter handle, shares of weblinks from your company website or of blog posts you’ve written. You want to see all these things in real-time so that you have the opportunity to engage with people at the point at which they’re most likely to respond. There are so many platforms you could use to do this effectively, personally I’ve always favoured Tweetdeck and Hootsuite.
Tweetdeck was acquired by Twitter a while back – and in the last weeks has announced that some of its platforms – including the desktop application – are no longer going to be supported and will cease to function. I’ve migrated to the Google Chrome version (which is not being retired) and have found this to be a good tool – giving you additional real-time visibility of actions like people choosing to follow you.
Hootsuite offers similar functionality and is also free for basic users. It offers the additional advantages of being able to manage other social media accounts too (so post to eg. LinkedIn or your Google+ Page from within the same application), being able to schedule tweets weeks in advance, offering team functionality for managing accounts (if you upgrade) and integration with other services you might need to use like IFTTT.
If you had to choose one, I’d therefore opt for Hootsuite – but personally I like not to be overly reliant on any one tool or platform so use both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite interchangeably. Now to be effective on twitter, you want to form and be part of niche communities – and to engage and form relationships with new people.
Commun.it is a fantastic platform for helping you to assess who in your Twitter network has been most engaged with you and who you should invest your time in engaging. It also helps you monitor mentions of brands or websites – and suggests people you may wish to start following based on your interests. In terms of individual candidates you may want to engage, this isn’t so useful; but in terms of cultivating relationships that help your brand reach to be significantly extended over time, it’s an invaluable resource.
Last but not least, if you get yourself onto SocialBro, there’s one very powerful tool for engaging with individual candidates you are looking to target. The platform has a tool that allows you to see which of your followers – or which of a target list of people – are active on the platform right now. For recruiters this is immensely powerful!
Imagine you’ve created a list of eg. Java Developers in Chicago and then a new requirement comes through that means you need to target these individuals. With the SocialBro application, you can see real-time which of the candidates you placed on the list have tweeted within the last minutes, giving you the maximum chance of reaching them with a message at the point at which they’ll be online and able to engage immediately in a dialogue. A truly wonderful social recruiting tool!
Tools To Share Content Effectively
In the interests of brevity, I’ll assume that you have lots of content that will be engaging and valuable for your target candidate audience to read. If that’s not the case, I point you to this Bullhorn Blog I wrote on the subject – or invite you to reach out to me on @tonyrestell for further ideas.
Assuming you have sources of good content that you’d like to share, the two tools I recommend for getting your message out there are Hootsuite and Buffer. One of Hootsuite’s many functions is to allow you to bulk import a spreadsheet of tweets you’d like to schedule to send out in the future.
Did you know a lot of candidate activity is actually prompted by things they’ve read in the evening or over a weekend? Or perhaps you’ve been tasked with spreading your reach to candidates on a totally different timezone. Well with the Hootsuite scheduling function it’s a breeze having your message reach people even at times you are not working or when you are otherwise engaged.
A variant of this is the Buffer service. You can’t bulk import into the service, but as you browse the web you can click a button in your browser and a tweet will be created to share that page (and your message) with your followers at some point in the future. You determine how many tweets you want to send out each day – and at what times. Buffer saves up the tweets you have “buffered” and then sends them on your behalf at the allocated time.
So there you have it. A whirlwind tour of some of the most important twitter tools a social recruiter needs to have at their disposal. There are others of course – and new ones breaking onto the scene all the time. But if you master the use of the above tools you will find your effectiveness on Twitter rockets – and your stress levels and time lost to mundane tasks will be greatly reduced. I wish you every success and increased enjoyment in your use of twitter as a social recruiting tool!