Red on Marketing Blog

Learn the social media secret handshake

By Rebekah E. Donaldson

job applicants and social mediaVendors and job applicants pitch B2B Communications each week. So far in 2009, about 1 in 4 indicate familiarity with social media. About 1 in 100 have engaged with us first through social media.

How can busy professionals get a grasp on marketing 2.0 — and start to engage and contribute? I recommend Inbound Marketing University as a foundation. After that, social media mentoring or coaching might be in order.

In 2008, after about the 100th pitch from a vendor who had no clue what a blog is, much less that we have one, I started taking note of how many vendors and job applicants use social media to demonstrate genuine interest in the companies they are courting.

job applicants and social mediaHere are the numbers from Q1 and Q2 2009:

  • Vendor/job applicant use of social media to engage with prospect 1%
  • Vendor/job applicant social media experience 25%
  • Percent of vendors/job applicants we hired who used social media to engage 100%

What does it mean to demonstrate interest using social media?

For example — if you’re starting from scratch:

  1. Click the button that says “Blog” on our home page.
  2. Enter a cogent comment about something (anything!).
  3. Look for me to reply. Reply thoughtfully to my reply. 

Together we build knowledge and community.

Empowering marketers to get a footing with social media

What tools or help would really empower people to follow this advice, though?

In an effort to think constructively about this issue (instead of going bananas that job applicants and vendors are seemingly ignoring the “secret handshake” of social media), I asked colleagues in a Hubspot Forum and one of my LinkedIn groups about whether it seems useful, ethical, and practical to set up a B2B Communications Social Media Mentor Program.

Learning the social media secret handshake

Among the responsees received (attribution shown, if I got permission):

“…maybe the key is to embed somewhere in your blogs the way you prefer to be contacted for employment. That way if they really are interested in your company because they have looked through your posts to understand what you are about, then they will know the secret handshake, so to speak…” — Jim Lapic,

“Not sure you’re doing yourself favors by helping people “put on the right makeup“. Social media/blogging is nearly 15 years old now. It’s been a major marketing force for at least the last 5 years, and maybe more. Anyone who wants to work in communications and doesn’t get that, or can’t figure it out, doesn’t understand the medium. Is that the sort of person you want to hire?….”

“….The ones who actually are smart enough to try to engage you are the ones you should be interested in. They get it. I think at that point, your idea of giving them some direction and structure is great. Just make it clear whether they might wind up with a job (a giant carrot) or a reference (a mini carrot) at the end of your process. As long as you’re clear, you’ll wind up with some young folks who look at you and your company in a very positive light. And you never know where that good karma might get you. :) ” Ann Blanchard, Blanchard Enterprises and Handirecords

“Wow! It sure sounds like it would be very helpful, the ethics seem clear to me in your description of the purpose and intent, I would wonder at the manageability….” Jerry Wilkinson, Green Frog Outdoor Furniture

“One suggestion, instead of a resume make it a contest to see who can be most creative with social media to submit their qualifications….” Geoff Sakala, Owner, Metro Media

“….Look at the Murphy-Goode campaign:… the campaign brought thousands of people to their site….” Bill Betz, Investor/ reverse engineer at Pavement Marking Technologies, Inc.

“….If you treat your intern with respect, trust, and include him/her in the decision making process, you will create a professional you’ll be proud to recommend or one day call a colleague. Plus their work will reflect that empowerment.” — Jenny Koreny, Online Learning & Multimedia Designer

A foundation for social media coaching and mentoring

I would be happy to engage with vendors and job applicants through social media… if everyone is on the same page about marketing best practices.

Just look at how useful it can be. The people named above (and others) helped me think through an issue – without payment or quid pro quo… without my traveling anywhere… on their own time. That made me want to help them back (see links above).

It’s all good because we’re all on the same page about the value of social media marketing and how to go about it.

Go to Inbound Marketing University home page - if you join look me upLearn the ”secret handshake” at Inbound Marketing University

I recommend Inbound Marketing University for learning the social media “secret handshake.” 

The IMU program includes webinars by thoughtleaders in the social media, internet marketing and lead generation industries and culminates in an inbound marketing certification exam. 

Learn more about IMU >>

BCG logo - b onlySocial Media Coaching from B2B Communications

I offer a 90 minute social media coaching session focused on your social media marketing needs and questions.

Learn more about my social media coaching >>

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Topics: Performance Lead Generation Design