word-of-mouth meet mass media

So I was talking with a friend the other day and she shared this story with me. Now for the sake of confidentiality, I am not going to share the name of my friend or the name of the company I am talking about. But, this is a great word-of-mouth story.

My friend works for a major organization, and they were getting ready to hire a bunch of new workers. So they wanted to use some “media” to inform the public about these new jobs to generate interest and find a big pool of applicants. So this organization advertised online with some television and other online media outlets with banner ads that click-thru to the online application process. They spent tons on money on the ads, radio spots, etc. to drive interest for the public at-large to go online and apply. My friend was not convinced this was going to generate lots of “leads.”

So, my friend took the time to make some small cards with with the web address. He took these cards and walked around the organization, passing them out. He gave them to the workers of this organization, asking them if they knew anyone that needed a job to give them this card. He passed out hundreds of cards to anyone inside the organization.

On the online application, he included a field that asked where they heard about this job. It listed different options including the news outlet’s web address, radio ads, tv ads, and also included if they heard from a friend who gave them a card. When they opened up the online process to accept the applications, the number one referral was friend who gave them a card. WOW…all of this mass media used to recruit, thousands of dollars spent on advertising to the masses, and the little cheap cards yield the best result.

Now this is not to say that online media, television, and radio is not a viable resource to spread your message. But here is a situation when someone, who is not a marketing person, took the time to go where the pulse of the people exist and empower them to share with their friends. Think about it, those people took their cards and gave to a friend…probably shared with someone who needed a job. Those applicants will probably retire at this organization…why. Because a friend referred them. The person sharing the card is going share with people whom they know. They are going to share with people whom they think would represent best their organization. Brand ambassadors and word-of-mouth….a powerful combination.

Word-of-mouth is such a cool thing!

Facebook for Business –> Find a job as a college student

Yesterday, I sat in a planning session for NetworkBash Fall 2010 with a great group from the Michelin Career Center at Clemson University. As we sat and began planning the three sessions for this fall, we talked about the social media session in October and what seminars will be created. We talked a bit about Facebook for a few minutes and the do’s and don’ts. I mentioned a seminar idea of protecting information, not revealing unwanted pictures and information employers could take out of context. A few of the staff members used this as a seminar with a few students a few months ago, and there was an overwhelming consensus…students understand the privacy issues but what they wanted to know: how to connect and engage with employers using Facebook.

OK…so here are my thoughts:

  • Make a list of companies you wish to engage with, ones you want to hire you.
  • Use Facebook to see if these companies have a Facebook presence (Fan Page, Group, Etc.).┬áTry to identify if it is a legitimate Facebook representation of the company or organization.
  • Once you find those companies, join the Group, Page, etc.
  • Watch the conversations in these groups and find updates that you can comment on that is not “intrusive.”
  • Look to see who else is a part of the Group or Page, and look over their profiles.
  • In those profiles, identify any people that might be working for company or organization. Also, look for the “Administrator” of the Group or Page and see if they work for this company or organization.
  • Send a “Friend Request” to the individuals that might work for the company or organization.
  • Continue to watch over this Group or Page and learn the language of the group and try to understand as much as possible: the purpose of the Group or Page, the initiatives of the company or organization, if they have events you can attend, and who are the people you need to establish a connection.
  • Once they accept they accept the “Friend Request,” try to engage in a conversation that could lead to an in-person meeting or on the phone conversation.
  • Do not use Facebook as a way to spam the employers with messages, but as a platform to engage in conversation that can lead to a meaningful relationship.