If you are like most, many people wouldn’t think of military recruitment as an area of cutting edge social media strategy. In fact, military recruiting in general has an odd stigma about it. As a Marine with over ten years of recruiting experience- I was once the guy on the receiving end of disdain for recruiters. Each day that passed, the effectiveness of cold calls diminished. 2012 brought even more challenges, my team was listening to more voicemails than people. We needed to change so I started looking into new solutions to unlock our market, social media was the key to get our foot in the door.
My team and I started experimenting with Facebook for Business and we were wildly successful. Creating posts of people who joined the Marines became our standard operating procedure, we’d use existing visual branding in our office to enhance the story of the individual featured. We were consistently pushing out posts featuring local Marines who joined from the community. We were telling the Marine Corps story through their eyes- and consequently tapping into our customer’s sphere of influence and attracting talent for recruitment. It wasn’t long before we became wildly successful and everyone was asking how we did it- including my leadership.
In 2013, I was offered an opportunity to move to San Diego so I could scale my strategy across the Western United States. Our recruiting team (sales), public affairs, and advertising staff collaboratively developed a social media policy. After careful consideration, we determined training our staff is our number one priority- ensuring personal profiles are sending the right message is the foundation of social selling. We empower our recruiters to create content for our owned social channels, this allows management to be part of the conversations and track ROI.
At our core, training is paramount and the strategy is simple- recruiters capture and publish unique meaningful moments in the recruitment process, they publish it and start the conversation. Facebook has a unique ability to organically distribute these messages and helps recruiters identify potential customers, classify leads, engage and move prospects from online to offline- our goal is to get them on the phone once an appropriate level of rapport has been earned. The telephone is not dead. However, speaking with prospects on the phone is now a third or fourth step in the sales cycle rather than an initial engagement.
There are hundreds of owned social media channels for recruiting sites spread out in cities across the Western United States. We have over 500 recruiters creating content on a regular basis and publishing to our local Facebook business pages. Using social media to activate conversations around the Marine Corps has been the catalyst to reach more of the right people within our market – it’s faster, it resonates with the community, generates leads and attracts more talent than ever before.
Focus on training your people to build a personal brand they can be proud of, trust them to generate content to help tell your company story, and teach them how to nurture prospects and provide an unbelievable customer experience- then amplify their story using social media.