Are you making the most of your investment in social media when it comes to using your online presence to bring more employers into your community?

Many provider organisations are active on social media today.  They have Facebook pages.  They tweet.  They’ve created online forums for employers.  Maybe they’ve also experimented with Google+ and Pinterest. However, if your work on the social web isn’t being noticed by the right people, then it’s a wasted investment.

Here are three things you can do to help you to engage with more employers in the virtual world:

1. Remind employers to engage with you

It sounds like a simple thing to do, but reminding employers that you’re on Twitter, inviting them to add you to their circles on Google+ or to view your latest pins on Pinterest is something to do regularly.  People often respond to prompts, even gentle ones.

2. Don’t stop there.

Give employers a reason for continuing to engage with you, too.  Tell your employers that you’re putting relevant updates on Google+ and tweeting about the main points via your Twitter account.  Encourage employers to check your postings regularly in order to keep up to date. Then make sure you deliver. For example, create a really useful infographic on the workings of the qualifications system or on the way FE works from an employer’s perspective.

Add value via social media and people will follow you, pin your updates and “like” you more.

3. Search for the right employers

You want to engage with a large number of employers.  You also want to engage with the right sort of employers: those who can promote you or recommend you and add value in some way to what you do.  The trouble is that it’s often difficult to find these people and then to get them to notice you.   You need to work hard to be seen and remembered.

Look out for employers who are active on the social web and who have something to say about specific topics.  If you want to engage with a sector, follow the subjects people in that sector are interested in.  Then use terms related to those subjects to find who is talking about them on social media.  For example, if you’re looking to engage more with the IT support sector, check  #byod on Twitter and see who you find.  Use the hashtag yourself as you communicate with these people. (BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device and it’s a hot issue in IT support right now.)

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Make lists of relevant Twitter accounts.  Follow them.  Interact with them.  Join in their conversations.  Ask questions yourself and reply to other people’s questions.  Follow the same people on their other social media channels and keep talking and engaging.

Invite employers into your social media space

Give employers the opportunity to write an article for your website or to be featured in an online event: a webinar, or even in Google hangout. Allowing employers to engage with their audiences via your social space will appeal to the internet-savvy members of your community.  It will also help to build your reputation as a modern and business-friendly organisation.

Employer engagement and social media

Using social media effectively gives you an advantage in building relationships with employers. You can create multiple links with your existing employer community and with a range of new employers via the social web.  Social media can help to build the employer engagement you want because conversations begun in the virtual world have a habit of spilling over into the real world.

Margaret Adams is a content marketing strategist, a business ghostwriter and a sought-after speaker on inbound marketing topics.

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