We all know that CEOs have to delegate to be successful, so why wouldn’t they delegate their social media accounts? When we see daily LinkedIn updates from a CEO, we naturally assume that she’s delegated her social media production to a publicist or underling. But that’s not the case with Inge Geerdens, founder and CEO of recruitment firm CVWarehouse, and the third entrepreneur to write for Prialto's Innovators' Corner series.
Inge considers social media engagement important enough for her company to do it all herself. She is a prolific columnist, trainer, entrepreneur and thought leader on all manner of recruiting and business topics. With more than 45,000 LinkedIn followers, she has a long history of personally engaging and connecting to people online. Her company, CVWarehouse, touts nearly 15,000 candidates applying through its e-recruitment platform each month, and is always looking for better online tools to involve its customers. That’s why, over the years, Inge has developed best practices for her own and her company’s social media strategy.
We asked her to share her thoughts on whether to delegate social media management, and here’s what she told us.
Why is social media important?
Social media presents an opportunity for small businesses to make themselves a familiar brand. We don’t have the marketing engines of General Electric or Motorola. Still, because of my social media presence, all my followers and customers see things about me and about my company at least once a day.
Successful marketing tends to happen when people encounter your brand over and over again. Potential customers don’t remember you after one or two mentions, but come to you after the hundredth or two-hundredth time they come across your name. Social media is a nice way to keep yourself top of mind without being blatantly commercial about it.
Also, in the case of CV Warehouse, our business itself revolves around engaging people on both sides of the recruiting table. Social media is a key place to meet and reach as many of them as I can.
Who leads CV Warehouse’s social media outreach?
I post to the company’s social media accounts myself every day. When I travel, I sometimes have someone who knows me well post on my behalf for a short period of time. Besides that exception, social media is not something that I outsource. It would not be appropriate in the hands of our marketing department or delegated to a new employee. There are two reasons for that:
- I believe that a CEO needs to be very careful about who she puts in charge of content production. Someone who has been at the company in the industry for a mere three months will not know what to post. I’ve even seen situations where junior employees have posted competitors’ updates to the company page because of their lack of context.
- Reading through the articles that I post makes me a better person. Even if I’ve just scanned them, doing it myself means that I’m constantly learning and reinforcing my own skill set.
How do you differentiate between your posts to the various social media outlets?
CV Warehouse has three primary social media accounts:
- Facebook – where I post advice for jobseekers and candidates
- LinkedIn – where I provide advice and thought leadership to companies
- Twitter – where I often post job vacancies for my customers
In all three spots, I post articles, tips or my own thoughts on a relevant topic, depending on the target audience. I sometimes also include a smiley face or a joke to let the audience know how I feel about the article.
How often do you post to each account?
Persistence and rhythm are important here. You don’t have to post twice a day, but I do post at regular intervals, because the company’s followers and fans can come to expect that. You should stick to the pattern that works best for your company.
Still, in terms of specific numbers, here’s how it breaks down:
On Facebook, updates show up on your fans’ wall feeds. So it’s important that I leave three hour gaps in between my Facebook posts, otherwise people will have too much of my stuff showing up on their walls and will get annoyed.
On LinkedIn, the timing of my updates doesn’t matter as much, because people are generally reading the update in their daily or weekly LinkedIn email.
With Twitter, I try to post at least twice a day, but never go over six tweets a day.
How do you find the time to handle social media outreach on your own?
In three simple steps!
- I created a dupe Twitter account just for listening. I use the account to follow all the magazines, writers, leaders and thinkers in my field.
- Every evening, as I wind down on the sofa, I go through this Twitter feed to scan the posts. While doing that, I email the articles that I find most interesting to myself.
- Throughout the next day, when I have a moment between meetings or some respite from my email, I fill my social media accounts with the articles I’ve emailed to myself.
You have nearly 45,000 followers on LinkedIn. How do you find or add new contacts to your social media networks? How do you parse through or organize them, if at all?
I don’t add new links to my network myself. I get a lot of invitations, and when I see a person in the right corner on LinkedIn that I know, I might send an invitation. I don’t sort my contacts, but I regularly search through them by region, topic, etc. That’s especially the case when I am traveling - I will always look at the contacts that I have in that area and approach these people in anticipation of my trip, if it interests both parties.
Do you target posts to particular subsets of your audience? Why or why not?
I am in the HR and recruitment sector and I therefore post a lot about these subjects. And of course I am an entrepreneur, so interesting articles about entrepreneurship are also often posted. I’m not usually posting for a particular audience, but a particular audience is interested in following my posts.
Have you considered using Sprout Social, Twuffer or other automation tools that would allow you to schedule your social media posts in advance?
No. Scheduling posts in advance is both dangerous and disingenuous. As a reader, I think it gets to be pretty obvious when you’ve automated a post, and it doesn’t reflect well on your content. In addition, sometimes things don’t fit the present situation or don’t reflect on a fast-changing market. For example, if a large Belgian company goes bankrupt, that’s not a great time for me to post something about “how to fire an employee.”
Do you engage people on social media and how do you track that engagement?
I occasionally get emails from people who’ve read my articles on LinkedIn or questions via Twitter. I respond to these on an individual basis, but don’t track each response. The point is to create a memorable experience for them, which in turn enhances the brand’s reputation – not to gather stats.
Do you make corporate announcements via social media?
Never. My customers deserve better than that. I inform my customers of any news first, via newsletter or emails, and then post my news or newsletter to the social media outlets.
How have your LinkedIn editorials played into this social media landscape?
LinkedIn gave me a lot of visibility among the online community, and some very nice things have come out of this. I was interviewed by two radio stations in the US about a column I posted. I have been invited to teach at an MBA school in India. So my editorials, which are often very personal, go beyond social media and bring me some great experiences.
Which social media tool is your favorite?
Well, this is difficult. When working or looking for something regarding my business, I use LinkedIn. When I want to connect with friends or family, I am on Facebook. I don’t have a preference - it all depends on the mood I am in and the task I am doing that day.