Top 3 Takeaways: LinkedIn Talent Connect 2016

Keep it simple stupid. A phrase I often forget, but that was in the back of my mind during my time at LinkedIn’s 2016 Talent Connect Conference in Las Vegas. No, the presentations were not remotely simple or stupid, but as I continue to grow in the talent brand space, I realize that more often than note, the more simplistic the idea is, the more scale it has and the more effective it can be on your budget.

Marketers like me always want to boil the ocean, so this conference really helped me level set on what is possible to create with current resources, and it allowed me to focus on the tactics that will meet my goals, instead of using every possible tactic and new marketing product available. Yes, I want to do it all, but it’s more efficient on your people resources and budget to focus on the right activities to best accomplish your business goals.

My objective of each session I attended was to write down 2-4 actionable items I could take back with me to work and start implementing immediately. I had many more than the 3 below items written down, but here is what I found to be the recurring themes of my conference notes. I gained the most new knowledge from the speakers representing Uber, Starbucks and Eventbrite. They were able to provide new insights into the talent attraction process and EVP (Employer Value Proposition) development, two key focus areas for me this year.

#1: Take the best parts of the consumer marketing experience and apply it to your TA experience.
We are all used to being marketed to. Ads, coupons and social media promotions have become part of our daily consumer experiences. Brands like Target have even taken it to another level utilizing an app called “Cartwheel” to enhance their consumer experience, and gather more data around it.

A positive consumer experience includes being able to easily find what you are looking for, then easily completing the transaction and moving on with your day. Today’s talent lives and transacts online similar to today’s consumer. Job hunters should be able to quickly locate roles of interest, pertinent information about your firm and lines of business. Then, they should quickly be able to complete their “transaction,” or application.

Employment branding marketers utilize the same consumer branding levers – brand, influence and conversion to drive their candidate outcomes. Attribute your outcome to the right marketing tactic, and drive more resources to the right activity at the right time.

Brand: Social and general media buys will build brand equity in the long-term.
Influence: Owned channels like your careers site will influence the reason to apply, or “buy.”
Conversion: Paid tactics will increase applications. Measure your results from using job boards, paid search and paid social media campaigns.

#2: Based on your marketing efforts, would you be excited to work at your own company?
EVP, or Employer Brand Proposition, has been a buzz word in this space for a few years, but have you acted on it? Have you defined the unique set of offerings that would make someone want to join your company? Once you define your EVP, you can begin to attract and inform your desired talent pools by using videos, social retargeting campaigns, your website, job descriptions and blogs.

Not sure if you’re acting on your EVP? Face some brutal facts like these, then get back to work on your content plan:

Do you have a voice? Specifically, are you using the voice of your employees?
Are you being social on social media? Or just talking at people instead of with them?
Are you more worried about quantity of content over quality of content?
Have you put up more red tape than you really need to get things done?

Measure where you are today before further implementing. Know your current careers site activity, social followers and display ad results in order to evaluate future efforts.

#3: Build affinity, not attraction, by telling a story that other people come to on their own.
Great IT and sales people are not applying for jobs. They are already meeting or exceeding, and are likely satisfied in their current role. It’s time to stop hunting unicorns, and start reigning them in. By really utilizing storytelling in your marketing mix, you will start to build an arsenal of content that the great talent will use in their decision to explore making a life move to your company.

Make sure you are maximizing your content mileage. If you make a long-form story about a particular role or job family, leverage the images and quotes from the story in your future social media posts. Link to the stories from your job descriptions and encourage recruiters to use the stories in their candidate InMails.

Thanks LinkedIn for another great conference. I’ll see you in Nashville in 2017!


Podcasting 101 with Vernon Ross

Have you ever heard of Serial? It’s an investigative podcast series hosted by Sarah Koenig that tells a true story over the course of a season. Think “Making a Murderer” in radio format. Serial really brought podcasting as a communications channel to the mainstream more than it had ever been before. Currently, 12% of the population is hooked on a podcast.

Vernon Ross, of Ross Public Relations, stopped by my Social Media Marketing class a few weeks ago to teach us about starting our own Podcast. In a few weeks, my students will be embarking on the creation of the first-ever UMSL Business Podcast series. We were so excited to welcome Vernon as he has had his own podcast, “The Social Strategy Podcast,” for over three years. Vernon is also teaching a new Podcasting course for the UMSL Digital Marketing Certificate program in Fall 2016. Thinking about starting your own podcast? Here are my 3 biggest takeaways from Vernon’s Podcasting 101 presentation as you build your launch strategy.

Before you start
Step back and consider if podcasting is truly a fit for your business. Will it increase your lead volume or revenue stream? For example, if you are a makeup artist or photographer, you probably would want to tell your story with video, not audio. Any marketing endeavor takes time and resources, and you should always be cognizant of if the tactic you are trying will accomplish the objective you have identified. Don’t have an objective? Take an even further step back.

Identify your hosting vendor
Listening and hosting vendors include iTunes, TuneIn, Podbean, and Overcast. Vernon recommends using a service over hosting on your own to avoid server downtime in times of high performing podcasts.

Decide on a show format and episode plan
There are many types of podcasts like hosted, co-hosted and sponsored. What makes sense for you based on the people that will be telling your story? Then, come up with 5-10 targeted podcasts on a subject you are an expert in. You could also review 5-10 products, give them away, or tell people how to buy them from you. Reach out to other bloggers and influencers in your space and ask them to be on your podcast to grow your content strategy.

Looking ahead
Vernon left us with some great advice: “In marketing, you must focus on what is next, not what is now.” This is where podcasting is at for many companies. This is still a relatively new medium that you can add to your marketing mix to meet your business goals.

Thanks again to Vernon for sharing your many insights. We are already looking forward to your next #bowtiethursday Instagram post!