I have been working with recruitment clients on how to build communities and since last year, I have been studying a thriving community around the recruitment industry called UK Recruiter ran by Louise Triance.
On this community, there is a forum, a blog and newsletter dedicated to recruitment professionals. They can access also to many sources of information related to the recruitment industry or find specific suppliers (job boards…).
So I asked Louise a couple of question to understand better how she managed to grow this community from scratch:
Why have you decided to create this community?
If I’m honest it wasn’t part of some big master plan! About 10 years ago we were running courses for recruiters on using the internet. We had a “corporate brochure” type website about the courses and when I realised I needed a way to communicate with attendees we used the same site. The UK Recruiter site and newsletter were set up as a very basic kind of alumni group.
How did you get people involved at the beginning?
Everyone who attended one of our courses was guided to the site where we book-marked all the links they would use to be an effective web using recruiter! They were also automatically signed up for our weekly newsletter (although I think it was sent monthly in the early days).
How did you make your community grow?
Totally organically. After a very short time we allowed anyone to sign up for the newsletter via our website and we were getting email requests all the time from new subscribers who had been forwarded the email.
As technology progressed I tried to keep up with it; introducing suppliers directories, a discussion board, blogging, etc.
Recruiters understand the benefit of keeping up to date themselves and, I hope, see that being part of our community can help them do that.
What are the key features for a community like UK Recruiter to be successful?
I think it’s transparency and independence. We aren’t owned by a job board or recruitment software company. Yes we take advertising – but the business is independently owned.
I also think it’s about not enforcing too many rules. We have to ensure that the forum had guidelines on postings – but in the main I let people work out their own problems on there.
I’d also like to think that the personal touch helps. I’ve never tried to pretend we are a massive organisation and make myself as approachable as possible.
What are the common mistakes when building a community?
Assuming that “if you build it they will come”. You need to offer value. Yes, it’s an obvious point but from some of the stuff I see it’s one which is being overlooked.
I also think that people see through a community which is built for self-serving reasons. Again you need to be offering something of value to entire people to spend their time within your community.
Which tips would you give recruiters willing to build a community?
Don’t just copy something that someone else has built. Think about what you can offer that is truly different.
Also, make sure you have the time and resources to invest in the long term.
How do you monetise a community?
We monetise ours through advertising. Recruiters using the UK Recruiter site don’t pay for any of the content on there. However you can make a community subscription based or sell products as alternatives or in addition.
Are physical events/meetings important to you?
They are very. We’ve run networking evenings on and off since 2001. They are a great way of brining community members together in a social space. We now run some Director only events – but again focussing on the networking side.
I’m sure that community sites can be effective without psychical events but even just a few each year can help bring your community together in a way you can never quite manage online.
Many thanks Louise.
Louise is organising different events in London, you can check on UK Recruiter website.