Coinciding with the announcement of LinkedIn’s Top 25 Most Socially Engaged Staffing Agencies, we chat with the winner, PageGroup, to find out how they leverage LinkedIn to become the most socially engaged company on the platform through consistent content and genuine social engagement.
We sit down Eamon Collins, the Group Marketing Director at PageGroup to get the inside scoop. Have a listen to the interview below, keep reading for a summary and be sure to subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.
We’re probably very well known as leaders in specialist recruitment worldwide. We operate under the brands that people will be familiar with of Michael Page, Page Personnel, Page Exec and our latest brand, Page Outsourcing. We operate in 140 offices across 36 countries and we’re just under 7000 people. So, 6750.
Michael Page is our biggest business. But we have Page Personnel, which is growing fast. In some countries, such as France, Page Personnel is actually bigger than Michael Page. So, we changed and rebranded ourselves in 2012. We were Michael Page International, but actually, we see the opportunity that exists across various other parts of recruitment business and wanted to come up with a brand that would allow us to recognize that. That was when we rebranded to PageGroup.
How did you become the most socially engaged staffing agency on LinkedIn?
- Probably the most important reason is actually the content we produce. We have a watchword or a watchphrase, if you want to call it, that we use which is, “Seriously useful content.” We always, very carefully, look at the audience. We also carefully look at what they’re engaged with, what they want to use, what they’re interested in hearing from us. That drives our content program. We very carefully devise our strategy around that. The defining phrase of that is, “Seriously useful.”
- The second reason is where we’ve put much more focus on how we amplify that content through our own people. So it’s not enough to produce great content. There’s no point in having a glittering palace that nobody comes to visit. You have to think about how you make that content available in the right place at the right time, to the right person. We’ve done that by amplifying our content through our own people. So it’s not just a marketing exercise. The key thing really is I think recruitment is a very local activity. Actually, the reality is, if it’s just a centralized marketing activity, it tends to boil down to the lowest common denominator approaches. Whereas actually, people may hear from the horse’s mouth and it’s better that we empower our people to share the content, share what we do. We have tools that we use to help us do that.
- In doing so, that’s the third reason, it allows our consultants, then, to build their own personal brand on social. Then that’s both through their profiles, which is essentially their shop window, in terms of what they do, and also through content that we give them enables them to share that with their network.
Where does your content sit?
It’s everywhere actually. The point is, once we look at the key themes that we want to look at as part of our editorial calendar, we will look at all of our different channels and repurpose the content to suit each of those channels. It could be an update on LinkedIn. It could be a long-form article on our own website or on our blog. It could be a short post on Twitter. We look at each of the different channels and then repurpose the content to fit each of those channels.
Of course, ultimately, the repository, the home of our activity should be our website and is our website. It is our key channel. But we’re quite conscious that you can’t have a glittering palace that nobody visits. It’s much better that we take the content to where people are, encourage them to come and visit us on our website to get the full experience.
What mistakes have you made along your journey?
I’m a marketer, I like bright and shiny things. I can get distracted by baubles and the new. Certainly, when we first looked at social a long time ago, we had some key drivers around our strategy. One of those was the word “fun” because we just thought that social media should be a fun thing. The reality was, it drove us down a weird path. It could drive you to produce cat GIFs and God knows what to try and entertain people. It’s not what people expect from our brand. It’s not true to what we are. In reality, the other two watchwords held true, which was frequent and memorable. The fun piece, it just didn’t work for us, and we ended up producing a few tools that we tried to push through various channels. They weren’t very successful and it was because it’s not what people wanted of us or expected of us. So, we listen better now. We analyze. We use data to drive our approach and that’s what drives us towards that seriously useful. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be dull. We want to stay human and in touch but it needs to be fitting with what people expect from PageGroup.
Are your senior executives also involved in social?
Yes. I mean, you can follow our chief executive Steve Ingham on Twitter. You will see him tweeting merrily away, in terms of what he does. It’s him. Yes, they are actively involved. I think what helps us with that is we also have, internally within Page, we use Yammer. We have an internal social networking tool which we use very actively for people across the world to collaborate and cooperate. I think it gets everybody in the habit and also into the tone that you need to take on social media, rather than it being a very boring, dull, archconservative type activity. Hopefully, what you’ll see from what Steve posts and other executives, that we’re a little bit more down to earth, a bit more pragmatic.
Thanks to all the hard work the PageGroup ES teams put into the last #BusinessTalks2017. An amazing success with over 270 attendees! Thanks to @iesebschool and all speakers’ #MoreThanAJob pic.twitter.com/S49qUqqWuo
— Steve Ingham (@PageGroupCEO) November 16, 2017
How does being socially engaged help your employer brand?
I think I’m speaking for our existing people that there’s a sense of pride, actually, in terms of working for an award-winning company. I think, crucially, really for me it builds trust in us as a brand in terms of what we do and a view of, we have a modern approach to recruitment. I think Page has been around for over 40 years. There could be a tendency to think that we’re one of the aging brands in recruitment, but we’re not. We have fresh approaches to everything. So, it builds trust. I think the key thing is also it signals, because of the way we’ve done it, that we want to empower our employees. We want to empower them to build their own social profile, use their own personal brand to help them do their job. I think that’s an attractive proposition for those employees.
What’s up next for PageGroup?
When you look at the next things for PageGroup and the industry, from our point of view, we look at the focus on the customer. I’ve been with PageGroup now for just over 10 years and even in that time, I think it’s seen a steady increase in the transactional element of recruitment. It is easier for people to apply for jobs. It is easier for people to find jobs and apply for them. So, it tends towards a behavior that is more built around transactional interaction. Actually, I think, as an industry, it’s crucial that we get back to focusing on the customer, focusing on the interaction with the candidate. Which is why we are looking at a huge range of tools across space. I don’t particularly want to play buzzword bingo and throw in lots of words about AI and machine learning and all the bits and pieces. I think we have to be efficient in a transactional space using those tools. But we are also looking at tools where we build ongoing relationships over a long-term with our candidates and with our clients. So things like data management platforms, personalization engines, all of these kinds of bits and pieces that allow us to use our infrastructure and actually, coming back to the content, use our content production to find another channel to give the content to the right person at the right time.
Connect with Eamon on LinkedIn.