By Rick Kugler
The pervasiveness of internet use in daily life creates an opportunity for organizations to make a “digital impact” through the effective use of social media. Its reach is vast. Recent marketing research from HubSpot reports that LinkedIn has 450 million members, with over 110 million of them visiting the site monthly. Facebook has 1.1 billion daily users, with 74% of them reporting to use the site for professional purposes.
In addition to the sheer volume of users, what is more relevant from an employment perspective is a recent study from the Society for Human Resource Management. Their data indicates that approximately 84% of employers use social media to recruit applicants, with an additional 9% planning to do so in the future.
With this kind of traffic, it follows that state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies can use social media to get their message to a wide range of businesses. The potential to be connected to so many businesses raises questions. If an employer is looking for candidates on social media sites, will they find your agency, and if they do, what impression will they get?
The potential opportunity to connect to broader range of employers is a calling for VR agencies to look more closely at their internet presence. For example, if you look at VR websites, what is most prominent is the information about the services provided for people with disabilities. A number of state sites also include a page or link that describes the various services that VR can provide to businesses. This is a good start. While this approach can only help to promote the valuable services to business available through VR, it is difficult to know how many businesses will come across a given state’s VR site when they are surfing the internet looking for job candidates. You may need more than your website.
A number of VR websites have profiles on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. While these profiles may be active, very few have material that highlights the services they have to offer businesses. If your agency already has an account on a social media platform, why not use it to attract potential employer partners as well?
It doesn’t require a major effort to integrate information about your business services to your current online presence. You may want to give some thought to whether or not you should incorporate your business engagement information as part of current outreach, your Facebook page for example, or whether to create a slightly different “brand” for your business services initiatives with the creation of an additional page.
Facebook explains how to use the site to promote your organization. LinkedIn also provides information on creating a free organizational page, as well as marketing ideas in terms of sponsored content.
If you would like to explore more information on marketing, the Social Media Examiner has created a report that describes how the marketing industry is using social media, as well as a page devoted to social media for non-profits. Some key points of the report include:
- 88% of marketers indicate that social media has generated more exposure for their organization, with half of all social media marketers saying that social media has helped them generate customers.
- Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube are the viewed as the leading platforms for outreach.
- Videos and other visual content are perceived as the most valued assets for a social media presence.
It is important to maintain the integrity of your mission by providing information across various platforms that will help job seekers with disabilities understand and connect to your agency’s service. Social media is one platform for promoting the important services that VR can offer to help businesses recruit and retain employees with disabilities. Taking advantage of this tool can only help to further your mission and enhance your efforts to work toward an effective dual customer approach.
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