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Face-off: Social Media Site vs. Corporate Website  
9/19/2011 2:05:42 PM

Should Brands Refer to their Social Media Sites or Corporate Website?


Social Media Site vs. Corporate Website September 19, 2011
By Suvarna Sheth. BioSpace.com

More and more organizations are now using Facebook or Twitter to advertise and create brand awareness. Does this mean it's the end of an era of cleverly designed and graphically tantalizing corporate websites? Should major companies focus on using social media machines to recruit talent instead? We talk to a few experts to find out.

What's the Fascination with Social Media?

What's the fascination with social media and why are so many corporations quickly finding themselves on social networking sites? It's true that most of them still operate a dedicated website, but is it possible that this might one day become just a legacy?

Michael Marlatt, recruiting consultant at Microsoft, and founder of mRecruitingcamp, North America's first ever mobile recruiting conference, currently handles social media for Microsoft MCSC consulting services. He says there are several reasons companies are gravitating to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to promote their corporate brand.

Number one, he says it's because social networks already have a community and people are going there for specific reasons: to engage with their friends, family, potential colleagues and people they don't know. “The point is, they're already there,” Marlatt says, “don't try to re-create the wheel when the wheel is already created for you.”

The recruitment expert says every company is trying to develop their own talent community where they're trying to pull potential customers and employees to their own company site, but ultimately these communities already exist on social networking sites. There have been companies that have tried to replicate communities on their own corporate website, but they have not been as successful.

You would be hard-pressed to find a big company that doesn't have a social media presence now. The main reason behind this is that companies want to integrate and go to where their audience is. From a job seekers' point of view, going to a company's Facebook profile, for example, is an easy and non-threatening way to be interested in a company and find out more about it, including career opportunities.

In order for the best strategy, however, Marlatt says companies need to consider who their primary audience is. If your audience is leveraging text messaging, augmented reality QR, visual recognition, proximity based marketing apps or gaming apps, you should adjust your corporate marketing and recruiting strategy to engage in where there the audience is going to be.

Once a brand establishes their strategy, the business can determine where it should be focusing its marketing and recruiting efforts. According to social media strategist, Sally Falkow, websites without social features and no connection to the brand's social presence are becoming irrelevant.

At the same time, Falkow writes in her article that while Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are essential tools in a company's online strategy, they need to be simultaneously connected to a very robust and informational website.

David Tuttle, director of digital strategy at TMP Worldwide, one of the largest advertisement recruitment agencies worldwide, agrees and says recruiters for corporations need to keep in mind that social networking is only one tool for successful recruiting.

"Social networking is extremely important, don't get me wrong," Tuttle says, "but it's not the only method for successful recruiting." The digital strategist says an agency like TMP provides a comprehensive method for recruiters and HR departments to advertise open positions. The digital strategist says implementing a social networking experience is what's called using "targeted passive media" because it's a passive way to attract candidates. He says this strategy should be coupled with "targeted active media," which are useful tools such as job boards and job search aggregators to ensure that the best and the brightest candidates find and apply to open positions. Tuttle and Marlatt agree that job boards still play a very important role in helping to further the brand by advertising and marketing companies that are looking to reach a broader audience.

This is because most people have grown up with the notion that when they are looking for a job, they don't want to just look at one company, they want to look at multiple companies from a job aggregator.

Whether or not social media is a fad, it has been heavily debated. Marlatt says it's hard to call a social networking site of 600 million a fad.

On the contrary, he says social networking sites are becoming just like Google where they have become fully integrated in a lot of different ways: They are becoming a place where businesses can operate their store-fronts, develop ways to further their brand, advertise their company and career opportunities, and engage their communities.

Indeed, the consensus amongst the experts is that social media sites are far from being a fleeting fad; in fact, it's merely just the beginning.

About the Author

Suvarna Sheth researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.

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