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Building Community Through Social Media

By: Tracy Tillapaugh, CPC | Technical Recruiter

I’ve been a Technical Recruiter at Professionals Incorporated for almost 3 years.  During that time I have seen my recruiting methods and techniques evolve. For my professional and personal life I am engaged, constantly, on Twitter & LinkedIn. I have been a member of both networks for over a year and have had much success in engaging other members of the Syracuse area.

So far today, while writing this on a Sunday, I’ve connected with: 1 Director of IT at a charity firm, 3 higher education career services professionals, 1 photographer, 1 small business owner, 1 IT programmer, 1 social media professional, and 1 project manager of a manufacturing firm.

Funny thing is… I haven’t even left my house today. That’s a total of 9 people, 6 of which I’ve met in person over the past year. All of which have asked, answered, or shared information with me. How did I get to this point in my social media adventures? I’ll let you in on some of my tricks as to how I have built my community through social media:

– I am myself. There’s only one way to be unique and that is to be yourself. I tweet professionally and personally. I tweet tips about finding jobs from my experience as a recruiter but I also tweet about events I attend, and things I am interested in. This way I am making virtual friends. I’m building my own community with other members that enjoy similar things.

– I help. I have helped with resumes, submitted a few tweeps (friends on twitter) for jobs, and answered job search questions, and did so all via email. Helping is very important when you’re a member of Twitter. It is the biggest way to build your community!

– I share. Articles, tips, my life, my opinions, my self-degrading hysterical embarrassing moments. All of these are tweeted periodically to help build my community of those around me. Be useful on twitter and your community will grow without much more effort.

– I meet people at events. I mentioned above that I’ve met 6 of the 9 people that I have interacted with today. The Central New York area schedules tweet-ups regularly. Tweet ups are scheduled times where the members we are communicating with on a regular basis meet up at a public place. We’ve met at coffee houses and restaurants/bars. We discuss twitter, things we tweet about, community issues and plans, and hobbies. Through meeting these community members I have become more engaged in non-profit organizations and also have supported local businesses. I also always have a stack of business cards with me to hand out!

– I remind people who I am: a recruiter. A friend. A Syracuse area cheerleader. A sports fanatic.

– I connect with people immediately after I meet them.  Most professionals are accustomed to attending events and receiving a business card from other professionals. One suggestion to start implementing social media and to build your community, or network as it’s called on LinkedIn, is to immediately connect with individuals after meeting them. Not only will you establish your relationship further with a ‘virtual’ connection, but staying in contact virtually is very helpful when you cannot constantly stay in contact in person.

– I have a detailed, complete profile. I have added work history, education, provided and received recommendations, and added my picture. Having a complete profile gives you a higher chance of being found by others in people searches. You can create a company profile, too. Add your logo, and provide personalized information and news about your company. This is important for other individuals to view and strengthens your credibility that you work for a bona fide company.

– I join groups. I’ve joined industry groups, geographic groups and interest groups. I answer and ask questions and post articles. I don’t actively participate in all of the groups but I try participate as often as I can. Joining groups further connects me individuals that I don’t know that share my interests.


– Keep it personal. For me, Facebook made more sense to be kept personal. Friends, family members, old acquaintances and I keep in touch via Facebook.

– Try it out but know when to give. Last year my company decided to try using Facebook as a recruiting tool. After a few unsuccessful months we decided to end our campaign. This tool could work well for you but our time was too devoted on Twitter and LinkedIn to be successful on other medium.

– If you use Facebook: you must provide incentives to build your fan page. You must provide incentives for people to be your fans (discounts, coupons, special deals, offers, hours, information). Since we couldn’t offer any of our fans anything, we weren’t able to keep going with our campaign. It didn’t make sense for us but it may make sense for you.

Without a person in charge of our social media marketing efforts, it can be difficult to build community. What I do for my professional and personal life isn’t rocket science and it isn’t cutting edge. But these simple tips as well as an investment of your time do work when you’re trying to build your own community by using social media.

Connect with Tracy Tillapaugh on LinkedIn and Twitter! Like our blog? Like our facebook page.

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