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In this follow-up episode to Social Recruiting: Sourcing Talent From Facebook Groups, host Michele Vincent walks you through how to set up your own Facebook group, the important settings to pay attention to, strategies for creating different types of groups, and tips for building an active and engaged talent community. 

Michele is a Facebook Power Admin who runs an active talent community of 15K members for connecting job seekers with recruiters in the staffing industry and uses it to help source manufacturing talent throughout the United States. 

What you will learn:

➡️ The purpose of having a talent community

➡️ How to create an engaging talent community

➡️ How to build your talent community using digital assets

➡️ Developing strategies for your talent community

Talent Communities

Many websites of global manufacturing companies today ask you to join their talent community which is essentially just an automated email of open jobs that fit your criteria -- in other words, one-way communication with links to open job ads. A true talent community should allow for company to candidate communication, candidate to company communication, and arguably more important --- candidate to candidate or candidate to employee communication. Michele has found that her Facebook community allows for all of these types of communication which have proven to be very beneficial for candidates, employees, and companies. 

The mission of Meta's communities (fka Facebook) is to give people the power of building community and bringing the world closer together. Brands and organizations have found success leveraging digital communities using Meta technologies whether it be for customer support, production, innovation, loyalty, engagement, customer acquisition, retention, and even hiring talent. 

Today's labor market is challenging with a lack of applicants, ghosting of new hires, and high turnover. For those looking for outside-the-box sourcing strategies, in Michele's previous episode, “Social Recruiting: Sourcing Talent in Facebook Groups”, we learned that Facebook has the largest online talent pool with 2 billion monthly active users and 100 million of those are members of Facebook communities. In this episode, Michele walks you through how to set up your own Facebook group, what settings to pay attention to initially, and the strategies she has used to grow her community to 15K members. 

Creating Engaging Talent Communities

Michele has personal experience managing several Facebook groups, but her most successful group which she utilizes for sourcing talent at MADICORP is called Traveling Contract Jobs: Industrial. The intention of this group is to connect job seekers with recruiters in the travel staffing industry across the United States. As we speak, the group currently holds 15,000 members.

As a result of her hard work and group success, Michele has been deemed a Facebook Power Admin, which is defined as a community builder who is actively managing the most engaging meaningful groups on Facebook. This has given Michele exclusive access to the Power Admins of North America group; a VIP experience that allows her to connect with Facebook employees, contact support directly, get information on newly rolled out group features, and provide feedback on new features being considered by Facebook. Aside from that, it is also a great opportunity for Michele to connect and learn from other Power Admins. Facebook’s mission is to empower community leaders to cultivate the best possible experience for users. 

Steps For Setting up Your New Facebook Group

Step 1: Log into Facebook

Step 2: Click "Groups"

Step 3: Click "Create Group"

Step 4: Add a group name

Step 5: Choose if you want your group to be public or private

Step 6: Set the group to be visible or hidden

Once the above steps have been completed it's time to make the page visually appealing by adding a header image that represents the message your group is trying to convey. After having the basic setup ready to go, there are admin tools located on the left side that require the settings to be adjusted, some more important than others, which we will walk you through.

In the "setup group" section, you should include a description related to the name of the group that you chose. Here, you can also add a location, based on city, state, or country depending on what makes sense for your group. Other customizable features include the URL, color choices, and badges that can be used such as an admin badge, moderator, group expert, or new member among other ones. There is the capability to set up a group affiliation and choose a group type. When it comes to choosing who can join your group in the "manage membership" section, there are a couple of different options including "profiles" or "pages", but it is up to you if you want just one of these or both. It is highly recommended that you designate only group admins and moderators to approve member requests in order to weed out fake accounts which can be damaging to your group.

Another important category to update settings on is "manage discussions". Michele recommends all member posts be approved by an admin or a moderator which enables you to keep the group focused on industry-related topics and ensure members are following the group's rules. Under this same category, there is additional functionality that requests edited posts be approved as well, which serves as an extra layer of protection against spam.

There is a selection of "post formats" that users can typically choose from including Facebook lives, polls, and events. Take this into consideration, and turn off ones you are hesitant on allowing. The last thing to weigh over is whether or not you want to allow "anonymous posts". Michele has noticed in many of the HR groups she is a member of that this can make members feel more comfortable, to be honest, and open when asking for help or talking about specific situations at work. While she doesn't use this feature in her groups, it's something to consider for yours. 

The next step may not be one of your first priorities but it is something to circle back on later, and that is setting "group rules". It does not require much thought if you take advantage of Facebook's preset rules to get you started such as "be kind and courteous" which also populates a description automatically for you, and can be adjusted as needed. As an example, one of the rules Michele has set in her group is the requirements for when recruiters share job postings such as Employer name, plus either a link to the job ad where applicants can apply or a corporate email address where applicants can contact them.

Building Your Talent Community

Leveraging Social Media

Now comes the hard part, gaining recognition and building an engaging community. Step one is to analyze your current digital assets and social following across all channels. Don't be afraid to promote your new group through personal and business accounts including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also recruit members from other existing groups but be mindful of whether or not that particular group rules allow you to do so.

Facebook Page vs. Facebook Group

Michele recommends creating a Facebook page to accompany your group and linking these two together because pages and groups have different functionality. You can think of a Facebook page as the public face of your group, especially if your group is set to private. With a page, you are also able to join groups so you are able to comment and participate back and forth with other members, which is mutually beneficial since it helps promote your new group resulting in new members and likes.

Email Subscriptions and Newsletters

If you happen to have an existing email list or a newsletter, and it aligns with your Facebook group, you can share it with your audience and invite new subscribers to join your group. Another great way to attract new members would be to send candidates that submitted a resume with your company a follow-up thank you email sequence that also invites them into your group by providing a link. This is a great tool, and even better, once set up you don't have to manually send invites and your group can grow overnight! Your website is also another way to let others know about your group. You can add calls to action for your group on employment-related pages and blog posts, create pop-up notifications inviting people to join your group, or write a page or post about the group and include a link for people to join it. 

Once you start to build an audience, there is a group tool you can use to welcome new members by creating a post and new members are automatically tagged. If you consistently welcome new members each week, this is another opportunity to grow your group by asking new members to invite friends and colleagues who may be interested in joining. Once your group begins to grow with an engaged community, Facebook will eventually begin recommending your group to other users as well. This is a specific setting within groups, so you'll want to make sure you turn that on (assuming you want your group recommended) in the back end when you set up your group. 

Community Strategy

Before jumping into setting up your group, it is worthwhile to strategize the type of environment you're trying to build for your members. When asked what made her group so successful, Michele narrowed it down to two things; her mission and not creating a company-branded group. To be more specific, her mission was to connect job seekers with recruiters in the travel staffing niche. Instead of branding the group around MADI which wouldn't reach as many people, Michele was able to leverage her 14 years of industry experience and provide support and information to job seekers within her community. Her biggest piece of advice is, don't overanalyze it -- just get started, create your group and remember that you can adjust and adapt along the way as your community grows.

Here are a few different ways to look at it...

Large Global Manufacturer

If you're part of a well-known global corporation, you could think about creating a company-branded group sharing insights about what it's like to work for your company. You could invite both job seekers and existing employees. By leveraging existing marketing assets already in place, it would be much easier to quickly build a community. You could share information about the application process, introduce recruiters, what it's like to work within different departments, share employee-related news, volunteer opportunities, and more!

One thing to keep in mind with using Facebook for this type of community, however, is that it's on "rented" property -- in other words, it would not be owned by your company. The advantage, however, is that many people are already using the platform (2 billion active monthly users) and many (100 million) are already members of groups -- so it's familiar to candidates and your employees -- you're essentially meeting them where they're already at. 

Multi-Site Manufacturing Business

If you're a smaller business but have several manufacturing locations throughout the U.S. you could create an industry-specific group that will attract people interested or experienced within your industry and create a talent community of both passive and active job seekers. By creating an industry-specific group, you won't be limited to one area and you'll be able to tap into the group for hiring at all locations. Leverage new applicants across all sites by inviting them to join your new group, invite existing employees, share industry news, and share jobs from your company and other companies, in the beginning, to get things started. 

Single Site Manufacturing Plant

If you work at a company with one manufacturing plant, you might want to consider a location-specific group. Manufacturing jobs in Iowa, for example. If you're a member of your local SHRM chapter or happen to be connected with others in the area working in manufacturing, reach out to them and invite them to your group. Let them know your goals and see if they can also invite others to your group. Although they may seem like competition, it's ideal to welcome recruiters and HR personnel from other companies into your group in order to reach a wider audience.

Independent/Agency Recruiters & Talent Acquisition Professionals

If you're someone that's been working in the same industry for a long-time like Michele, then you can create a group for yourself on your own time, that's not company branded, that can be leveraged to source talent within your industry no matter where you go in the future. You can even build additional digital assets outside of the group to help build your community. In the case of Michele's group, Traveling Contract Jobs, she even took it upon herself to build a website, travelingcontractjobs.com, and a newsletter, The Road, to help nurture her community with information of interest to them. 

Benefits Of Being A Facebook Group Admin 

Being the admin of the Facebook group gives you complete control over your community. You can decide what and how people post, who is allowed to join the group, and much more. The first step is to get started! We hope you found this episode helpful and would love to hear about your community or answer questions you have about setting up a community and ask that you stay connected and email us podcast@madicorp.com

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