Not too long ago it was enough - and sometimes quite profitable - to build a job board and just let the user click away until they find a great match.
In the Social Age, however, users expect more; clicking the "Apply Now" button is no longer good enough. They expect to learn, grow and even be entertained during each visit. This means your site must make the transition from being "just another job board" to a community that cares. Here are some ways you can do that by using social media.
Creating Trust Through Sharing
Without a doubt, social media is full of noise. Everyone with a keyboard and a blog is an expert. Everyone with a smartphone is a cameraman. Everyone with a GoPro is a YouTube god.
And yet within that noise, communities are building credibility and earning loyalty by sharing knowledge. They are becoming digital mentors. Most important, by sharing what they know about being successful in their niche, they're building trust.
This must be done correctly, of course. Avoid the temptation to turn each of your posts or messages into spam or to become a self-promoter. Share the work of colleagues, even competitors, as well as your own. And be an active listener - because nothing destroys credibility faster than failing to engage with those who've come to trust your brand.
Build a Stable of Brand Ambassadors
Once trust is established, an interesting phenomenon begins to occur: Brand ambassadors - champions of your products or services - come out of nowhere. Through social media, they begin telling the world how much they appreciate the work you do.
They share their success stories on Twitter and Facebook. They voluntarily share your content on LinkedIn Groups and G+ Communities. And by doing so, they tell their networks that you and your brand not only do good work, but you can be trusted as well.
Why is this important? Because we live and work within a Testimonial Economy - where no one cares about what you say about your brand. They only care about what others say about you - on Yelp, Google Reviews, Glassdoor, and so many other sites.
Enable the Creation of OPEN Circles
In the early days of social media, we focused exclusively on "networking." We counted our likes, followers, and comments like they were dollar bills. Quality didn't seem to matter...only quantity.
Today, though, we are focused on quality content, quality contributions and, yes, quality connections. Which is why the most successful online brands, as pointed out in A World Gone Social, deliberately create OPEN (Ordinary Person | Extraordinary Network) circles.
And when your site - your community - enables these networking circles, you're not seen as just a website. You become a partner that helps customers and potential customers achieve their goals. Your blog, tweets, Facebook groups, G+ communities, webinars and LinkedIn groups all serve to create a place where your customers gather to meet other users and folks in the industry.
That is the OPEN mindset. That is how personal networks and personal brands grow. And they have your brand to thank for that.
Establishing "Relentless Giver" Status
As those OPEN circles begin to expand, your brand has an opportunity to earn a status reserved only for those communities that share consistently, go out of their way to connect others, and answer the call when members of the community need help. Simply put: Your brand stops being a seller - or a taker - and becomes known as a "Relentless Giver."
Relentless Givers are the pinnacle of community-building.
Your brand becomes known for their good deeds, ability to connect like-minded individuals, and selfless support. Yes, this takes some work...but the rewards are well worth the effort because when a Relentless Giver finally asks for help, everyone will want to reciprocate. Or when your brand stumbles (a rogue tweet, for instance), your community will rally.
And the long-term benefits are just as impressive. Need an introduction to a potential customer? Launching a podcast or e-book? Creating a new site? Your brand is well-respected; your OPEN network, and your brand ambassadors are ready to assist.
Building an amazing brand by building a community isn't easy. It doesn't happen overnight. But with perseverance, consistency and a positive approach you can - and will - build a brand people genuinely care about...because you care about them.