How Staffing Agencies Can Leverage Facebook Graph Search for Recruiting

Last February I wrote a piece about Facebook’s, then new, Graph Search (Clarifying Facebook Graph Search). The post centered on how Graph Search worked and what digital marketers need to do to take advantage of it.

“Think 6 degrees of separation. Graph Search is Facebook’s attempt to really use their platform to find information.”

facebook graph searchToday I’d like to talk about how staffing agencies can leverage Facebook’s Graph Search for recruiting.

Graph Search has been live for a little more than a year and with it Facebook has revolutionized the way that you can find information on Facebook. As I often say, “Social Media is like word of mouth on steroids.”

Graph Search makes it so you don’t even have to ask your “friend’s” opinions because it’s all already on Facebook!

What they’ve done is further developed Facebook’s traditional search functionality and gave it the ability to better understand natural language, making it much more intuitive and precise for searchers. This means users can search using natural language to find things such as people, events, personal information, photos, interests, or a combination of all of these and more. Here are some examples:

  • Friends who are interested in soccer
  • People who graduated from University of Tennessee
  • Nurses who live in Cherry Hill NJ

Search Tips for Staffing Agencies and Recruiters

As you can see from the list above, one of the things you can search for is Job Titles (nurses, fork lift drivers, etc.). You can also refine your search by adding a location: “Fork Lift Drivers who live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania”

Forklift drivers philadelphia Graph search

Furthermore you can refine your search by using a particular Employer’s Name. If you want to recruit from a particular company, or someone that has worked there you can simply search for the company or organizations name. If you would like to find particular job title from that organization you can refine it like this: “Software Developers at Google.” And Facebook will show you a list of software developers at Google.

Facebook Graph Search: Software Developers at Google

Another example: “Nurses at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia”

Facebook Graph Search: Nurses at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Let’s say you are working on filling a position for a company that will only hire from Ivy League schools. Facebook Graph Search can help you there too. You can search for graduates of Wharton Business School by searching by Education. “People who graduated from The Wharton School”

Facebook Graph Search: People who went to The Wharton School

You can also add the year: “People who graduated from The Wharton School 2013”

Facebook Graph Search: people who graduated from the wharton school 2013

Sample Search Queries for Staffing Agencies and Recruiters:

  • (Job Title) who live in (location of position).
    • Engineers who live in San Francisco
    • Nurses who live in Philadelphia
  • People who graduated from (University)
    • Doctors who graduated from Georgetown University
    • Accountants who graduated from Pennsylvania State University
  • (Job Tittle) at (company)
    • Fork lift drivers at Costco
    • Office Managers at Vanguard

Leverage Graph Search Filters to Refine Your Recruiting Efforts.

You may find that Facebook is returning lots of results when you use some of the broader search parameters such as location. Luckily though, Facebook gives you many options to refine your search. When searching via Employer’s Name, you can then filter using things such as “Current City”, “Gender”, “School”, etc.

Or for Education you can further refine your candidate search with “Employer”, “Degree”, “Concentration”, etc. These refinements could be useful for finding someone that lives close to where the position you’re recruiting for is located, or if the employer is requiring a certain type of degree.

facebook graph search filters

Contact Prospective Employees Directly

By using Facebook Graph Search for recruiting you also get the option to contact candidates directly via their profiles. You may find that in many cases when you try to message a prospect via their profile, you are shown the message, “Your message will go to Art’s Other folder because you aren’t connected to him on Facebook. See More.”

Similarly to LinkedIn’s paid accounts where you get a certain number of messages to people you aren’t linked to, Facebook allows you to pay to contact people you are not connected to. The difference is Facebook does it on a Per message basis; $1 per message. This is a great low cost way to directly let the recruit know you value their skills enough to reach out to them.


contact prospective employees via Facebook Messenger


Are There Any Challenges to Using Graph Search to Recruit?

Like anything, Graph Search has some challenges. One of the biggest challenges is your search results depend on what people have included in their profiles. Unlike LinkedIn, Facebook is traditionally a more social platform that people use to connect with friends and family, so not everyone will have their employer or job title filled in. However despite this limitation the up-side for staffing agencies and recruiters is that Graph Search provides more personal data such as, hometown, current city, gender, interests, activities and more.

The ability to customize search with Facebook’s Graph Search is its biggest benefit to recruiters and staffing agencies. LinkedIn is a great resource to find white collar talent, however using Facebook will give a competitive edge in recruitment and talent acquisition because it offers access to passive job seekers and prospective employees that traditionally don’t use LinkedIn.

Does your agency use Facebook Graph Search for recruitment? What success have you had with it? We’d love to hear your story.

digital marketing strategy

4 Steps to Understanding if Facebook & Twitter Ads Really Work for You

I just read an article about a Gallup Poll that claimed Facebook and Twitter ads do not influence people to buy.  In the post they stated:

According to the polling firm’s latest “State of the American Consumer” report, released Monday, just 5% of Americans say social media advertising has a great deal of influence on which products they buy. In fact, 62% of the 18,000 people Gallup surveyed said social media advertising has no effect on their purchase decisions at all.

If you go directly to the Gallup Poll you’ll see the numbers

social media gallup poll


social media gallup poll

If you look at the stats 35% said they did influence them. The writers of the poll also tried to trivialize the number of millennials that are influenced. Their poll shows 50% said that social media ads do influence them. That doesn’t sound too bad… if you understand marketing at all.

First of all the Gallup Poll is an outdated non-scientific study that was developed before the digital age and is inherently flawed.  If you really want to know if ads work for you, try a more scientific method.

4 Steps You Need to Take to Really Understand if Facebook & Twitter Ads Work for You

  1. Define what a conversion is for you.
  2. Use social media ads to drive to your site.
  3. Create a proper landing page that drives conversions
  4. Use a third party website analytics tool to track visitor engagement and conversions.

Tracking real metrics will give you the proof one way or another. Data about conversions can’t lie. Either you have enough to make it worth it or you don’t.

return on investment roi

The World Has Gone #Hashtag Crazy – Justin Timberlake Video

It seems these days everyone is jumping on the #Hashtag bandwagon. The phenomenon was started by Twitter users. Essentially it started as a tag on a post to signify what the post was about. This created a way to tag your post so it would come up in search even though you didn’t explicitly mention the search term for which you wanted your post to be found. So to tag a post to show it is about social media, you would add the hashtag: #socialmedia

After it became widely used on Twitter, Google+ started using it. Now even Facebook has added the functionality. Facebook becomes Twitterfied People are now using hashtags for everything.

Hashtags can be a very useful, but overuse can just be ridiculous. This video shows just that. Enjoy!

Facebook Honors MySpace, Adds Mood To Posts

Out with the old, in with… no wait how does that goo? If you don’t have something new, use something old??

Anyway, Facebook has added a throw back to the MySpace mood. You remember MySpace right. “Bryan is feeling happy.. is feeling sad …feeling bored….”

add mood to facebook


Actually there’s a bit more to it too. You can post what you’re listening to, reading, watching and everyone’s favorites; What you’re eating and drinking.

facebook adds mood what you're eating and more

What do you think, good idea or just noise? 

LinkedIn Skill Endorsements – Are You Providing Value or Gaming The System?

Some time ago LinkedIn added “Skill Endorsements” to their profiles. This is a way for others to validate you for your skills. Or perhaps it can be taken as a vote of confidence. I think this is a great idea. However if you were waiting for it, here comes the “but.”

It seems with every system people find ways to try and game it. With SEO there was keyword stuffing. This was the practice of repeating keywords on a page, normally in a way that they were not visible to visitors, in order to gain better search rankings. This is now widely known and penalized by search engines. There is also link trading and link farms. These practices have been slammed by the panda and penguin updates.

linkedin skill endorsementsOn Facebook people and companies trade “Likes” in order to increase their numbers. This is unfortunately not openly punished by Facebook. The practice is typically accomplished by posting in a forum or social group, “Like my page and I’ll like you back.”

Twitter also has social collectors. They are usually the ones that say, “I follow everyone back” or “Follow me and I’ll follow you back.”

Now let’s look at LinkedIn Endorsements. I recently received a connect request from a marketing professional with which I have had no contact prior to the request. I decided to accept because I believe it is good to connect with like minded people and social media is an opportunity to meet people I may not ever meet in everyday life.

After the accepting the connection I received and email where he talked about his business. That was a good thing. It’s always disappointing when you connect with someone and never hear from them again. But here’s where I have a problem. He ended his message with following:

“P.S. – I just did a Skill Endorsement on your Profile to show you the value of my network. If you would like 10 Skill Endorsements, please visit my profile and endorse my Skills & Expertise”

The endorsement was for SEO Skills. For me this raises several questions.

  1. I just connected with this guy and we’ve never done business together. As flattering as it is, how does he know that I’m any good at SEO?
  2. To show you the value of my network.” Again refer to number 1. How does this show the value of his network.
  3. This one is the kicker.  “If you would like 10 Skill Endorsements, please visit my profile and endorse my Skills & Expertise.” What? The first one is free but have to pay after that? Also, again we go back to #1. How do you know I have 10 other skills for which you, or people in “your network” can endorse me?

This guy is trading endorsements.

Here’s why all of these practices are inherently bad for the system and devalue the value of an endorsement, like, follower, etc.

The purpose of social networking is not to be a collector. Social networking is about engaging and providing value. When someone endorses someone else solely for the purpose of receiving an endorsement in return, what is the value? (The same goes for followers, likes, connection, etc.) Here’s a scenario:

If need someone that is good at web development and John Smith has 50 endorsements from people he doesn’t know because he trading endorsements and since he has web development in his profile these strangers endorsed him for it. Does this mean he’s good at web development?

Now let’s say Jane Doe has 20 endorsements for web development from her clients. They have done business together and received the endorsements based on her merits not because of trading.

Hands down I would rather hire Jane than John, but the bad thing is I may spend my time spinning my wheels talking with or even worse hiring someone like John, who turns out to be really bad at web development.

The bottom line is the value of social media is about building relationships. It’s not about being a collector…

Clarifying Facebook Graph Search

facebook graph searchWith all the talk this week about Facebook Graph Search I decided to break from the Killer Marketing for 2013 series to talk a bit about this new search tool. Although understanding Graph Search will certainly play a part of your success in 2013, so maybe it is not that big of a break after all.

Over the past couple of years we’ve heard a lot about the Social Search. This is the idea of using information from your social media to help you find what you are looking for online. Google has tried to tackle this with Google+, where Facebook is trying to break into the world of search with their new service Graph Search.

Ok, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

What is Graph Search?

Think 6 degrees of separation.

Graph Search is Facebook’s attempt to really use their platform to find information. So, you can search for things like:

  • Restaurants in Philadelphia my friends like
  • Music my friends like
  • Photos of my friends that live in Lancaster
  • Cities my family has visited
  • Friends who like soccer
  • Etc.

Facebook is using what is called the Social Graph to accomplish this. Social graph is the graph that represents the personal relationships of internet users. Think 6 degrees of separation.  So it is feeding off what you and your friends have done on Facebook, as well as friends of friends.  Which creates one of the main differences between Social Graph and regular search; each person sees unique results.

ask questions about social media

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Great, what does this have to do with online marketing?

As with search engine optimization, understanding Graph Search is going to be important to your business for the same reason your company is online in the first place… To get in front of more sets of eyes!

I love the expression “social media is like word of mouth on steroids.” Well this has the potential to make it possible to organize that word of mouth and easily find out what the best restaurant in town according to your friends without even having to ask them the question.

One area that Graph Search will be helpful for online marketing is finding out if your target market is on Facebook. As Mashable discovered Engineers like “Big Bang Theory”, “Friends” and “Games of Thrones”. This might save you money if you’re target market is not actually using Facebook.

OK, what should I do now?

Mastering Graph Search will take mix of engagement, outreach and old fashioned sharing. Actually this doesn’t change what businesses should do to promote their brands on Facebook. Here are a few tips:

  • Engage: Keep writing thoughtful relevant posts. Make it a point to personally engage with every fan who comments on your page and don’t just go through the motions. Really talk with them.
  • Build your community: Let people know that you’re on Facebook. Add it to your literature, emails, website, etc.
  • Develop your page: What is on your company page will help people find you and Graph Search builds from this. Make sure everything is up to date and accurate. Use, the About section to really talk about your company. Try sub-categories here too.
  • Share: Photos of your business, products, people and services.  This gives people something to interact with and “like.”

social graph searchGimme Some Graph!

Ok, we know. You want it now. Yes, right now! Well, Facebook is in the process of rolling out the beta version to the USA. This may take some time so be patient.

You can join waiting list for the Graph Search Beta right now.

While you wait for your invite to come make sure your ducks are in a row by continuing to follow the tips above.

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Ready or Not Here They Come – Facebook Pages Get Timeline on March 30, 2012

You’ve probably seen or heard about timeline on Facebook’s personal profiles. As Facebook adapts to compete with  competitors such as the newest social media sweetheart Pinterest, they are now rolling out Timeline to pages as well. The change will officially happen on March 20, 2012, however you can also test it now.

Facebook timeline

There are quite a few changes to consider as you get ready for the change. Here are some of the main points.

1. The Administration Panel gets a refresh

The admin panel just got a lot more intuitive. You can now see notifications, new likes and insights at a quick glance in the admin panel  dashboard.

2. Have a favorite post? Now you can pin it to the top of your page’s Timeline

This is kind of a throwback to blogs and forums. You will now be able to pin your favorite posts to the top. This could be a great way to promote events.

3. Tabs Return – Default landing tabs disappear

Remember when Facebook Pages had tabs. Well they are coming back. They can be up to 760 pixels wide.  The other side of this is, Facebook is removing the default landing tab, so everyone will land on the Timeline. How will this effect how you use your page?

4. Photo, likes and apps, oh my! These will all be at the top.

Photos will always be in slot 1, but you can then pick and choose up to 12 apps to show under photos. This way you can show the apps that matter most to you. Also, similar to personal Timelines, you can add a cover photo. This could be your logo or any other picture that represents what your page is about.

5. Finally, message your fans directly

Now you can communicate with your fans directly. It’s about time for this one. This could definitely be helpful if you’re using your page for customer service. Instead of having to tell fans to contact you in some other way, you can do it directly within Facebook.

6. Stuck with a page name you don’t like? Now you can change it.

So, you made a mistake with your page’s name. Or maybe you changed the name of your company. It used to be that you had to create a new page to fix the name. Not anymore. Now you’ll be able to change the name of your page. Just use this link to Contact Facebook. Woohoo!

What do you think of the changes? Are they good or bad? Will they change the way you use your Facebook Page? Let’s here what you think.

Is Google Walling Out the Rest of the Internet to Make Their Search Better?

In the last few months we’ve seen a number of changes released by the search powerhouse Google. The updates are coming at a fast and furious pace. Today’s addition as well as one of their previous changes have been doing more than raise a few eyebrows. There is sure to be more talk about anti-trust issue.

Let’s start with the older change that took place in October of 2011. Without much fanfare Google started withholding keyword data for organic search. The way that they are doing it is if a searcher is logged into their Google account and performs a search on, this data (i.e keywords) is now not passed through so that site owners can see what that visitor search for before landing on their site. It now simply says [not set]. There has been much speculation if this was just a money making move to promote their premium analytics platform. But guess what there was another surprise for us today and this is what I believe the real reason they are withholding data: Enter “Search Plus.”

Search plus is an update to how Google’s search engine works, making it more social. Here are the basics.

  1. Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page; 
  2. Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and, 
  3. People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community.

At first glance this may sound great, I can use Google to find all the info I want to find from the people I care about. It’s also obviously a shot at Facebook and Twitter. But, if you read into it a bit more, it may seem kind of scary and this is where the anti-trust suits will really focus.

Of course the social aspects are going to come from Google’s own Google+: Not Facebook, not Twitter. (Just as a disclaimer Google has tried for years to get access to Facebook and actually collaborated with Twitter, but Facebook wouldn’t allow it and Twitter didn’t renew their deal.) Does this give preferential treatment to Google products and sites? That seems pretty obvious.

To do this Google needed to created a way to secure search data so that people’s private data isn’t out there in the public.

When it comes to security and privacy, we set a high bar for Search plus Your World. Since some of the information you’ll now find in search results, including Google+ posts and private photos, is already secured by SSL encryption on Google+, we have decided that the results page should also have the same level of security and privacy protection.

If we put the two changes together: Google withholding data from marketers and site owners and the new “Search Plus” it might sound pretty scary to Google’s competition, but unfortunately the encryption and the preferential treatment is something they have to do if they want to compete in the social arena.  What I don’t get though is with all the programming wizardry they have, why can’t they figure out how to pass the keyword data to website owners when someone clicks on a link even on an encrypted results page? Either way this creates walls between Google’s platform and the rest of the internet.

What do you think?

The Internet in 60 Seconds

60 seconds may not seem like much time at all, but look at what happens online every 60 seconds.

the internet in 60 seconds

Facebook Thinks I Should Subscribe to MySpace?

Ok, not really MySpace, but one of the creators of MySpace; Tom Anderson. With Facebook’s new subscribe feature You can subscribe to people’s updates without being friends. This is a clear reaction to Twitter and Google+. So not only does Facebook serve up friend suggestions, but now who you should subscribe to. You can control how your profile is setup and if you allow people to subscribe to your feed. (Post coming soon)

I remember Tom was the my first friend on MySpace. Well, I guess he was everyone’s first friend in fact. It’s even the same picture as was on MySpace.

I think it’s a bit funny Facebook would suggest the founder of it’s dying competitor, MySpace.

What do you think? Do you use the new subscribe feature? Who do you follow?