Ask any small business leader what their biggest challenge is when it comes to the people side of their business and they will tell you that it is recruiting. They face immense competition from their larger rivals, minimal budget to actually get the word out about their openings or work with recruiters and limited resources to administer the recruiting process. It is a constant headache.

Small business leaders looking for solutions read about employer branding and recruitment marketing and think all of that sounds nice, but wonder if they can really put a campaign in place for their business with little to no budget or resources. They can if they remember one thing.

It takes time.

Employer branding, recruitment marketing, posting on job boards, direct sourcing or any other recruiting approaches do not work overnight. There are no silver bullets in recruiting. Historically, recruiting has been very reactive. The only way to get ahead and lesson the headache that recruiting brings is to be proactive. This means, implementing a proactive marketing approach long before you ever have an opening.

The great news is that in today’s world of social media and inbound marketing, even the lowest of budgets can market their opportunities rather well. I know this, because it’s how I’ve built this business and how most of my clients grew to the size they are today.

There are several ways small businesses can market themselves to attract top talent. The rest of this post will not only share the medium but ideas for content as well.

Social Media
No two ways around it, social media should not be ignored. I’m still floored at the number of people who reach out for social media help and who are really just getting started, but I guess that is the cool thing about it – it’s always evolving and there is always space for newcomers.

Small businesses should have a presence on social media. My advice to all of my clients is to always pick the platform where your talent is hanging out and do that one well. You don’t have to be on every social site. Pick one, do that one really well and then move on to others as time and budgets allow.

Social media company pages, like on LinkedIn or Facebook, are often free and contain great about sections and opportunities to post updates sharing company highlights or job openings. While you do have to pay to share information in ads or sponsored posts, you can set a very minimal budget for this or just grow your audience organically using your current employees as ambassadors. Asking employees to share content from your pages expands your reach with little time and effort on your part.

Company Blog
A company blog can be a very powerful tool in sharing culture, leadership vision and company growth information. I enjoy blog’s written from the different viewpoints of the leaders, but company blogs that share content from just one person, say the marketing lead, works well too. The key with the blog is that it shouldn’t be all customer focused. The best company blogs are ones that talk about the company as it relates to it’s employees. And if your goal is attracting talent, this is what you want to focus on.

Whenever you write a new blog post, you’ll want to share it to your social network and ask employees to do the same. The more eyeballs on every post, the better.

It’s important, while we are talking about blogging, to look beyond company blogs as well. LinkedIn allows for anyone to publish content and many top CEO’s do so on a regular basis. I think the more opportunity the public has to hear from top leadership, the more the public takes interest.

Email Marketing
I have actually been developing this more and more with a few of my clients and we are really enjoying the results so far. Even the smallest of businesses usually have an email marketing platform. They use it to build email list of prospective clients. That same email marketing platform however, can be used for recruiting. It can be used to keep in touch with applicants you may not have an opening for right now, or just share updates about company vision and growth. Email marketing campaigns are easy to put together and can often run on a “set it and forget it” approach. Keeping in contact with applicants means you may not be starting from scratch every time you have an opening because you have a list of people who you know are interested in your company.

While there is certainly more that can be done from an inbound basis, the three areas above can make a huge difference in how a small business is seen out in the market. It can make the difference between applicants having never heard of the company to having a level of awareness that piques their interest.

One final thing. Before launching any type of social media campaign or blog, please make sure your careers page on your website is worth sending people too. You are going to need to link back to something in your status updates and if your careers page is not worth sharing then you could be losing a lot of leads.

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