Why Monster’s cutting-edge recruiting was music to Alicia Keys’ ears.
By Janet Swaysland
Since Monster’s start as the pioneer of online job seeking and recruiting, we’ve been known traditionally as a transaction-oriented Internet destination. But as we evolved our business with substantial technology innovations, we needed to revisit how we market to, and engage, the people important to our success. Fortunately, the planets aligned with social media exploding on the scene at the very same time, bringing new opportunities just when we were looking to innovate our marketing along with our business.
Where to begin? How to introduce “social” into our marketing plans and culture? What could we embark on that would be most valuable to our job seekers and employer customers?
We first entered the social media environment in conjunction with the kick-off of our Keep America Working (KAW) Tour in February 2009. The tour already had full PR and marketing support and was a great way for us to test the social media waters. We launched a Facebook page for job seekers, along with a dedicated Twitter handle, to alert people when we were coming to their area, share job opportunities available with employers, and provide valuable job search advice. This also gave us an opportunity to demonstrate to our management team the power of social media as a way to engage our audience beyond traditional PR and marketing. From there, our various Twitter handles were created as a way for us to target specific audiences beyond the KAW tour: primarily @monstercareers for job seekers and @monster_works for employers, as well as our primary Twitter account for all things Monster, @monsterww. Soon after, we engaged our customer service team on Twitter @monsterhelp and our own in-house recruiters via @monsterhires.
Beyond Twitter, Monster also has an extended dedicated Facebook presence with pages dedicated to our niche community audiences like Military.com, MonsterCollege, Fastweb, NursingLink, TheApple (for teachers), etc. Each of these niche communities also has its own Twitter presence. And let’s not forget YouTube. Rich media, particularly video, is critical in social media, so we make all of our product videos, success stories, commercials, promotions, and more available on our YouTube channel. And finally, the launch of MonsterThinking, our thought leadership blog, is also a big part of our social media story at Monster
All of these social media elements combined have been a tremendous way for us to extend our brand presence, giving Monster a face and a voice on topics of urgent interest when the economy faltered and now in its recovery. In addition to our own voices and points of view, we’ve aligned ourselves with leading third-party experts and celebrities who add credibility and luster to our value proposition as the most effective resource for advancing your career and acquiring the best talent.
The Tipping Point
After laying such a solid social media foundation for ourselves, we were just starting to move the needle toward a much stronger, more vibrant brand presence, largely through social media. But the real tipping point was when Grammy Award-winner Alicia Keys reached out to us last year to partner with her to uncover the best possible candidates for a head blogger position at her new site IAAS.com (I am a Super Woman). For us, the sheer fact that she reached out to us actively was a huge win in and of itself. She recognized us as a leader, largely due to our strong social media presence, and as a result, had confidence that we were the right partner for finding the exact right fit for the head blogger position.
Of course, the partnership was mutually beneficial:
• Alicia Keys hires the perfect head blogger for her new
website thanks to Monster.com and our 6Sense™ Semantic
• Monster.com receives PR exposure due to Alicia Keys’ incredibly high profile and celebrity status; and
• Monster.com gains site traffic and thus an audience to promote our full suite of products while driving brand presence.
Our strategy was simple: Demonstrate to job seekers and general consumers that Alicia Keys chose to use Monster’s innovative technology to find her next employee. Offer the consumer proof of this message by allowing them to apply to the position on Monster.com, see it highlighted throughout Monsters partner sites, read about it in the social media landscape, and learn who was hired by Keys in both social and traditional media channels.
Time to Implement
To give some context, here’s how we implemented the search. From April 6 to May 3, 2010—the application period for the head blogger role—we used our proprietary technology to efficiently comb through the thousands of resumes that came flooding in once the job was opened. From there, a select group of applicants was asked to submit videos and writing samples to an advisory panel that included Keys, her core team of executives, and Ted Gilvar, our executive vice president and global chief marketing officer. By May, the top 10 candidates were selected and flown to New York to meet the advisory panel in person. And finally, the top three candidates were sent to London to meet Keys, where they were tasked with their final assignment: to blog about The Black Ball U.K., Alicia’s black-tie charity event benefiting “Keep a Child Alive.”
During this vetting process, we were busy behind the scenes, seeding this in both social and traditional media outlets. We assembled a panel of social media experts to arm Keys with insights into the top social media skills needed for a head blogger position. This panel consisted of social media experts including Guy Kawasaki, Brian Solis, Dan Schawbel, Sarah Evans, Tamar Weinberg, Beth Kanter, Erin Kotecki Vest, and Jason Falls. All have incredibly large followings of their own—just one tweet from any of them reaches thousands of eyeballs. Kawaski currently has 331,251 followers, alone. With a single tweet from him, we were reaching an incredibly wide audience, one that we might not have been able to tap into via more traditional approaches. We also made sure to share the news with our own audience at MonsterThinking—with a blog post from Ted Gilvar to announce the cool job and a follow-on post from him that provided a snapshot into how the advisory panel got down to choosing the final candidates for the job.
From a traditional media approach, we wanted to make a splash once the head blogger was chosen. We secured a national broadcast appearance for Keys and her newly chosen head blogger, Alexis Tirado, on Good Morning America. As good fortune would have it, our timing was impeccable—they appeared on GMA during the summer concert series, one of the more widely viewed series for the show.
And, more than 150 tweets later, Monster.com was all over the blogosphere and Twittersphere. We even cracked the top five trending topics on Twitter, a first for us. We were reaching seekers, not only from a brand awareness perspective, but also from a technology standpoint, which has been much harder of a story for us to show/tell to seekers traditionally. Showing them that it was our 6Sense Search Technology that delivered to Keys the most qualified pool of candidates was a major win for us. It was with our technology that we uncovered passive seeker candidates—those that hadn’t even applied for the head blogger job but were a spot-on fit for the position. In fact, one of the final two candidates had not applied, but was found with our search technology. To have this real, live proof-point to showcase why our technology works so well at matching the right talent with the right jobs became the icing on the cake for us. Now, not only did our brand have a spotlight shining brightly on it, but our technology was also finally resonating in a big way for seekers.
Here is a snapshot of what happened.
• More than 8,600 applications submitted.
• More than 295,000 job views of the head blogger position.
PR, social media, general media impressions:
• 160 Tweets about the bloggers and the advisory panel;
• First time Monster listed as a Top 5 Twitter Trending Topic;
• Nine broadcast stories, including GMA;
• At least 60 online / social media site stories, including well-read,
high-traffic sites like Mashable and USA Today;
• Total of 57,332,738 impressions; and
• An extremely positive endorsement letter signed by Alicia Keys.
As a halo effect, this project has turned into the gift that keeps on giving months and months later. Not only were the immediate results of the partnership astonishing, resulting in a huge spike in site traffic and an even stronger social media presence, but we’ve since been able to extend what we’re now calling the “Cool Jobs” campaign to other celebrities who need our help in uncovering the best talent possible.
Ashton Kutcher is one example and, more recently, Mario Batali. Quite honestly, we have the brand-building work we did at the outset around our social media presence to thank for it. Our brand is stronger, our online presence is deeper, and we’ve been able to tell a multi-faceted story with real, tangible proof that our technology—which can get a little “in the weeds” for the typical job seeker to fully appreciate—plays a crucial role in finding the best talent that exists for some of the coolest jobs that exist today.