Recruiting people in your insight community is similar to finding a new job. It is a lot of work, but when done right, it can benefit you for a long time.
To do them well, member recruitment and job-seeking processes also need to start early. If you've ever been in between jobs (and really, who hasn't been?), the following tips might sound familiar:
- Get the good old Rolodex out
Before the Internet, the Rolodex, a rotating device used to store people's contact information, was a valuable networking tool for job seekers. It isn't as widely used anymore, but the concept remains alive. Today, LinkedIn and email allow job seekers to keep in touch with business contacts.
Contacting your current contacts is also a good starting point for recruitment. If your company already has a database of people's contact information, these people are good candidates to invite to your insight community. In fact, for new communities, sending an electronic direct mail is still one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways of getting people to sign up. Before sending an email to your database, review the CAN-SPAM Act to make sure your company remains compliant.
- Leverage your existing networks to meet new people
HR pros will usually tell you that networking is still the best way to successfully find a job. Tell classmates, ex-colleagues, family and friends that you're looking for work: They might know an opening or they might be able to connect you with the right person.
Leveraging your current network is one of the oldest (and most effective) ways of uncovering hidden job opportunities; it also happens to be a useful recruitment tactic.
Your existing social media presences can provide a quick boost to your recruitment efforts. I once worked with a client who was able to recruit thousands of potential members within a couple of hours all from a single Facebook post. More than a thousand people 'liked' the Facebook post, organically helping increase word of mouth about the client's new insight community.
People who follow you on social media are consumers who are already engaged with your company. These are people who took the time to 'like' or follow your page, so they might also be interested in getting their voice heard. To increase your chances of success, follow best practices when using social media to recruit people in your community.
- Use online tools to get the word out
Recruiters and HR pros are becoming savvier in using online tools, so job seekers increasingly need a solid online presence. Having a LinkedIn account is a must now - but some go as far as creating a personal homepage such as an About.me page or even their own website.
These online tools can act as people's rÌ©sumÌ© online and calling card, providing links to the person's contact information.
Companies can also leverage their existing online presence to ramp up recruitment. Your company's online presences are great places where you can recruit people who are already interested in your company. "Join Now" buttons on the company website or the landing page of the insight community are popular ways of promoting membership to an insight community.
- Complement online efforts with offline tactics
While online tools have made it easier than ever to find jobs and submit applications, you still need to use offline tactics if you'd like to successfully land a job. Most interviews are still in person, and even things like informational interviews are better done offline.
Although insight communities are online, it's a good idea to leverage offline tactics to amplify recruitment. Point-of-sale materials, statement stuffers, print ads and receipts can be valuable communication tools in getting the word out to your customers about your insight community. More importantly, people who interact with customers on a daily basis - your employees - can help inform people how they can join your community.
Just like the process of looking for a job, recruitment can be both exciting and time consuming. But you can't build a successful long-term career by increasing your network occasionally: it needs to be a continuous process. The same can be said about recruiting members for insight communities. Having a solid network on social or your email database before recruitment and continuing to grow this network is key to getting the right people in your insight community. By attracting the right people into your insight community, recruitment sets the stage for a successful research.