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Not all bosses are anti-social: interview series – interview with Keith Potts, CEO and Co-Founder of Jobsite.com

by abisignorelli on November 29, 2010

Keith Potts - CEO and Co-Founder of Jobsite.com

Keith Potts - CEO and Co-Founder of Jobsite.com

Here’s the second of the interviews in my “Not all bosses are anti-social: interview series“.

Keith Potts (@keithpotts) is CEO and Co-Founder of Jobsite.com.

In this interview, he talks about how Jobsite has embraced social media both externally and internally.

He gives some great tips and advice to those thinking of embarking on their own social journey, including how to overcome obstacles along the way.

Here are a couple of my favourite comments:

Anyone choosing to ignore this [social media] is at a huge disadvantage by default as we only really learn in life by the experiences of others and very rarely our own.

It’s all about immersing yourself in your industry and those who choose to ignore it will certainly be missing out. A good friend of mine used to have a top job in Disney and he told me that they immerse themselves in their job by putting on the Disney costumes and going out into the parks to meet the public. You can’t comment unless you’ve been there and done it and I think that rule also applies with social media.

A big thanks to Keith for sparing some time to share his experiences. If you’d like to ask Keith a question, or simply respond to something he’s said, do post a comment.

So, how did you get in to social media?

Although the Internet started to become popular with mainstream consumers in 1994, as a programmer, I had been using the Internet as far back as 1984 and in those days, social networking took the form of discussion forums and later, usenet newsgroups. I’ve always participated in social and professional discussion online and today my preferred method is Twitter although I do sometimes use Facebook.

And how is Jobsite using social media?

Social media is central to our strategy at Jobsite. Social recruiting is starting to become a popular channel for sourcing staff and several years back we decided to integrate with it as much as we could. It’s no surprise that we extended our very popular jobs-by-email service to Jobs-by-twitter using direct messaging and we also integrate into Linked-in via their API so that candidates can showcase their covering letter, cv, linked-in profile and Twitter feed all from one place on Jobsite.

In addition to integration, many of us at Jobsite use Twitter to tell the world what’s happening inside Jobsite and this has proved to be a very useful way of communicating for us.

Finally, Social media is such an excellent way of testing the temperature of your user base. We use some very sophisticated socmedia monitoring tools to gain insight into what people are thinking and saying about us out there and if necessary we engage in conversation where questions are being asked.

So what do you see as the key benefits of companies being social externally?

The key benefits to companies are mainly centered around communication and feedback. If companies don’t use it, they are pretty much out of touch these days. What’s really interesting is how brands can be seriously damaged in microseconds online if they get things wrong.

And what about inside the workplace?

Internally, the benefits are the ability to provide a context to your business. People from all different areas can get onto Twitter and tell the world their story from their perspective whether that be from Marketing, IT, Sales or Finance. Many people don’t tend to use it though which I think is a great shame.

What advice would you give to those sceptical about becoming more social?

Social media can be a very focussed medium and virtually every industry has a group of likeminded people on Twitter or in Linked-In groups. Reaching those people and joining in the group to share information is such a huge step forward for collaboration. Anyone choosing to ignore this is at a huge disadvantage by default as we only really learn in life by the experiences of others and very rarely our own. My advice to any company would be to try and engage with your target audience to understand the current sentiment towards your products and to tell them about new ones you have in the pipeline.

And, what tips would you give those facing barriers?

My tip for those facing barriers would be simply to start the ball rolling and sign up for a Twitter id. You don’t necessarily need to be broadcasting from the start but just start following people of interest (perhaps from your industry). It may seem a bit unnatural at first when you start to make comments but just stick in there. It becomes fun, very educational and very useful to get your message across.

How important is it for senior executives to be social?

I think it’s vitally important for people at the top to connect with social media. It’s all about immersing yourself in your industry and those who choose to ignore it will certainly be missing out. A good friend of mine used to have a top job in Disney and he told me that they immerse themselves in their job by putting on the Disney costumes and going out into the parks to meet the public. You can’t comment unless you’ve been there and done it and I think that rule also applies with social media. There’s opportunities out there but you won’t even begin to exploit them if you don’t embrace the medium.

And, what do you think will happen if companies don’t embrace social media?

Companies that won’t embrace social media face the risk of being out of touch. At the very least I would employ someone within the organisation to do it for you…..but that’s not quite the same as embracing it first hand.

Other posts in the “Not all bosses are anti-social: interview series”:

Stephen Beynon, MD Consumer & Small Business, eircom and Meteor

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