vanilla is for ice cream

Recruitment’s No1 rated & award-winning NED & advisor, accurately opinionated champion of the staffing sector. Co-Founder of Europe’s No1 Recruitment Leaders Network. Chelsea, Tennis, Golf & Fun…

It’s better to do nothing than be vanilla on social media. Simply regurgitating industry news and age-old wisdom will make you invisible – not interesting. On the flip side, daring to voice an honest opinion will make people stop scrolling and start noticing.

I recently did a piece on internal recruiters. By looking at some of the comments, you’d think I went around their house on Christmas Day and pissed on the tree. But it wasn’t clickbait. I believed in it.

I didn’t shy away from the comments either. Vocalising your opinion and then deleting it after a fallout is even worse. There’s a benefit in being outspoken – so long as you keep your values intact.

Here’s why you should speak out on social media:

Stand for something

You can’t run a business if you’re scared of your own shadow. It’s the kind of thing clients will pick up on. And if they can’t value your opinion, you can’t build meaningful relationships. 

Similarly, if you’re starting a business purely to make yourself famous, talking shit about the market rather than making a difference to it, chances are it’ll fall flat. You’ll get people like me calling you out. 

Your business needs a purpose – besides trying to survive till next week. The CEOs who tend to get the most respect are recognised for their vision. They know how they’re going to achieve their goals and every word that leaves their mouth is ‘on brand’.

I want this industry to do well, which is why I celebrate those that can influence it. But don’t forget whatever it is that you stand for, don’t take yourself too seriously.

Don’t be a contrarian for sport

Personally, I’ve always felt that being contrary for its own sake makes any point of yours redundant. But trying to please everyone won’t work either. Being vanilla makes you just another one of the recruiters – so to stand out from the crowd, you have to strike a middle ground and know your audience. 

Everybody’s petrified of alienating a single lead from their CRM – God forbid they unsubscribe. But the thing is, people have thousands of hiring managers on their system and you’ll only ever deal with a hundred a year.

So, put content out for the hundred who are engaged with you. Maximise your business with them and consider any more as a bonus.

There’s no shame in honesty if it resonates. I’m not advising you to be antagonistic – but saying things that are a little left field draws eyes on social, so play about with your message. 

Remember, having fun gets your marketing done. As long as you’re voicing genuine values, you’ll get traction on your posts. 

I use social to communicate with business leaders that are interested in innovating in recruitment. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who’s upset about my thoughts on the industry is unlikely to sit within that audience.

But for those that do want to make a difference, I want to hear from you.