Talent Communities & Butterfly Gardens

So there are a few articles making their way into the conversation about how social media is a fad, a bubble, only for childish amusement, or otherwise letting us down. And it could all become true, but it isn’t yet.

We’ve been touting talent communities as a way to attract talent, and despite the common lack of results, talent communities are very effective. The challenge is that most companies interested in creating them contract with Jobs2Web and figure they’re in business. The applications offered are unique and could be effective if used correctly. But the tool’s ability to push emails out to a finite audience are difficult to resist, and recruiters can’t help themselves. When recruiters see folks lining up to join the talent community (filling out name, title, email, and phone number) they naturally respond by pushing ads out to them. Over and over again, this is how the “talent community” becomes sidetracked. Community development is lost in favor of a social media posting effort. This isn’t the exception, its the norm.

Consider the alternative – developing a talent community. It’s a lot like planting a butterfly garden. People do this – they decide what kind of butterflies they want to attract, then learn about the types of flowers they prefer, and cultivate a very specific space for them. There is considerable work involved, from research, prepping the soil, planting, watering, weeding, and eliminating pests. Most of the work is up front. And when the butterflies come, they come regularly, and require minimal effort on the gardener’s part.

This is how one builds a talent community. Not by collecting email addresses and spamming members.

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