Paid Facebook Messages For Sourcers? Don’t Roll Your Eyes Quite Yet…

If you have a greenback with Benjamin Franklin on the cover, you can send Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg a message on Facebook. It is all part of a test to allow messaging between members who aren’t friends without becoming spammy. Most of those message will cost a dollar but they are experimenting with other price points.

Beyond the novelty of sending the founder of Facebook a message on Facebook, there is certain to be some interest in this from sourcers. Facebook is a huge network and while it may not have everyone, it has the right combination of reach and attention that many other social networks would simply die to have.

Still, won’t this ruin Facebook? And can’t a good sourcer find the contact information without having to resort to this?

At least one recruiter is happy about the news. Tim Sackett recently posted:

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I have a client right now looking for 2 Human Factors Engineers.  They are hard to find because individuals in these roles have fully employed and get multiple contacts per week with offers.  We’ve had success finding good ones – but eventually even the best networks start to dry up.  Facebook has an additional 500+, self identified HF engineers that I can find through friend search – but that I’m not connected to.  I can try to connect through a request, but they’ll say they don’t me – and Facebook will slap my hands and warn they are going to kick me off the network.  If Facebook said to me – Hey, Tim, for $1 per message, we’ll allow you to send a message to all 500 HF Engineers – I would sign that check right now – twice!   And these are just the ‘self-identified’ folks – Facebook has thousands more who have identified but not made it public.  I’ll pay for those as well! So will most companies.

Interesting, right? Here’s why I think it will be a move sourcers should pay attention to.

  1. Facebook search will be improving. We know it will. And when it does, you’ll hopefully be able to better search Facebook’s walled garden much better.
  2. It’s still inexpensive. A buck a pop will give you something to think about before you hit send but not much more. And it is fully supported by Facebook’s policies as well.
  3. It’s a good backup. Sourcers should be able to figure out contact information for a lot of people who have some sort of presence online. With Facebook paid messaging service, that gives you another backup contact method (along with InMail). Do the math: if a sourcer can’t find reliable contact info in a few minutes, it would be cheaper to go the InMail or Facebook message route.

Here’s why it is hard to say this will be an InMail killer like Sackett hopes it will be: there is no culture for this sort of contact quite yet. If you get contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn, it is expected. And LinkedIn has tools and search capabilities to help you hone your target and messaging. On Facebook, many people would be surprised about being reached out to by a recruiter and, as he aludes to, many people don’t identify with a particular company or profession so it makes search difficult. As such, it seems as if Facebook is really most useful in conjunction with another search database so that you can connect competencies with contact details.

It could eventually be something very powerful but for right now, we should be happy that there might be a way to contact users that isn’t outside of Facebook’s terms of service.

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