There’s no doubt that social media is an awesome recruitment channel. Last year 89% of recruiters reported they’d hired using LinkedIn and 59% of recruiters reported candidates recruited through social media to be the “highest quality”. Therefore, we know that there’s a massive potential for using social media for recruitment, but some employers are still wary of entering the fray – so we thought we’d give a little guide to best practice based upon the experience we’ve had helping organisations hire great people via social channels.
Listen – starting in social media is like joining a new club or going to a social event. No-one likes the ‘big head’ that talks loudly and solely about himself and how brilliant he is, so why do companies start that way on social media? Before you even start, join some social media platforms (probably best not to use your own ID/handle), visit some groups and hang-outs, follow some people and businesses and get to know what your audience are talking about and interested in. You can go one step further and commission an agency to conduct some research and a full listening exercise, but try it for yourself first and see.
Set goals – before you get started, try to work out what you want from social media. If you want an easy source of free/cheap applicants then please stop now, as you’re going to be disappointed! Instead, think about what success might look like in just 3 months – do you want to build followers, re-tweets and likes, build traffic to your careers site, extend your reach, increase your applicant flow, or make hires? You might not achieve these goals but the fundamental thought process should be around why you are doing this – is it to extend knowledge and understanding of your brand that will amplify the success of all your other channels, or are you looking for a more immediate tangible return?
Build your platforms – most of the social platforms have wizards to help you get started, but please take some time or get some help to ensure that you are giving the best possible first impression. Also, remember what your goals are and make sure that the platforms you choose are fit for purpose. You don’t have to (and possibly shouldn’t) try to start up on all the major platforms at once.
Build an engaging content strategy – social media is there to create dialogue – not monologue – remember the crashing bore? So start by becoming a resource. Share helpful tips and give people the benefit of your experience, share articles with them that might help them in their job search – whether that is with your organisation or not. A basic rule of social media is that the givers win more than the takers in the long run, and that good content should make readers want to care, share or swear. (Ok, you’ll probably want to avoid the swearing but with the first two you won’t go far wrong.) Then after a while, people will be fine with you sharing opportunities with them, as it will feel naturally part of a dialogue. Think of it like this – if you had a friend that you spoke to every week for months, then one day she said she was running a marathon and asked you to sponsor her, you’d probably do just that. But, if every time you spoke to her, she asked you for sponsorship then how often would you say yes, and, more to the point, how long would you stay friends for? Content is your way of making friends – so make friends and keep them by listening, sharing and only asking once in a while. Rather than pumping jobs out there, think about how you could share content that entices people to want to join you and encourages them to check out your current opportunities or join your talent pools.
Don’t be afraid of negativity – you will encounter some negativity from time to time. That’s a good thing, because you’re now in a conversation that gives you the opportunity to address the situation. Get involved, give a public answer to the issue then offer to take the conversation offline to solve the individual’s specific concerns. Everyone knows that no one is perfect – it’s how you handle issues that shows that you care and you’re human – two good traits in a potential employer!
Revisit your goals – I bet by this stage you’ll have changed your mind about what you want from social media, so don’t be afraid to reevaluate. Things change really quickly, and now you’re a little more comfortable, you can expand your horizons or become a little more realistic. The main thing is to keep learning and keep asking what your followers and contacts would like from you.
Be targeted – there are a number of paid for opportunities with each platform to target specific audiences and the data cuts are getting better all the time for recruiters. Used carefully alongside strong platforms, these advertising products can yield a great ROI in terms of applicants and hires. However, we should stress that the success of the paid-for channels is greatly enhanced by the presence of strong content and engaging social platforms.
Encourage action – you’re using social media for a specific purpose so it is important that you build into your platforms the functionality that allows people to express interest or apply easily. There are a number of technologies that create social media job listings, talent pools and enable the social sharing of your opportunities with people’s networks. At the moment, there’s no killer application out there and some are more suitable than others dependent upon the platforms you’re most likely to gain traction from.
Having worked with many clients in this field, we’ve found there are massive variables in building social media strategies. In order to ensure our clients get what they want out of social media, our solutions are built bespoke to their needs. However, I hope this guide has given you food for thought, and a little help for the future.
If you’d like us to help you decide which channels you should use to achieve your goals, how to use these various channels differently, and how to develop an engaging content and social media advertising strategy, then we’d love to talk – click here to get in touch.
Sources Herd Wisdom & Jobvite