Rewind 20 years and hiring the best talent was easy: they’d come to you!
That’s simply not the case anymore.
Today, 70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent –– that is, people who aren’t actively searching for a job. And with over 75% of people who recently changed jobs using LinkedIn to inform their career decision, an effective social media recruiting strategy is essential if you’re going to attract and retain genuine A-players.
Not only that, but employers are saving money, reaching higher-quality candidates, and speeding up time to hire by making social media a key part of their recruitment plans.
Need to step up your social game? Read on for five tips on how to improve your social media recruiting strategy:
Instill a Culture of Sharing Content
This is going to sound obvious, but a critical element of any social media recruiting strategy is actually telling people about your vacancies.
But there’s a problem. Organic reach on social has been dropping for years. Nowadays, if 2% of your audience actually sees your posts, that’s a pretty strong result. That means if your corporate Twitter account has 10,000 followers, only a couple hundred will likely end up seeing your tweet about the new role you’re recruiting for.
Ads are one option, but they’re far from an ideal solution. Sure, they’ll get you more reach. But with three-quarters of social media users saying they’re sick of social ads, there’s no guarantee that extra reach will translate to engagement with your job postings.
Fortunately, there’s another way. By encouraging employees to share your content, you stand to reach a far wider audience.
How much wider? Well, LinkedIn carried out its own research to gauge the impact of employee advocacy. Astonishingly, it discovered that tasking just one employee with sharing three items of content a day led to 23 million in additional reach over the course of a year.
Sure, LinkedIn likely has more resources and a more recognizable brand than you. But if those sorts of gains can be achieved through the work of a single employee, it’s absolutely worth adopting the same approach.
And there’s another benefit here –– content performs better when it’s shared by employees, likely because we prefer to read posts from real people rather than faceless brands. According to LinkedIn, only 3% of employees share content, yet they account for 30% of all social media engagement for the average business.
So we’re agreed: employee advocacy is a good thing. But how do you build a culture of content-sharing?
One simple method is to tie advocacy into your employee recognition efforts. Incentivize employees to share content by starting a leaderboard of top sharers, or hand out prizes for those who generate the most impressions, reach, or engagement over a certain period.
Ultimately, the more you encourage sharing, the more it’ll become ingrained in your company culture, and the better results you’ll see from your social media recruiting efforts.
You could even consider asking employees to record video testimonials when they are happy working with you. This can really convince potential employees to reach out to your company.
Elevate Your Employer Brand
Social media recruitment isn’t a fix-all solution. If candidates actively avoided your company in the past, don’t expect them to flock to you just because you start posting vacancies on Facebook (or anywhere else, for that matter).
The fact is, in an increasingly candidate-driven market, there’s simply no need for people to “make do” with a bad employer. Indeed, 67% of men and 86% of women say they wouldn’t work for a company with a negative reputation.
However, in reality, it’s about more than just having a not-bad reputation. If your employer brand –– that is, the way past, present, and prospective employees think about you –– is simply worse than that of your rivals, it’s going to be harder for you to attract talent. And it’ll likely cost you more, too.
Clearly, employer branding is important. And it becomes even more important online, where negativity often resonates better. In one famous case study, a Russian online newspaper decided to exclusively publish good news for one day and saw a 66% drop in traffic.
Building a stronger employer brand dovetails nicely with your wider social media recruiting strategy, because it’s all about emphasizing the qualities that make your organization a great place to work.
This isn’t brain surgery; it’s just about thinking of recruitment as a marketing exercise. That means:
- Discussing your mission and vision
- Highlighting ways that you make the world a better place
- Celebrating your achievements (and those of your employees)
- Demonstrating your company culture
- Sharing key goals and milestones
Here’s a good example, courtesy of Attorney Brian White & Associates:
By celebrating Josh Hilbe’s impressive achievement, the law firm demonstrates that it cares about championing its employees, while also (subtly) highlighting how working for the company can boost your career prospects and win you recognition.
Give Prospective Candidates a Reason to Follow You
Imagine one of your existing employees has just handed in their notice, or you need to create a completely new position on one of your teams.
Now, imagine if you already had a queue of high-quality talent lined up to interview. No briefing recruiters to start the candidate search; no writing fresh job postings; no hours spent sifting through low-quality resumes.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. If a candidate is really good enough to work for you right now, they’re likely good enough for your competitors, too. So why would they bother sticking around on the off chance that you’ll have a vacancy in the near future? They’ve got bills to pay!
Obviously, they won’t. Building a pool of incredible talent that’s ready to work for you at the drop of a hat is pretty much impossible. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lay the groundwork by forging relationships with candidates you’d love to hire when the demand or budget exists.
Social media plays a big part in this process.
To demonstrate how, picture the following scenario: you’ve found a fantastic candidate. You’ve spoken to them via email and on the phone. Maybe you’ve even met them in person. It’s pretty clear that you’re both keen to work together down the line. You just don’t have space for them on your team right now.
While you’re waiting for that space to open up, you need to keep that candidate engaged –– and emailing them every couple months isn’t going to cut it.
But if they follow you on social media, you can regularly target them with engaging, quality content that celebrates your business achievements, speaks to your future goals, and discusses broader topics related to your industry. A really great way to keep potential employees interested is by constantly creating social media posts that highlight the employee benefits you offer people working at your awesome company.
If you understand who your candidates are and what they find interesting, you can use your social platforms to keep substantial talent pools “warmed up” while you’re waiting to find the right role for them.
Dive Into Your Recruitment Metrics
Without trying to state the obvious, there are a lot of different social channels out there.
When we think of social media recruiting strategies, we naturally picture LinkedIn. After all, it’s very much built with business in mind; 58 million companies use LinkedIn, and 100 million job applications are made via the platform every single month.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the only show in town.
For instance, Company X might see a higher volume of applications via LinkedIn than any other social network. But maybe none of those candidates ever reach the interview stage, whereas 50% of those who apply via Twitter end up being shortlisted.
In that case, it’d suggest LinkedIn simply isn’t the right platform for Company X and its audience. Rather than continuing with exactly the same activity and hoping to generate better results, it might be time for Company X to refocus its social media recruiting strategy on a different platform (or platforms).
These are important decisions, so you definitely want to make them on gut feeling alone. In the above example, I used (imaginary) data to demonstrate how Company X might see better results by concentrating on Twitter. You should do the same.
Deep dive into your recruitment metrics, segmenting candidates by that platforms on which you found them, and use your analysis to answer questions like:
- Which platform produces the highest volume of candidates?
- Which platform played the biggest part in our hiring decisions last year?
- Which platform helps us find candidates who stay with our organization longest?
Eventually, you’ll have so much data that you’ll be able to say, with complete confidence: this social media platform generates better-quality candidates than any other. And that’ll give a massive shot in the arm to your recruitment efforts going forward.
Tailor Your Recruitment Strategy to Each Platform
I’ve already mentioned how recruitment and marketing are becoming increasingly similar.
And in much the same way that a marketer would never dream of pushing exactly the same messaging on Facebook and LinkedIn, employers should vary their tactics and content formats from one platform to another.
Not only do different platforms attract different audiences, but audiences use those platforms in different ways.
For instance, data from Sprout Social demonstrates the peak times for engagement on different social media sites. First up is LinkedIn, where engagement levels are heavily influenced by the working week:
Twitter sees similarly high levels in the morning and at lunch time from Monday to Friday. But as you can see, it generates a lot more engagement at the weekend, particularly on Sunday:
That’s likely because LinkedIn is highly business-focused, and people are far less keen to use it outside of working hours. Twitter, on the other hand, is theoretically a lot more “fun” (although I’m sure plenty of Twitter users would disagree with that!).
In other words, you might be able to reach potential candidates on a Sunday evening on Twitter, but you almost certainly won’t via LinkedIn.
Of course, it’s not just about the timing of your posts. Your messaging should vary from one platform to another, too.
Global recruitment agency Robert Half demonstrates how this can work in practice. As you’d expect, its LinkedIn posts are pretty much what you’d expect –– straight down the line, with comparatively conservative copy and creative. Here’s a good example:
But it’s a very different story on Instagram.
By definition, Instagram is a much more visual platform than LinkedIn. That same sort of safe, inoffensive imagery just isn’t going to cut through a busy feed packed with bikini-clad influencers on tropical beaches. So Robert Half changes things up accordingly:
While the positioning is slightly different, those two posts are fundamentally similar –– they’re both basically saying: “Use Robert Half to find your next job!”
However, the words –– and particularly the imagery –– they use to communicate that message are very different. That’s a lesson you should definitely apply to your own social media recruiting strategy.
Bringing it All Together
Social media has had a massive impact on almost every element of modern life, and recruitment is no different.
The hiring process used to be pretty simple and transactional: you needed to fill a vacancy, so you’d put out a job ad, wait for the resumes to come flooding in, hire three or four of the best candidates, then offer one of them the job.
It’s just not like that any more. The advent of social media has meant that we’re all bombarded with imagery from any number of potential employers.
Not only that, but we’re kept up to date with the various career moves of our friends, family, colleagues, and even people we went to middle school with. That means we’re less inclined to simply “put up” with a job that doesn’t engage us.
While this has made the task of retaining talent a lot harder, it’s also made it easier for employers to build talent pools and reach more candidates than ever before.
That’s a huge bonus. But you’ll only enjoy it if you get your social media recruiting strategy right.