Social media has transformed our lives, so it’s no surprise that it has changed how recruiters attract and engage with candidates as well. But while many of us may consider ourselves experts on social media for personal use, using social media for recruiting can be a bit more complicated.
Effectively leveraging social media for recruiting means much more than posting a few hashtags and telling people you have an open position. We spoke with experts about how you can best use social media to step up your recruiting practices.
Sticking to the boilerplate recruiting language of the past is not a successful strategy for recruiting with social media. Instead, you need to focus on creating a two-way conversation with candidates. “Social media is meant to spark a connection, to enable transparency and to educate in a deeper, more meaningful and interactive way,” says Ben Gotkin, principal consultant at Recruiting Toolbox.
As you consider what to post on social media, don’t just think about your job openings. Think about your company’s culture — your values and what makes it unique. Why do people work here? Why do they stay? While you certainly have to keep things professional, find a way to transcend the recruiting cliches and truly demonstrate to candidates what your company is like.
Tailor Your Approach for Each Platform
No social media platform is exactly the same. Users of each platform have expectations for what they find there, and you’ll have to tailor your content for each platform. It would take quite a bit of time to break down the nuances of every social media platform, so let’s focus on the two that are the most different from each other: LinkedIn, the stalwart of professional connections, and Instagram, home of the selfie.
For your LinkedIn brand page, keep things professional. Ensure that the branding is up-to-date and that there’s enough information for a job seeker to learn about your company. “You want to make sure that you have material and content on that page that draws attention and keeps attention,” says Veronica Jenkins, co-founder and head of global talent at Hive Talent Acquisition Firm.
One type of content you should think about is video, which is becoming increasingly popular on LinkedIn. However, this doesn’t mean you should post 25-minute videos detailing every aspect of your company; your videos should be informational but concise. “Everyone has a very short attention span in today’s society, so you want to make sure that you are able to garner that attention and keep it long enough for people to have an interest in working for your company,” Jenkins says.
For Instagram the rules are a bit different. Although you still have to present your brand in a professional manner, the platform is a place to let your company’s personality come through more. Because Instagram is a visual platform, your strategy for it should be much different from your approach on LinkedIn. “You’re going to Instagram to see a picture, watch a video, view stories and get out of there,” Jenkins says. “So what you want to do is present your company there in a way that’s fun and exciting.”
Instagram is a great place to showcase daily life at your company and lift the veil on your culture. Jenkins recommends posting photos of company events, such as company picnics or philanthropy events. “People want to see that a company really does put their money where their mouth is, especially as it relates to community involvement and philanthropy,” she says. You can also post pictures from around the office, highlighting achievements and exciting news for your organization.
But no matter the platform, remember that authenticity is key. Showcase the people at your company, not just standard recruiting pitches. “Candidates don’t want to hear insights and stories from recruiters,” Gotkin says. “They want to hear from the people doing the jobs that they would be doing.”
Process and Plans Are Important
Odds are you don’t have much of a plan for posting on your personal social media pages. More likely when you see the opportunity to share something, you do.
Approaching your organization’s social media page this way isn’t ideal, Jenkins says. Instead, organizations should rely on streamlined processes and careful planning. “We have monthly planning meetings on themes that we try to run on our social media platforms,” she says. “Everything that we try to do social-media-wise is very intentional because we have goals that we're trying to meet as a company.”
The meetings, beyond setting a calendar, also allow for group discussion that triggers fun ideas that will engage a brand’s audience. “We try to incorporate things like National Ice Cream Day, and we talk about who in our office is more addicted to ice cream and what flavors are our favorites,” she says. “Even though it seems like a very trivial thing to talk about, it lets you know the people that are behind these accounts are really people.”
Along with this human element, however, you also need processes and procedures for engaging with candidates. While social media encourages personal interaction, the team answering messages from candidates through social media platforms need to have parameters in place for how they communicate. Jenkins suggests creating multiple templates, but with some freedom for your team to customize them to craft more personalized responses.
“Leveraging those you will see a marked improvement in your response rate and your ability to touch those candidates and actually engage with them,” Jenkins says.