Social media is revolutionizing the way businesses approach talent acquisition. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook now function as channels where recruiters can cultivate direct and authentic relationships between talents and businesses.
It is these relationships that make it easier for HR personnel to identify candidates who are not only qualified for positions they’re looking to fill, but are also naturally aligned with the company’s culture and values.
To develop rapport with the right people, you need to connect with them first. Effective networking, in this context, is more than just creating a social media profile and posting status updates. You also should know how to attract top talent to your brand.
Here are a few things you can do to achieve that.
General best practices
The social media platforms through which to find the talent your business needs may be different in many respects, but they are all essentially made up of communities that follow similar principles of interaction.
Best practices that must be applied across all of these platforms include:
It’s tempting to broadcast generic messages to the broad audience social media grants you access to, but all this does is create the impression that there are no real people to interact with behind your social media account.
Instead, tailor your posts to spark conversations with your ideal candidates. Start by researching the types of interactions they respond to. Participate in discussions they partake in, take note of what they’re passionate about, and talk to the people they talk to.
Optimal posting time and frequency
Understanding what engages top talent is important, but insight into when to engage them is just as pivotal. While you’re free to contribute to discussions that are several days old, becoming part of a conversation while it’s ongoing allows you to gauge the overall sentiment towards your brand, and make adjustments to your communication strategy, if needed.
There’s also the question of how often you should post to stay top of mind without spamming your followers. As it stands, there’s no shortage of guidelines for the best times to post on various social media sites for maximum exposure and engagement. There’s even a 5-3-2 rule for social media content mixing.
While these are undoubtedly an excellent starting point if you’re looking for ideas, in order to be truly effective, you must run your own tests. What works for most may not work for you. So vary your posting schedules every few weeks and record changes in your interactions and visibility.
When using social media as a recruitment medium, the content you put out should help your target candidates get to know the brand better, understand its core activities, and recognize what makes it different from other players in the market. Whether you’re sharing blog posts, images, or videos, your messaging should introduce your brand’s personality and culture to your audience.
Salary and other monetary perks play a part in attracting top talent, but culture also effectively draws in qualified candidates to your brand.
Use custom images for each of your posts, but remember to demonstrate brand consistency. This means your tone and topics should be uniform across each platform. As such, solid branding guidelines should be in place before launching your recruitment campaign.
There’s a saying often heard from customer service and marketing professionals: “Customer service is the new marketing”. In other words, happy customers make great brand advocates.
In the same vein, loyal and satisfied employees not just provide the necessary insight into what makes attractive employers. Through Employee Advocacy, they can actively assist in the recruitment process as well.
Employee Advocacy amplifies the exposure of your job ads and other branding materials, primarily through your staff’s personal social media accounts. Such a strategy is especially helpful, since their endorsements of employment in your company are perceived by their social networks as credible.
That said, while you could just ask everyone in the organization to spread the word, it’s always more effective to encourage Employee Advocacy through genuine work happiness, allowing you to reach not just those who are actively searching for work, but even those who are simply on the lookout for workplaces to consider should they decide to quit their current jobs.
Platform-specific best practices
General best practices cover the foundation of all online interactions, but these don’t mean you can communicate the exact same way across all platforms.
Here are the top three platforms and the best practices for each:
For LinkedIn to work in your favor, a personal network of professionals is an absolute must, which allows you to build and develop a referral chain. Make it a habit to connect with present and past colleagues that you value and trust. You may use LinkedIn’s InMail system to ask their assistance regarding employee referrals.
Use appropriate keywords to search for ideal candidates with LinkedIn’s search function, and ensure that your own profile shows up for certain keywords. The platform also has a premium feature, LinkedIn Talent Solutions, to help you find top talents for your organization.
Further, creating and growing a LinkedIn group focused on specific topics lets you attract individuals who are willing to engage with you on particular subjects.
With Facebook registering approximately 1.79 billion users as of the third quarter of 2016, it’s undoubtedly a candidate-sourcing goldmine. Although not specifically created for recruitment, Facebook’s Graph Search feature lets you find talents with the educational information and work experience you require, as well as those that share topics relevant to your business or industry. Graph Search results vary per user, so exchange notes with other members of your hiring team.
Also, consider creating your own company group that employee advocates can help run. Alternatively, join relevant communities and participate in group discussions.
There are several rules that must be followed on Twitter—posts must be within 140 characters, include photos or videos to attract more attention, use @replies and mentions for user-specific tweets, and so on.
But perhaps the most powerful element you can leverage on Twitter is the hashtag (#). Use it to find relevant conversations with a target group (example: #accountants), or create your own to spark discussions (example: #nodevscode).
Social media is emerging as a must-have tool for recruitment. But when not approached correctly, it could be an exercise in futility. Keep the above pointers in mind when crafting a strategy on how to attract top talent on social media.