The important place that social media has within recruitment is now pretty well documented. Social media has proven itself to be highly effective in generating leads and attracting talent, particularly passive candidates. And, of course, those candidates — wherever they might be — now have an expectation that recruiters will use social media.
But despite all this, many recruiters are left frustrated with the results they get from social media. In simple terms, the mistake that MOST recruiters make when it comes to social media is that they expect too much of a return for too little effort.
The emphasis is on the ‘most’ because we know that when recruiters ‘do’ social media well and when they have a clear strategy, the results and returns can be fantastic.
‘Expecting too much from too little’ is too simplistic, so let’s tease out how recruiters make mistakes.
There is more to life than LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great professional networking platform. We’re not disputing its strengths and it can be a great way of sourcing candidates. But, for recruiters, it’s certainly not the be all and end all. Of course, a massive number of people are signed up to LinkedIn, but compared with other social media sites, activity is low. Only about a quarter of LinkedIn users visit the site each month. Daily user numbers are lower still.
If you want to attract attention, you need to be where the action is – and the platforms where people are most active are the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is where recruiters need to be.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that LinkedIn is comparatively expensive if you want to build a presence and get results. Without paid advertising on LinkedIn, it’s tricky to build up a profile if you don’t know where to start or what to do. And advertising on LinkedIn is more expensive than on Facebook and Twitter… and less likely to get results if you’re not inputting the correct data.
This isn’t ‘LinkedIn bashing’ here. There is nothing necessarily wrong with investing in a LinkedIn presence, but it certainly shouldn’t be done at the expense of other platforms.
You need to invest in social media
Three things need to be invested for social media to work for recruiters: money, time and skills.
Social media needn’t cost the Earth – but it does need to be allocated an appropriate budget if you expect to see results – whether that’s a budget for social media advertising, subscribing to tools and software, or the cost of hiring dedicated social media experts – it needs to be done.
If you want anything doing properly, you need to invest something into it – and it’s the same with social media. A social media professional will get much better results in less time than adding social media to the job description of your admin staff ever will. Investing in expertise is vital.
You need a strategy
Recruiters on social media often focus on the vacancies they have and the jobs they need to fill. On the face of it, that’s understandable for recruiters – that’s what they do.
But it’s wrong!
Endless social media posts of job vacancies will not cut it. A social media audience needs to be engaged, cultivated and nurtured. It’s about finding your niche and tapping into that niche, so that you become an expert and valued contributor to that social media space.
You do that, not be posting job ads every five minutes, but by posting content that your target audience will find interesting, informative and entertaining. It takes time. You need patience and you shouldn’t expect immediate results – but it’s by building engagement that you attract passive candidates.
You need to get personal
Automation is great. It can save considerable time and makes life much easier in general. And with social media there’s nothing wrong with auto-scheduling a few updates to go out every now and again to get key messages across.
But, you can certainly ‘over-automate’ too. You don’t need to have somebody on action stations 24/7 to respond the second somebody posts a comment on your social media page, but you do need some actual genuine interaction with your audience!
You need to experiment
There are some general principles that usually work in a social media recruiting strategy, but there are no hard and fast rules. No secret formula. Trying different things out and gauging responses and tweaking the type of content you post to see what gets the most interactions is one part of it.
But as well as trying different things out to see what works best for you, it’s also about trying to do things a bit differently from all the rest.
This is why newer platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram are becoming very useful as a way of creating a brand presence. These are the platforms that are seen by many as being the most engaging – and because they aren’t the spaces you typically expect to see recruiters on, using these platforms is great for grabbing the attention of passive candidates.
Whether it’s attracting a wider range of candidates or engaging hard-to-reach passive job seekers that is your aim as a recruiter – or you are an internal hiring manager wanting to recruit directly, the potential that social media has is like a gift from above.
But you do need to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes that most other recruiters make!