It’s all too easy to believe that the number of followers or ‘likes’ are an accurate barometer of how successful social media activity is. Of course, these are not referred to as ‘vanity metrics’ without reason – and for HR and recruiters the numbers are largely irrelevant.
As employers and recruiters have come around to embracing the potential that social offers, so too comes an increased pressure to measure ROI. This is understandable. It stands to reason that if you are investing more and increasing your budget for social media, you are going to take more of an interest in what return you are getting.
Measuring your social media ROI as a recruiter isn’t straightforward, but there are ways that it can be tracked.
1. Establish a level playing field
When it comes to measuring your social media ROI as a recruiter, you essentially need to measure it the same way that you would track ROI for any other part of your overall marketing efforts. You need a level playing field so that you are able to compare like for like.
Of course, that sounds obvious but many recruiters fail to accurately measure their use of existing methods, such as agencies, advertising and job boards. Most have an idea which channels are bearing the most fruit, but lack the data and specific analytics to back up their claims. Unless you know what your overall ROI is, it becomes very difficult to try to do the same with social media.
When measuring ROI you want to be in a position to decide which areas you should be focusing more to earn an even better overall ROI. Each source/method needs solid data as evidence.
2. Define your goals
Your goals and objectives should be focused on what you value the most. You might have different goals at different times but the important first stage is establishing what they are. Cost per hire and time per hire are common ones, but there are many others that you could choose to focus on, such as the ratio of applications that reach the first interview stage. Alternatively, you might want to reduce your overall agency spend by sourcing more candidates through social.
Once your goals are clear, you need to benchmark and collect data that shows you what the ROI figures currently are for each source. These should be broken down as far as possible into categories and sub-categories, for example by location or type of role. You also need to factor in the amount of time that is being taken up on a particular source/channel.
4. Choose which metrics to use
With social media there is pretty much a metric you can measure for anything. Quality is more important than quantity and although source of hire, time to hire and the like are the most obvious, a social media strategy for recruiters should be about branding as well as sourcing. Pipelining – the way you build connections and grow your network – is also important for recruiters. As well as this, you need to ensure that you can accurately track candidates from each source – integrated into an Applicant Tracking System or by setting your own parameter links.
5. Have realistic expectations
Measuring ROI for recruiters presents many challenges but these are not insurmountable. That said the perceived difficulty to measure ROI puts some recruiters off. This is short-sighted and you should not be deterred. Once you have set your goals and established which metrics to focus on, if your social recruiting strategy is good it will bring results.
But expectations need to be realistic. It takes time and in terms of ROI you need to allow sufficient time so that you can gather a large enough body of data evidence to be able to inform future decisions.
Image courtesy of William Iven