A recent article on Forbes titled “Four Hot Tips For Recruiting On Social Media Without Getting Burned” offers four helpful tips for employers and recruiters interested in leveraging social media for recruiting.
1. Establish a bona fide presence: Don’t try to fake it on social media. Online viewers can easily find out if you talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.
2. Get employees involved: When your employees engage with your brand on social media, it adds credibility, extends brand visibility, and develops rapport and trust with employees’ social connections.
3. Leverage SMART goals for strategic planning: Like everything you do, SMART goals for social media will help you stay focused on what’s important and help you measure success.
4. Share “good” content: Well-produced content will help you stay on top of the latest trends, content, and industry information. This gains attention and credibility among your audiences.
These tips are table stakes and good advice for recruiting on social media. I’ll build on each one based on Personify’s experience to make them even more actionable.
Don’t Fake It. Your employer brand isn’t what you say it is; it’s what you and others say it is. Perception is reality, so negative reviews that go unaddressed become the prevailing perspective on your employer’s brand. That means you need to engage in conversations about your brand and carefully curate the conversation. If you create a series of social media posts about your “out-of-this-world” company culture and benefits, but candidates visit glassdoor.com and find you have a two-star rating with a long list of negative posts dinging you as an employer, you’ve blown your credibility. CNBC recently reported that one in three job seekers have turned down an offer after reading a negative company review. As more and more job seekers read company reviews online, it’s crucial to overcome the negative comments about your brand — respond thoughtfully and demonstrate your willingness to address issues openly and honestly. Be the kind of company that isn’t afraid to respond to negative reviews and try to resolve issues.
Get Employees Involved: Ask yourself, are you more likely to leave a positive review of a company with which you are satisfied or dissatisfied? The reality is that people are more likely to write a review if they’ve had a bad experience. The same is true among disappointed current and former employees. People who are upset are more likely to let others know they are upset, especially on social media. Negative employer comments tend to carry more weight with job seekers than positive ones. Personify recommends engaging with all comments (positive or negative) and addressing legitimate issues and concerns. Do all you can to encourage current employees to post positive experiences frequently. Satisfied employees can drown out negative voices by serving as positive advocates for your employer’s brand. In addition to showcasing positive employee experiences, encourage happy employees to write up-to-date company reviews on job sites and share positive stories and experiences about your firm on their social channels. Then share their posts on your brand’s official social platforms. Sharing their posts helps take the “marketing” edge off the post.
SMART Goals: This is obvious advice, but it’s commonly overlooked. Before you do anything on social media, ask yourself what you want to achieve and why, how and when you’ll accomplish it, and how you’ll measure your success. Many people think social media is super-easy to do, but doing social well takes a lot of work, and every post should be made with great intention. You’ll have a far better shot at success if you carefully develop SMART objectives, strategies, and tactics. At Personify, our social media plan is comprehensive, and we make sure our goals align with company business objectives. Our social strategies vary by platform based on their strengths and user expectations. For example, LinkedIn is a better channel for some objectives than Facebook, and vice-versa, so we have different strategies for each platform. Finally, SMART goals can help you avoid mistakes on social media, which can be ruthless and unforgiving. Even the most minor mistakes made on social media can cost you reach, engagement, followers, and customers — even if the error was completely innocent or unintended, it doesn’t take much to lose your audience. A simple oversight or blunder can cause a mass exodus among your followers, and mistakes made on social media can live on the internet forever. Of course, social media “trolls” are real, and they are looking for an opportunity to pounce. SMART goals can help you master the art of social media marketing, reducing the chance of making an unintended but costly mistake.
Share “Good” Content: I cannot express just how important we feel this tip is. The content you share is a reflection of your brand. If you put your brand logo on cheap tchotchkes at a sales conference, what will people think of your brand? Cheap, right? The same is true about social media content. What will people think about you if you push out poorly produced, thoughtless content across your brand’s social channels? Many people believe social media is easy, fast, and free. It’s not. It’s hard to make high-quality content, it takes time to create, and it can also be expensive to produce and promote social content. But if you take your employer brand seriously, you should take social media content creation seriously too.
At Personify, we built a Recruitment and Commercial marketing capability that includes expertise in digital and social media content. Our team develops, designs, produces, and places most of our social content, from written articles to photos and graphics and even short videos. Still, we don’t produce all our content. There are certain content pieces, ad units, and social media buys we outsource to a third party. For example, for large-scale video productions, like our “Personify Perspectives” and “Erin Matson Partnership” videos, we work with an experienced production company to help write and produce these longer-form, more complex content pieces. It’s not inexpensive, but we’ve opted to outsource beyond our in-house capability when something is as important as a video representing our people or a critical partnership.
In the movie “Field of Dreams,” the line “if you build it, they will come” is whispered repetitively throughout the film. While that might be true for ghosts looking to play baseball, it doesn’t work that way in today’s highly competitive talent market. Using social media to recruit top talent effectively is necessary, but it’s not easy.
Four Hot Tips For Recruiting On Social Media Without Getting Burned
They would seem a perfect fit: social media and recruitment. After all, social media is all about people, and your organization is probably looking for a few good ones. But many employers don’t know how to start using social media to recruit talent and fill their open positions. Some have plunged in unprepared and found themselves overwhelmed by the amount of work involved and frustrated by the lack of immediate interest.
But the potential benefits of using social media for recruiting are considerable. Let’s face it: Social media may be the easiest place to find anyone these days. Most of us are active daily on at least one platform. And, once you connect with a candidate, you can engage in a two-way conversation. Through this interaction, and by perusing their public posts, you’ll get a much better idea of an individual’s character and personality before the first interview.
What’s more, recruiting on social media is becoming a more widely traveled avenue to hiring. In 2019, marketing research firm Clutch reported that 14% of recent hires found their jobs on social media. A 2020 Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals revealed that 71% of hiring decision-makers believed social media is an effective way to screen applicants.
Here are some tips for getting in on this exciting trend without getting burned by unrealistic or unclear expectations.
1. Establish a bona fide presence.
The thing about social media is you can’t fake it. Most people — particularly Millennials and Gen Z — have been online long enough to intuitively detect a contrived or “preconstructed” social media account full of autogenerated posts.
If you’re serious about using social media for recruiting, you need to first find your voice on one or more platforms and show that you’re a real entity with actual humans sharing authentic thoughts and expertise. For organizations that haven’t done much online other than maintain a website, this could mean doing very little in the way of recruiting for a while as you amass a history of posts, establish a brand identity and, hopefully, build a loyal following.
2. Get employees involved.
Having more than one social media account associated with your brand can help nurture credibility, assuming the tone and messaging are consistent. When your staff members are online, posting as excited employees of a vibrant organization, outsiders are likely to take notice — and some of them may even want to join up!
That said, this is a tricky area. Employees need to somehow demonstrate their individuality while staying as consistent as possible with your organization’s communications and remaining compliant with a stated social media policy. That last part is worth emphasizing: If you’re going to have staffers posting on your behalf, be sure you’ve laid out guidelines and provided some training about what’s OK and what’s not.
3. Devise a SMART strategy.
When business owners engage in strategic planning, one approach we suggest our clients consider is to set “SMART” goals. This system has been used with success for many years and the abbreviation stands for:
This can be a good way to approach social media recruiting as well. Gather leadership and perhaps some particularly knowledgeable employees. Identify what you want to accomplish and how you might realistically get there within a reasonable time frame.
For example, say you have 10 open positions. You could set a goal of filling two of them (20%) by recruiting candidates on social media over, say, six months. Track your progress and hold update meetings to discuss what’s working and what isn’t.
At the end of the time frame, review whether you achieved your goals. If you did, talk about how you can build on that success. If you didn’t, brainstorm what impeded you and how to adjust your strategy going forward.
4. Share good content.
Along with not faking it on social media, you also need to “give as good as you get.” In other words, organizations can’t look at social media as a giant job board from which they pluck candidates and do little else. To gain attention, build credibility and get those all-important “likes,” employers need to share good content. This might include:
• News related to your mission or industry
• Fun photos or videos showing happy employees in action
• Links to well-written articles or blog posts demonstrating your expertise
Among the chief reasons to dedicate the time and resources to creating strong content is to draw the attention of passive candidates. These are people who aren’t actively looking for a job but who could be swayed to apply with an organization that really appeals to them. A collection of hiring statistics posted by LinkedIn Talent Solutions in 2015 stated that “70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent who aren’t actively job searching.”
To maximize the effectiveness of your content, you’ll need to use hashtags and niche networks to channel it toward those most interested. You’re probably familiar with the concept of a hashtag, but you might find it challenging to pick just the right ones without getting lost in the noise of social media. It takes some practice.
Niche networks are smaller social media platforms that cater to specific interests or professional backgrounds. For instance, Behance is a place for graphic designers to connect and share their work, while Stack Overflow is for coders.
Embrace the possibilities.
Employers were handed a historic challenge in 2021 with the “Great Resignation” — a marked trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs in reaction to the tumultuous changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and other developments. If your organization is looking for talent, social media may represent an overlooked and underutilized way to find who you’re looking for.
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