An estimated 2.95 billion people used social media worldwide in 2019, and with this number predicted to grow to 3.43 billion in 2023, it’s no wonder that companies have already started investing in advertising on these platforms – with ad spend reaching an estimated $84 billion in 2019.
But with so many users, many recruiters and HR professionals are now turning to social media to help them recruit for their open positions.
So, what is social media recruitment, what are the benefits, and how can you use it to find more candidates for your open positions?
What Is Social Media Recruitment?
Social media recruitment, or social hiring as it’s sometimes called, is the process of sourcing and recruiting staff using primarily, or sometimes solely, social media platforms.
This type of recruitment has grown in popularity in recent years as it has become increasingly difficult to find employees due to high employment rates, and increased competition on many of the online job boards.
Social media recruitment somewhat turns the recruitment process on its head, as it aims to build a relationship between employers and potential employees regardless of whether there is an open position, or if the candidate is even considering moving jobs.
But what are the benefits of using social media for recruitment?
Benefits Of Using Social Media For Recruiting
Just a few years ago many workers thought of social media as an unprofessional form of media that people only used in their spare time.
But, over recent years, companies have begun to see the power of social media platforms, and the positive impact they can have on a business.
Here are some benefits to using social media for recruiting:
Attract Passive Candidates
As we’ve mentioned in other blog posts, up until the recent Coronavirus outbreak, the job market had been experiencing its highest levels of employment since the 1970s.
This meant that a large proportion of the market was classed as ‘passive candidates.’
These are candidates that are not actively looking for a new role on job boards or career sites, but who would consider applying to a new position if the right opportunity came along.
Because of this, this portion of the market was notoriously difficult to market to using traditional recruitment techniques.
Recruiting on social media relies on building brand awareness and recognition within a specific sector or skillset, making it much more likely passive candidates will become part of your network.
Build Your Employer Brand
Think about it – do you think big companies like Apple, Tesla or Amazon have trouble getting people to apply for their open positions?
Of course they don’t!
Their employer brand is strong enough that people actively seek out roles at their company – and that’s where social media recruitment can help your company too.
Social media recruitment helps to develop your company’s employer brand, to showcase your culture and working environment to potential employees, and encourage them to apply to your roles.
This is often one of the most difficult aspects for smaller companies to market to potential employees, as it’s all too easy for companies to claim that their office is the best place to work without having any evidence to back it up!
It also helps potential employees to decide whether it’s the right environment for them – making it much more likely to receive applications from people who will be a good cultural fit for the company.
Reduce Recruitment Costs
Another benefit to social media recruitment is the reduction in recruitment costs.
Traditional methods for finding new employees rely on paying job boards to host adverts for the position, or paying a fee for access to CV databases in order to manually search for potential candidates.
Social media recruitment, by comparison, involves no monetary investment (unless you decide to run paid ads); instead simply requiring an investment of time to build up your network.
So, how can you leverage social media recruitment to help increase the number of relevant applications you have for your roles?
Social Media Recruiting Strategies
There are a number of strategies HR professionals can use to help increase their chances of success with social media recruitment.
1. Pick The Right Platform
The first step to any social media recruitment strategy is to pick the right platform.
Many guides recommend having a presence on as many platforms as possible, but I’d actually recommend the opposite when you’re first starting out.
Sure, companies like Starbucks can have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube; but that’s not feasible for smaller companies.
A better approach is to focus on one until your following is big enough, at which point you can begin focussing on other channels.
For most people recruiting professional, white-collar workers, LinkedIn will be the best platform to start with, as it’s one of the most popular and fast-growing platforms around.
However, if you focus on lower-level workers or a very specific skillset, then you’ll need to think about where these people can be found online, and make that platform your primary focus.
2. Build Your Personal Brand
Once you’ve selected the right platform, you need to begin building your personal brand.
While this is easier said than done, the main strategy is the same for every platform - network and engage!
As the old adage goes “people buy from people” so building a personal brand involves being human, building connections, and having conversations with people.
Get involved in discussions in your community or pose questions to people within your sector, share content from leading publications, and produce content that your target audience will find interesting.
The goal is to become the go-to person for your industry, but that won’t happen overnight, so it’s important to be prepared for a long-term commitment!
3. Promote Your Company Culture
A far-reaching network gives you the perfect place to promote the culture of your company.
This can be with professionally produced recruitment videos, or with simple posts about the events and initiatives going on in the office.
For example, some offices might have team lunches or celebratory dinners when people hit their targets, or to mark anniversaries within the company. These are a great opportunity to snap some photos, or film a quick video, that will help potential employees get a better idea of what it’s like to work at your company.
Don’t overdo it with posts about your company though – people will get bored of that very quickly!
4. Create or Share Relevant Content
In order to build a following, you’ll need to post content that your target audience is going to engage with.
As an HR professional, this will likely involve posting about open positions within your company, but it’s important to post other content too.
People don’t want to read about your company’s open positions all the time, so balance these posts with content that is focussed around your industry.
You might post photos or videos from a recent trade show you’ve attended, or give potential employees tips on how they can boost their chances of finding a job within your industry. You can also post relevant industry news, to show that both you and your company, are experts within your sector.
5. Make It A Company Effort
Another way to broaden your social media recruitment strategy is to make sure multiple people from your business are involved.
This helps to build a much wider network than if it was the sole responsibility of one person, and also helps to paint a much more detailed picture of the company and the people that work within it.
A company-wide effort will take some planning, as you will likely need to get a social media policy signed off by senior managers and the marketing department (if you have one); but it could have a huge impact on your employer brand awareness.
6. Search For Relevant Candidates
As you’re growing your network, the number of contacts that are potential candidates within your industry should naturally grow, but one way to help speed up the process is to actively seek out relevant candidates.
With a platform like LinkedIn, you can search for people within a geographical area, and filter by education level, job title, and much more.
To find potential future employees, search for profiles within a 10–15 mile radius of your company’s location, that have the skills that you are looking for, and that you think will be interested in the type of content you’re posting.
You can then reach out to these people to make a connection, or even follow them and begin engaging with their content to build up a connection more naturally.
Either approach should help to fill your pipeline with relevant potential candidates who have the ideal skill set, and who are in the ideal location, for your company.
7. Take Advantage Of Paid Ads
Social media recruitment doesn’t always have to be a long-term strategy.
All of the main social media platforms offer some form of targeted advertisement, making it much easier to reach a large number of potential candidates if you have a budget to spend.
Again, it’s important to focus your efforts on the right platforms.
In the past, Entech has used LinkedIn ads to advertise highly-skilled roles to people with the relevant skills within a geographical area; while ads on Facebook are much more useful for advertising lower-skilled roles to a much broader audience.
Both of these approaches can be cost-effective, but again it’s important to focus on the right platforms for the right roles.
As you can see, social media recruitment is a long-term strategy that requires HR professionals, and their company, to invest a lot of time and effort into building a brand that people want to find out more about, and that people will ultimately want to work for.
Unfortunately, it’s not a quick fix that will help increase job applications overnight.
But, for those willing to invest in building their audience, the rewards will be tremendous, and those that don’t invest will be left to fight over the candidates those companies have turned away.
So, if you want to hire the best employees for your company, make sure you’re investing in social media recruitment!