When the subject of social media comes up in the recruitment world, there’s often a lopsided focus on the marketing side: Employer branding, Facebook ads, driving website traffic to your careers page, highlighting your employees, and so on.
Marketing is an important part of successfully using social media to recruit. But, it’s only one part.
- What if you work for a company that already has an employer brand?
- What if your marketing team has already built up robust social media channels?
- How do you use social media to create a pipeline of candidates in practice?
A smart candidate pipelining strategy starts by clarifying the connection between your social media activity and your recruitment assets.
If you find yourself gaining a lot of attention for your recruitment brand and social media, but aren’t sure how to convert that attention into candidates, you need to refine your engagement strategy and process.
Here’s what to do.
Use tools such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and Google Alerts to set yourself up in a way that enables you to pay hawk eye attention to the market’s response to your content and the activity that happens within your social media networks.
The greater visibility you have, and the easier you make it on yourself to spot what’s happening in your market, the better you will be able to strike while the iron is hot when a new candidate lead surfaces.
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Tie your digital presence together.
Integrate tracking into your website that will allow you to retarget and track candidates as they begin engaging with your website.
One way you can do this is by installing a Facebook pixel. This will allow you to retarget any visitor to your careers page, for instance, with a Facebook ad campaign.
You can use custom audiences to upload email lists and specific profiles you wish you reach through Twitter advertising, although I would recommend pointing your ad budget toward LinkedIn or Facebook over Twitter.
If you publish content from your website, add utm codes when sharing to social media. If you use Google Analytics, this will allow you to set up conversion paths to track on your website and will allow you to see which content readers are taking follow up action on your website after reading.
Label your leads.
Label your leads in a way that helps you track their response to your activity and engagement with your content.
When deciding on your labeling process, consider the information that would be helpful for you to know the next time you run a campaign or want to discover which activities are bringing candidates into your talent pool.
The kind of labeling that works well for staffing firms and recruiters who wish to build a pipeline of candidates for future positions is to think in terms of community and profile rather than active requisitions or geography. You can use filters and tools to narrow your sights on keywords and location later.
If your content strategy includes online events, for example, then using a tool to tag the people you invite would give you the data that you can cross-reference with your ATS and see which copy drove them to the webinar that resulted in a successful phone screen or interview.
You don’t need to label everyone who comes in through your inbound efforts (e.g. responding to blog content, social media posts, etc.), but you should try to catch anyone you see as a solid candidate, referral source, or contact.
Build relationship funnels for referral relationships and priority leads.
If your goal includes using social media to create a pipeline of candidates and establish relationships within communities that allow you to better engage candidates, you need a plan that will help focus your attention.
Creating a relationship funnel for each of your activities on social media will help you avoid getting distracted by the many bells and whistles that aren’t going to do much for you from a recruitment or staffing perspective.
If you use social media to explore and expand the relationships that have given you the most return on your attention, then you can leverage those relationships to help you source candidates and engage their networks.
Advocates, referrals, brand ambassadors, clients who think you are the best thing since sliced bread…who has a clear, specific incentive to help you succeed?
Once you’ve identified them, these are the steps you need to take:
- Proactively nurture these relationships
- Identify the specific opportunities you’d like to explore with them
- Learn about their values, goals, and priorities
- Set benchmarks to measure progress and the depth of their engagement
- Look out for opportunities to expand the relationship as the relationship develops
Plan daily activity.
What will you do each day to move the needle forward?
However busy you are, checking your monitoring systems for new leads and opportunities to investigate is an essential practice that needs to be a part of your daily routine if you want to use social media productively for any type of staffing or recruitment effort.
Even if you can only spare 15 minutes that day, use it to follow up on the responses your content evokes. You want to protect some time each day to engage and explore your network.
Never automate your direct interactions. Automation tools and discovery programs are useful and certainly have a place in your strategy, but you can’t automate recruitment. Not without wasting resources and killing potential leads.
Be present when interacting with the people engaging with your content. The impression you leave is worth the time it’d take you to leave it. Try to lead your response by reading the context. What are they sharing? Where do they live? What do they do? Do you have anything in common, from what you can see in their bio?
The bigger picture.
As a recruiter, you will gain more competitive value from using social media as a tool than a channel. What you do with the social aspects of social media will determine the opportunities you’ll be able to capture and how responsive candidates will be to you.
Recruiting is about catching opportunities sooner than they circulate through the market and reacting to candidates in the moments when they are the most interested or motivated to take action on their careers.
Social media can help you with that process, but only if you keep your eyes open and put yourself in a position where you can act on agile opportunities and leads.