Social Media & Content MarketingHow They Can Play a Pivotal Role in Recruitment Tom Armitage Senior Digital Marketing Team Lead Hiring has turned into a nightmare! You’d have to live under a rock not to recognize the nationwide hiring dilemma.Of course, business owners and those of you in HR are experiencing it first hand.Government-issued unemployment benefits, lagging COVID-restrictions, new work-from-home policies, a retiring workforce, and the economic bounceback have created a real problem. That’s why it’s time to get creative. Posting jobs on Indeed.com won’t get it done anymore. Instead, it’s time to turn to social media for help. With the right plan and efforts, it can play a pivotal role in helping brand your company and make it more attractive to job seekers. Build a Hiring PlanIn a study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk, 80% of construction companies in the U.S. are having trouble filling hourly positions. Many hiring managers are just throwing money at the problem – through hiring bonuses, referral checks, or just flat-out increased wages. But that’s not necessarily going to fix the problem long-term. And it may just put you well over budget at the same time.Instead, it would help if you built a hiring plan. Consider the following: What’s the goal of hiring?What’s your budget? Both for outreach/advertising and pay/benefits for the positions?How many positions do you need to hire for and who’s your ideal candidate? What do potential candidates know about your company?What does the job entail? What do the job descriptions read like?How will you approach resume/application screening? The hiring process?What social media sites do your ideal candidates use most often?What type of onboarding program do you have in place?Once you’ve built your plan – you can determine how to incorporate social media to improve the overall results.Social media can help build or strengthen your online brand (helping more potential candidates know about you). It can help with actual recruitment. And finally, it can help be a customer service center to field questions that candidates may have.Here are some specific ways to utilize social media as part of your recruitment efforts.#1 Social Media Used As A Branding ToolEvery company has a personality. A voice. Something meaningful to say. But a lot of times, those stories aren’t always presented to the public. And ultimately, they aren’t seen by potential hires.Identify what your brand represents. And consider what you have to offer candidates. Excellent pay and benefits?Job growth and room for advancement?Flexible schedules and work-life balance?Paid Time Off (PTO) and employee wellness programs?Career development or professional training?A company that’s doing meaningful work or living out its core values?Your marketing team likely has a social media plan already in place.Work with them to inject candidate-specific content into the mix.Take photos of smiling technicians. Give employees the time to write blogs on their work experiences. Produce video testimonials on how workers love their teammates and emphasize how long they’ve been with the company.Content is the lifeblood of any marketing program. And it should play the same type of role in brand-building for recruitment purposes. #2 Social Media Used As An Active Recruitment ToolOne of the most beautiful things about social media is its ability to host two-way communication. Unlike traditional advertising, where it was a brand talking AT consumers, social media changes that dynamic. Brands can communicate WITH consumers. With that change comes the ability to directly reach out to qualified job candidates. For larger companies with larger funds, you could hire a recruitment firm to help with this. For smaller organizations or those on tighter budgets, you need to get scrappy and do it yourself.For management roles, LinkedIn will be your best friend. Search with keywords and review profiles to discover those who might be a good fit for the position. Actively reach out via direct message and chat about the position.With LinkedIn Sales Navigator (paid add-on), you can get even more granular with your searches. You can search by geography, title, education, industry, and more to find the perfect candidates. For technicians or laborers, you’ll need to turn to Facebook or Instagram. Search by keyword, look through followers of brand pages, sift through those who checked in at businesses that make sense based on your industry. Craft your outreach messages carefully. Make sure you’re communicating about the job and the company and explaining all the good stuff you have to offer.#3 Social Media Used As a Customer Service ToolSocial media has quickly become the go-to resource for many customers to get in touch directly with companies. And the demand among consumers is that they want swift replies.Just as customers would seek support on products or services, job seekers can use these same platforms to ask questions about the company. Embrace these tools. Staff them appropriately. Provide above-and-beyond responses.Make sure you’ve set up your systems to reply to all inquiries quickly. This can include:Direct messages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedInSMS or company textsPhone calls or direct emailsForm fillsOnline chatCandidates are going to ask questions. They are interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them. Make sure they get the info they need to feel good about applying or accepting. #4 Social Media Used As A Reputation Management ToolJust as we, as consumers, explore the reviews of restaurants before going out to dinner, we size up companies before we apply. Glassdoor, Google My Business, and Facebook all contain review areas that need to be monitored and attended to.These are channels that are being seen and read by candidates and need to be part of your social media management efforts. This is a two-step process:First, you can’t remove reviews from these sites (that’s how they can claim they are trustworthy). But you can respond to the negative reviews and try to minimize the blow. Understand what the negative reviews are about. Address those areas within your company. Then also respond politely, professionally, and appropriately to the reviews. Most readers take into consideration the brand’s response just as much as the original posters’ comments.Second, you can offset your rating scores with more positive reviews. Make sure your marketing and sales teams have a policy in place to encourage customers to leave reviews. And HR should have a similar policy that encourages current employees to leave reviews too. Just make sure they are not incentivized and add a disclaimer that they are current employees.By replying to reviews across social media sites, and actively pursuing positive reviews, it will build your brand’s reputation online and positively affect your application rates over time.#5 Social Media Used As An Advertising ToolThere are so many advertising platforms out there today. From Google to Amazon to Spotify to Hulu. Social media sites have proven themselves over the years as wonderful resources to find targeted individuals and at reasonable costs, too. Using a “pay-per-click” model, you’ll only pay for results.Beyond your traditional recruitment ads on Indeed or the local newspaper, consider how you can better promote your job openings among applicants on social media. Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Job Ads are likely both good fits. Not only can you promote the position and direct traffic to your job description pages, but these two platforms allow applications to be completed and submitted DIRECTLY on the platforms themselves. So Facebook users can submit an application without leaving Facebook. And LinkedIn users can apply directly within LinkedIn. (TikTok just recently announced a recruitment element to their tool, as well.)By allowing for direct submission within the social media sites, it will increase your applicant pool. Just keep in mind that you may need to tighten up your vetting process, as some unqualified candidates will surely come through. Cost per click will vary, depending on your industry and the competition. In most industries, it will likely be between $4-8 per click. This means you might expect 166 applicants on a $1,000 spend.Remember, if your application rate is poor, your ads may not be the only thing to blame. Make sure to consider the other elements of your hiring plan, too, including your turnaround times, your job descriptions, your screening and interview processes, and what your reviews might currently say about you. All those things working together are what will drive the most qualified candidates to your job openings. SummarySocial media – as part of your marketing efforts – helps to promote, attract, sell, qualify, and retain customers. Job seekers are just like buyers in a sense. And social media must play that same role. It must help promote the company and its open positions. It must help find and locate relevant candidates. It must attract those candidates to the job openings. It must help qualify those candidates. And don’t forget to measure! According to the Harvard Business Review, only about 1/3 of companies monitor whether their hiring practices lead to good employees that stick around. It’s important that if you’ll be investing time, resources, and dollars into social media for recruitment purposes, that you measure that investment.Track your efforts and track the progress of the employees you take on from those efforts. That’s the only real way to measure ROI.