By Matt Singer, VP of Marketing at Jobvite

The digital revolution has brought about change in almost every aspect of running a business, and recruitment is no exception. Using social media as a tool for sourcing potential candidates has become increasingly commonplace in recent years. In fact, the 2014 Social Recruiting Survey research indicates that 93% of recruiters are currently using, or planning to use, social networks as part of their onboarding process.

Despite an increase in the number of companies that are leveraging social networks as a recruitment tool, many organisations are still unclear as to what they stand to gain from adopting this approach. Some companies are also unsure about how to measure the success of their social recruiting strategy, should they implement it.

If used correctly, social media recruiting can help companies source the most suitable potential employees faster, and for a fraction of the cost of traditional recruitment methods. For example, advertising a job vacancy on a company Facebook page is far cheaper than posting the same advert on a job board.

In addition, a strong social media presence can solidify a recognisable employment brand. This, in turn, will encourage savvy ‘millennial’ candidates and ‘digital natives’, who are used to interacting in this way, to engage with your organisation.

The following tips are designed to help any business establish a social media presence, gain a competitive edge over rivals, and utilise it to attract the best and brightest talent that the job market has to offer.

So, why not become a social media sage today?

Pick the most effective social media platforms.

The first step to you will need to take in order to implement an effective social media recruiting strategy is to decide which channels to focus on. Whilst each platform has its own particular advantages and disadvantages, research conducted by Jobvite suggests that the big three; Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the most effective for sourcing potential candidates. For example, as much as 67% of active job seekers use Facebook to gather information whilst job hunting. Setting up a dedicated careers page is therefore a great way to reach candidates.

Overall, it’s important to establish careers pages across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Once this is done, then you can provide job seekers with as much information as possible about your company culture and the types of characteristics you are looking for in new recruits.

Expand your network connections and extend your reach.

Social media networks are dependent on symbiotic relationships, so the more people you follow, the more likely they are to follow you in return. This means it is essential that you connect with people proactively in order to expand your sphere of influence. An easy starting point for social network expansion is to import your email contacts into your chosen social media platforms, which allows the network to review your address book and suggest suitable profiles to connect with. Thankfully, the big three social networks make this easy to do.

It may sound obvious, but you should encourage your existing employees to follow you as well. Employee referrals are immensely valuable to recruiters, as the candidates they recommend are likely to share similar characteristics and values with the people you have already chosen to work with. It’s also worth remembering that some social-media savvy employees may have large followings; in some cases they might even have more followers than your company does, so connecting with your colleagues and getting them to share opportunities and content grants you access to new pockets of talent that their networks can provide.

Engage potential candidates by sharing relevant and interesting content.

It’s not enough to simply accrue a wide range of followers. You need to ensure that they are engaging with your brand on a regular basis. One of the most effective ways to do this is to post interesting content and provide relevant and interesting insight on issues that affect your particular industry. Providing astute analysis and opinions in this manner can lead to your brand being perceived as an ‘influencer’, or an expert in your field.

However, when planning your schedule for sharing content, you’ll need to strike a balance between posting regularly and saturating the attention span of your followers. If you post too often, then they will unfriend you with one click of a button. Finding the middle ground between posting too often and not often enough tends to come with time, trial and tracking. Using the engagement metrics provided by automated social media management platforms makes it easier to identify posts that are resonating well with your audience.

Secure strong candidates

Once your social media recruitment momentum starts to build, your volume of interactions with strong, suitable candidates is bound to increase. However, this in itself presents another key challenge; encouraging the most talented job-seekers to apply to your company. You need to be able to direct your engaged and interested followers into your application process. This will enable you to connect with them via other campaigns and keep them in your talent pipeline.

Using candidate relationship management tools can simplify this process by smoothing the transition between social network interactions and your recruitment systems. Look for an option with a user-friendly interface, as this will promote broad adoption and better collaboration between recruiters and hiring managers. Tools such as these help to bridge the gap between social media platforms and your application process, and are designed to make communicating with your talent pool straightforward. Ultimately, they should also make it easier to measure the success of your recruitment program and increase the volume of talented applicants for roles within your organisation.

Getting started in social media recruiting may seem like a daunting task, but it need not be. These four steps will set you well on your way. If there is any doubt left in your mind, just remember that social recruiting is easy, inexpensive, and a proven way to attract the best and brightest talent to your organisation. Why not give it a try?