The effects of Facebook and Twitter in today’s society are undeniable; both social media sites have successfully managed to weave their way deep into the consciousness of individuals, candidates and employers alike. So much so, there are now very few people in Australia and New Zealand who do not have accounts with one or both sites, and who do not visit at least one of the sites every day.
The trend of recruiting candidates through networking sites is not new. Founded in 2002 and launched in 2003, LinkedIn has been at the forefront of online network recruiting for almost a decade and as the world’s leading professional networking site, a large majority of job-seeking candidates will now go straight to LinkedIn as their first choice when looking for a new job. Online networking is now one of the main ways candidates in Australia and New Zealand search for jobs in 2012.
Compared with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are pitched at a more social level rather than professional. But with over 11 million active Facebook users and 1.8 million Twitter users in Australia (Social Media News, July 2012), few can argue the potential of these two social sites for recruiting candidates for job vacancies. Compare these figures to just 2.1 million users of LinkedIn in Australia.
More and more companies are turning to Facebook and Twitter to find potential employees. The importance of both websites is becoming more apparent for recruitment agencies, head-hunters, corporate HR teams and employers, especially those looking to reduce spend on traditional advertising or more expensive online marketing. While LinkedIn is still the number one online social network for professionals and recruiters, Facebook and Twitter now account for 54.6% and 44.8% of social recruiting. These figures cannot be ignored.
The Bandwagon Mantra: “If you can’t beat them, join them”
Most companies that have tried recruiting through Facebook and Twitter joined the trend for one or more of these reasons:
1. Cost Effectiveness
Both are free-to-use social websites so adding them to the marketing department’s portfolio is often seen as exposure for nothing. It is also just one more way that potential candidates can get in touch; those who may have not been reached before.
2. Next Door Does It
The competition has been seen recruiting (or trying to recruit) using these sites so it must work, right? The fear of getting left behind your competitors.
3. Trend Factor
Due to the popularity of both sites, it appears to be the in-thing to be seen as a company that uses social networks. Your company could therefore be seen as trendy and one that is in tune with the internet generation if you fire up some social pages.
These are of course all valid reasons for joining the social recruitment revolution but to be taken seriously as a recruitment team looking for new candidates or an organisation attempting to raise its profile or employer brand with the social media generation, the sites must be used correctly. Misuse of these sites can lead to a backlash of online comments from your target market and the danger of not just missing the goal of candidate attraction and free brand exposure, but you may end up damaging previous marketing efforts for your business.
What’s the Problem?
Unfortunately companies that use Facebook and Twitter to recruit staff for the sole reason that they think they should, or their competitors are trying it, are missing the chance of using these potentially very useful and extremely powerful online tools. Without the right planning and approach many companies end up with a poor online marketing strategy and they end up attracting the wrong type of candidates or visitors to their jobs or websites. Bad website traffic can be much more damaging than some recruiters think – job boards know this only too well. It really is about quality candidates rather than high traffic numbers.
How to Use Facebook and Twitter Effectively for Recruitment
In order to get the most out Facebook and Twitter, a correct strategy needs to be in place before the new group or fan page goes live. You need to create a social recruitment marketing plan, as with any other marketing strategy, whereby you identify which social networking websites are most effective and most consistent for the end goals you would like to achieve. Recruiting experienced lawyers through Facebook for example, is unlikely, but if you are an events agency looking for summer temp staff, the site could be perfect for you.
With your target market in mind, take an in-depth look at the strengths and weaknesses of each social networking site. Who are you targeting? What do you want them to do once you have their attention? What return can you expect from internal resource time spent on these sites plus any potential advertising spend? The research and review stage of the process is paramount as you may find these sites are no good for your business, allowing you to spend valuable marketing resources elsewhere.
Facebook currently has around one billion members worldwide, most of whom provide detailed demographic information about themselves, and in doing so, Facebook has the largest profiled human database in the world. The possibilities for recruitment are huge but the correct strategy needs to be in place.
Facebook offers pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allowing you to filter their global members and show your ads to only those you want to see them. This advertising option can be very effective in recruitment but doesn’t come cheap at between $1.00 and $2.50 per click. You can however drill right down to target people with particular job titles, those in specific towns or area codes and also by specific keywords such as qualifications or experience. Because of the effective filtering capabilities provided by Facebook, their PPC ads are much more targeted than those with search engines such as Google. A recruiter advertising with Facebook can reach their target market with a relatively low budget to trial this potential candidate resource and campaigns can be managed by setting budget and click limits.
Advertising aside, groups and company profiles are the most commonly used tool by recruiters and can be set up on easily and free of charge on Facebook. The site is much more versatile than Twitter, which only allows you to share 140-character messages. You can post photos, images, logos, status updates and links, and can use the page or group as a secondary portal to offer information to potential job candidates and as a way for directing them to your own company website.
Facebook also has great tools for widening your network:
• Tags – allowing you to tag people so your recruitment ad will also be posted on their timelines for their contacts to see
• Share – allowing other users to share your posts on their own timelines for their contacts to see
• Like – which builds up the equity and popularity of your posts
Since Facebook is more dynamic than Twitter, it requires more time and engagement from you in the first instance. Firstly, you need to spend time building up a fan base or as many contacts as you can reach. The more fans or likes you have on your page, the more weight your page will hold for other users. Secondly, you need to make your Facebook profile as interesting as possible so your contacts or fans will remember you and visit the page again.
Setting up a well-presented and interesting page or group requires time and effort with initial investment, as well as ongoing management to ensure the page remains up-to-date. However, since Facebook is currently free to use, internal costs ongoing can be kept low. Any initial investment in setting up the page or group will almost certainly provide you with a good source of candidates and a great platform to provide updates to your target market, if managed correctly.
Twitter has great potential as a social recruiting tool, mainly because it is easy to use, straight forward to manage and it provides instant communication for your target market so you can update them throughout the day with news, jobs or industry information in a simple and effective way.
As with Facebook, you need followers, so it is important to create an interesting Twitter feed with information that your target market will find useful enough to follow. Many recruiters use Twitter to simply tweet all of their job vacancies, which is not the most effective way to use this tool. It has been shown that candidates very seldom apply for jobs they see on Twitter and you are more likely to result in annoying your candidates or clients with constant job postings and lose them as followers altogether.
The best approach to using Twitter for your recruitment organisation is shown below in three stages:
1. Tweet only useful information such as industry updates, career articles, survey results, company news or industry news. In doing this, you are creating an interesting stream of information for your potential candidates or clients, which they can effectively sign up to and use to remain informed. The odd key job vacancy thrown in is fine but jobs should not be the bulk of your tweets. Don’t exceed 20-30% of your tweets as jobs.
2. Answer any questions or concerns that are directed to your company in good time and with appropriate, informed responses. In doing this, you will appear to be a professional and proactive organisation who can be relied on for information and answers. In turn, you will gain the trust of your audience.
3. You should aim to answer industry-related questions associated with your business or recruitment sectors found on other Twitter feeds. Join industry-related feeds, follow key companies in your sector and set up regular searches with industry keywords so you can answer candidate or client questions as they arise. In doing this, you will slowly enable your business to become a trusted authority within the industry and a trusted place for candidates to find jobs or clients to find candidates.
As with Facebook, if used correctly Twitter can be an extremely effective tool for recruitment but also requires regular resources to maintain and update, ensuring a constant stream of useful tweets for your followers.
Both social media sites should be used in accordance with a detailed online marketing strategy for any recruitment business or HR department. With the correct planning and execution, these could be two very effective candidate resources and employer brand platforms for your business.
Please get in touch with any questions or comments or if you would like to discuss your own social media strategy. Recruitment Marketing Group has created and managed numerous social media pages, groups and strategies for recruiters and recruitment teams, so we can assist with yours if required.