Much like parenting, there’s no playbook for perfecting your social media routine. Many companies that are very successful on social platforms today began their social media presence with a lot of trial and error—and made many mistakes along the way. Luckily, you can learn from the lessons of these early social pioneers and refine your own strategies to grow a community of engaged job seekers who believe in your organization’s mission and values.
We’ve compiled a list of social media best practices that will help you cultivate dedicated relationships and expand your pool of interested candidates.
1. Create a content calendar.
Planning and developing a larger strategy for your social media content may seem like a lot of work upfront , but in the long run, a social media content calendar will keep you organized, save you a great deal of time and headaches, help you more effectively grow your online community, and increase your reach to candidates interested in what you have to offer.
Plan for content that aligns to your greater marketing, sales, and hiring strategies. Consider each platform separately. Every social media platform has its own nuances within the overarching best practices of social media. Take some time to research these, and consider who your audience is on each of the platforms you either already have a presence on or wish to use.
Perhaps Twitter is a gold mine of industry professionals for you to reach through niche content—or maybe your audience is extremely receptive to thought leadership-focused promoted posts on Instagram. Discovering the types of content your audience wants on each platform might take a bit of trial and error to discover, and that’s okay—your continued efforts will be worth it. You don’t need to reach every potential candidate with your messages; you just need to reach the right ones.
2. Use the right tools.
Employing social media management tools can help your organization save time by creating content, scheduling and posting it for you at optimal times, and ensuring that you’re sharing information at a consistent cadence. Social media tools can also measure your reach and successes, whether you’re a one-person show or have a robust internal team immersed in your social strategy. They can provide insights on which days and times particular demographics are using various social media tools, so you can gear the right content to them at the right times.
These tools can also gauge the level of interaction with your content to help you determine whether you’re reaching your target audience of potential and current candidates. A series of posts targeted to new graduates with IT degrees, for instance, may be falling flat; the right tools will help you see this early on and refocus your efforts for increased success.
3. Be responsive.
In-person relationships are never satisfactory if only one party is doing the work to cultivate them—and one-sided social media relationships are no different. No one appreciates feeling like they’re shouting down an empty tunnel. Your social media platforms are an opportunity to expand your relationships with prospective and current candidates, rather than solely broadcasting information or talking about your accomplishments while ignoring incoming feedback. It’s important to engage with people who engage with you and, when appropriate, to proactively reach out to others, too. Be respectful of your peers in the industry, and promote content from other sources that will benefit your audience. For candidates, this content could include industry insights and tips from thought leaders and other experts.
4. Strive for consistency.
The frequency with which you post content and engage with candidates on social media should be consistent within each platform you use. On Twitter, for example, content is posted rapidly and reactions are often just as instantaneous—so you’ll likely want to post more frequently to reach more people. The same goes for Instagram or Facebook Stories, which capture more of an ongoing “live” feel. Those platforms’ regular feeds, however, can be more spaced out. This kind of consistency creates a rhythm that satisfies your followers’ expectations, a cohesive social strategy internally, and makes it easier for employees to share content and act as brand ambassadors for your organization.
5. Play to your strengths.
Authenticity is an essential element of a successful social media presence. Being authentic will help candidates see you as credible and relatable.
Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, or portraying an image of something you’re not, brainstorm your biggest differentiators as a company. What sets you apart? Why do candidates want to come work for you? What makes your people want to wake up and go to work every day? What are your values as an organization, and how do you live those out on a daily basis? These answers will help you focus on your strengths and highlight your unique attributes—and you’ll naturally attract candidates whose values align with yours.
6. Get leadership on board.
Getting members of your leadership team to sign on and participate on your social media channels helps your company display a more human side, makes people feel heard, and lends expertise and credibility to the topics you share. Getting leadership on social media is also a great way to get in front of candidates who want to work for your company, and for them to see a face behind the brand and peek at the “inner workings” of the company and its goals and direction.
Remember, you don’t need to have a presence on every platform. Quality trumps quantity: be on the platforms that make sense for your business, and put 100 percent into those. Also keep in mind that while best practices will give you guidance and help you devise a cohesive strategy, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for social media. You have to find what’s right for your organization, people, and culture—and sometimes, like with parenting and many other things in life, you just have to dive in.