Sunday, July 16, 2017

Crafting A Social Media Strategy For Talent Acquisition.

Why do you rob banks? Because that’s where the money is.”  Willie Sutton

There are many good reasons to employ a social media strategy to support a talent acquisition program.  Although the above-referenced quote attributed to Willie Sutton is in dispute, he would understand this opportunity, as social media is where the people are.  A lot of people are engaged on social media platforms, many of whom are searching for new career opportunities.   This is especially true for LinkedIn.  It is common to see messages from my LinkedIn network announcing job openings within their companies. Sometimes these messages appear to be coordinated through Human Resources, other times not so much.   Likewise, job seekers are using LinkedIn to get their message out.  Other social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter offer opportunities for recruiting activities as well.  However, the most compelling reasons may be to maintain control of one’s brand message and competitive advantage.

In many ways, brands have little choice but to use social media for recruiting and selection purposes.
Their employees are already engaged over various platforms, especially LinkedIn, representing the brand one way or another without supervision or direction.  Furthermore, the competition is probably using social media to recruit their employees.  There is competitive pressure for employers to be active on social media to achieve their recruiting goals.

If a company decides to engage in the use of social media to support its talent acquisition program, developing a well-defined strategy is in order.  The place to begin is by establishing a clear understanding of the demographic composition of the target market, prospective employees.  Management must understand its audience and their career interests.  What are their needs?  What is the company’s value proposition?  Does it resonate with the target audience? What is the protocol for developing relationships?  This information will help you determine which social media platforms would yield the most favorable results.   The next step is to dedicate resources to execute the strategy.  The financial budget must support the recruiting goals for the organization.  It would be wise to assemble a cross-functional team with representation from HR, Sales and Marketing, and social media experts.  The plan must have a long term component, for branding, and an immediate component for current staffing needs.  The brand’s involvement must be continuous

A social media strategy should be implemented with care.  Social media platforms are highly visible and can be incredibly powerful, however, there is a downside risk to be acknowledged. Once involved, the brand becomes open to criticism and potential controversy.    Becoming politically active is an obvious risk which has the potential to alienate customers and potential employees.  Even an association with certain causes or charitable programs may be problematic.  Active participation on social media can be an opening for criticism of the companies activities so caution is recommended.

When a brand has established a viable social media strategy that is properly resourced, the team can formulate a plan to generate followers and keep them engaged.  Some obvious ways to engage prospective employees may include:
  • Company news: new products, promotions, new technology, etc.
  • Industry news: what’s going on in the industry and how the company is adapting.
  • Employee news: promotions, new corporate initiatives, training programs, benefits, other kinds of recognition.
  • Messages from key executives about the health of the company and prospects for the future.
The whole point of a social media strategy is to engage customers who will purchase the company’s goods and services and potential employees who may want to join the team.   The messages should be compelling enough to capture the interest of the followers.  They must be posted with regular frequency to keep the followers engaged.  

It is important to remember that using social media to support a talent acquisition strategy is a component of an overall recruiting strategy.  It is another method of sourcing and engaging potential employees.  Using Social Media is not a substitute for all other recruiting programs.  All of the rules for effective recruiting and selection still apply.    

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Jim Weber, President

New Century Dynamics Executive Search
Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal

Current Assignments
1. COO- Atlanta-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - New
3. Director of Biz Dev, Atlanta-based B2B Professional Services Company:    Completed
4. Payroll-Benefits Manager, Atlanta-based Retail Company:  Complete
5. Senior Accounting Manager – Atlanta-based Manufacturer. Complete
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