Using social media as part of your talent acquisition strategy can yield benefits for your business, including enhanced productivity and efficiency. So what is social media recruiting and how can you create and execute a strategy for your organization?

Traditional recruiting methods aim to communicate your corporate value and build relationships in order to find top talent. The emergence of new technology tools over the past several years, including the widespread acceptance of social media platforms, has provided a way to increase the focus of traditional recruiting efforts and, as a result, their effectiveness.

Social media recruiting can help you and your talent acquisition partners cast a wide but focused net to identify highly qualified candidates for your organization.

In our business, we have found that by analyzing certain metrics within our social networks, we can connect with a larger group of executives and work more effectively with our own internal team, business partners and external referral sources. Social media recruiting enables us to better control our message and our clients’ messages. Plus, the technology allows us to operate faster with greater focus and cost effectiveness.

The use of social media as part of your company’s recruiting efforts should begin with an organization-wide commitment to the process to ensure a continuity of contact. Without a consistent, repetitive effort, you will lose momentum. Focus your efforts on furthering your brand identity and enhancing the employment brand, and ensure everyone understands how to communicate the value proposition of working at your organization to potential employees.

This value proposition needs to be initiated by the executive team, seasoned by the human resources leaders and finalized and crystallized by your marketing and communications leaders. This, in turn, becomes the message that is pushed out to referral sources, colleagues, co-workers, suppliers, clients, etc. through sources liked LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. It is critical these messages are not only consistent but also accurate. Promising and not delivering will result in negative branding in the employment marketplace, leading referral sources to feel less comfortable with helping you acquire talent in the future. Allow the outside world to see into your organization and, when possible, interact through direct contact, blogs, responses to messages sent through social media platforms, etc. While this level of transparency can often be intimidating, if the entire team understands, values and, most importantly, embodies the message being pushed out via social media, your ability to  build continuous candidate momentum toward your organization will grow virally.

As part of the process, be sure you have a thorough understanding of who the best potential candidates for your organization are, what social media tools they use and how to tap into that population. Start by asking for input from your employees, referral sources, vendors and customers. Listen objectively to what they tell you; try not to let your own perceptions of your employment brand cloud the issue. This input will help you determine to whom you should be communicating and through which media.

After the initial launch, your focus should turn toward sustaining momentum. This involves consistency of contact, consistency of message and, most importantly, delivering on your message. A social media recruiting initiative requires a champion; it cannot be an on-again, off-again effort. Just as with any business strategy, you need to thoroughly plan, define benchmarks along the way and execute. Measure results and make adjustments where necessary. When all of the elements come together—a well-defined message, communicated to the right audience regularly and consistently, followed by delivering on that message—the result will be a steady building of your company’s reputation and a focused channel of potential candidates eager to join your organization.

Adam Berman can be reached at 215-441-4600, or Email.