By Jessica Miller-Merrell

As technology continues to improve all around us, one of the most significant effects it has on us is its ability to save us time. The way we use social media in recruiting is no exception to this trend, allowing us to source better and quicker than we have ever been able to. In fact, The Aberdeen Group’s study, “Getting Social About Sourcing,” revealed that companies that use social recruiting hire an average of 2.5 times quicker than those that don’t. Their cost per hire also decreases dramatically, which no doubt is due in part to the man-hours saved with each hire.
While most of us are probably using some sort of social recruiting, for the most part strategies tend to be lacking in focus and commitment. However, by using many aspects of social recruiting to develop a strategy, we can be more effective in our efforts.
Social listening
You probably know by now that social success comes from creating conversations and talking with, not at, candidates. But what you may not know is that much of the success is shaped before the conversation ever takes place. It begins with listening to the conversations all around you on social networks. What are people saying and asking about? What are other companies touting and what are people responding to? Social listening will also allow you to periodically check in on your efforts by evaluating whether or not you are ahead of your competition, if anyone is talking about you out there and of course, what’s working and what’s not. A little time spent listening could save you a lot of time because it gives you the data you need to know when your techniques need to be tweaked.
Job feeds
Some companies choose to utilize their social networks to create a social job feed. This is one of the most basic uses of social recruiting and is typically a company’s first step in making use of the tools they have available. The advantage of this type of job feed over  a job board or your careers page is that candidates have access to the most up-to-date postings and can even ask questions. Others can also share the postings through social, increasing your reach.
Social recruiting
While we’ve been talking about the overall term social recruiting throughout this article, the social recruiting I’m referring to here is the day-to-day social recruiting that has replaced much of the face-to-face recruiting we used to do. This is the grass roots recruiting that we’ve come to know and love, in digital form.
Sourcing
All too often we see short-lived, spray-and-pray strategies that are a gamble at best. In order to truly use social recruiting in a strategic way, you need to view it not only as another candidate source in which to fill single positions and job openings but also as a candidate pipeline source. This candidate pipeline should be powered by your social recruiting but candidate relationships should be fostered through a talent community that you direct them to and you manage.  
Employment branding
The opportunity to flex your employment brand across your social platforms is one of the best things about social recruiting. This also gives you the chance to leverage both the parts of your employment brand that you own (talent network, design, etc.) and the parts you don’t have control over but can benefit from (what people are saying about you, employee brand ambassadors, etc.). All of these pieces can come together to create a well-rounded image of your company that candidates can learn about through your social channels. 

 Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

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