The average American spends approximately three hours a day on social media. In fact, you probably found your way to this blog through a link on your newsfeed. Besides being a source for entertainment and news, social media can be a great addition to your recruitment toolbelt.

What is Social Media?

Social platforms can be used across various devices, such as LinkedIn. Other platforms are mobile or tablet exclusive, such as Snapchat. What they all have in common is that they are interactive platforms. The primary interactions? The creation and sharing of user created content where users consist of individuals, communities, and most importantly for recruiting – organizations.

Where Can you Recruit?

You’re probably already using job boards like Monster or Indeed, and maybe you’re using more interactive sites like LinkedIn. However, if you aren’t using other social media then you’re not reaching your full recruitment potential. The list of social media is vast (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.,) and so is the candidate pool you’re not reaching.

Why Should You Utilize Social Media?

There are currently approximately 5.5 million unfilled jobs, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor. This number is the highest it’s been at any time in the last ten years. This means that on average it is taking companies 27 days to fill their positions. These numbers represent a real monetary value to organizations.

Other than your product, the only thing more critical to your bottom line is your people. When asked about this bottom line, 48% of CEOs indicated that inefficient recruiting led to monetary losses. Only 5% of those CEOs felt that their recruitment strategy was top notch or innovative.

Now we have a situation where companies have empty seats they can’t fill and recruiters are searching for answers.

By using social media to recruit you can reach the passive candidate. No, being passive isn’t a dirty word. A whopping 75% of potential candidates are not actively searching for, but would consider, a new job. Imagine how tapping into that market could invigorate your applicant pool.

Who Are You Reaching?

The numbers may surprise you. From a monthly perspective, Facebook has a usage of approximately 1.79 billion people, 600 million use Instagram, and 313 million use Twitter.

The potential scope of applicants is broader than you may think as well. Yes, social media is a great tool to reach much of the labor force, as millennials are huge consumers. However, of the 150 million daily Snapchat users, only 30% are millennials. On top of that, 40% of daily Snapchat users and 15% of monthly Facebook users are based in the US or Canada. Take a moment and think of the international opportunities social media can provide as companies become increasingly global.

We’re not just talking about entry level applicants either. In a survey conducted by SHRM, companies reported recruiting 87% of their non-management/salaried and 55% of the non-management/hourly employees via social media. Perhaps a more interesting number – they also reported recruiting 82% of their management and 45% of their upper management through social media.

When Should You Post?

There is a strategy to when you post content on social media. To garner the most attention, there are some basic guidelines to follow. For example, Facebook posts tend to have the most traffic from 1-4pm, whereas LinkedIn’s traffic is highest from 7-9am and 5-6pm.

Of course, this may vary based on your industry and the social media you are using, so the key to success is using these guidelines as a jumping off point to see what works best for your company.

Bonus! How

Now that I have, hopefully, convinced you of the merits of social media you’re probably asking yourself “How can I leverage this?” Great question.

There is no perfect answer to how to use social media. It is going to require customization for your company, your target audience and your current needs. However, do not despair because there are a few key tricks that can assist no matter your strategy.

  1. Use branded hashtags (#jobs, #jobhunt, etc.). Hash tagging is a way that people can search for jobs or companies. By using consistently branded hashtags, an applicant who sees one post by your company can easily locate other content you’ve created. However, it is key to not use hashtags alone to reach your intended audience.
  2. Use social media for more than just openings! Post content on various social networks that helps establish your company culture and values. Do you have external or internal events? Tweet them, create a Facebook event, hashtag the pictures on Instagram. You can even engage your current employees by allowing them to use their social media to promote the positive aspects of your company and their own work.
  3. Be consistent. Ensure that the content your company shares is genuinely representative of what the culture is like and you will attract the appropriate talent. Establishing a social media presence is only going to be successful if you don’t catfish your candidates.

Social media is a relatively low cost, effective way to give new life to your applicant pool. Make your content digestible and easy to share and you can easily expect to see a 30%-50% increase in applications.