Have you ever been hungry, and stopped in to the grocery store without a list? You come out of the store two hours later and chances are you spent more than you should have. Social media can be the same way. It is fun and engaging for a recruiter that is hungry to make more connections. But jump in to social recruiting without a plan, and you may find yourself over-indulging and wasting time. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have a strong plan of action and specific goals identified before you begin social networking. Social networks will only enhance your recruiting if they make you more productive. I think most would agree that social media is something you can no longer afford to ignore, but if it leads to procrastination or becomes a distraction from your primary business goals, that can be a problem. Like anything else, it will require good time management. As you build your plan, start by asking yourself the primary questions:
Who are you trying to reach?
This might be current customers, new clients, or candidates. Perhaps you are more interested in accessing thought leaders that can give you quick feedback on subjects you might otherwise spend more time researching. All of these are valid targets. Determine which are most important to you and how much time you are willing to spend on each.
What will you post?
The key here is variety. Remember, you don’t have to have original content for every post and every post does not have to be completely geared at closing a customer. Share things from the web that your audience might find funny or compelling. It is good to bring a little bit of your personality in to your social media posting, just remember to keep within professional boundaries. I also highly recommend posting your job orders on the big three. It is free advertising. Why wouldn't you take advantage of it?
I understand that this could become time consuming. You may want to look at a job distribution site for all of your job posting. Sites like REKRUTR for example, will automatically take one post and distribute it to your news feeds on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook when it posts to our job board partners and media.
When will you post?
This will be a two part answer. First; you need to plan when you will accomplish this in your day. Set limits for how long you will spend. Define a stop time. Some people are very inclined to block out one specific time each day to be on social media. I recommend you block out small time slots between major tasks instead. This takes some discipline, but you will be able to reach a wider audience this way. Use the method that works best for you, but define how long you will spend at any given time on this task and stop when the time you have allotted is up. Set an alarm if you need to, but don’t get sucked into activity that interferes with time you have scheduled for marketing calls, or reference checks, etc.
Second; you need to consider what time of day is the best time to reach your audience. Shea Bennett had a great post on “All Twitter” in December on this subject. Check that out before you get started here.
Where will you post?
Will you start with just one network, or try a few and see which brings you the most benefit? Besides the big 3 networks, there are sites like Google+, YouTube, Tumblr, and more that you may find useful. Decide in advance where to spend your social recruiting efforts so you don’t waste time. You can always change this as you recognize which gives you the most benefit.
How will you accomplish your goals?
Once you have your goals in mind, you need to plan how you will make them happen. If you are very ambitious, you may want to look at a tool to help manage social media. If you find manually posting to every site cumbersome , look for technology to make it easier. Like job distribution networks, social marketing management tools are out there. Most are free or have nominal costs. I do most of my posting manually because I am sort of a control freak. I have been known to use Buffer occasionally.
Time management benefits everyone when it comes to social media. Build your plan of action. Stick to your goals. Monitor your results. You will find these tools make it less overwhelming. Every social medium will not work for every recruiter. If one seems to suck too much of your time, try something else. If you are a rookie, you might try mastering one social network before you try to take on three.
If you have mastered time management for social recruiting, have you found yourself spending too much of your day on social networks in the beginning? Do you use a social media plan?
Amy McDonald has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. She currently is the President and CEO at REKRUTR.com