For the past several years, social media engagement and recruiting have been gaining steam with agency recruiters. Recruiters and head hunters have learned that, to get the best possible candidates for their clients, they need to get creative. On the flip side, they also know that in order to gain new business, build their companies' brands (and their own personal brands), they need to find unique ways to penetrate very competitive markets.
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This is why it's important to incorporate some form of social media engagement into your recruiting and business development efforts.
Social Media: A Massive Source of Clients and Candidates
In the United States alone, there are 65 million Twitter users, 162.9 million Facebook users, and 122 million LinkedIn users. That's huge! Those numbers represent a massive pipeline of potential candidates you can recruit.
Similarly, these places are also fantastic for sourcing new clients. Most companies in the U.S. and around the world are on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Attached to those companies are contacts that you may be able to turn into clients of your recruiting business.
Social media provides you with a direct line to individuals on a personal basis. Sure, you can make phone calls to potential clients – and I encourage that – but how many times have you, as a recruiter, had to call five different people just to find that one contact who will actually be useful? Exactly. Networking through social media outlets, on the other hand, will connect you with important contacts directly.
The same is true on the candidate side of things. Throughout, my career I've done my fair share of cold-calling directly to get to a candidate I need to speak with. Done right, this method can pay off – but not always. Many candidates are not keen on cold calls. Finding them on LinkedIn or Twitter can be much more effective.
To be clear, I'm not saying you should never pick up the phone when it comes to sourcing candidates or new clients. If you're a recruiter and rarely pick up the phone, then you're probably in the wrong line of work. It's just that social media can often be a critical first step before you make the call.
How to Engage With Clients and Candidates
So, how do you engage with potential clients or candidates on social media? It's simple, really.
First, make sure you have a fully developed LinkedIn profile. This is where many candidates and potential clients will turn to learn more about you when you reach out. Your LinkedIn profile should tell candidates and clients about the job functions you cover, the roles you have filled, and your past experiences. Remember: You're representing both your personal brand and your company's brand here.
I also recommend utilizing the publishing feature on LinkedIn to publish interesting content. This content will come up when candidates and clients search for you – and it will also gain you more followers, who can be great sources for leads. The more you publish, the more potential candidates and clients will view you as someone they want to partner with. Your activity will prove you have your finger on the pulse of the market.
It's also a good idea to publish jobs you are working on, adding hashtags such as #jobs, #marketingjobs, #accountant, etc. These hashtags make it easy for people to search for and find your open jobs.
The same principles apply to Twitter and Facebook, too. Both platforms are great when it comes to hashtagging – especially Twitter.
You should also use social media to research the companies, candidates, and clients you want to target. Reach out to them via InMail or direct message to introduce yourself and what you do. You can reference similar jobs you are working on that match openings a potential client has or a position a candidate holds, send a link to your publications, and more. It's all about demonstrating how you can be a source of value.
The more you interact with people on social media, the more engagement you are going to have with candidates and clients alike. So get out there and get social!