Using Social Media for Targeted Outreach: What You Should Know

Posted by Berkshire Associates on July 2 2015

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Social media, if used properly, can play an important role in targeted outreach.

For companies striving to find the top candidates in a diverse talent pool, the solution might be staring them in the face—through pixels of red, blue, and green. Social media has proven to be a valuable resource due to the wide array of people who log on to their preferred accounts each day. These sites aren’t just for the young anymore, either—increasingly, older generations use the tools to reconnect and stay in touch with friends and relatives.

HR professionals should take advantage of the insight social media sites can provide. But how can they reach out to specific demographics through these outlets? What techniques can they use to attract diverse talent effectively? Here are some of the things recruiters should be aware of when considering social media as a hiring tool.

“HR professionals should take advantage of the insight social media sites can provide.”

1. Different groups of people prefer different websites
Not all social media sites are home to the same cross section of users. Some groups prefer Facebook, while others swear by Twitter or Instagram. Though the reasons for this are more elusive, the data presents a clear landscape of where different folks spend their time. A study from the Pew Research Center laid the results out in certain terms.

For example, 33 percent of women use Pinterest compared to only 8 percent of men. Hispanics and African-Americans showed a greater affinity for Instagram than White Non-Hispanics. Meanwhile, everyone seems to be using Twitter more, but particularly men, those over 65, and those in households earning at least $50,000 a year. These aren’t all relevant data for a recruiter, but the Pew survey does show social media to be a diverse outlet with different demographic on different sites.

HR professionals should consider social media for their targeted outreach efforts.HR professionals should consider social media for their targeted outreach efforts.

2. Be mindful of your social media outreach practices
Using social media to find diverse applicants is one thing, but continuing to reference those candidates’ profiles by means of social media can be tricky. HR professionals may run into problems when they judge a candidate’s application based on personal matter communicated through a Facebook or Twitter account. There are instances where using social media in the background check can be okay, but HR teams must be cautious of what is allowed and what isn’t.

Additionally, social media will also inherently attract certain people—those with Internet access, those with a desire for social reach, and those of a certain personality type. But a lack of interest in social media shouldn’t disqualify a person for a position. That’s why social media should only be one component of a comprehensive outreach strategy.

3. Go to them and bring them to you
There are two ways to handle outreach: first, reaching out to specific candidates, and second, bringing the candidates to you. Together, the two should be enough to attract high-quality applicants to fill the necessary openings. Consistently updating a Facebook page or Twitter handle with job listings is a great way to keep recruits informed of new positions.

But HR professionals should also use LinkedIn and other networks to reach out to specific individuals deemed as ideal fits based on their résumés and attributes. This sort of targeted outreach was made for social networks.

Ultimately, recruiters can use social media to reach a broader audience, but they must devise a strategy beforehand. In addition, social media alone is likely not enough to reach a critical mass when it comes to diverse candidates. To that end, an applicant tracking application can help HR professionals determine how effective their outreach has been and where they need to focus their efforts. Nevertheless, social media sites can be a valuable resource—if nothing else, a great place to start.

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Tags: Applicant Tracking, Recruitment Process, Diversity, HR and Social Media