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Why these 5 actions are crucial to social media in HR

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A company without social media in its HR department is a company that’s falling behind. Nearly 95% of employers use or intend to use social media for recruiting, and Gen Zers keep current with an average of seven social media profiles each. Social HR is exploding -- and evolving -- and HR executives need to join in. Here’s what matters:

Employ several social media platforms

Start with a solid HR social media strategythat coordinates across various objectives -- not just your recruiting and other HR goals, but the marketing department’s, too, because a solid company mission attracts both customers and employees.

Having a half-baked LinkedIn profile or no brand page on various social media sites leaves your company lacking. Leave no social media platform unclicked in your effort to determine which ones can play the right role in your master plan. Don’t just turn to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook -- they’re important but old school.

Consider everything from Instagram and Snapchat to TikTok and Reddit. Don’t forget YouTube and other video social media sites, because in another two years, videos will make up 82% of online traffic. “Think about where your brand can shine best,” Brent Barnhart advises on Sprout Social.

More than 80% of companies get applicants via social media and find they’re about 50% better than traditionally acquired candidates. So why can’t you just put together a campaign for recruiting and forget the rest of social HR? Because applicants aren’t looking to work in the HR department; they’re seeking a great fit in the company as a whole. And social media and human resources are the perfect combination to aid employee retention.

Capitalize on creativity

Don’t put the same material up on every platform without tweaking it appropriately. Your HR strategy should spell out how you’ll tie your efforts together, with a different focus on each, the way Home Depot connects its recruiting efforts via social HR. Make sure your company mission is evident on all, and use social media to showcase your company’s diversity, like UPS does.

Stand out with videos, such as the Microsoft Life Facebook jobs page that presents periodic interviews with recruiters (recorded and made available for others, too). General Mills has dedicated job pages on YouTube and LinkedIn that reach different audiences and provide different functions. Headspace uses YouTube as well.

Approachability is a key to successful HR social media strategies; staid will leave you stuck in the mud.

Engage your audiences

Never lose sight of this: A company doesn’t exist without the people who work there, and happy colleagues make for a better, more productive and more enticing company. That’s why you need internal and external HR social media, so you can strive for employee engagement and job-seeker engagement.

Read through HR news, such as SmartBrief on Workforce to find ways to improve the internal company culture -- and keep improving it. SmartBrief on Workforce Editor Kanoe Namahoe queried readers of four key leadership newsletters and learned that they’re committed to healthy workplaces achieved through nurturing a positive culture. “They know that the success of their business depends on the buy-in of their work teams and they’re dedicated to making that happen,” she reports.

As you develop or enhance a good company culture, your employees will want to engage with one another and brag about their employer and colleagues. Use social technologies, so they can easily communicate across the organizational chart, and ask all company leaders to help it along by responding or creating their own organic posts.

Health Editor Melissa Turner at SmartBrief uses the company’s general editorial Slack channel to periodically tout individual team members’ accomplishments by sharing a particularly challenging newsletter they’ve produced. The Marriott Careers Instagram page, designed for both employees and potential employees, features real workers sharing advice, answering questions and more. Salesforce does something similar on Instagram.

Dell, Taco Bell and Microsoft frequently get nods for how well they highlight their employees and how employees highlight their companies -- again, internally and externally -- in friendly, non intimidating ways. Employees should participate because they love their jobs and want to, not because a higher-up has not-so-subtly twisted their arms.

Metrics are important for determining whether your social HR engagement efforts are working, but what’s important is changing, especially in the age of paid-for followers and bots. Now, metrics are less about followers and likes and more about getting people to join the conversation.

Commit to responsiveness

Conversation needs to be a two-way street. HR professionals play a big role in that. While a clever Twitter account might be #goals, an account that doesn’t leave people hanging is crucial. For a recruiting social HR account, reach out to candidates who make comments or leave questions, but be genuine and original.

“Don’t copy and paste the same message to everyone you try to connect with. Instead mention what about the candidate caught your attention and makes you think they would be a good fit for your company,” RecruiterBox suggests.

Be aware that personalized, direct-message conversation -- rather than public ones -- are becoming more important as direct messaging starts to overtake social media posts, according to Pew Research. And as Bailey Reiners of Built In says, “You’ll also stand out as a company that takes the time to make personal connections with candidates.

Promise to be passionate

The HR social media landscape -- and the HR software, social tools and AI that can make your job easier -- change at the speed of light. Develop a passion for the process, continually reading HR news to stay on top of trends, and be ready to move with -- or, ideally, ahead of -- the tide.

Learn about niche networks that can lead you away from the mainstream noise if you want to highlight your company in a more specific sector. Find out what’s new on all the platforms. And watch your HR strategy thrive.

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Diane Benson Harrington is a writer and copy editor for SmartBrief. As a freelancer, she has covered various industries. Connect with her on LinkedIn.