A smiling woman in a red sweater uses a smartphone. The woman has blonde hair that hangs over one shoulder.
You can recruit through social media both actively, by directly engaging with potential candidates, and passively, by advertising your company's brand. — Getty Images/Luis Alvarez

Social media is an invaluable marketing tool. But beyond that, social media websites have also become integral to the job market. Over 95% of companies today are using social media for recruiting. Likewise, more than 70% of 18–34-year-olds found their last job through social media.

There are multiple strategies small business owners can use to make the most of social media in their next hiring drive. If you’re new to using social media as a recruiting tool, here’s where to start.

Two approaches to social recruiting

Social media can take both an active and a passive role in your next recruiting campaign. An active approach involves reaching out to candidates directly on LinkedIn, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), or any other social media channel that your ideal candidate might use. Likewise, an active approach could include posting job ads, asking for referrals, or collecting resumes. Facebook, for instance, allows businesses to post jobs and accept resumes on its platform, as well as use Messenger to contact applicants and schedule interviews.

A passive approach to social media recruiting is equally powerful. It involves a form of employer marketing: using social media to build your employer brand and communicate the company culture to a broad, diverse pipeline of candidates. Employer branding is a smart way to share content with those who may not be looking for a job now but will be in the future.

In addition, managers can check social media to learn more about a candidate during the hiring process. Harvard Business Review reports that 70% of employers check applicants’ social media profiles during the screening process. These profiles can add another dimension to a candidate outside of their resume or cover letter.

[Read more: 5 Tips for Using Social Media to Recruit Employees]

The active approach: using social media to find your next candidate

The simplest way to use social media for recruiting is to promote open positions on your company pages. You can do this for free by posting a link to the application page and reaching out to specific individuals, or you can start a paid promotion to solicit a broader candidate pool. “Some social media platforms have advanced tools that allow recruiters to search for specific certifications or training,” wrote Indeed. “Features like paid advertisements or skill targeting can help recruiters find the most qualified candidates.”

Social media is where your employer brand comes to life.

Promote your open position on pages where the audience matches your ideal candidate profile. For instance, if you’re looking for a graphic designer, consider advertising on visual channels like Instagram or Pinterest. Tailor your post to the social media site you use, too: use hashtags on X and high-quality video on Instagram and YouTube.

Employee referrals are also a great way to use your social media for recruiting. Social media content shared by employees gets eight times more engagement than posts shared on your company pages. A robust social media recruiting strategy can benefit from a formal employee referral program that rewards your existing high performers for bringing in similarly motivated and qualified candidates.

The passive approach: using social media to build your brand

Consider this: company culture attracts the top 20% of candidates. And 75% of active job seekers will be more likely to apply to jobs at companies that actively manage their employer brand.

Employer branding is nearly as important as consumer branding, especially for growing companies. Social media is where your employer brand comes to life. Regularly posting content about life at your business can help encourage more applicants when an open position is posted.

Develop a content strategy that consistently communicates what makes working for your brand unique. “By showcasing employee stories, team events and other company culture touchpoints through written, audio or visual content, you give candidates a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what they can look forward to should they join your team,” wrote Sprout Social.

Likewise, respond to comments, questions, and direct messages on your social media platforms to show that you’re engaged with your audience (and potential new hires). Regular engagement builds trust with your followers and can make them more likely to apply when the time comes to grow your team.

[Read more: 10 Unique and Creative Ways Businesses Are Recruiting Right Now]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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