Social Recruiting Isn’t An Island: How To Leverage Your Influencers

There’s a common saying that no man is an island, and social recruiting isn’t any different. An organization’s social recruiting efforts are most successful when amplified by a community, rather than in complete isolation. Identifying and leveraging your influencers can be a creative solution to help support your organic social recruiting efforts. Here are a few tips to help you identify and engage your Influencers who will amplify your message with your target audience.

Conduct Research

As with any sound marketing strategy, it’s best to start with research. If not already defined, start by outlining who your target candidates are through cultural research. This can help you determine where to start looking for your social influencers.

There are many tools out there to help you identify who your biggest influencers are, which can be an important component of your research. However, for social recruiting, sometimes the most impactful group of influencers to examine is your own employees. Employees have first-hand knowledge of the ins and outs of your organization—and authentic content tends to perform best. If your organization has an employee hashtag, like the “#IBMer” hashtag we use at IBM, take a look at some of the top contributors with high levels of engagement. It’s impactful to embrace the existing influencers in addition to finding new ones.

Some influencers may not have a lot of followers, but that’s okay. Engagement and alignment to your target audience are more important than quantity of followers. You’d rather have your message resonate with a smaller, targeted group than be ignored by a large group of people who aren’t interested in your content.

How to nurture your employees to be influencers

Knowing that employees make great influencers for your recruitment efforts, it’s beneficial to ensure your employees are comfortable speaking about your organization publicly in a positive manner. Social media policies and guidelines often include only a list of do’s and don’ts, which can make employees too scared to participate at all. In addition to the list of what isn’t acceptable, consider including preferred real-life examples of employees sharing on social media.

Hashtags specifically created for the use of employees is another way to encourage your employees to be active on social to promote your company. Take for example #LifeatKohls, #HootsuiteLife, or #InsideZappos. Those individuals who are active socially and are excited about your company will naturally surface as potential candidates for becoming an impactful social influencer.

Last, be sure you provide positive reinforcement for those employees who are sharing your ideal content by engaging with their posts, i.e. liking, retweeting, sharing, etc. And, of course, continue to build deeper relationships with them.

How to build relationships with existing influencers

Brainstorm unique ways to strengthen each influencer relationship on social. Make introductions, if needed. If one of your high performers is already active on social, it might be appropriate to ask him/her to write a guest entry for your blog, or perhaps, to feature him/her on your account. Or if a job board for a specific geography or industry was identified from your research as a key influencer, work with the individuals managing it to give them a heads up on new positions of interest to that community. Regardless of the approach, be sure that it is not just one-sided—those that are mutually beneficial will be most successful. In addition, be sure that the influencer has creative freedom of their message to ensure authenticity.

Build your community based on authenticity

Regardless of how or who you approach, remember that relationships on social aren’t that different from real life—fake or forced relationships that are not based on common values or interests will fizzle out. Find and nurture the people who align with your brand to obtain the biggest impact for your organization.

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