What Social Media Sites Are the Best Way to Engage College Students and Recent Grads?

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Chances are you are sitting down evaluating your year end strategy with regard go recruiting, specifically your college and campus recruiting and hiring efforts. As a talent acquisition leader, you are taking stock of your last year while evaluating options to consider in the new year. 

How to Reach College Students and Recent Grads with Social Media

Outside of a series of recurring campus visits, the best way to reach and engage your college students is with social media. You’re exploring options with your team discussing how best to engage your future talent pool. You know they’re mobile savvy social media users, but what is the best use of your time and social media efforts to engage, resonate and reach the most qualified talent in different places. 

What’s the Most “In” Social Network for Students and College Graduates

The 2016 Spring Piper Jaffray study “Taking Stock With Teens” polled about 6,500 U.S. teens to see what they felt was the most important social network. The answers may or may not surprise you:

  • Snapchat stole the show with 28% of votes
  • Third and fourth place was awarded to Twitter and Facebook

There was no mention of LinkedIn in Piper Jaffray’s report. In fact, LinkedIn only infiltrates 27% percent of the U.S. population. This is hard reality for most recruiters when you consider their go to social network to source, message and engage candidates is LinkedIn. The move away from LinkedIn isn’t just a cultural change but a fundamental shift in how recruiters have been recruit talent. It’s part of our DNA and has been for nearly the last 10 years.

Question is how should you best source, message and engage candidates on these platforms? If you are ready to enter into digital recruiting waters using these social networks in new ways, I’m willing to share four tactics in how to best reach them.

Make Them “Heart” You

If you want to gain this crowd as Instagram or Snapchat followers, you’ve got to give them a reason to “heart”, like and follow you.  Whatever medium you choose, it’s important to think the box and share photos, videos, content and resources that are clever, funny, touching (such as from a community service effort) and interesting. Be sure to use hashtags on sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook that will help potential candidates find you with the goal of driving them directly to your talent network or specific openings.

Keep It Real

It can be tough to strike the right balance between corporate and fun or branded and candid, but finding it is key. This generation wants authenticity, and your company’s career social media accounts is the perfect place to gibe it to them. Stay true to your company culture and help them understand who you are as an organization through images.

Make Yourself Available

Many recruiters don’t necessarily see social networks as a two-way communication tool, but I’m here to remind you that it’s not about how you use them but your target candidate audience which are interns, students and the college grad community. Rather than just posting photos, auto posting tweets and occasionally responding to comments, use your social media accounts like Instagram to source candidates by searching hashtags and commenting on photos when it makes sense. You can also direct message on Instagram as well as Snapchat and get the conversation started. While it’s not the most convenient place for conversations to take place, the end goal is to get them connected to your talent network, so you may want to think of Instagram simply as a starting point. Of course, you should always respond to comments on your pictures and even solicit questions or direct messages.

Involve Your Employees Beyond Talent Acquisition

To really extend and scale your social engagement efforts on social media, it starts with taking a huge leap of faith and tapping into an existing community of raving fans and brand ambassadors. I’m talking about your employees. You can accomplish this by encouraging employees to share their experiences on social media with their organization that are raw and in real time. The most common way is to associate company employer brand campaigns with hashtags like #lifewithyourcompanyname and #companynamelife. You pick the hashtag, market and educate your employee population or perhaps a smaller brand ambassador community of them to get out there and start sharing.

A move like this is scary. There’s not just safety in numbers but the ability to scale and expand your reach improves if you collectively relinquish control and let employees share not just your suggested content and information but allow them to personalize the message to their unique and specific audience. A move like this requires a leap of faith as business leaders believe they are giving up creative control of their employment brand and recruiting message. What they don’t know and it’s your job to share with them, is that they never really had control. The employees and your candidates regardless of social media have always been in control of the narrative. At least now with social media, you have physical evidence and not hearsay of what’s being said, thought and shared.

One thing that is for certain is that social networking is here to stay, whether it’s taking place on Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. The networks may change, but the principle of engagement stays the same. Build relationships that encourage trust and drive the candidate to commit the ultimate recruitment buying decision of joining your talent network community. The rest is just details.

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