Social Media Basics for University Recruiters

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If you’re a university recruiter, here are a few (work-related) thoughts that probably cross your mind on a daily basis:

  • Why can’t there be approximately 17 more hours in every day?
  • How can I stretch my budget and resources to get the best possible results?
  • When I go to campus next month, what can I expect from the faculty and students?

And here’s one thought that probably doesn’t cross your mind:

  • I just wish I had more work to do.

No, most university recruiters have so much on their plates that every day is like a Thanksgiving feast. So why would we even suggest that you try to take on the added pressure of making social media part of your recruiting strategy?

For starters, there’s the fact that social media is where your core demographic hangs out—two-thirds of Americans age 12 and over have a social media account.

Then, consider that social media is increasingly a place where recruiting takes place—78% of recruiters surveyed by Jobvite said that they had made a hire through social media. The same survey found that LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter were the top three social networks for recruiting purposes.

Finally, social media has the power to transform the job search and application process. Students and recent grads often complain that they’re left in the dark about the status of an application or what a job will actually be like once they start. When university recruiters use social media, it brings more transparency into what can sometimes be a very mysterious and opaque process, creates the opportunity for dialogue and open communication, and helps you to build your brand outside of your regularly scheduled on-campus activities.

I hope I’ve made the case for why you should at least consider trying out social media as part of your university recruiting strategy.

So now let’s take a look at a few employers who are using social media as an effective part of their university recruiting program and what we can learn from them.

Facebook

Most of us have used Facebook for personal purposes, but what’s the appeal of using it for your company? Facebook is a versatile platform, and you can use it to share simple status updates, links, images, and videos. One of the huge benefits is that you can get detailed demographic information about your followers (their age, where they live, where they go to school, etc.).

There are a few disadvantages—job applicants may be hesitant to contact employers on this platform since this mixes their private and professional lives. Also, it’s increasingly becoming a “pay to play” situation and if you don’t pay to promote your posts, your followers see only a small fraction of your content. And this platform is not nearly as popular among teens as it once was. Even so, as of November 2013, 88.6% of 18- to 24-year-olds had Facebook accounts, so it’s definitely worth investigating.

Case study: Hallmark Jobs

The Hallmark Jobs Facebook page is full of images, links, updates on cool projects that Hallmark is working on, and information about Kansas City, where the company headquarters are located.

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Applicants want to know about more than just the job itself and company at large. If you’re trying to entice students to relocate, you’ll definitely want to share information about where they’ll be living and working. Posts like this help give insight into what makes Kansas City an exciting place to live and why recent grads might enjoy it there.

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What are some cool projects that your organization is involved in? Imagine what most students know about your consumer brand (if anything) and what things they might be surprised to know, whether that’s your involvement with a local charity, your company-wide lunch and learn program, or celebrities you work with. Facebook is the perfect forum for sharing that information, as Hallmark does in this post about a collaboration with Sarah Jessica Parker.

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Hallmark also responds to individual applicants who are experiencing difficulties and offers them helpful advice. This is an example of how social media can be used to make the job search feel more personal and improve the applicant experience.

For more tips on using Facebook to promote your university recruiting efforts, check out our list of the Top 5 University Recruiting Facebook pages.

Twitter

Twitter’s main claim to fame, of course, is the fact that you’re limited to 140 characters. But even in that small space, you can still share thoughts, ask questions, and publish links, images, and videos. One benefit over Facebook from a recruiting perspective is that it’s not as personal. Many potential applicants would hesitate to share their Facebook profile with employers and give them access to their personal photos and status updates, but may find it easier to maintain a professional Twitter profile.

Case study: Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual understands that social media is best used when you move beyond promoting yourself and genuinely try to help others. A few of their recent tweets from the @LMICampus account illustrate this point.

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We’ve all seen countless blog posts with tips for job interview success, but how many music videos have you seen offering job search advice? Liberty Mutual produced this advice-packed video that’s pretty funny and entertaining (not to mention catchy) and promoted it through their @LMICampus Twitter account.

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This tweet demonstrates how you can use a forum like Twitter to help students and recent grads. Share articles like this one that outlines how millennials and employers can best work together. In other words, make it worthwhile for job-seekers to follow you by sharing things that they would find useful—not just your job listings or bland letters from your CEO.

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Creating little images like this can give you some extra mileage for a piece of content—you’ll be able to share it through most social media platforms, and posts that have a visual element tend to perform better in general. This also contrasts nicely with some of the other @LMICampus tweets that link to Liberty Mutual commercials since this is simply a seasonal greeting.

For more tips on using Twitter to promote your university recruiting efforts, check out our list of the Top 5 University Recruiting Twitter accounts.

LinkedIn

The overall atmosphere on LinkedIn might be a little more serious than Facebook or Twitter, but that doesn’t mean that your posts have to be all business all the time. You can use this platform to share updates, links, photos, and videos. It has the benefit of being a professional platform, so potential applicants shouldn’t have any hesitation about following your company or interacting with you there.

Case study: Pandora

Pandora uses their LinkedIn page to share information about their company and offices, interns and CEO, and fun facts about music—in other words, they manage to keep it pretty entertaining.

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Here’s a great example of using social media to offer a window into your company culture. Not every post has to be about your latest product or press release. Share updates like this that give insight into what your employees care about outside of work.

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This post is like a mini-infographic that shows the results of a recent Pandora survey and represents them visually. It also serves as a reminder of how ingrained Pandora is in many people’s lives, which reinforces the consumer brand. Remember that you’re not limited to text, so try to be creative with the ways that you share information on LinkedIn.

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What is it like to intern at your company? What cool projects or fun activities do interns get to participate in? Use LinkedIn to share that information, as Pandora does in this post that talks about how the summer interns got to hang out with the CEO.

The next step: Take a moment to look at one of these social media platforms and check out what other university recruiters are doing there. What are some creative ways they are sharing information about their company, culture, or the application process? And what type of reactions are they getting from potential applicants?

Want to get even more social media savvy? Join us for the Social Media Survival Kit for University Recruiters webinar on Wednesday, January 21. Get more info and sign up here.

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