magicIf you’re like most employers, you’ve probably already set up some sort of social media presence dedicated to careers and hiring.

A recent study showed fully 94% of recruiters reported using at least one social network for sourcing or talent attraction in 2015, evidence that this emerging technology has already moved from the recruitment margins to the mainstream.

Similarly, 59% of workers surveyed say social media either influenced or impacted their last job search, more evidence that for recruiters, social isn’t a question of “why,” but “how.”

With more or less every employer on social media, however, standing out from the crowd – and connecting with (or converting) top talent is more challenging than ever before.

With so much noise, getting heard requires going beyond the basics; when candidates see your social recruiting sites, it’s important that they don’t just see another boring business page at another boring company.

They need to see what makes your company so special, and why you’re an employer of choice worth choosing. And the only way to do that, of course, is by representing the biggest competitive differentiator any employer really has: its people.

That’s why it’s so imperative for employers to provide every candidate – current or potential – with real insights into what your company culture is really all about and what working there is really like. Of course, while curating this kind of content is recruiting’s job, actually creating that content – and sharing it – is every employee’s responsibility.

Historically, HR has had a somewhat strained relationship with social, with many companies setting specific policies prohibiting workers from accessing social networks.

Today, however, with social becoming an integral component of successful recruiting strategies, the tables have turned. Companies now realize that on social media, building a compelling employer brand requires providing those same employees with tools and training instead of more red tape.

Scoring Net Promoters: 3 Keys for Social Recruiting Success.

social cartoonIf you’re not leveraging your current employees as brand ambassadors, or emphasize your postings over your people, then, simply put, you’re doing it wrong.

Here are three things every HR and talent pro should know about transforming your current workers into employer brand evangelists on social media – and maximizing your social recruiting ROI.

Candidates have a choice. Here’s what you can do to make sure they choose you over the competition.

1. Lead With Culture.

Employees are great ambassadors of your company, but it all starts with having a culture where employees are proud to work. If they enjoy going to work every day, you can trust that they will represent your company in a positive way.

Look at the culture and values of your company from your employee’s perspective. Find a way to make the intangible tangible – and showcase the best parts of what it’s like to work at your company on your social media channels. From a candidate’s perspective, there’s immediate context around what the work environment will be like.

Since it is coming right from the eyes of your employees, candidates will often consider it a reliable source, painting an accurate picture of your organization.

2. Follow Procedure.

socialGetting employees to post about their company isn’t always an easy task, but having a proper procedure in place lays the foundation for success. Create a handbook policy and social guidelines that are as simple and universally applicable as possible. This will remove any doubt as to whether or not the content your employees post is appropriate.

Using social media at work, or referencing it online, has to be safe – for employees, supervisors, managers and the brand itself. If your workforce doesn’t feel safe, or if employees feel there will be consequences for using it, engagement will be minimal at best.

To ensure employees are comfortable speaking about your company on social media, consider a training program. Y

GEM Recruiting AI

our employees should receive base level social media training. Company-wide initiatives should be shared during this time, such as a company-specific hashtag.

At Paychex, for example, where I help manage our HR function, we ask employees to add #PaychexProud to their social media posts that illustrate the unique and positive culture at Paychex. In my experience, it’s easy to get started – and easy to see a big impact for a relatively minimal investment.

Simply create a hashtag that represents your company’s culture and encourage people to share pictures, ending the post with the hashtag. Is your company participating in a community service activity, or attending a tradeshow? Even something small, such as having cake for someone’s birthday, is an opportunity to showcase your organization’s culture.

When everyone understands how to use social media, the execution strengthens the company’s brand – internally and externally – and becomes more appealing to candidates researching future employers.

3. Keep Up With Content.

pot goldSocial media programs can yield powerful results. By engaging your employees, there’s great potential to generate content in a variety of ways to attract potential new hires.

One way to do this is to create a hashtag campaign for employees to share what they love about working at your company.

Proper usage can be outlined via the training mentioned above, however it must feel organic, conversational and casual. If not, you run the risk of seeming insincere, which can cause harm to your brand and your culture. A successful campaign is one in which employees share their stories and moments, without thinking about participating in a marketing or recruiting initiative for the company.

Share posts that demonstrate the quality or tone that you’re looking for, on the company’s official social media channels.

While you may want to share all content, only share employee content when it’s a good fit for the culture or values of the company, in real time.

Another option is to curate the best content that your employees share and make it available to recruiters and hiring managers. Listening for hashtag posts with the same vigor and intent as you listen for client concerns and brand mentions can help inspire additional content, such as a blog post or an employee testimonial.

There’s no doubt that social media now plays an integral role in recruiting strategy, and has become one of the major drivers influencing top talent throughout the hiring process.

That’s why it’s essential to make sure you’re keeping it real, and letting your own workers tell their own stories – because in employer branding. transparency and authenticity are more than just buzzwords. When it comes to finding fit, they just might be social recruiting’s silver bullet.

laurie zauchaAbout the Author: Laurie Zaucha currently serves as the Vice President, Human Resources and Organizational Development at Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions.

In her role, Laurie  is responsible for all aspects of human resources, organizational development, and the company’s training department.

Laurie has more than 20 years experience as a human resources executive; before joining Paychex, Zaucha was senior vice president of human resources for PAETEC Holding Corporation, a vice president for Bausch & Lomb and has held senior management positions in human resources for Footstar, Inc., a retail footwear company, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut.

Zaucha has a master’s degree in management from Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind. and a Bachelor of Science degree in computer information technology from Bentley University in Waltham, Mass.

Follow Laurie on Twitter @LZaucha or connect with her on LinkedIn.