As technology and social media makes all of us more connected, the value proposition of recruitment agencies is evolving.

While social media is excellent for recruiters in identifying and contacting hard-to-reach talent, a number of recruitment agencies are creating a distinct market advantage by using social media to establish awareness, credibility, and trust in their industry with clients and talent alike.

Recruitment is no longer about who you know. Now it’s all about who knows you.

Establishing a credible and trustworthy brand – a presence that’s distinctly human – on social media is crucial to succeeding online.

I think by now most people in the recruitment industry are familiar with social media’s benefits when used correctly. It offers the chance to gain trust with candidates, as well as identifying business development opportunities with clients. However, those benefits’ effectiveness is directly linked to the quality of your social media strategy.

Key components of a winning social media strategy

In my opinion, the core tenets of an effective social media strategy are authenticity, consistency and analytics. At the same time, the strategy should permeate the entire business, from the top down, with everyone from Director to junior Consultant working together to engage people on social channels.

Being authentic

Authenticity is a huge part of creating quality relationships online. People want to connect with people, and developing a brand that emphasises human interaction online goes a long way to building the kind of trust that can result in acceptance of a job offer.

Authentic and relevant content delivered through social media can help build audiences that genuinely care about an agency because it adds value to their professional lives. Content can target a variety of audiences, from potential candidates or clients to the agency’s next consultants and, provided it addresses their specific pain points or challenges, those audiences are likely to engage with the brand. In my opinion, this content can’t be too ‘sales focused’ – rather it should drive the reader to engage, whether through likes or comments. This allows the agency to build trust with its audiences and reassures them it has their best interests at heart. Someone who trusts your brand is much more likely to consider a job offer compared to brands they do not trust.

A great social strategy creates insight into what you are like to do business with and demonstrates the value that you offer.

Consistency counts

While authenticity is the key pillar of a quality social media strategy, I also find a lot of organisations worry about timing their posts.

I come across questions such as ‘When do you post?’ and ‘How quickly do you respond?’ when people are devising their strategies, and the answers aren’t always clear cut and vary depending upon platforms and your audience.

On a broad scale, timing isn’t anywhere near as important as consistency.

While you may get better results from, say, a 9:23am post on a Tuesday, it won’t be as effective if you forget to post the following two Tuesdays.

In terms of responsiveness, agencies should look to get back to any comment within a 24-hour period. Leaving it too long can cause the member to disengage from the conversation and move on. Responses should aim to draw another opinion from the member in the hope it may encourage another person to engage. The more the merrier. One good example for encouraging mass participation is generating a piece of content with a thought leader predicting the trends for 2016, then encouraging your audience to share their upcoming trends in the comments.

Measuring your success

Once you’ve made quality content available to your audience, it’s a good idea to get some feedback to help refine your strategy. This is where analytics comes into play.

Every agency should measure the growth and engagement of its clients, candidates and consultants on social media. The best metrics to track directly relate to the goals you are seeking to achieve for your business.

As an example, a recruitment agency focused on the engineering industry that has a specific business objective of growing it’s client base, might be as targeted as specifically tracking their LinkedIn follower growth from Owners and Directors of engineering firms with between 200-500 employees within a specific geography.

Being hyper-focused on your success metrics allows agencies to better measure their progress towards the goals that most matter to them.