Getting results from social media is like baking a cake. There are tons of key ingredients needed – and if any are missed out, the end result may prove a big disappointment.

This characterises what I hear day in and day out when talking to recruiting teams dejected by the poor results they're getting from social sites. Of course some of these businesses just don't have a clue how to leverage social media – and that's fine. A quick call can soon fix that. But others are doing a really good job with certain elements of their social media presence – they're just oblivious to the parts they're neglecting.

So having this in mind, I'm going to detail 5 activities that you should be looking to regularly undertake so that your cake isn't lacking any of the key ingredients:

1) Make Your Profiles Truly Valuable

You work in a niche market. You serve certain geographies, sectors, specialisms – and you would like to build your network and brand presence within that niche.

To accomplish this you need to make your profiles a magnet for people in your industry – by consistently finding and sharing content they will really want to devour.

Find and share reports, interviews, data, tips and insights that enrich people's professional lives on a daily basis. And don't stick with just the most obvious sources in your industry. People are far more likely to have seen those already. Uncover hard-to-find or enthusiast niche blogs, reports and interviews whose content is excellent but is much less likely to have been read. This way you turn your profiles into information sources that specialists in your industry feel compelled to follow and willingly choose to interact with and reshare.

2) Proactively Get Your Profiles in Front of Your Target Audience

Amongst the most documented causes of business failure is the belief that "if we build it they'll come". The same is true of your recruitment team's social media presence. Just because you've established a great resource for people in your industry doesn't mean everyone's likely to find out about your social media presence and flock to it. No – you have to proactively get your profiles in front of the kinds of people you want to attract to your business (and ultimately hire).

This topic warrants a whole article by itself. But whichever social platforms you intend having a presence on, each and every day you ought to be doing things to ensure that the right people hear of your social media presence. This might be following people, commenting on posts, contributing in groups, participating in tweetchats, running paid sponsorship campaigns… Every time you invest in doing these things your audience grows – building your recruiting team an asset for the future.

3) Make Others Warm To You

Make it part of your routine to find and share other people's content, mentioning them in your updates so they know you're endorsing and praising their work. Find relevant people's updates that you can comment on or re-share, adding your personal insights or compliments to give your presence that personal touch. Like, +1 and favourite updates where appropriate.

Most social media users get no more than one retweet or re-share per day, so just think how much you can stand out in their feeds if yours is the business that gives them the warm glow of feeling appreciated …

4) Build Relationships With Influencers

Loads of recruitment teams I talk to are obsessed by their follower or fan numbers. This, they perceive, is the audience they can reach with their updates – and therefore get their recruiting brand and opportunities in front of.

A key thing to consider is that businesses can easily get a 20x increase in the reach of their messages if industry influencers start to reshare a number of their updates.

For me, influencers are people who have a significant follower base of the types of people your recruiting team wants to be reaching. They're also people whose followers actually interact with them (ie. they've not just bought followers but have a really engaged audience of people who do something about the things they share).

You have to target your influencer efforts though, as not all influencers are of equal value to your business. You see many influencers only ever share their own content and very rarely re-share or retweet others. As a business you could invest a lot of time attempting to cultivate relationships with such influencers, but this is unlikely to ever lead to them sharing your updates with their followers.

So what we're trying to find are those influencers who have a large following, an engaged following … and who have a history of regularly re-sharing other people's updates. I personally like to use Buzzsumo to identify such people. But the key thing on a day to day basis is to be taking little steps to build rapport with the influencers you have identified as being key to your strategy.

5) Engage With Your Audience

As a recruiting team, there are things you 'd like people to be doing that would take them from being a mere follower to someone who is now a prospective hire (or prospective client) for your business.

Engaging with your audience is a great way of cementing that these actions are taken. If people have started re-sharing your updates or commenting on them, hearing back from you is a surefire way to turn that one-off action into more of a habit. But equally important is the fact that engaging extracts the recruiting value from all the other social media efforts you've been making.

Whenever someone engages with your profiles, or a discussion relevant to your business, have a look at their social profile. Do they look like a prospect for your recruiting team? If so, interact with them. Do so conversationally, keep the dialogue going, befriend them. Then when the moment is right, prompt them to think about taking the step you 'd like them to take next.

For each business that step will be different. Maybe you would like them to submit a resume for your team to critique. Maybe you 'd like them to book in a call time with one of your team of recruiters. Maybe you 'd like them to attend your next open day.

The key thing is to ensure that every day you are jumping on the hidden opportunities to turn social media followers into real business results for your recruiting team. Social media, you see, resembles a sales funnel. Each step in the candidate attraction process can be refined and optimised. Eventually you reach the point where you know that every 100 new targeted followers you attract will result in X number of candidate applications in the subsequent months – and then it becomes a lot easier to justify the ongoing investment in your presence.

Concluding Remarks

If you're like most recruitment teams I talk with, you've probably had a lot of "Aha" moments whilst reading this. Things that you can see it makes good sense to be doing, but that to-date you've not been doing or have been inconsistently doing.

A cornerstone of success on social sites is consistency. So get into the habit of doing these 5 things on a regular basis and you'll begin to see the results you're getting from social media inexorably creeping upwards.

All the best.

Contributed by the social media team at