The logic is pretty simple: as long as there are organizations, there are human resources; and as long those human resources use computers, the Internet and mobile devices to communicate with one another, there is social media.

What started out as a digital vehicle for building/maintaining friendships and keeping in touch with family has burgeoned into a multi-billion dollar industry that’s become invaluable to business, and not just for marketing.

#SocialHR is here, and it is here to stay

In 2014, HR organizations used social networks to support activities like employer brand promotion, candidate recruitment and community engagement. This year, companies have an opportunity to break new ground, join their human resources and social media plans, and innovate some truly “Social HR” practices – practices that give them the competitive advantage to attract top talent, develop employee advocacy, and better propagate and manage their employment brand.

So where does a forward-looking HR leader start?

Meet with your social media manager to talk about what you want to achieve via social media, and collaborate on a plan to align your HR initiatives with the company’s overall social media strategy and efforts.

When developing or enhancing your Social HR plan:

1.  Take Inventory of your Social Media Resources
Among the various social networks, which platform does your company currently employ? Whether it’s LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or other online resources, every year it would benefit your team to review and update your social strategy. Just as each network’s technology evolves in time, so should your plan to leverage its features and functionalities.

2.  Be on the networks where the people you want to attract engage
Determine which channels the audiences you want to reach frequent and make your presence there, communicating according to the platform’s format. Create a social media page/account dedicated to job requisitions and resources and keep the content up-to-date.

3.  Build a Strong and Appealing Employment Brand on Social Networks
Develop creative content to inspire and motivate active and passive candidates to connect and interact with your company. Consider an employee advocacy program for select employees to share their views of the company on your social media presence. Feature employees periodically, highlighting them and the work they perform. Be responsive (as real time as possible) to questions and comments made by prospective candidates.

4.  Periodically Review and Update Your Company Social Media Policy
If your company currently has a social media policy in place, that’s great. If you don’t, it’s a good idea to implement one soon because personal social media use among employees is alive and well. With network improvements, new platforms and enhanced community interactions, last year’s social media policy may be obsolete and irrelevant. Make sure to keep it up-to-date so employees are aware of what the organization’s stand is on social media, what corporate information employees can and cannot share online, and how they should or shouldn’t conduct themselves when acting as a representative of the company.

5.  Develop/Add Social Execution to the Employer Brand Playbook
With social HR, employers have an opportunity to gain competitive advantage in sourcing and developing top talent. How to engage depends on evaluating the platforms of choice, the company social media policy, and the programs that will be set in place. A good place to start is with the following questions:

• Will someone in HR manage social communications on the company’s employment brand/jobs page/account?
• Are you interested in an employee advocacy program?
• Do you want to purchase social ads for select job requisitions?

If the answer is yes to any or all of the questions, consider how involved you want HR to be in managing these activities, and discuss options with your company
social media manager to develop the social section of your employer brand playbook to ensure your key initiatives are being managed correctly.

6.  Use Data for Key Learnings and Future Direction
After you establish which social activities and programs will take place, determine the metrics for analysis and reporting so you can evaluate the performance of your social HR efforts, make recommendations to others in leadership, and immediately react so changes are made to keep the company ahead of the game.

Are you and your team members ready to align elements of your human resources and social media plans? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and am happy to answer any questions you may have.