Social media is now a ubiquitous part of everyday life. But it's not just useful for aptly timed memes and unnecessary pictures of your brunch.

With the advancement of smartphones and the democratization of social sharing, talent brands are joining the fun.

It makes sense. In 2018, the average person spent 2 hours 22 minutes every single day on social media. 

In the war for talent, any competitive edge must be taken. While the opportunity is great, it comes with a nuanced level of risk and reward.

To help you make sense of social media recruitment marketing tactics, here's what some of the world's most innovative talent brands are doing, how they are smashing social recruitment and how it could help you.

1. Enlist current employees.

In the mid-2010s, L'Oreal was one of the first brands to use employee-led social media content to help sell the business as a top place to work for prospective candidates. L'Oreal's social media team created custom hashtags for its staff, most notably #lifeatloreal and #lorealcommunity. As of December 2018, there are 14,000 Instagram posts that use the hashtag "#lifeatloreal." It's such a clever tactic because it taps into a business's greatest strength: its people.

Consider promoting organic, employee-generated social media content within your workplace. It'll help drive internal engagement, so you can keep existing staff happy and connected.

Think of it this way. When brands market products to customers on social media, they attempt to build an engaging narrative that people actively want to join. In recruitment marketing, the same principles apply: you're selling the job. On social media, it's important and relatively easy to exude authenticity and offer prospective candidates a window into the soul of your organization. It can be risky, though, as there isn't one person accountable for the progression of this strategy. You'll need the whole team behind you; you can't force them to generate content. Encourage them to want to do it.

2. Be responsive. 

Believe it or not, Marriott has over 1.3 million followers on its Facebook jobs and careers page. While the number is staggering, what's even more interesting is the story of how they got there.

First, Marriott makes adept use of Facebook's chatbot feature to ensure instant, 24/7 access to "help you find the job of your dreams, right in the palm of your hands." This provides applicants with the opportunity to ask questions, search for job roles and even take steps to apply. 

I've discussed the rise of chatbots before--it's vital to accept and integrate them. You'll become more attractive to candidates who want a convenient way of getting answers. It'll also help you avoid setting aside extra resources to ensure these inquiries don't go unmissed.

Second, Marriott posts daily and infuses personality, emotion, and feeling to create a shared sense of community. Its Instagram page (which has 46,500 followers), carries this same messaging, so all social media touchpoints feel relevant, seamless, and connected.

Try adapting Marriott's strategy for reaching that high engagement rate. The "give freely" attitude allows you to share some great, valuable content up front and demands nothing in return. Content has always been king, whether it's created or curated. Give the people what they want and you might just attract millions of social media users. 

3. Show what makes you unique.

Starbucks has absolutely killed it on Instagram, with the launch of two highly popular accounts, @starbucksjobs and @starbuckspartners.

The first helps candidates learn more about all the perks and benefits that go along with being a Starbucks employee, from the Starbucks College Achievement Plan to hiring benefits and interview tips.

The second is a page designed specifically for existing employees, or "partners." Using the hashtag #tobeapartner, Starbucks calls upon thousands of employees to share content and talk about what makes its culture so unique.

This shows perfectly how social media is no longer a leisurely hangout space. You can use these platforms to tell your company's story in a way that aligns with the truth of what it's like to be part of the team. Don't be afraid to create separate profiles and set aside resources to manage them. You shouldn't just have one account that's consumer-oriented and hope it also attracts talent.

Go out and find where your target audience is and promote to them directly--don't wait for them to find you. The war for talent is real, and these companies show simple but effective ways for you to get ahead of the game in 2019.

Published on: Feb 11, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.