Ten years ago the idea of using social media for anything other than posting cat videos seemed silly. But now? Social media has become one of the most powerful platforms for sourcing and recruiting top talent.

Social recruiting might have seemed like a fad when it first hit the scene, but experts agree it will continue to play a key role in hiring at least into 2020. To stay competitive in your industry, you not only need to harness the power of social recruiting, but you also need to do it better than your competition. An applicant tracking system (ATS) can help.

Understanding Your ATS

An ATS is, as the name suggests, a software designed to track job applicants throughout the hiring process. From the moment a candidate applies to their final interview, your ATS is monitoring every step they take in their recruitment journey.

Contrary to popular belief, an ATS can do a lot more than collect resumes. These days, effective ATSs can do everything from managing talent pools with custom workflows to facilitating cross-team collaboration during all stages of the recruitment process.

More relevant for our purposes, an ATS can also be integrated into your social recruiting strategy to streamline your efforts.

4 Ways an ATS Can Improve Your Social Recruiting Results

While it’s possible to build a social recruiting strategy without the help of an ATS, you’d be missing out on some pretty awesome perks if you did that. Here are just four of the ways smart ATS deployment can elevate your social recruiting strategy:

1. Automate Your Workflows

When you implement a social recruiting strategy that works, you should see a spike in the number of applicants you get for each job. If you don’t have a way to automatically capture and qualify these applicants, your team will be slowed down by the sudden influx of candidates. At that point, your social recruiting strategy becomes more of an obstacle than an aid.

A better way to capitalize on the sourcing surge is to integrate into your social recruiting workflow an ATS that can automatically qualify candidates for you. That way, your team is free to work on the more strategically important parts of the process.

2. Track Applicant Sources More Efficiently

Social recruiting can make applicant tracking messy. When you’re launching simultaneous campaigns across a variety of social media platform, you might find it difficult to discern which candidates are coming from where.

However, source of hire data is critical. You need to know which channels are actually returning qualified candidates and thus worth the investment. For example, if Facebook is delivering only unqualified applications while candidates sourced from LinkedIn tend to be good fits, your social recruiting strategy — and budget — should focus more on LinkedIn.

An ATS can track where your applicants were sourced from, providing the hard numbers you need to understand what works and what doesn’t. This can help you save time and money, while also giving you proof your social recruiting efforts are delivering results.

For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

3. Support Existing Employee Referral Programs

Talent acquisition pros have long known that employee referrals are one of the most reliable sources of qualified candidates. Luckily, there is an opportunity to combine the power of referrals with your social recruiting strategy: If you’re using an employee referral software, it likely has integrations that allow your employees to post job openings to social media.

When current employees use social media to brag about their jobs, that’s social recruiting at its absolute finest — and you can make the process run even more smoothly by integrating your employee referral software with your ATS. Through such an integration, you can see which social media posts are referring candidates and which employees are sharing the most effective posts, allowing you to give credit where it’s due and learn some new tactics for social recruiting from your employees.

4. Seamlessly Integrate Your Hiring Suite in One Place

If your company is one of the few that still does everything by hand, then this section doesn’t apply to you. However, many talent acquisition departments are using multiple software systems to manage their recruiting processes. While each solution may have its own purpose, juggling them all can be inefficient — especially if those systems don’t play nicely with each other.

The great news is most contemporary ATSs are designed with integration in mind. With the right ATS, you can bring your onboarding software, recruitment marketing software, and any other relevant piece of your recruitment software ecosystem together as one talent acquisition suite.

In today’s competitive talent market, you’ll need to cast a wider net to find a great catch. Think of social recruiting as one of the many lures in your tackle box. Alone it might not get the job done, but paired with a killer ATS, it could be just what you need to land your dream candidate.

Lauren Pope is a senior content specialist at G2.

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