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4 Ways the Best Companies Engage Talent on Twitter

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is much more than trending topics and interacting with celebrities. What started as an online platform to share 140 character thoughts has since grown into a powerful tool to market, engage and attract -- especially when it comes to recruiting.

Consider this: 302 million people use Twitter every month. According to a 2015 Software Advice study of 160 , 58 percent use Twitter in their job searches, most commonly to look at company profiles for career opportunities (76 percent). The numbers speak for themselves: Twitter is a recruiting tool with a lot of potential.

Related: 4 Ways to Level the Playing-Field of Small Business Recruitment

From marketing employer brand, attracting candidates with social transparency to actively engaging talent, here are four ways some of today's Fortune 500 companies use Twitter to engage talent:

1. Use branded hashtags.

With an average of 500 million tweets being sent per day, it's easy for information to get lost among the masses. Hashtags help Twitter users sift through a wealth of information to find exactly what they're looking for. Branded hashtags make that search even easier for job seekers looking to work at a particular company.

The above Software Advice study also took a look at 41 Fortune 500 companies and their Twitter recruiting habits and found that 46 percent of companies use branded hashtags, such as #GEJobs for jobs at , to get the word out about an open position. This ensures that, no matter how many tweets come after the job announcement, job seekers will be able to easily locate it.

Hashtags not only expand a company's job-seeking audience, they define it. By including hashtags related to the type of job (#HR), location (#Boston) or even the target demographic (#VeteranJobs), companies can make sure their job listings attract the right applicants.

2. Highlight individual employees.

One of the best ways to attract job seekers is through employee testimonials. After all, who better to speak for the company and its than the employees themselves?

Turning employees into employer brand advocates is a great way to personalize a business on Twitter. In fact, after announcing job openings, highlighting specific employees is the most common subject of Fortune 500 tweets, according the aforementioned Software Advice survey. AT&T, for instance, uses the #LifeAtATT hashtag to feature employees as they describe their responsibilities, dish out career advice, explain what it's like to work there and more.

Related: Why CEOs Need a Talent Acquisition Strategy

3. Have a separate recruiting handle.

From making job announcements, posting company culture videos to alerting followers of upcoming recruiting events, recruiting-specific tweets can take up a hefty portion of the company news feed. Instead, consider creating a separate Twitter handle for recruiting.

Of the 500 companies on Fortune's list, Software Advice found that 174 of them have an active Twitter account dedicated to recruiting. Having a designated Twitter handle for recruiting purposes gives job seekers a place to go to ask job-related questions, learn about the company and discover new openings.

This is especially important for companies such as , whose customer base, namely children and families (@Disney), and target audience for recruiting (@TWDCjobs) are very different.

4. Keep the conversation going.

Finally, keep the conversation alive. Respond to job seekers' tweets and messages, answer their questions and give them a reason to want to work for the company. One way to actively engage talent on Twitter is by hosting or taking part in a Twitter chat.

Twitter chats are live events where a designated hashtag is used to discuss a certain topic. Not only does participating in Twitter chats boost a company's visibility with potential candidates, but also it shows the company's expertise, interest and/or stance on certain matters.

Does Twitter play a role in your recruitment strategy? How do you use Twitter to engage talent? Leave your comments below!

Related: A New Wave of HR Technology Is Disrupting the Market

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