Professional use of social media has skyrocketed in recent years. Gone are the days when employers could simply ban Facebook on work computers and forget about it. If you want to stay ahead of the ball in recruiting and talent development, you need to be using all the best tools in your arsenal, and that means social media.

For many hiring managers, the prospect of incorporating social media into your hiring process can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be frightening. Remember, the rules haven’t really changed. Networking and corporate branding have always been an integral part of the recruiting process, only now you have much more powerful tools at your disposal than were available even just a few years ago.

Confused about where to start? Try these simple tips to understand how to go about using social media platforms to turbocharge your hiring process.

1. Corporate branding

Cultural fit can be a deal-breaker for many job seekers (as well as for employers). If you are proud of your corporate culture and the vibrancy of your staff and office, let the world know. Create a presence for your company on social sharing sites like Linkedin, Twitter or Instagram, or even your own company blog. Share pictures of your office party or softball game on Instagram. Tweet updates on exciting new business developments or accomplishments. When people start to know your company as a fantastic place to work, more candidates will start to seek you out

2. Networking

Recruiting doesn’t just start when your current employee gives notice, or at least it shouldn’t. As bestselling author and networking expert Harvey Mackay said, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.” Active recruiting means building an ongoing pool of potential candidates on a daily basis, a practice that can dramatically reduce your time-to-hire when the chips are down. There is no better way to network with top minds in your field than by using targeted social media.

At the very least, you should be using Linkedin on a near daily basis. Keep your profile current, connect with coworkers and colleagues, and share content that matters to you and your company. If you are regularly engaging with like-minded individuals within your industry online, you may already know your next great hire.

3. Reach passive candidates

This one goes hand in hand with networking. I talk frequently about the importance of attracting passive candidates, but it really can’t be overstated enough. As often as not, the best candidate for your position may not currently be looking for a new job. But if she reads a colleague’s Tweet about a position that sounds appealing, and she already knows your company is a great place to work (because of great corporate branding), you may be able to entice her back into the job market.

4. Vet Your Candidates

Once you have a short list of potential candidates, consider using your social media arsenal to narrow the list. By reading what your candidates are posting online, you can learn a great many things about them that otherwise wouldn’t come out until the interview, or even later. If your candidate’s Facebook feed is full of daily posts of their active party life and complaints about an annoying boss that won’t let him play games at work, that’s probably a good sign to stay away. On the other hand, you might find that another candidate posts regularly about what personal development books she’s reading or conferences she’s attended, her dedication to her career or causes that motivate her. There’s a whole host of information you can find on Facebook alone that could help guide your hiring process, though as with any tool you will want to use this one with great caution. Social media can give you access to protected information as well, such as a candidate’s age, religion, or political affiliation, and you want to make sure that your access to these details does not unfairly influence your desicion-making process.

Linkedin and Facebook are the obvious platforms that every hiring manager should be using, but there are many more to explore as you build your hiring strategies. If you (or your industry) are more visually-oriented, then you may gravitate towards Instagram or Pinterest. Make sure to look for industry-specific social media platforms as well, such as Github for developers or Dribble for designers. However you utilize the tools available, you can no longer afford to ignore the importance of social media in today’s recruiting environment.