American corporations are using social networks for many purposes, but the most common use is for recruiting, according to research by SelectMinds, a developer of social recruiting and community management solutions.

The survey found that 72 percent of respondents reported that their companies were using social media for recruitment and talent acquisition, more than were using it for branding-engagement and awareness (69 percent), recruitment branding (68 percent), marketing (63 percent), corporate communications (57 percent) and communications with customers (52 percent).

Among HR professionals, 81 percent of those surveyed are using social networks to help them recruit candidates. LinkedIn and Facebook are the most frequently used sites: 79 percent mine LinkedIn for candidates, 65 percent have a company page on LinkedIn and 63 percent have a dedicated Facebook page for jobs/careers.

In addition, 63 percent of respondents reported their companies are using corporate social networks for current employees, 40 percent have developed them exclusively for recruiting and 33 percent have created alumni networks.

But when asked to rate the effectiveness of social media programs and weigh in on best approaches for measuring success, results were mixed: 60 percent of respondents said corporate social media programs are most effective when used for communications, followed by brand awareness (57 percent), increasing the effectiveness of marketing (55 percent), brand monitoring (52 percent) and positive press (50 percent).