Readtime: 4 min approx
Auth: Darren Harris

If you’ve been in this industry as long as me, you’ll remember the mid-2000s were awash with social media for recruitment events, conferences and gatherings. 

Invariably they shared the same thread (and quite often the same speakers), waxing lyrical about how social media was going to revolutionise the world of recruitment. 

We were told brands should stop worrying about invading peoples’ social spaces and start to fish where the fish swim in shoals. We heard how candidates would soon be having direct conversations with recruiters on social platforms. 

Social media was the new kid on the block. It was the silver bullet that was going to win the war for talent. Companies and recruiters were soon going to be in charge.


Fast forward 10-15 years…

And the bullet has started to rust. 

Today the industry is awash with stories of wasted investment, new social policies, the latest challenges for brands and loud cries of, “Where’s my ROI?”.

Like so many great inventions, has social media in recruitment fallen into the trough of disillusionment

Like QR codes and Google Glass, Friends Reunited and MySpace, Peach and Vine, has the bubble burst? And have both recruiters and candidates decided they shouldn’t mix on social?


Social has become less of a priority

Sadly for many talent acquisition teams, social media has fallen down the priority list. It’s often seen as something that brands should do. But they don’t really know why. And it’s often entrusted to junior members of the team to look after as a good learning ground. 

But is that really how you should be playing on social media? Social media offers an unparalleled playground to promote your EVP and to all intents and purposes allows you to control and steer your companies brand perception to your respective target audiences.


Culture over USPs

The huge miss is that social channels end up showcasing just the culture – the company bake-off, bring a pet to work day, the work in the community. Yet they often forget to express what makes them different – their USPs beyond the culture. 

Creating content about culture is helpful to paint a picture of a workplace. But does it turn the needle (I’m sorry I just used that phrase) of how you want to be seen as an employer? 

How does your content demonstrate your values, opportunities and what really makes your company a completely different place to work? 

Getting the balance right between culture and your USPs is something every brand needs to think about.


Getting the right media mix

The last decade has brought us new channels like TikTok, which give companies new channels to reach great talent, but also to back up bold claims. If you claim to be an innovative company, now this is your chance to prove it, and not just say it.  

Channels like Twitch, Discord and Stories (both FB & IG) are also new mediums to add to your media mix in getting your message to market. 

That said, it’s not just about the new channels. It’s actually about creating a holistic social content strategy that drives your digital ecosystem and tech stack. 

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Snapchat all have a key role in reaching your target audience, and hyper-targeting allows you to get your brand in front of not just new eyes, but the right eyes. 

Who knew oncologists hung out on Instagram for instance? Well we did, which is why we used hyper-targeting to reach this niche audience for one of our clients in 2019.


How to measure success

Often the push back from senior stakeholders regarding social budget is where is the ROI?

With social, you can track engagement (clicks, shares, and so on), impressions, video views, applications and even hires. But there is also an unquantifiable data point that often gets missed… 

If we took the view that we need direct ROI on all marketing, surely the amount of TV advertising would reduce dramatically? (I know it kind of is, but stick with me) You don’t click on a traditional TV advert. You watch the advert and you absorb the information. The same applies to a print ad in a magazine, or a roadside billboard.

Now, you might act there and then – go online and research/purchase the item or the next time you are thinking of purchasing a new car. But the likelihood is, you’ll remember that cool ad you saw for X brand/product; sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously. This is also how social should be considered. Using targeting options, you know that the people who have seen your advert at least have the criteria and interests you selected. Traditional broadcast media like those mentioned above have no such parameters. 


2020 and beyond

If social is used at its best, you can drag it out of the trough of disillusionment and into the world of enlightenment – more Snapchat than Friends Reunited.

Social media gives you the platforms to control the narrative of your employer brand. It can be used to reshape opinions, reinforce views or challenge perceptions. 

We know that our target audience play in the social space, so let’s talk to them there. Let’s tell them why we are a great-to-place to work. But let’s make sure we move that needle (ouch, not again you cry!). 

This is where you start to change the feelings, perceptions and actions of candidates. Social should be driving it, not supporting it. 

2020 is where your brand can take control of the narrative, by taking control of social.