Okay, I get that social media is important for recruiting. How do I do it?
In the beginning, many of us avoided social media. It felt like a fad and certainly wasn’t a professional platform for businesses. But 20 years later, social media is continually evolving, and definitely here to stay. Organizations that use iteffectivelyare reaping incredible benefits. It’s a key place to recruit both new hires (and aging consumers). If you haven’t gone all-in on social media yet, it’s time to log in and get started.
Where Do I Start?
LeadingAge market research for the Opening Doors to the Aging Services Workforce initiative found that 70% of job applicants were already employed. That told us that a recruiter’s audience isn’t limited to job seekers actively searching job boards, but includes employed people who are open to the idea of a better opportunity if it falls in their lap.
Where do talent managers find people who aren’t looking for a new job? On social media. When an organization’s content shows up on someone’s feed, it is an opportunity to engage and connect even if they aren’t seeking you out.
A key piece is to authentically connect with others. But how do you do that with strangers over the internet? A good first step is to bring HR and marketing staff together to ensure that both teams convey your organization’s brand. Ask yourself—and also your leadership, board of directors, staff, consumers, and families:
Who are we?
What’s our mission?
What are our values?
What brings people together in our organization?
Why do staff stay?
Why do staff love their jobs?
Why do our consumers choose us?
How do we LIVE the core values of our organization in our everyday interactions?
Where and when do we see core values enacted?
Why do our staff work in this sector?
How do we experience fun, humor, or silliness in our organization?
How do we experience human connection, relationships, and love in our organization?
How do our employees find meaning and purpose in their work?
With answers to these questions, your team can begin producing relevant and engaging content attractive to potential employees. Content should demonstrate—mainly in photos and videos—responses to the questions above.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
Once you have an idea about your organization’s authentic persona, the next step is to think about the best platforms to invest your efforts. Different social media platforms have different audiences. As noted by the Pew Research Center in the graph below, YouTube and Facebook continue to be the most used platforms. However, Instagram and Reddit have both seen dramatic increases in users. Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok tend to have stronger young adult users, with 65-70% of 18- to 29-year-olds using Instagram and Snapchat, and only 2% of those over age 65 using the apps (Pew Research Center, 2021).
Content should focus on authentic storytelling, demonstrating your mission, values, and expertise. SproutSocial found that the top content social media consumers don’t see enough of is authentic and non-promotional content—the stuff that helps the public identify with your brand. Promotional messages are not without value (for example, “We’re starting a new service line!” or “Join us for a health care directive workshop”), but striking a good balance between an authentic voice and promotional material is important.
Instead of selling open positions, strive to “open your doors” to show the range of employment opportunities in our field. Potential employees are most likely not aware of the variety of jobs available at your organization, so focus your content on giving them information about the many jobs in aging services, the people who fill these roles, the benefits to older adults in your community, and the rewards of carrying out meaningful work.
Let your heart shine through. Many potential employees seek jobs with a purpose. As you post content, consider the questions you answered above. Is your content showing your core values? Is it highlighting why staff love their jobs? Does it depict how employees make a difference in other people’s lives? Is it connected to your mission? Is it fun and honest?
The beauty of social media is that it doesn’t need to be professionally curated. Most contemporary smartphones are all you need to take photos and videos to post online.
Free Versus Paid?
Paid boosts or ads are not necessary, but they can go a long way for a small amount of money. Using targeted approaches can help get your content in front of your most likely candidates. Start by putting $50 toward boosting a post and then look at the analytics to determine the impact before boosting any more. It is most important to track data such as clicks, click-through rates, cost-per-click, conversation rate, and total ad spend. All social media platforms provide valuable analytic tools to help.
What Do the Analytics Tell Me?
Keeping tabs on social media analytics is important, as it tells you in real-time what content is working and what is not. You’ll look at trends over time and industry comparisons of likes, reactions, comments, shares, saves, mentions, and other engagement. This data will give you a more complete picture of the return on investment of this work.
Awareness: This is demonstrated by your audience. Who is following, subscribing, or viewing your content?
Engagement: Are people liking, reacting, sharing, or commenting?
Conversion: How effective is your engagement? Are your viewers participating in calls to action?
Consumer: How your active participants think and feel about your organization. What are they saying about you? Are you getting @mentions on certain topics?
The analytics that matter most to your organization are the ones that support your specific goals. If you are just getting started and launching a new or refreshed Facebook page, then your goal is likely to increase awareness by gaining 200 new followers on a specific platform. If you are proficient in using social media, then your goal may be to see 20 job applicants result from a LinkedIn job posting. You may also make a goal of seeing click-throughs to your website, tour scheduling page, or job board.
Analytics will also include data such as the age, sex, location, and type of device used to access your content. This can help your organization strategize around who is accessing your content, how they are accessing it, and whether you are investing in the appropriate platforms.
Who Are the Best Social Media Ambassadors for Recruiting Campaigns?
One of the best ways to maximize your reach is by engaging with your current employees and residents. LeadingAge’s Opening Doors to the Aging Services Workforce initiative found that the best, most trusted messengers are staff and residents and their families in provider communities. With that understanding, content that comes from a chief executive or “the organization” is going to be less trusted. So encourage and incentivize staff and residents to engage online. Provide group training sessions to understand best practices and company policies. They can like, react, share, comment, and contribute content. Highlight and share their stories. Staff members or residents can “take over” your social media for a day. Your reach is exponential when you engage staff, residents, and families because their networks are vast and they are trusted within their circles.
This is a lot, especially if you’re new to social media strategy. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed at this point! Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help make social media management easier. Here are a few options:
In-house support: Consider your existing internal team. You may have social media-proficient colleagues right under your nose! This may be a good way to engage your teammates—and help to grow their responsibilities and elevate their expertise within your organization.
Management software: There are many online resources to help your organization schedule content, post to multiple platforms from one location, and monitor the analytics on one dashboard. You can even create and schedule campaigns in advance. These products range in specialty, cost, and supported platforms.
Consultants: When capacity, interest, expertise, and willingness to learn don’t align internally, it may be a good time to consider investing in a social media consultant. Whether it’s just enough support to get you started or a long-term partnership to manage your accounts, there are several options for social media consultants, even those who have a niche specialty within aging services. This article from Linkedin, “Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Social Media Agency,” offers several reasons why hiring a consultant is a smart decision, as well as key considerations when vetting potential vendors.
Resources from LeadingAge and Tandem
Check out these resources to support your social media efforts:
For more information or additional support, reach out to Jenna Kellerman, Director of Workforce Strategy and Development, at JKellerman@LeadingAge.org.
This article has been developed by LeadingAge and Tandem Senior Living Advisors. Tandem is a niche firm in senior living with decades of desired outcomes led by long-tenured advisors who are repeatedly trusted to get results in communities across the country. Tandem delivers comprehensive marketing plans, customized sales oversight, and sophisticated communication strategies, working in alignment with organizations to surpass benchmarks and exceed expectations.