Hollerings | Employer Branding

Paid social media marketing techniques to attract candidates

Computer with Facebook Ads open

Pretty much every company has some form of social media presence for their corporate brand, and many have even created a standalone careers focused presence for their employer brand too.

Brands love social media because it offers an incredible opportunity for brand awareness with 3.5 billion active users worldwide, but if you are only focusing on organic social then it’s important to remember that your social reach is often only as strong as your current following. One solution to this is using paid social media marketing alongside your underlying strategy to boost brand awareness and enhance your ability to attract relevant candidates for your brand.

We’ve outlined a few key things to get you started with your own paid social media marketing campaign.

10 things to consider for paid social media marketing:

The best campaigns are part of a longer-term strategy

One off paid social media marketing campaigns might hook you a “quick win” and attract a few relevant candidates, but the most successful brands will always use this approach in tandem with a wider underlying social strategy.

Brand awareness doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time to grow your following and gather engagement for your content and this is something you should be taking a considered approach towards.

Think about the type of content you want to share on social media and the purpose behind it: you might be trying to build brand awareness in general as nobody knows who you are, you might be trying to raise awareness for your employer brand because people know your company name but they don’t know about what it’s like to work for you, or you might be trying to promote your EVP and showcase your culture. Every post should have a purpose and the majority of your social content should be planned in advance in line with this purpose.

Know your recruitment needs in advance

Just as we have mentioned you should be planning your social content in advance; you should be using this same approach for your recruitment needs too. You may not always be able to predict when a vacancy will arise in your organisation, but in some instances you will be able to plan for the type of people you are likely to hire in the future based on previous hiring data, growth plans and volume based recruitment.

Paid social media marketing isn’t always an overnight success, and when the time is ticking to fill a vacancy you can find yourself with no option other than reaching out to expensive recruitment agencies to solve your problem. If you start a paid social media marketing campaign 3 months in advance of needing that employee sat in your office, then it gives you a more realistic timescale of converting your advert into enough relevant applications to make a placement.

If you are constantly on the lookout for a specific skill-set that is hard to find, then we would argue that a year-round awareness campaign targeting these individuals is also worthwhile.

Men around a board

Create compelling content

No matter how much you spend and how well you target your paid social media marketing campaigns, if your content is bland and boring you aren’t going to see the results you want.

We talked a bit before about leading with a purpose, and every piece of content you create should serve a purpose. You might be creating images, videos, getting employee testimonials, writing blogs, creating Q&A articles, making a Podcast or simply sharing a post on social media! There is so much you can be doing but it must be relevant, and it must be engaging for your audience! It should also embody your employer brand personality and give an authentic insight into who you really are!

If you need some inspiration I’d recommend you check out Microsoft and L’Oréal on Facebook, and TripAdvisor on Instagram – all three companies are leading the way in showcasing their employer brand on social media!

Structure your paid social media marketing campaigns

If you are looking to attract a specific type of candidate then you will want to structure your paid social media marketing campaigns in a way that they will build brand awareness, encourage engagement / curiosity and ultimately get candidates clicking through to your careers website and applying for a position.

For example: If you are looking to attract software developers then you might choose to promote an article outlining who your company is and what you are doing within the tech industry, then follow up with a Q&A with your CTO outlining “10 reasons your company is a great home for Devs”, followed up with a video tour of your awesome tech team offices & a video story with your Dev team outlining what they love about working for your company and finally a link to a job advert for a Software Developer!

It’s all about building that initial awareness, pricking the candidate’s curiosity and encouraging them to move from interested to active within your candidate pipeline, and that usually happens over a number of touchpoints before you see real results!

Choose your platforms

There are lots of social platforms that you can use for paid social media marketing, and you may find that some are better suited to your objectives than others.

LinkedIn as an employment focused platform is an obvious choice to use, however the cost per click on this platform can eat up your budget fast and not every type of candidate “hangs out” on LinkedIn.

Facebook and Instagram have fantastic targeting options with the data they use, and you can often control your budgets a lot easier than on platforms like LinkedIn.

Twitter is also relatively cost effective for sponsoring your content, however the targeting options aren’t as straight forward to use as on platforms like Facebook so you might find that it takes a while to narrow your audience to deliver effective campaigns here.

Have an explore online or reach out to an industry expert to find out which platform is best for you.

Social Media on a iPhone

Build your target audiences

Social media platforms hold some extremely relevant data for the purposes of creating a campaign to attract candidates. For example Facebook allows you to target your adverts around location of where people live, age, gender, languages they speak, current employer, current job title, field of study at University, personal interests and more!

You can build out audiences around the specific candidate demographics you are looking to attract, and even segment these further for the purpose of personalising adverts for better engagement levels.

Once you set your advert live, it will start to appear in the news feeds of people who match that criteria, so you can get your content seen by a specific audience for your campaign objectives.

One important thing to note is that you can over define an audience to the point that it won’t deliver, so make sure you check out the targeting options on each platform before you save your audience and ensure yours is set as “defined”.

Get creative with your advert

So you’ve got your content, you’ve defined your audience and now it’s time to get creative with how your advert will actually look. This is probably the most important part of the process because if your advert fails to grab a candidate’s interest then they will never bother to click on your adverts no matter how well you have targeted them.

There are a few things to consider here, firstly the type of advert format you are creating (if you are using Facebook for example you might choose a single image advert, a video advert, a carousel, a collection or something else!). The format you choose will determine what content you will use on the advert, but it’s important that any images / videos you choose will be eye catching and relevant to the advert. Ideally you will want to use media that showcases your people and your culture rather than generic stock media, and if you choose to add text / graphics you will want to make sure it operates within the ad guidelines of the platform you use (you can test out your images for Facebook here and videos for Facebook here).

In addition to the media you also need to consider the headline of the advert and any additional text you will add to support the advert. You want to stand out, stop a candidate in their tracks and get them intrigued enough to click through to your content without making your adverts total click-bait!

We would advise you try out different creatives and measure what works best so that you can structure future campaigns for the best engagement levels, so make sure you use the analytics tools to track your progress.

Choose a budget that suits you

We’ve touched upon the fact that a lot of social campaigns will need to include multiple adverts and creatives in order to convert into a click through to a job advert / application. Considering how much recruitment you will be doing over the course of a year you might not want to part with too much of your precious recruitment budget for every single paid social media marketing advert.

Budgets can often be controlled from as little as £5 a day but bear in mind that the more you spend the more your advert will deliver, so try and find a balance between being frugal and realistic about your goals.

Monitor the activity and react

You don’t want to put lots of effort into your paid social media campaigns just to sit back and not pay attention to how they deliver! You might find that certain posts perform better than others, and you can actually learn and adapt as you go to make sure that your adverts are optimised for the best results throughout the course of your campaign.

You will also want to stay alert for any post engagement that occurs during the course of the campaign. If a candidate likes a post on a Facebook advert you can invite them to follow your business page (increasing your chances of converting into application over the long period).

You may also receive questions about your company on your adverts, so responding quickly will help to give a great first impression for potential candidates.

Instagram Insights

Use the Facebook re-targeting pixel

When a candidate clicks through to one of your posts you still can’t guarantee it will end in an action like a CV submission. If you use the Facebook retargeting pixel however (which is basically a snippet of code you can insert into the back end of your website) you can find ways to get more from your future adverts.

You can use information collected by the pixel to create custom audiences and lookalike audiences for future campaigns, track and improve conversions and build re-marketing campaigns around the individuals who visit certain pages of your website. You can learn more about the Facebook re-targeting pixel here.

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