Leveraging social media for your recruitment is a great way to engage with your existing digital community and run paid targeted recruitment campaigns using Facebook or Instagram.
- Cost: If you already have existing followings on social sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., these can be leveraged for free
- Demographics: Social media channels allow you to target your desired demographics using their advanced targeting systems.
- Participation: People recruited through social media are more likely to join other online communities and are open to sharing their opinions online.
- Engagement: Social media users are primed for digital communities and more likely to share online.
- Referral traffic: the public nature of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter means the invitation could be ‘shared’ or ‘re-tweeted’ to others – good if you want word to spread.
Challenges of Social Media Recruitment:
- Advertising publicly may not be appropriate if you want awareness of the community to remain limited or contained.
- Join rates (without using paid promotion) have been very varied but have typically been low: between 0.1 and 1% (much lower than for email lists).
- The absolute number of fans / followers is not a good guide to success as many social media accounts are abandoned or automated spam/robot-controlled. The median twitter account has just one follower, so focus on the number of ‘active’ fans / followers (much like on an IC). Activity levels can be gauged by level of interactions or ‘active’ members (via Facebook Insights) or on Twitter, by mentions or re-tweets.
- Social media networks experience rapid depopulation and demographic change as tastes change and competitors appear. To take one example, Facebook was relatively unknown to ages 25+ in 2007, but just five years later it was already “for old people”, as youth moved on to newer and less-parent-monitored networks. This trend has only intensified since.
What Is the Recommended Approach?
This method of recruitment is more effective with social accounts that are already interacting with followers on a regular basis – not just posting content but posting questions/topics and encouraging people to comment/like/share. A quiet account, even with many previous follows/likes/connections, won’t drive high recruitment.
To reach as many people as possible and make it a positive experience for the brand, we recommend posting calls-to-action with a link to a screener survey (not your main Recruitment Survey) initially. That way we can capture all the interested parties’ information without sending them through the Recruitment Survey and running the risk of them not being qualified. People that match the targets you are looking for can be directed into the full survey if desired.
After the initial recruitment campaign, you can consider running a contest to to encourage members to “share” that they took a survey and encourage friends to take it too.
Tips for Success:
- Calls to action should be easy to understand, short, and in the form of hook questions - asking a question that will get the conversation going and encourage people to want to join the community.
- Use your Facebook network to amplify your message through liking or sharing. Encourage your Facebook fans to share recruit links by sharing posts.
- Use positive action words that create a sense of urgency such as “Join Now”, etc.
- Target the groups you want by using relevant messages and post often to make sure you’re reaching all time zones for your target.
- Post the link in multiple places on your Facebook page. For example, in the “About” section as well as a regular status update.
- Always include a visual, either a graphic, a gif, or a photo when posting. According to research from social media analytics app Buffer, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets and 89% more favorites. There are some great tools available to help – i.e https://shareasimage.com or https://www.pexels.com/
- Consider adding video to your post
- Shortening your link is good social media practice largely because it provides you with more room for your call to action – many social media sites will truncate longer posts and provide a “More…” link, or hide your URL behind their own custom URL shortening service. In each case, some of your message could be hidden.
Try to simplify your message
"How do you get to work? Tell us and you might win a prize: www.CommuterCouncil.com"
Instead of …
"How do you get to work or school each day? If you complete our survey and never… MORE [truncated message means incomplete message, no link, lower engagement and join rates]"
Troubleshooting: If your social engagement is low, or your current recruitment isn't yielding results...
Have you ever missed a friend’s important update on your social feed and wondered how that happened? This is the work of an algorithm; it could be that you didn’t like enough of this person's posts in the past, or they didn’t post enough for you to like, or that you don’t share a social network with that person.
If you’re hoping your posts will show up in your audience's feeds you’ll need to stay on the algorithm's good side, or pay to promote your posts, because ultimately you just can’t win against an algorithm.
Here are some tips:
- Post content often, but not too often. Every time your audience snubs your post on social media, it gets counted against you. You’ll be discounted as a spammer or someone who produces dull content, and the algorithm will stop showing your posts in your follower’s feeds.
- Include a compelling reason for people to share or like your post; a contest is a good way to do this if you're just getting started or have hit a plateau.
- Run a few promoted posts to boost your overall visibility if your current engagement is very low.
Smart, quick campaigns can make a huge difference in your social media recruitment efforts. Here are two ways you can gain followers and recruit more people to your insight community:
Running a contest will help boost your overall following online and can help introduce your brand to new people. The disadvantage to this tactic is that you attract one-time followers who may fall-off once the contest wraps up.
Lookalike or tailored audiences
These are very smart targeting tools and the best way to run a referral campaign. You can use Facebook’s and Twitter’s ad targeting technology to upload an existing list of highly engaged customers to use as your target demographic. This list will then let you find other users who fit into the same persona and will target your promoted posts at them. You can also target your customers specifically, which means they will see your promoted posts in their social feed and are more likely to engage with your content.
The most important thing to keep in mind while you work on your social media recruitment is that recruitment is not transactional and it takes time to grow your digital community. Providing positive experiences for your members on social media and in your insights community will yield the greatest results.