10 Top tips to creating a social media strategy
Whether you are a new or established recruitment business, you will likely already be using social media or considering using it to connect with target audiences.
It’s no secret that social media has firmly established itself as the tool-of-choice for many recruitment businesses looking to increase inbound sales leads, attract more candidates and ultimately, scale their business and brand. The only thing is that many recruitment businesses haven’t really taken the time to develop an effective social media strategy to get the best out of their content.
Why is social media the tool of choice for recruiters?
To put it simply, it’s the easiest and most effective way to pique your target audience’s interest and encourages them to engage with you and your business.
However, developing a social media strategy is by no means an easy task – especially if you recruit in a niche specialism or industry. Not only do you have to really know your target audience, you’ve also got to find out what platforms your audience hang out on and how you are going to reach them.
Sounds like a daunting prospect, but don’t despair, we’ve got you covered and developed 10 simple steps to use when creating a social media strategy.
1. Identify your target audience
The first step in developing an effective social media strategy is knowing exactly who your target audience is, what’s important to them, what challenges they are facing and what they are influenced by. Many businesses make the mistake of thrashing together a social media plan that just focuses on talking about themselves and promoting their services, without considering audiences pain-points and needs. This can result in a lot of wasted time, resource and budget.
Instead, take the time to get to truly understand who your target audience is and what they care about. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to develop audience personas. In short, these are profiles of your customers with basic information and demographics and overviews of what challenges they face, where they go to get information, and what they look for when choosing services to procure.
Here’s a quick guide of what information you need to create an audience persona and get to know them:
- Kick off by making a list of key information you need to capture and then make some general assumptions and observation about your target audience based on your previous experience and engagement with them. Key information to list and answer include:
– Job Title/Position/Industry
– Typical Age
– Introvert or Extrovert
– Analytical or Creative
– Conservative or Liberal
– Passive or Active
– Personal Goals & Motivations
– Companies Goals
– Frustrations, Pain-Points, Challenges
– Brands they are inspired by
- Conduct market research and subtly sense check these with existing clients and candidates to find out what information they look for, what stops them scrolling and what they care about most when using social media in a professional capacity.
- Once you’ve compiled your research, start to flesh out your audience personas. Develop profiles that you can use to drive your content marketing.
Once you know who your target audience is and what they care about, you’ll be able to reach and engage with them more effectively through social media. Your market research will also help drive the types of content to use in your social strategy.
2. Select the right social media platforms
Now that you know a more about your target audiences, it’s time to understand what social media platforms they hang out on.
When selecting what social media platforms are most suitable for your content to reach and be engaged with by your target audiences, consider the following for each social media channel:
- Which social media platforms have the largest populations of visitors who fit within your target audience demographics?
- Which social media platforms offer the best features that will allow you effectively promote your content and call to actions away from their platform to view your own website and collateral (this is called linking away).
- Which social media platforms offer the best features for user to react, interact, share and engage with your content.
While it’s tempting to broaden your exposure across all the major social media platforms, we recommend you narrow down your focus to just one or two platforms.
Need help to decide what social media platforms are right for your target audiences, check out our quick guide to Choosing the best social media platform.
3. Develop specific strategy goals and objectives
Before you can get started developing your social media strategy, you need to determine what your goals and objectives are. Consider not only what you want to achieve from your strategy but also how these goals align with your wider business strategy.
Here are some common goals that many recruitment businesses use as a starting point for their social media campaigns:
- Drive more traffic to their website
- Generate new inbound sales leads
- Convert leads into sales
- Sell a specific recruitment service
- Attract actively seeking candidates without the need to utilise job-boards
- Engage and attract passive hard-to-find talent
- Build communities of talent with in-demand skills and expertise
- Communicate, influence and inspire clients
- Build and establish brand presence
It’s is critical when measuring the success of a social media strategy that you make sure that your goals are clearly outlined from the start. We recommend using a SMART goal system to help ensure that your social media campaign goals are clear and attainable. Using (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success.
However, setting a goal of “get more jobs and clients from social media” is not a good enough goal for your social media strategy. You’ll need to consider how many jobs and clients you want, how you will measure success, and in what timeline you will achieve this goal. You’ll also want to make sure that the goal is relevant and realistic given your timeline and resources.
You should also consider that your goals will play a key role in your wider sales strategy. If you want to drive traffic to your website, your calls to action will be different than if you are just trying to spark engagements and conversations with your target audience. Keep your goals in mind when choosing the type of content you post.
4. Decide on what content types will go on what platform
Each social media platform has different features that you’ll need to consider when using them as part of your social media strategy. It’s best to research what features they have in advance, that way, you are able to maximise your results by using each platform to its full potential.
After you’ve decided on which platforms to use, you will have a better understanding of how you can promote your content on each of them. Some platforms have features that will allow you to publish different types of content to engage your audience. For example, Facebook, Instagram and more recently ‘LinkedIn’ have a live video streaming and webinar hosting feature that allows you to connect with your audience virtually and instantly.
5. Create a content calendar
Now you know the goals of your social media strategy and how you will post content across your chosen platforms, it’s time to create a content calendar. Content plays an important part in your social media strategy. It’s the first line of communication and it’s what your followers and target audiences will see before deciding whether or not to engage with you/your business.
The types of content that you create will change depending on your goals and objectives. Here are some types of content that you may want to include in your content calendar:
- Articles – Blog articles are ideal for informative and educational content that focuses on your audience’s challenges, but they can also be effective for middle and bottom funnel content that gets more specific regarding the problems you solve with your services.
- Text Posts – You can use text social media posts to spark engagement and conversations. The use of emojis are a great way to grab attention and highlight key messages and topics in text posts.
- Imagery – You can use all types of branding, images and visual attention grabbers in your social media strategy from infographics to short sentences and statements to promote and share your content.
- Videos – Videos not only get the attention of busy feed-scroller, but they are a great way for breaking down complex topics or sharing your message with audiences.
- Slide Shows – Slide show images are great for taking audiences on a journey or promoting a multi-point solution or case study. Platforms like Instagram support this with simple images, where as LinkedIn offer a PDF scrolling feature.
- Guides, Brochures and Whitepapers – are great to use as gated content because they provide enough additional value to encourage your audience to hand over their contact information.
Once you have an idea of the types of content you would like to create and post, you can start deciding on the right themes and topics. We suggest collaborating with your recruitment consultants and make the topic brainstorming process a group effort. Choose consultants and senior leaders in your business that know your target audience well and ask them for help in coming up with topics for content.
After you know the types of content and themes that you will be creating, you should add this information to a content schedule/calendar. There are a host of free and paid platforms available online to us to build out your calendar, or you can develop a shared excel or Google spreadsheet.
A content calendar/schedule makes it easy to see what content is coming up and keeps content collaborators and creators on the same page about tasks and deadlines. No two businesses content calendars will ever look the same and you should choose a format that works best for you, your collaborators and your business.
Most effective content calendars contain the following information:
- Topic or title
- Content type
- Content owner/author
- Content approver
- Content creation completion date
- Content posting date
- Content posting/promotion method
- Desired goals of content
- Performance reporting metrics (impressions, interactions, engagements, comments, shares, conversions)
- Any other important notes
Keep this content calendar where everyone involved can easily access and update it. Google drive or Sharepoint are both good for this. It’s important that everyone involved can update their progress and make any notes on issues or delays so that it’s clear when the content will be complete so you can update your content calendar.
6. Creating Content
Now that you know what content you need for your social media strategy, it’s time to create it!
Be sure that you allocate enough time or delegate to a member of your team for every piece of content to be created. If you are outsourcing the content creation to an agency or freelancer, make sure that they have specific instructions on what you want the content to be about, the content type, when you want to see a first draft and when it needs to be ready by in order for it to be published on time.
No matter what resource options you take to create your content, keep the following in mind as you build a repository of content:
- Stay on brand – Though different people may be writing or creating visual content, all of your content should be in line with your brand visual identity, voice and persona. Creating specific brand guidelines can help communicate your brand parameters.
- Call to actions – When appropriate, make sure that content has a clear and effective ‘call to action’ that uses action verbs to encourage your target audience to engage and interact with your content. Whether it points them to visit your website or encourages them to engage in conversation with you, it should be clear and specific.
- Re-purpose content – Once you have built-out a repository of content and themes for your social media strategy, always lookout for ways to re-purpose, recycle and link back to this content in future posts and content. This allows you to maximise content’s potential but also gives you opportunity to promote your authority as a thought-leader when referencing other relatable content that you have created.
For written content and articles, make sure that the content is engaging and free of grammatical errors. Break up the content using headings, sub-headings, bullet-points and calls to action to make sure that it’s easy for your audience to digest.
When it comes to creating visual content, you will want to ensure that any images or video you use are of professional quality and that you have an appropriate license and rights to use the image if using imagery and video from online sources.
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7. Schedule content for posting
Once the content is created and ready, it’s time to schedule it according to your schedule in your content calendar. The pacing of your posts will depend on a number of factors such as your desired goals, type of content you are posting and where and when your audience is most active. It’s best to do a little research before you start posting so you know when optimal times to post are.
Optimal times to post depend on the social media platforms as well as the audience you are trying to reach. While there is no 100% full-proof formula to the best times to post on each platform, research and data from strategies we have delivered in the past suggests:
- LinkedIn – Remains the number 1 social media platforms for professionals, so it should come as no surprise that the least amount of engagement happens on the weekends. That’s not to say that content doesn’t perform well on weekends, but the optimum time to post on LinkedIn is on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 4 p.m. Though engagement varies each day, Tuesday through to Thursday does tend to be the best days with the highest amount of engagement. However, if your target audience is likely an evening commuter on the London underground, posting as late as 6pm in the evening has also proved to achieve high engagement rates.
- Twitter – Twitter is a unique beast when it comes to social media platforms, reports published last year highlighted that the best day and time to post on Twitter was Friday from 8:30am to 11am. However as long as it’s aligned to your target audience persona, you will can still expect decent engagement on any content posted from 11am to 2pm each day of the working week.
- Facebook –The best times to post on Facebook are Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30am to 2 p.m. Evenings, early mornings, and weekends have the least amount of engagement.
- Instagram – Research shows that the best days and times to post on Instagram are Tuesday through to Friday from 8am to 9am and the 4pm to 7pm. Keep in mind that Sunday has the lowest engagement.
Though you can manually post your content on the day and time of your choice, you can also use free and paid social media scheduling tools that allow you to schedule in advance and post content for you. When using scheduling tools, you should check that your content is compatible for the platforms you want to post on through scheduling tools. For example, square images are compatible on LinkedIn and Instagram but not on Twitter.
- Audience Engagement
So many people fall foul of the trap of posting content and then sitting back and forgetting to respond and interact with those that engage with it. It’s critical to the success of your content that you monitor engagement and respond to what others are saying. This can be achieved through setting up alerts to your phone/inbox or using online tools to capture all responses and engagement on a central dashboard.
Set time out each day to through alerts and notifications to see who you may need to respond to and engagement with. If clients /candidates ask questions, answer them to the best of your ability. If they are leaving a comment, sharing their thoughts on the topic or trying to start a conversation, take this opportunity to authentically engage with them.
9. Tactic adjustments
There is no guideline to when you should/shouldn’t make adjustments to your content strategy. For example, if you discover that a particular piece of content is really resonating with target audiences, explore other avenues to promote and re-purpose that content to gain more traction from it.
If tactics aren’t working, discover what works by testing different things along the way. Just be sure to monitor the results each step of the way and compare these with your initial goals to determine if you’re on course to meet your objective.
10. Analyse results and make changes
All that hard work you’ve put into developing and implementing your social media strategy will pay off when you start to see more social media followers, increased traffic coming to your website, more inbound sales leads and direct candidate applications happening as a result of your content and online activities. It’s important to track these successes and translate them into what results they have brought to your business in terms of return on investment (ROI).
However, you need to go beyond just tracking the successes of your strategy. If you really want to get the most out of your content and social media strategy, you’ll need to analyse the data from your social media efforts and use it to respond and make adjustments for future content. Identify which content and tactics worked best, what still need some work and what content needs to be put in the ‘it will never work’ file.
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