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How to use social media to reach job applicants

BY: Robyn Herian on October 18, 2017

With no end in sight to the nursing shortage, healthcare recruiters must be more creative than ever to source top talent for their job openings. Social media can help.

According to LinkedIn, 25% of the workforce is either actively or casually looking for a new job. For this quarter of the workforce, more traditional recruitment tools, such as job boards, are an excellent way to source nurse candidates as they seek out employment opportunities.

But what about the 60% of the workforce LinkedIn reports as open to new opportunities, but not actively job searching? Is there a way to engage both this passive audience and the actively searching candidates at the same time? Enter social media recruiting.

Attract candidates on social media

Recruiting via social media has become more and more necessary to stay competitive. A survey by AMN Healthcare found that 42% of healthcare professionals use social media for job searching, with LinkedIn and Facebook snagging the top two spots, respectively. This percentage doubled from a similar study done two years previously, highlighting the fact that job hunting on social media is likely not a trend that will go away soon.

With the ability to create company profile pages and to post and advertise open positions on both social media platforms, an active job-seeking nurse audience is at your fingertips. Combine this reach with the ability to appeal to the passive job seeker with your content and branding, and social media quickly becomes one of the most powerful recruiting tools in your arsenal. Here are some ways to effectively use it.

Nurses uses social media on smart phone to search for new job opportunities.

Establish a solid online presence

Your organization’s social media presence and content is probably more important than you think.

According to a study published in 2017 by Ghent University in Belgium, viewing a company’s Facebook or LinkedIn page has a direct, positive impact on how nurses perceive working for that company. This finding suggests that social branding does affect your recruitment success rate, so ensure your company pages are fully optimized to give your brand the best representation possible.

A great starting point is to follow best practices outlined by Facebook and LinkedIn when creating and updating your pages. Set an occasional reminder to review established best practices for updates — Facebook in particular tends to change requirements such as image size every so often, and your pages should always reflect the most recent specifications.

Focus on content that reflects your company’s work culture. For example, do you have a celebratory event for your RNs during National Nurses Week? Post about it. Potential candidates will be excited to see that your organization is one that values its employees.

Target candidates outside your network

Building a social presence and establishing a network of followers is a crucial (and free!) first step to recruiting on social media. Your content and interaction with your brand are valuable, but they are limited in that they only extend to people who already follow your company.

To up your recruitment game and reach new potential recruits, it is critical to make an investment in social media ads. Both Facebook and LinkedIn have robust ad platforms that allow you to target by geography, interests, job title and scores of other demographics.

Do keep in mind, however, that the native targeting in these platforms is only as good as the data behind it. For example, when targeting the “registered nurse” job title in Facebook’s ad platform, Facebook can only present you with targets who have chosen to identify their profession with these words on their profile page.

Our Nurse.com data estimates that only about 58% of nurses identify themselves as nurses on Facebook, meaning that you’re missing out on the other 42% of potential nurse hires.

Consider working with an advertising solutions provider, such as Nurse.com, that possesses a complete collection of data so you can reach your entire target audience and use even deeper segmentation. This will allow you to narrow your search to specific categories that social media platforms may not offer, such as nursing specialties, to get the most bang for your advertising buck.

Bolster your campaign with multichannel recruitment

Social media recruitment, while effective on its own, returns the most investment when combined with recruitment campaigns through other channels, such as email or network digital display. Cross promoting in multiple channels enables you to reach potential candidates no matter where they are in the recruitment funnel and keeps your target engaged with your brand across multiple devices, locations and platforms.

The use of multiple channels was a key factor in the award-winning recruitment campaign by University of Missouri Health Care, who increased year-over-year nurse recruitment by 51% and hired 116 nurses in 2016 simultaneously using a variety of methods, including social media, digital ads, newsletter ads and direct mail.

Our Nurse.com data trends also support the success of multichannel recruitment. Campaigns that launch simultaneously in social media and email see click-through rates averaging 1.5 times higher than stand-alone social media campaigns, with some campaigns seeing rates that are three to four times higher.

With more than half a billion LinkedIn users and 1.9 billion monthly Facebook users as of 2017, it has become impossible to ignore social media as a source for potential nurse candidates. By representing your brand, highlighting your organization’s culture and landing on the right combination of targeting and cross-channel promotion, you’ll attract both active and passive job seekers for your open nursing positions.

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Robyn Herian

Robyn Herian is the marketing manager for the advertising solutions division of Nurse.com and OnCourse Learning. She has a literary journalism degree from the University of California, Irvine and has been optimizing client campaigns, building recruitment solutions and marketing to nurses for the past six years. You can follow her on LinkedIn.