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Dan Stobbs, Head of Social Media at BlueSky PR, on Five ways your recruitment business can make it through the coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has not only had a detrimental effect on recruitment firms’ business development activities – with data from APSCo revealing that in the last week of March hiring activity for permanent roles had fallen by half compared to the same week last year, while contract vacancies were down 40% – but it has also wreaked havoc with firms’ wider recruitment marketing activities. In fact, many have had to hastily change direction.

As part of BlueSky PR’s commitment to support the industry through these unprecedented times, I have been offering free social media consultations which has seen me speak to recruitment businesses of all sizes over the last few weeks and gain a real sense of the key issues they are currently facing.

In this article, I outline some practical tips that recruitment marketers can use to overcome these issues and navigate their firm through this pandemic on social media.

Audit your content

The first thing that you should do is review your content calendar to ensure that both the topics and messaging you have scheduled isn’t tone-deaf or completely irrelevant to the current situation that your candidates and clients are facing. This is particularly important for firms placing candidates abroad, as the majority of evergreen content being reposted on social media is likely to be advice and insights on securing a job overseas – which, of course, is unlikely to happen given current restrictions. Instead, you should look at other ways in which you can enrich the professional lives of your target audiences.

 

Produce and curate valuable content

This is something that I have always advised recruitment marketers to focus on, and in these uncertain times it is more important than ever. Instead of simply using your channels to push out the latest jobs and blogs, you should drill down into your candidate and client personas and produce and curate content that provides them with real value.

Some of the trends we are currently seeing in the industry are firms moving away from content that focuses specifically on job applications and focusing on digital topics such as blogs on leveraging LinkedIn for networking and webinars on holding effective video interviews. You should also think about how you can stretch this content – for example, could you produce an infographic which summarises the key points of a blog post? Or perhaps create an e-book based on a webinar? This will help minimise the time you are spending on creating a stream of brand new content while maximising the ROI of your ongoing marketing activities.

 

Be clear about how you can meet your audiences’ need

While your office or branches may be closed due to the pandemic, it’s vital that you clearly outline how you’re overcoming these issues to go above and beyond to meet the needs of candidates and clients during these difficult times.

I’ve seen a number of firms highlight these in engaging ways ranging from semi-regular social media images which outline operational hours and working arrangements, through to short video snippets of Zoom team meetings and online training courses.

Make sure this information is the first thing that social media users see when coming across your channels by pinning these posts on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Share positive, uplifting content

In these difficult times, it feels like no matter where we turn coronavirus is the prime topic of conversation. And our social media feeds are no different. However, this provides your recruitment business with a great opportunity to cut-through the doom and gloom of COVID-19 and shine a light on some of the positive stories that are coming out.

Take a look at some of the top publications for the sectors you recruit in and try curating some feel-good content that will stand out in your audiences’ feeds and put a smile on their faces. Here’s one of my recent favourites from the care sector.

 

Highlight how you’re helping

If your recruitment business is doing something positive in the fight against COVID-19, then don’t be afraid to shout out about it. As mentioned above, we’re all in need of some content right now that will raise our spirits when browsing social media.

To date, I’ve seen firms organise Dress Up Fridays to fundraise for local foodbanks, specialist consultancies offer reduced client fees for non-profit organisations and healthcare recruiters show their support for frontline staff by participating in the #ClapForCarers initiative.

While the coronavirus pandemic means that all recruitment brands must carefully review their content and messaging to strike the right tone, there are still plenty of ways firms can keep their audiences engaged to ensure that once this is over, they will be front of mind when hiring activity shoots back up.

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