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Should I use the power of social media to market my recruitment start-up?

by LAURA MOULD / Wednesday, 21st December 2016


When you’re starting your own recruitment business, deciding where to dedicate your time is one of the key skills you need to pick up quickly.  With no marketing department, admin team or resourcer in your business, you can soon find yourself pulled from pillar to post and becoming a master of all trades.

The obvious priority is recruitment – after all, that’s what is going to make your business money and ensure it is profitable, as well as being able to pay yourself.  After recruitment though, is social media a priority for your business?  Especially when you are considering longer term goals and how to build your business. 

Were I to post this as a question on any social media platform, LinkedIn particularly, I’m sure I would receive a flurry of responses – ranging from resounding yes’s to defiant no’s.  It’s a topic which seems to divide opinion. 

The pros

Brand awareness – when you start your recruitment business, it’s likely that you will need to work hard and leverage personal connections to get your brand and name ‘out there’.  And social media could be one of the places to do this. 

Engage with your audience – where better to start engaging with your audience and demonstrating that you are an expert in field, than social media.  Of course, you don’t want to become a keyboard warrior (personal interaction is just as important) but integrating the use of social media platforms into your recruitment and marketing strategy as an additional layer is sure to reap rewards.

It’s expected – not always the best reason to do something, I acknowledge.  But, in today’s technology driven age, having a presence either online or on social media is expected by most – in fact, just yesterday I received a call from a candidate who couldn’t believe one of the businesses they wanted to contact didn’t have a website or Facebook page – they even asked me if the business actually existed! 

Show your personality – social media platforms give your network an opportunity to glimpse into your world and your business, showing your personality and culture.  Just be sure not to share too much ‘personality’ – remember to strike a balance between personality and professionalism.  Not only might you attract customers, you may also attract new members to your team, enabling your business to grow. 

Passive candidates – yes, you will increase your reach by posting adverts on job boards but only if job seekers are viewing your adverts.  Which means they need to be looking on the job boards in the first place.  Social media platforms give you a way in which to build your brand with passive candidates (i.e. those that aren’t actively seeking a new position). 

The cons

Time and effort – there’s no getting around it, effective social media usage does take time, and consistency is key.  There’s nothing worse than a Twitter feed with three tweets from 2012.  Or a LinkedIn profile with an out-of-date current job.  Investing the time and effort into developing and implementing a social media strategy, creating content, posting regularly, commenting and engaging with your network and so on can pay dividends, but only if you’re sure it will give you a return on investment and if you are able to prioritise doing this (for the long term).

Difficult to measure return on investment – firstly, because your investment is likely time, rather than any financial investment, which many of us find hard to quantify or put a value on.  And secondly, because the results are not immediate or easy to measure.  For example, with job boards, it’s easy to see how many placements you have made from each and therefore a return on investment.  With social media, much harder to calculate.

Not everyone uses social media – if your target market is aged 25 – 35 and interested in Candy Crush Saga, then you can be fairly sure they hang out on Facebook.  But what if you’re targeting a group that simply don’t use social media platforms?  The key here is to research your ideal audience, find out where they are and then go there!  If it isn’t social media, then it should move down your priority list.

It steals time – we’ve all been there…merrily watching videos of dancing cats and liking our friends insightful comments when, bam, three hours have passed.  Social media has a way of sapping your time, especially for those prone to procrastination or lured by click bait titles.  I’m not saying that’s a reason not to use it at all, but it is reason to use wisely and monitor carefully.

To conclude

There is no right or wrong answer here – it all depends on what is best for your business.  For most new business owners, it’s easy to get carried away simply copying what other business owners do or what they think they should do, and they don’t sit down and think about what will work best for their business.

If social media is the right way to promote your business – do it, and do it well.  If not, spend your time and money pursuing those avenues that are the right way for you.

Who are SSG?

Want to redefine success, get access to the right tools, choose a wise and sage travel companion, and play to your strengths as a recruiter?

At SSG we provide sound advice based on extensive experience of providing financial backing, recruitment support, legal and compliance, back office services, branding, marketing communications and business mentoring.  Since forming in 2003 we’ve supported the launch of over 300 recruitment agencies across 29 sectors and we work with the most popular job boards to provide access to the ventures we support.

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