Posted: 16 September 2021
Social media has become a huge part of most people’s everyday lives – we use it to connect with family and friends, to keep up with the news, and to find out about products and services.
So, it’s no surprise that social media has also become an important part of the recruitment process across all sectors, including social care.
We spoke with a selection of social care recruiters and managers to find out more about how they’re using social media to support their recruitment activity.
Complete Care West Yorkshire Ltd
Complete Care West Yorkshire Ltd have been using a range of social media channels to connect with potential candidates, and most recently they’ve turned to the newest addition to the social media world, TikTok. Sara Booth, Registered Manager and Director at Complete Care West Yorkshire Ltd, tells us more:
There are various social media platforms we use to attract, recruit and retain staff, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.
The most recent addition is the use of TikTok, using short videos to attract potential applicants and engage with our existing followers.
As a community care provider, we’re keen to highlight how amazing social care is, and show off the work of our wonderful care team. We feel that social care doesn’t receive the positive recognition it deserves which can impact on attracting new recruits to our sector and using social media to share experiences of our work is a solution to this.
We use social media to promote events, recognition of achievements, activities, celebrations, awards, and more. By promoting what we do and celebrating our team’s success, we can draw people’s attention to working in social care, even if they hadn’t considered this in the past. Some of our fantastic care workers just happened to come across our adverts on social media and applied, even though they hadn’t been looking for a job or change in career at the time.
Using different platforms allows us to target different types of people and generations. We find that Instagram and especially TikTok is used by a younger generation who engage with these channels more than Facebook.
We discovered this when we had a work experience student come to work for us. We were using Facebook to create a video celebrating care staff and the training they do, when we asked the student if she used Facebook, she told us it was for a more mature generation. We quickly identified that as a care provider we needed to change our approach and adapt to current trends. At the moment, the big social media trend is TikTok.
Fortunately, we had a number of staff in our senior team who were already familiar with using TikTok so quite quickly we were up and running with a few recruitment videos on there. The response has been very positive and slowly we’ve attracted followers with the hope that this will lead to potential applicants.
One of our videos has had over 21,000 views. This is the power of social media.
It’s important to note that this new strategy was the result of an ad-hoc conversation with a work experience student. With this in mind, we must continue to review how we do things on a regular basis and involve the whole team in these discussions, as we’ve seen how much impact different perspectives can add.
We’re still learning more about TikTok and this is something we’ll continue to pursue over the next few months, increasing engagement with hopefully potential care workers. Our team are encouraged to positively promote the role using short videos, many of them are happy to do this as it’s a fun activity to do.
We also use YouTube to share our videos which celebrate the team and highlight our values, which is another important resource for showing potential candidates what it’s like to work with us.
The biggest challenge with regards to recruitment is attracting the right people into the role, we can no longer wait for applications to come to us, so we have to go out there and sell social care as a career. This can be difficult if someone is new to care.
As a company we make it clear that we can teach people the necessary skills needed to work out in the community, providing care and support. But what we can’t teach is for someone to have a passion for helping others which is why social media is a great tool to showcase this.
If I had any advice to social care recruiters, it would be to promote the work of your existing team. By inspiring and valuing the passion of your existing workforce, your team will in turn promote the sector and role, sharing posts or videos using various social media platforms to do this. I would advise nominating key people in the company to promote, attract and retain staff because it’s everyone’s responsibility, not just HR.
Changing with the new trends is a must and providers mustn’t become complacent. In our sector attracting the right staff is critical for the success or failure of a company.
MacIntyre have also recently started using TikTok as part of their recruitment strategy. Recruitment Co-Ordinator at MacIntyre, Helen Readdy, spoke to us about how the team have been using TikTok and the impact it’s had.
We started using TikTok at the beginning of 2021. TikTok is one of the most trending social media platforms out there at the moment (especially at the height of the pandemic) - and not just for the latest dance routines.
It gives people the chance to create short bursts of visual entertainment which is perfect in this fast-paced scrollers’ market. Our inspirations came from out-the-box thinking and a new recruitment drive to attract and engage new applicants.
The goal of using TikTok was to support us in attracting and engaging more audiences and new applications. We ran a recent campaign to attract summer placements for one of our children’s homes and TikTok presented us with the ideal platform to engage with this audience. Our campaign was a huge success, so we have begun to evolve and roll out our TikTok campaign across other homes and regions.
We’ve been asking our current support workers to produce a 60 second ‘day in the life of’ style clip. The project is named ‘Care to share your day.’ The idea for this is that a support worker will provide a short breakdown of their day. We pitched it to our support workers to be as creative as possible but to make sure they express our values and how we empower the people we support. We figured, if we want to attract applicants who also share our values, then we must reflect these and what we’re about.
We asked the support workers do to this for us as they’re the experts on using these platforms already, plus, it gave them a sense of ambassadorship and something fun and creative to do, which also made for a great distraction from covid. We worked with our marketing team to create a guide for the videos so our support workers knew how to maximise their short films.
The ‘Care to share your day’ clips have gone down really well on TikTok. They’re short, convey a fantastic story and give great insight. They give potential support workers a glimpse into our world and what they could be doing, which is that number one question you have when you look at joining a new workplace.
The biggest impact we’ve found with TikTok is more engagement all round. Internal staff have been inspired by their fellow support workers to go on and produce their own clip and we’ve been able to send the clips to potential applicants to give them insight into becoming a support worker. Not only that, we’ve been able to upload the clips directly onto our adverts on our website too.
The biggest challenge has been staff finding the time to produce a clip. Life is busy, work is busy, and it can take time to get clips back, but it’s totally worth it.
TikTok has opened up a whole new creative platform for us - it’s all about the visuals. We have new projects in the pipeline which include support workers being interviewed by the people we support (asking what it takes to become a good support worker), as well as clips being created by the people who we support doing local recruitment poster drops - which again, really gets across our values of empowering the people we support.
I’d say to other providers that it’s a must to keep up-to-date with the latest social media channels. Research your target audiences and always make sure you’re up to date with where they ‘hang out online.’
Think about who you’re trying to attract and what sort of content they may engage with and what key messages you want to put out. Try to put yourself in a potential applicant’s shoes - what would you like to see if you were looking at a new organisation?
New platforms will always come about designed for new audiences or even new trends that will once more sweep the nation. Good recruiters will embrace these opportunities to speak directly to audiences and potential candidates in an ever-changing climate.
West Sussex County Council
West Sussex County Council have been working to support the adult social care sector in the region with recruitment, through the launch of their Proud to Care project. The project focuses on online and social media recruitment activity. Project lead Allison Durieu told us more about Proud to Care and the impact it’s had.
Three years ago, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) knew it needed to support the adult care sector to increase the workforce and give our residents independence and choice.
As part of this I was asked to project manage an initiative to support care employers operating in West Sussex with their recruitment struggles. With a background in HR and a creative mindset I had to immerse myself into understanding the care sector and recruitment trends to agree an approach.
Recruiting to care is an ongoing challenge but without a social media platform as a vehicle to connect job seekers to care employers the task was insurmountable.
So, three years later and I am the lead on workforce for the external care market on behalf of WSCC. I have a small, dedicated team and together we built a website, created an online presence and launched the Proud to Care West Sussex brand, recognised as a beacon by other local authorities and central Government.
Proud to Care is a project funded by the Better Care Fund set up to promote jobs and careers in the adult care sector across West Sussex. This is a free service to help change perceptions about the care sector and promote it as a great profession to work in.
The website is key to the success of our online matching service, a new offer to connect job seekers to employers, born out of the pandemic and particularly useful for those looking for work from other sectors.
Candidates can register to be matched to suitable job vacancies by the team. Providers can log-in in to post job vacancies and gain access to a range of content including recruitment guides which support them in improving their recruitment and retention.
Jobseekers visit the site to search for jobs, learn more about working in care and seek advice on how to start their career in care.
In 2020 we had a total of 89,605 visits to our website which we were very proud of.
We’ve adapted to the rise in online activity by offering free digital promotional advice to care providers with our social media clinic. Understanding the benefits of advertising vacancies on social media, having an up-to-date website showcasing yourself as an employer, and engaging through online activity are all key for employers to attract new recruits.
We also use social media to promote the ‘Proud to Care’ service and connect with providers and candidates. We focus on sharing good news content on social media to show people the amazing, rewarding work that goes into care to attract candidates.
We’ve also found that sharing posts from our providers and highlighting these as examples of good practice is great for engagement.
We’ve also been creating digital content and case studies which we’ve been sharing on Facebook to direct traffic to our website and spark social media engagement. A recent success was an animation which shows how you can progress in care if you want to build a career in the sector.
Using social media is a free way for us to promote the Proud to Care brand and allows us to engage with providers and candidates to strengthen relationships. Having a channel such as Facebook or Instagram also means we’re available by direct message for anyone who wants to contact us which makes conversations quicker and easier.
Cheshire East Council - Care4ce Recruitment
Cheshire East Council’s Care4ce department has been using social media to promote a career in care. A video has also been produced involving Care4ce to support this campaign. Care4ce Operations Manager Jo Hobson and Resource Manager, Zoe Brakewell shared details about the strategy behind the video production.
Over the past year due to the pandemic, job fairs have turned virtual. What this has meant is an opportunity for employers to be innovative and interactive in showcasing their organisations and job opportunities.
As part of these events Cheshire East Council recognised the need to create a video to use at these events to showcase careers in social care.
We worked with a professional media company to film the video, and this is currently being edited and will soon be distributed across our website and social media platforms too.
When it came to creating the video there was some key steps and decisions that had to be made, these were – deciding the target audience for the video, creating the key messaging, planning out the imagery and content of the video, and deciding on the tone of voice for the speaker.
We’d advise any providers looking at creating a video to map out each of these factors before they start filming to make sure your video has the intended impact.
For us the target audience was people looking for work, including a career change or school and college students investigating career options.
The messaging was to show off that social care jobs are rewarding; that you don’t need qualifications, but you do need to the right values; that there’s plenty of opportunities for training, and that Cheshire East Council specifically is a good place to work and that we encourage equality and diversity.
Our content and imagery included our logo, the staff uniforms, an intro from our Director, and staff talking about their roles across different specialities. The tone of voice was really important, and we wanted to this be heartfelt, supporting and community-led.
We’ve also worked on individual Care4ce staff members’ testimonial videos and are planning to film the people we support sharing their experiences of care and support within Care4ce, as another alternative idea to promote a career in care.
We feel that using social media and video is a really important and engaging way for care providers to connect with potential candidates and support recruitment, and it’s definitely something that we’ll continue to focus on.
Discover more recruitment tips and advice with our #RecruitmentReady spotlight.