The Perils and Promise of Social Media and Recruiting

Ah, social media. So much promise and potential. Yet so many pitfalls and perils.
Social media outlets can be a vibrant garden of positive interaction, lead generation, branding, and relationship building — and, also … you know.
The garden analogy is fitting here. Just like a garden needs forethought, planning, planting, sowing, water — and if you’re like me, loads of fertilizer and a makeshift fence to keep your kids and dogs from trampling everything — social media also requires careful cultivation.
In the field of recruiting, how do you find that balance? Especially if you don’t have a full-time social media person, how do you find the time to make social media work in your favor?
It’s a vexing challenge. But it’s one you need to figure out. According to our latest Truckers News research, nearly 60% of company drivers are big fans of Facebook and YouTube, and a whopping 83.8% reported going online at least daily.
Drivers are online, and increasingly on social media, which means you need to be too if you want to succeed in recruiting. Let’s review four general strategies to cultivate the promise of using social media for recruiting, while hopefully escaping the aforementioned perils.
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Find the Fertile Soil

Sticking with the garden theme, another apt analogy would be that of crop rotation. Farmers have known for millennia that growing the same crops over and over again in the same area tends to deplete the soil. Rotating crops around replenishes the earth and makes for a more abundant harvest.
The lesson here is to find the fertile social soil, or, to avoid unproductive channels that are not working for you. You’re not going to succeed on every channel, and that’s OK. Just focus on the ones in your wheelhouse. And rotate as necessary.
It’s also important to be multi-channel in your approach. That’s your best shot at finding fertile ground.
Relying on just one channel is one of the most common B2B lead gen mistakes we see. You need to get your eggs in different baskets; just make sure those baskets are of the sustainable and productive variety.
In terms of where you should be courting drivers, Facebook still rules. They have great targeting and custom audience options, as well as potentially unlimited reach — whether through organic, boosted, or paid means. Organic reach essentially means the people you reach via unpaid means, while paid reach refers to ad-based traffic. On Facebook you can also boost posts, the price of which varies depending on how many people you want to see your content,
That said, Facebook is not the be all end all. Plenty of drivers can be found on YouTube and LinkedIn as well. Though according to our research, not quite so much on Twitter.
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Be Consistent, and Careful

Do you have a piecemeal, ad hoc social media approach? Are you all over the place in terms of tone, voice, and content? Do different people post stuff haphazardly?
You might want to call Kenny Loggins, my friend, because you’re on a highway to the danger zone.
Consistency is crucial on social media. Consider factors like what time of day you should post, and what sorts of content you plan to focus on.
When the well of creativity runs dry, it helps to have a spring of pre-planned ideas to draw from. In the case of recruiting, you might have content ‘categories’ like job postings, driver videos, driver spouse outreach, question-asking posts, uplifting/motivational photos, etc.
Having consistency across the board helps you approach social media in a more intentional, thoughtful manner, which leads to more careful, cautious, and effective marketing over all.
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Be Proactive and Plan Ahead for Pitfalls

We all make mistakes. Even big companies drop the ball — all the time. Which is why it’s important to have a plan in place to deal with negative feedback, trolls, and nasty comments online.
It happens every day:

  • Disgruntled ex-employee blasts a former employer on Facebook

  • Company scrambles to figure out how to deal with said scathing diatribe

  • Various people weigh in on how company should respond

  • Internal disagreement and back and forth

  • Three days after initial incident, and many sub-comments, likes and shares later, company finally determines how to handle situation

Seriously, make a plan. In addition to having a company-wide crisis communication plan in place, make sure you establish procedures for dealing with negative reviews, profanity, criticism, and other potential social media mayhem.
Do you block agitators? Ignore criticism so as to not dignify a response? Deal with it head on?
There’s no playbook here, as every situation is unique, but it’s good to be prepared and make sure relevant parties at your company are on the same page and aware of your strategy.
See how others in your position have handled social media criticism — for better or worse. Own it and be forthright when you mess up. Anticipate dicey scenarios that could potentially play out, establish a swift response procedure for each, and stay a step ahead of the trolls and negative Nellys.
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Be Real, Engaging, and Personable

In terms of recruiting truck drivers, social media is a perfect forum for setting realistic expectations about life over the road. Driver testimonials and ‘life behind the wheel’ sorts of videos offer a priceless glimpse into what driving a truck is really like.
This is a great opportunity to set yourself apart from competitors, and show the lighter (up)side of what is obviously a hard job.
Even if you don’t have a videographer on staff, you should be getting video to post. Leading platforms like Facebook are increasingly pushing video — and rewarding those who do as well with boosted results — so you’d be wise to follow suit.
Smartphones are ubiquitous (according to our Truckers News Connectivity Report, 70.5% of company drivers use a handheld device to surf the web), and recording video is simple as pie. Encourage drivers to record testimonials and send in video from the road (not whilst driving hopefully). Empower and encourage those who are interested to become content creators.
That exhortation goes beyond video, of course. Don’t underestimate the power of beautiful images. One study found that ‘content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.’ Can any of your drivers take some snaps while out on the road?
In terms of share-ability, another study found that infographics get shared and liked at a clip of three times more than other forms of content. Epic visuals often get epic results.
Whatever direction you go, just remember that being transparent, open, engaging, and real can be powerful recruiting tools. And social media is the perfect outlet for this to take place.
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