Physicians rely on networking, through social media, and in person, for many reasons including building their practice, keeping up with industry news, and opening doors to practice opportunities. Read on for a comprehensive look at how you can use social media to recruit physicians.
What is Social Media
Even though Social Media is used by billions of people worldwide every day and it has become a part of our daily life, it is sometimes hard to explain. Social media is defined as websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or participate in social networking. To put it a different way, it’s how individuals and organizations share information and entertainment with each other online. That’s why messaging applications such as Snapchat and the video-sharing website YouTube are considered social media platforms.
Most Popular Social Media Platform
Average monthly users is the metric used to determine which social media platform or social network is the largest. Facebook is currently the largest social network in the world. If you add in the other apps that Facebook owns such as Instagram and WhatsApp, it has the largest social network by far. Why is that important for physician recruitment? Once you look at Facebook user demographics, you’ll quickly see that it’s a great source for physician candidates. Around two-thirds of adults in the United States use Facebook.1
Successful social media recruiting needs a great process. The first step in developing your process is making a Content Calendar. Content Calendars help you stay organized and consistent. Start by looking at the entire year and what goals you want to accomplish during that year. Make note of any special dates. Then work backwards and look at what you need to do each quarter, then each month, then each week. Depending on your goals, you might need to plan each day out by the hour.
Post scheduling is another important part of social media recruitment. If you’re using organic social media, you’ll need to schedule your posts so they achieve maximum engagement and reach. What day of the week and what time of day you post has an effect on reach. There are many differing strategies for effective post scheduling. One option is to post around break times when people are most likely to use social media. Another strategy is to post early in the morning when people are checking to see what they missed the day before or to see what is coming up like birthdays or anniversaries. You should experiment to see what strategy works best for your audience. When posting a job, make sure your schedule allows for a quick response to any comments or questions.
Branding and consistency, which is the look and feel of your organization, is another aspect of social media recruitment that needs to be established. Your content needs to be reflective of your organization’s brand. For example, if your organization works with children, it is appropriate to utilize child-friendly messaging including using bright colors.
Pictures are a staple of social media. It is important to only use pictures you have permission to use. If you use a picture without permission, you are infringing on someone’s copyright. Make sure the pictures you use adhere to your branding. When appropriate, use an opaque watermark or a prominent logo. Make sure the images are clear and high quality. The goal with social media is for your content to reach as many people in your target audience as possible, so remember, hundreds possibly millions of people will see the pictures you post to social media. Only post pictures that you are comfortable sharing with the world and are certain reflects the values of your organization.
Videos are a way to tell your organization’s story. Some social media platforms prioritize videos, and some are video only. YouTube is a video only social network, so are Vimeo and TikTok. Each social network has resources to show you how to utilize sharing video on its platform. Videos can be short, like ten to fifteen seconds, or over an hour long. Experiment to see what your audience prefers. Live video is available on some social networks. Live videos are a great way to interact with and include your audience. Just like pictures, make sure you only use video and music clips you have permission to use.
Pictures and videos are content types that can be utilized for promoting your jobs. It’s important to tailor your content to the audience and the platform. Some platforms display images differently than others. Some allow for longer videos than others. Additionally, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have link previews. If you are posting a link to your job, make sure the page has what it needs to generate an eye-catching link preview.
An often-overlooked way to use social media is by sharing events. By sharing the events your organization has planned, you’re able to promote events to the community without having to use email or direct mail.
Blog Posts are a way to consistently publish content that connects with your audience. There are many benefits to having an active blog such as organic search traffic to your website, establishing your organization as an authority in your industry, and having high-quality content to share on your other social media profiles.
User Generated content, sometimes referred to as earned media, is seen as authentic and trustworthy. Collaborating with members of your community to create content can help increase your reach by exposing your organization to their followers. You can also encourage people to tag your profile or use your branded hashtag in their social media posts. Create a plan to create high-quality user-generated content instead of leaving it up to chance.
Share your vision and mission statement on your social media profiles. Use photo galleries and videos to show what your organization is doing to realize its goals. Share community outreach and philanthropy activities. You can accomplish that by sharing press releases, photos, videos, and events.
Share important news about your organization whether it is positive or negative. It is important for reputation management to be transparent. By being transparent, you eliminate misinformation and the spread of rumors. Show that you are aware and care about the situation, and you are taking steps to address it.
Share any recognition and awards you receive. Brag about your organization, your employees, and your partners. Nominate your organization and employees for awards. There are two reasons to share this information: to promote your organization and to recognize the hard work everyone in the organization does.
Passive Physician Candidates
Social media recruiting is an effective way to reach passive candidates in a place they frequent online. According to Pew Research over 90% of Facebook users use it weekly, 74% use it daily, and 51% use it multiple times a day.1
By posting your practice opportunities on social media, you are presenting candidates with useful information and a pathway to act on it. Social media recruitment is like candy at the check-out. You didn’t go to the grocery store to buy a candy bar but since you’re there, you are enticed to act. Job posts should link to your careers page for more information or encourage candidates to message a person at your organization directly through the platform.
Active Physician Candidates
Social media platforms like Doximity and LinkedIn have tools specifically for recruitment. Social media as a candidate sourcing tool is so widespread that Facebook even added job postings to company pages. Have your recruitment team trained to use these tools.
Use your social media profiles to give candidates a glimpse at your organization’s culture. Candidates will look for ways to evaluate your organization just like potential patients do.3 The more active you are, the more control you have of your brand. Candidates can be convinced to take to interview with your organization if they like what they see.
Make communicating with candidates as easy as possible by leveraging your social media profiles as communication channels. You can do this through messaging or through comments on social media posts. Hassle-free communication keeps your candidate engaged.
Reporting allows you to quantify and evaluate your efforts. Effective reporting removes the “feel good” aspect of social media and determines what is effective and what isn’t. It may feel good to post a picture of a puppy and get a ton of likes but it will not help your recruitment efforts.
Decide what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are most important to your organization. Common KPIs to focus on are Followers, Comments, Likes, and Shares. In recruitment, Messages, Link Clicks, or Applies might be more important than followers.
Use KPIs to set goals for your recruitment team. This can serve as a tool to evaluate how effective social media recruitment as compared to other candidate sources. Marketing and recruiting goals can be different and can overlap.
Organic vs Paid
There are two ways content on social media reaches users, organically and through paid promotion. Organic social media refers to the amount of people that view your content through the conventual use of a social media platform. Organic reach on social media platforms can be low. Getting more engagement on social media will net you a higher organic reach. Social media platforms use algorithms to determine what content to show in feeds and content with more engagement gets priority. Users can also choose to share content with their network which increases organic reach.
Paid reach on social media varies depending on the platform and your intended audience. Just like paid search ads, most paid social relies on bidding for impressions. Some audiences are targeted more often than others by advertisers. That means you’ll have to bid higher or pay more to reach them. Paid social can be a cost-effective way to reach your target audience. In our experience, paid social and paid search have a similar cost-per-click.
Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising’s biggest advantage is precise targeting. On most social media platforms you can target ads based on job title. You can also target ads based on education and location. Targeting can be more specific by including your candidate’s interests based on what they have liked and interacted with on each platform. You can see what Facebook thinks your interests are by viewing your Facebook Ad Preferences.
Your advertising Budget can be as little as $20 per ad up to an unlimited amount. Budget settings allow you to specify a daily spend and let you run an ad indefinitely. It is very important to set an overall advertising budget before you start. Equally important is tracking what your ads are spending versus what you have budgeted. It is your responsibility to make sure you don’t overspend, not the platforms. The second biggest advantage to social media advertising is that you aren’t locked into long term contracts.
Timing is important for social media advertising but not in the same way as organic social media. When it comes to advertising, timing refers to when the ads will be shown and how long each ad will be displayed. We recommend that you run job ads for at least 2 weeks and experiment with timing.
Compliance with each platform’s advertising policy is important. Being out of compliance can cause your ads to have a smaller reach, or not be shown at all. Compliance with hiring law is also important. When creating job-related ads do not include any potentially discriminatory criteria. Have your legal team review your advertising plan.
Cost Per Candidate
Staying organized and utilizing the robust reporting tools most social networks have, makes it easy to calculate your Cost-Per-Candidate. Knowing your Cost-Per-Candidate for each source makes creating your recruitment plan easier. You’ll be able to pick sources that not only provide quality candidates but do so at a predictable cost.
Finding ways to lower your Cost-Per-Candidate can be as easy as experimenting with your targeting methods and adjusting how long your ads are active. Reviewing which ads perform the best will help you create more effective ads.
Social Media’s Biggest Advantage
Social media gives you a chance to tell your organization’s story in an interactive way. You can have a conversation and engage with your community. You cannot do that through print, TV, or display advertising.
Hiring A Recruitment Partner that Understands Social Media
If your organization doesn’t have the capabilities to implement social media recruitment you don’t have to miss out on this excellent candidate source. Look for a physician recruitment firm that uses a comprehensive physician sourcing system that includes social media.
1 “Social Media Fact Sheet” Pew Research Center, February 2018. http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/
2 “Are You Maximizing The Use Of Video In Your Content Marketing Strategy” Forbes, May 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/05/15/are-you-maximizing-the-use-of-video-in-your-content-marketing-strategy/#2db563643584
3 “How Patients Use Online Reviews” Software Advice. https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/how-patients-use-online-reviews/