This week’s recruitment marketing 101 blog aims to look at the difference between organic and paid social media marketing. As always, it will be tailored towards the recruitment industry and look to provide senior leaders and marketers with a range of insights and points to consider when looking to build a recruitment marketing strategy.

The industry is booming at the moment with many recruiters facing a shortage of candidates, which is meaning that traditional methods such as squeezing the lemon on CRM systems, calling candidates and the use of job boards is only getting consultants so far.

TIP: use the candidate shortage as an opportunity to build strong client relationships – where possible even agree on retained models, to reduce the amount of contingent work that your agency is carrying out.

Book a free social media review with our team today –

Here’s our view on each social media platform and where they are most effective in recruitment:

  • LinkedIn – great for attracting clients in almost all industries. Not only can you leverage the network that you build on your personal profile, but you can also build a company page and its own unique following. Candidate attraction tends to lean towards white collar candidates but there is still an opportunity to attract some blue collar.
  • Facebook – more suited to attracting blue collar workers through the use of Facebook groups. You may still pick up some white collar/blue collar clients but LinkedIn is generally better suited. Finally, an older age demographic is often associated with Facebook when looking to attract said, candidates.
  • Instagram – great for employer branding, showing off your internal culture and attracting consultants to come and work for your agency. Again, there’s still an opportunity to attract clients but again, LinkedIn tends to be better suited. 
  • Twitter – in our opinion Twitter is a little bit like the wild west – it’s very unpredictable. More informal and relaxed content tends to perform better on Twitter. Still, an opportunity to attract clients and candidates but there are better platforms. We have learnt that content that performs well on Twitter, tends to then crop up on LinkedIn months later.

The use of forums (tech) and TikTok can also be used but we’d not recommend starting here.

Organic Social Media Marketing 

In its simplest form, organic social media marketing is where a recruitment agency uses social media functionality without paying a penny. It still allows agencies to share branded content, jobs, CSR initiatives, advertise internal roles and show off the company culture.

The main benefit of organic social media is that it is free, therefore the risk and impact on the bottom line is minimal. The largest cost associated with organic social media is the time invested. The challenge with organic social is that it’s not a quick win – it can be months if not years until you build a strong following with engagement.

Tip: something to keep in mind when it comes to organic social is just because clients and candidates are not engaging with your posts, does not mean that they have not seen it. It often acts as a validation piece to provide legitimacy when clients and candidates are validating your agency.

Paid Social Media Marketing

In contrast to organic, paid social media marketing is what it says on the tin, you invest money into your social media strategy. As appose to organic where it tends to be daily posting, targeting multiple audiences, paid social is often used for very bespoke, targeted campaigns with a clear outcome. For example, you make take a new role on and your existing talent pool is small, so in order to accelerate the amount of candidates you have in this area, you chose to put a paid budget behind a specific post. You can target a specific demographic, and this will then appear on their feed, regardless of the existing algorithm on the platform. Alternatively, if you’re more client-focused and looking to create a new/accelerate the number of clients in a particular vertical then this works the same.

In terms of key benefits, paid social allows you to increase the visibility of your agency and the specific campaign you’re running. You’ll receive more impressions from your target audience and therefore, have a higher chance of engagement.

The limitation of paid social is that it can be a costly marketing method, which in some cases could be done through an organic approach.

Tip: earlier in the year a new initiative was brought in where audiences now have to “opt-in” to provide their details to social media companies. This is in relation to an IOS14 update that came into play. At the moment the opt-in rate is at 15% What this means for paid social is that the impact of campaigns may be hindered, in comparison to what it was in the past.

My view 

So here is my perspective. There’s a tendency for recruitment agencies to jump straight to paid social. If your team is under pressure to get results or just looking for a quick fix then paid CAN work, but not always. It is for this reason that we always recommend kicking off with an organic campaign.

Build your brand, grow your following and then consider paid.

The ultimate goal for any social media campaign is to grow brand awareness and hopefully attract more clients and candidates, this is where the return on investment will come.

If you’d like some ideas on how to develop your social media strategy then drop me a message or an email at

Harry Wright

Business Development Manager

Bristow and Hardy


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published.