The Definitive Guide to Social Media Recruiting in 2024

Social media consumption has jumped nearly three times over the last decade, from 970 million in 2010 to over 4.95 billion in the previous quarter of 2023. While the spectacular growth of new users on social platforms is expected to plateau, engagement on social platforms is growing steadily. This trend signifies a crucial shift in user behavior. 

Social media has transcended its roots in social connectivity, morphing into the de facto platform for consuming all forms of digital content – breaking news, restaurant recommendations, and, increasingly, job applications. This presents a significant opportunity for organizations to attract, engage and hire talent. 

The challenge for talent acquisition professionals lies in understanding where their target candidates spend their online time and when. This article will examine how recruiters and employers can focus their social recruiting efforts to maximize impact – find and engage with talent across platforms.

Social Recruiting: The Landscape in 2024

Despite recent challenges surrounding misinformation and data privacy, social media platforms retain a powerful grip on user attention in the U.S. This presents a significant opportunity for employers to diversify their hiring efforts beyond LinkedIn. Here, we analyze key insights from user penetration data to inform effective social recruiting strategies.

Nielsen’s latest survey on viewing usage across linear TV and streaming shows that YouTube is the most watched streaming service in the US, beating new-age content platforms like Netflix and Hulu. Roughly eight in ten U.S. adults (83%) report ever using the video-based platform.

Facebook comes in second, with 68% of Americans using the platform. Instagram follows Facebook, and nearly half (47%) of U.S. adults use the platform. Though less widely used, other platforms still have their niche audiences. 27% to 35% of people use Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and Snapchat. And about one in five say they use X (formerly Twitter) and Reddit.

How Social Media Use Varies by Age in U.S. Adults

A chart showing how social media use varies by age and platforms
Source: Pew Research

While the data above offers insight into general social media use, it’s helpful to understand what audiences are using which platforms to target recruiting outreach and develop organic engagement strategies.

Understanding Demographic Preferences for Social Platforms

Data from Pew Research reveals that age, education, gender, and race preferences for social media vary significantly. Several demographic differences emerge in who uses each platform. Some of these include the following:

  • Age: The age of target candidates significantly influences where to find them online. Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are by far the most popular among younger adults aged 18 to 29. Employers and recruiters looking to engage this audience can use the platform’s visually striking content formats to share job openings and showcase company culture in a way that resonates.
  • Race and Ethnicity: Social media usage varies across racial and ethnic groups. For instance, Hispanic and Asian adults demonstrate a higher affinity for Instagram (58% and 57%, respectively) compared to Black and White adults (46% and 43% respectively). Similarly, WhatsApp usage skews higher among Hispanic and Asian demographics (54% and 51% respectively) compared to Black (31%) and White adults (20%). Recognizing these preferences allows you to broaden your reach and attract top talent from diverse backgrounds.
  • Gender: Gender also plays a role. Women, for example, are more likely to use Instagram and Pinterest (50% vs. 19%) than their male counterparts. Understanding how different people engage with social platforms empowers you to design bespoke content and messaging that resonates with specific audiences.
  • Education: Educational attainment can be another factor. LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, naturally sees a higher user base among those with college degrees (53% with a bachelor's degree or higher). You can connect with highly qualified professionals seeking new opportunities by developing a strong presence on LinkedIn and building targeted outreach strategies.
  • Household income: Socioeconomic background can also influence platform preference. Adults with higher household incomes are more likely to use Twitter (29% for those making $100,000+ annually). Understanding this trend allows you to tailor your messaging and content strategy for attracting talent-seeking positions that may offer higher salaries or require specific skill sets often associated with higher education levels.

The youngest U.S. adults are far more likely to use Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, and age differences are less pronounced for Facebook.

How Social Media Use Differs Among U.S. Demographic Groups

A chart showing social media preferences across demographic groups like gender, race, age, education level, and earnings
Source: Pew Research

The Value Proposition: Platforms Inform Content

Understanding these demographic nuances will help you move beyond the post-and-pray approach to creating meaningful engagement with your target candidates. Platform preferences could also be a powerful insight to inform your diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) recruiting strategy.

In most cases, the platform you post on will determine the content formats to use and the type of stories you share. For instance, Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram are great places to build/enhance your employer brand. If done well, the content here can demonstrate authenticity like nowhere else. Leveraging these platforms' focus on visuals and user-generated content allows you to showcase your company culture in a way that resonates with younger demographics and minority groups who may not traditionally seek career information on professional networking sites. Think, a vibrant Instagram story highlighting a diverse team working collaboratively on a project or a creative TikTok showcasing your company's commitment to social responsibility – these visuals can speak volumes about your company values and openness to a diverse workforce, attracting talent you might have otherwise missed.

LinkedIn, Facebook, and even X/Twitter cater more to professional content. However, this doesn't negate their value for DEI recruiting. By featuring employee testimonials from various backgrounds on LinkedIn, you can dismantle unconscious bias and demonstrate your commitment to fostering a welcoming environment for all talent. Consider a series of "Day in the Life" video posts on LinkedIn featuring employees from various departments and ethnicities – this can provide a window into your company culture and resonate with potential candidates who value diversity and inclusion.

Similarly, Facebook groups dedicated to specific professional communities (e.g., women in tech) or targeted advertising on X/Twitter can allow you to connect with a more diverse pool of qualified candidates. For instance, running an ad campaign on X/Twitter specifically targeting Hispanic professionals, highlighting your company's Spanish-language employee resource group and commitment to bilingualism, can help you connect with your target candidates more meaningfully.

Remember, the key is to move beyond simple job postings and tell stories that resonate with your target audience. Showcase the human side of your company culture, highlight the career growth opportunities you offer, and amplify the voices of your diverse workforce. Using a platform-first approach informed by demographic data, you can craft a social media recruiting strategy that attracts top talent and fosters a more inclusive and equitable work environment.

The Best and Worst Times for Recruiting Posts on Social Media in 2024

Activity on social media is around the clock, but just showing up isn't enough. You must understand when your target audience is most active to truly stand out. Timing your social job posts can be the difference between getting your content in front of the right candidates at the right time or having it disappear into the darkness of the algorithms.

We’ve analyzed social media behavior data from multiple sources across industries and platforms to help you tailor your recruiting strategy to ensure you can cut through the noise and get your story out there in front of your ideal candidates.

#1 The Best and Worst Times to Post on Instagram

As the third-most popular platform, Instagram has come a long way from its photo-sharing days. Its frictionless user experience, exemplified by in-app purchasing capabilities, is becoming increasingly important for businesses. However, besides e-commerce, the platform’s content discovery algorithm can be a powerful employer branding and recruiting tool. While competition for short-form video content continues between Instagram and TikTok, Reels currently holds the edge regarding engagement metrics such as Likes and Saves.

When to Post:

  • Weekdays generally: 10 am - 2 pm (Tuesdays & Wednesdays extend to 4 pm)
  • Pro Tip: Schedule posts Tuesdays-Thursdays, 10 am - 3 pm for optimal results.

Remember, these are just starting points. Test these benchmarks against your current metrics to see what resonates best with your specific audience. Don't be afraid to get granular – analyze past posts to see which days and times got the most clicks, comments, and shares.

Beyond Timing:

To showcase your company culture and careers, Instagram offers various content formats (images, videos, Reels, live streams). But even great content needs to get the timing right.

  • Reels Similar to static posts, weekdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with Tuesdays and Wednesdays extending to 4 p.m., is a good bet. However, several factors influence Reel performance (think trending sounds, the algorithm, and a killer video hook). To find your sweet spot, experiment with posting at different times.

Posting by Day:

  • Monday: 11 am - 2 pm (lunch break window)
  • Tuesday: 10 am - 4 pm (almost double Monday's engagement!)
  • Wednesday: Best day for engagement (9 am - 4 pm)
  • Thursday: Similar to Wednesday (9 am - 1 pm, then 2 pm)
  • Fridays: Engagement dips slightly as users head into the weekend, but 11 a.m. still sees decent activity.
  • Weekends: Generally, we see lower engagement, but Saturdays (9 a.m. to noon) and Sundays (10 a.m. to noon) offer some opportunities.

Remember: This is a global guide. Consider your target audience's location for a more targeted approach. Experiment and analyze! Use this data as a starting point, test, and track results to find the best Instagram posting schedule that engages your target candidates.

#2 The Best and Worst Times to Post on Facebook

Despite all the controversies and the rebrand, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform. And by virtue of this, most employers have a default presence on the platform. The diverse user base and sheer engagement on the platform make it one of the most promising social recruiting channels. The platform is also accommodating in terms of content formats and lends itself well to a wide variety of story-telling approaches. You can think of Facebook as the hub for all A/B testing.

When to Post:

Weekdays (Mondays through Thursdays) offer the most consistent window for reaching potential candidates on Facebook. Engagement dips slightly on Fridays as users wind down for the weekend but still presents opportunities. Weekends generally see lower engagement overall, with Saturdays and Sundays best targeted during the mornings (8 a.m. to 11 a.m.). This aligns with the general reset many users experience during non-work hours.

Optimizing for Engagement: Mid-Mornings Are the Best Time Overall

Beyond the day of the week, the time of day is crucial in maximizing engagement with your recruiting content. Analysis consistently highlights mid-mornings (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) as the best time for engaging with potential candidates. During weekdays, these hours typically coincide with work breaks or downtime, making users more likely to be scrolling through Facebook.

Posting by Day:

Understanding the nuances of each weekday can further enhance your social recruiting strategy. Here's a breakdown of optimal posting times by day of the week:

  • Monday (9 a.m. to noon): Capitalize on peak engagement before the lunch break. Monday morning can be a time of renewed focus after the weekend, making it an opportune moment to showcase exciting career opportunities.
  • Tuesday (9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.): Tuesdays offer an extended window for engagement. Maintain a consistent presence in the morning and leverage the additional sweet spot at 5 p.m. This additional posting window caters to those logging back on after work or catching up on social media while commuting home.
  • Wednesday (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.): Data indicates slightly higher engagement on Wednesdays than other weekdays. Maximize this opportunity by scheduling high-quality recruiting content throughout the workday and the additional 5 p.m. window.
  • Thursday (8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.): Engagement on Thursdays mirrors Wednesdays. Maintain a consistent posting schedule in the morning and leverage the 5 p.m. window to capture users winding down from their workweek.
  • Friday (9 a.m. to 11 a.m.): Engagement naturally dips as users enter the weekend. However, the early morning hours still offer a viable window to reach potential candidates before they fully disconnect.
  • Saturday & Sunday (8 a.m. to 11 a.m.): Weekends pose a challenge, with significantly lower engagement than weekdays. However, focusing on the morning hours (8 a.m. to 11 a.m.) can still yield results. Consider content formats that resonate with a more relaxed weekend mindset.

Remember: These are general guidelines. While leveraging peak engagement times is crucial, a truly effective social recruiting strategy requires tailoring your approach to your specific industry and target audience. Analyzing your past Facebook analytics can provide valuable insights into the days and times that resonated best with your audience.

Furthermore, consider the type of content you're posting. Eye-catching visuals like infographics showcasing company culture might perform better at different times than in-depth blog posts offering career development tips. A/B testing is key! Regularly test posting times and content formats to identify what resonates most effectively with your target audience.

#3 The Best and Worst Times to Post on LinkedIn

With over 1 billion users spread across 200 countries and regions, LinkedIn is the top destination for white-collar recruiting. While LinkedIn supports recruiters and employers with the most comprehensive features with branding, marketing, and outreach capabilities, organic posting remains a valuable channel for teams with tight budgets.

The million-dollar question remains: when do you reach out to capture your audience's attention and spark meaningful engagement?

Prime Time for Recruiting Engagement

LinkedIn user behavior reveals some interesting factors influencing the success of recruiting content:

  • Weekday Wins: Consistent engagement thrives during weekdays (Monday-Thursday). Posting frequency might dip slightly on Fridays but still presents valuable opportunities. Weekends generally drop significantly, with mornings (8 AM to 11 AM) offering the most traction on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Mid-Mornings See Higher Engagement: Beyond the day of the week, the time of day plays a crucial role. Data consistently reveals mid-mornings (9 AM to noon) as the ideal time for engaging with potential candidates. During weekdays, these hours often coincide with work breaks or downtime, making users more receptive to scrolling through LinkedIn.

Posting by Day:

Understanding the nuances of each weekday can further elevate your LinkedIn strategy:

  • Monday (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.): The start of the week promises some serious engagement. Showcase industry updates or career opportunities before lunch during this peak engagement window.
  • Tuesday (10 a.m. to noon): Tuesdays offer an extended window for engagement. Maintain a consistent morning presence and capitalize on this prime time.
  • Wednesday (10 a.m. to noon): Data suggests Wednesdays see slightly higher engagement. Maximize this by scheduling high-quality content throughout the workday.
  • Thursday (10 a.m.): Engagement on Thursdays mirrors Wednesdays. Maintain a consistent morning presence and leverage this key window.
  • Friday (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.): While engagement dips on Fridays, capitalize on the early morning hours to reach users before they disconnect.
  • Saturday & Sunday (Light Engagement): Weekends offer a challenge, with mornings (6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays) yielding minimal results. Consider content formats suited to a more relaxed weekend mindset.

Remember: These are general guidelines. Industry and target audience can influence optimal posting times. Analyze your past LinkedIn analytics to identify what resonated best with your audience.

Content that works: The type of content you share also plays a significant role. Eye-catching visuals like infographics showcasing company culture might perform best at different times than in-depth blog posts offering career development tips. Experiment with posting times and content formats to discover what resonates most effectively with your target audience.

#4 The Best and Worst Times to Post on X

Unlike traditional social media platforms, X fosters a near-constant flow of information. It might feel like any time is a good time to post on X, but for social recruiting, strategic timing can significantly boost your reach and engagement with potential candidates.

Data reveals pockets of peak engagement throughout the week that can optimize your social recruiting efforts on X:

  • Weekdays: Consistent engagement thrives during weekdays (Monday-Friday), with a slight dip on Mondays and Fridays. Sundays generally see the least engagement.
  • Mid-Mornings to Afternoons: The time of day matters beyond the day of the week. Data consistently highlights mid-mornings (9 AM to 3 PM) as the best time for engaging with potential candidates. These hours align with work schedules, making users more receptive to career-related content.

Posting by Day:

  • Monday (9 AM to Noon)
  • Leverage the renewed focus at the start of the week. Share inspiring company stories, highlight employee testimonials, or showcase open positions in high-demand areas.
  • Consider "Monday Motivation" posts that resonate with job seekers starting a new work week.
  • Tuesday (9 AM to 3 PM)
  • Tuesdays see a significant increase in engagement. Maintain a consistent morning presence and leverage this extended window to share industry insights thought leadership pieces or announce upcoming career fairs.
  • Encourage employee participation with "Takeover Tuesdays" where employees share their experiences working at your company.
  • Wednesday (9 AM to 3 PM)
  • Wednesdays see high engagement levels, extending slightly into the evenings. Maximize this by scheduling content showcasing your company culture, employee benefits, or career development opportunities.
  • Host live Q&A sessions or "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) events with hiring managers or successful team members in relevant departments.
  • Thursday (9 AM to 3 PM)
  • Engagement on Thursdays mirrors Wednesdays. Maintain a consistent morning presence and leverage this key window to share employee success stories, promote upcoming training programs, or feature employee-generated content about the company culture.
  • Use relevant industry hashtags to increase visibility and attract talent familiar with your field.
  • Friday (10 AM to Noon)
  • While engagement dips on Fridays, capitalize on the early morning hours to post lighthearted content highlighting your company's fun side or perks. Share team outings, social events, or employee recognition programs.
  • Consider "Friday Funday" posts to engage candidates and showcase a positive work environment.
  • Saturday & Sunday (Light Engagement)
  • Weekends generally offer less engagement. However, focusing on mornings (Saturday: 9 AM to 1 PM, Sunday: 9 AM to 4 PM) can still yield results. Consider content formats that resonate with a more relaxed weekend mindset. Share inspirational career quotes, feature blog posts on career development, or announce upcoming job openings.
  • Utilize polls or surveys to gather insights from potential candidates about their job preferences and company cultures they admire.

Remember: These are general guidelines. Industry, target audience, and the nature of your content can influence optimal posting times. Analyze your past X/Twitter analytics to identify what resonated best with potential candidates previously.

Content that Works:

The type of content you share is crucial in social recruiting success. Here are some key considerations:

  • Visually rich content: Use infographics, compelling videos showcasing your company culture, or employee headshots with short bios to pique interest.
  • Live streams: Host live Q&A sessions with hiring managers or company leadership to provide real-time insights into working at your company.
  • Interactive content: Use polls, surveys, or tweet chats to encourage potential candidates to engage, gather feedback, and understand their needs.
  • Authentic storytelling: Share authentic employee stories highlighting career growth opportunities, company values, and your team's positive impact.
  • Industry-specific content: Share relevant industry news, insights, or research findings to demonstrate your company's expertise and attract talent passionate about your field.

#5 The Best and Worst Times to Post on TikTok

TikTok, the short-form video phenomenon, has exploded onto social media, reaching over 1.5 billion active users worldwide. The significant rise in U.S. adult users further underscores this growth. A Pew Research survey reveals that 33% of U.S. adults now use TikTok, a remarkable 12 percentage point increase compared to just 2021 (21%). With its immersive, short content format, the platform offers a unique space for employers to connect with candidates and build brand awareness.

A graph showing increased TikTok consumption in U.S. adults since 2021
Source: Pew Research

The TikTok Tempo: When Users Crave Content

Unlike traditional social media platforms, TikTok thrives on a near-continuous content stream. While the app might feel like a 24/7 content fest, data reveals pockets of peak engagement throughout the week:

  • Weekdays: Consistent engagement thrives during weekdays (Tuesday-Friday), with a slight dip on Mondays and Fridays. Sundays generally see the least engagement.
  • Mid-Mornings to Afternoons: The time of day matters beyond the day of the week. Data consistently highlights mid-mornings through afternoons (9 AM to 5 PM) on Tuesdays through Fridays as the sweet spot for capturing user attention. These hours align with work and school schedules, making users more receptive to scrolling through TikTok.

Posting by Day:

To further refine your strategy, consider the nuances of each weekday:

  • Monday (3 PM to 6 PM): Mondays have lower engagement than other days. However, if you choose to post, capitalize on the late afternoon hours when users might be winding down and seeking entertainment.
  • Tuesday (4 PM to 6 PM): Engagement on Tuesdays experiences a significant jump compared to Mondays. Maintain a consistent morning presence and leverage this extended window to showcase your brand personality or participate in trending challenges.
  • Wednesday (9 AM to 6 PM): Wednesdays boast the highest overall engagement, with a slight dip around lunchtime. Maximize this by scheduling a diverse range of content throughout the day.
  • Thursday (9 AM to 6 PM): Like Wednesdays, Thursdays offer high engagement throughout the day, with a small dip between 11 AM and 2 PM. Utilize this window to share informative or educational content.
  • Friday (4 PM to 6 PM): While engagement dips on Fridays, capitalize on the early evening hours to post lighthearted content that resonates with the weekend mood.
  • Saturday & Sunday (Light Engagement): Weekends generally offer less engagement. However, focusing on mornings (Saturday: 9 AM to Noon, Sunday: 8 AM to 6 PM) can still yield results. Consider content formats suited to a more relaxed weekend mindset, such as inspirational quotes or behind-the-scenes glimpses into your company culture.

Remember: These are general guidelines. Industry, target audience, and the nature of your content can influence optimal posting times. Analyze your past TikTok analytics to identify what resonated best with your audience previously.

Beyond the Hours: Content is King

The type of content you share plays a significant role in your TikTok success. Here are some key considerations:

  • Visual Content: Leverage high-quality visuals, creative edits, and captivating transitions to keep viewers engaged.
  • Trending Challenges: Capitalize on trending challenges and hashtags to gain visibility and reach a wider audience. However, ensure your participation aligns with your brand identity.
  • Authentic Storytelling: Share genuine stories that showcase your brand values, company culture, or employee experiences to build a connection with viewers.
  • Humor: Don't be afraid to inject humor into your content. Entertaining and lighthearted videos often resonate well with the TikTok audience.
  • User-Generated Content: Encourage user participation by hosting contests or challenges that incentivize viewers to create their content related to your brand.

The Algorithm Advantage: Understanding TikTok's Mechanics

While timing plays a critical role, the TikTok algorithm prioritizes content based on a combination of factors beyond just posting times. These include:

  • Video Completion Rate: The percentage of viewers who watch your video until the end strongly indicates engagement.
  • Likes, Shares & Comments: The more user interaction your video receives, the higher it's likely to be promoted on the platform.
  • Retention Rate: How long viewers spend watching your video after clicking on it is another signal the algorithm considers.

The Bottom Line

The rise of social media has fundamentally reshaped how we perceive and interact with brands. These platforms have become a constant stream of conversations, a reflection of a company's true value proposition in action. Social recruiting offers a compelling opportunity to leverage this dynamic environment for talent acquisition.

Engagement through social media fosters a unique blend of personal connection, public reach, and persistent visibility. By strategically leveraging these platforms, you can attract high-caliber candidates through targeted content and build an authentic employer brand.

Social media's ability to make brand value tangible provides a powerful advantage. You can capitalize on this transparency by fostering genuine relationships with potential hires and showcasing their workplace culture. Furthermore, social recruiting allows for a more agile approach to talent acquisition, reducing the cost of change and allowing companies to adapt to evolving workforce needs.

In today's interconnected society, the cost of missing out on these opportunities rises with each passing day. By embracing social media as a strategic tool for talent acquisition, you can attract the best and brightest minds, fostering growth and ensuring you remain competitive in the talent market.

Want to learn how ChatterWorks can simplify social recruiting for you? Book a demo and see us in action!

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