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Why Should UK Recruiters Be Using Social Media?

Social media is still one of those things that sits on a Recruiter's to-do list but isn’t necessarily making it to the priority section! If we had a penny every time we heard the words "I know I need to do something about social media", we would be on Safari hanging out with some real life Giraffes!

The reality is social media is probably on the to-do list of many recruiters because they know it is important – however, if asked why, the answers are few and far between. The reasons we are given tend to be more because having an active social media presence is ‘the done thing’ rather than because of an understanding of the potential impact a well managed and active social media presence could have for their agency.

So Recruiters, I thought I’d pull some cold hard stats for you to help give context to the importance of having a social media presence that reflects your brand the way you want it to be perceived online.

The stats included below have been taken from the latest Ofcom report – it’s independent and so not biased by me or the social networks themselves! Most importantly, these stats are based on activity in the UK only.

Are people really spending that much time on social media?

The Ofcom report talks about general internet usage and what sites UK users are spending their time on. Bearing in mind that the main reason for an active social media presence is to drive website traffic back to our sites and also improve our organic Google rankings, the following makes for interesting reading.

The three websites with the highest number of visitors in 2018 were Google, Facebook and the BBC – in that order. To define this a little further, Google means all Google products, i.e. search, maps, Gmail, etc. Facebook means all Facebook products, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

The Stats:

  • Google sites were visited by 41.9 million adults aged 18+, making Google the most visited property. Within the Google portfolio, YouTube was most popular and the numbers broke down as follows:
    • YouTube (40m).
    • Google Search (37m).
    • Google Maps (25m).
    • Gmail (23m).
  • Facebook (including Instagram, WhatsApp and the main Facebook site) was the second most visited property with 40.2 million visitors, reaching 95% of the total UK online audience in 2018.
  • BBC sites had 39.5 million visitors in 2018, reaching 5.3 million. (Overtaking Amazon and Microsoft to take third place.)

What Are People Doing Online?

Obviously, as recruiters, what we’re really thinking about is how the UK workforce is using the internet and social media sites. The report drills down and focuses on commuters and how they use the internet during commuting time. Again, this makes for interesting reading, given that this could be a key opportunity to engage the attention of prospective and passive candidates.

  • The most popular online activity for commuters was sending and receiving text messages/instant messages, with 43% saying they did this.
  • Ofcom highlights how smartphones are also driving a shift away from SMS and voice calls to online communication tools like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Given that there is a massive push from almost all of the social networking sites to enhance their direct messaging functionality – this is something that certainly does need your attention. I’m writing this just a few days after WhatsApp announced the roll out of the WhatsApp business App on iOS. There are clear signs that incorporating direct messaging via social networking sites should be key to your online strategy.

  • A third (32%) of commuters said they accessed social networking sites during their commute.
  • Of those who said they access social networking sites while commuting, nearly half (46%) said they do so more than they did two years ago.

There is no getting away from it – as a nation, we are spending more and more time using social media sites. The flexibility that mobile devices give us and the availability of an online connection means that we are in a world where, as individuals, we are almost never truly ‘offline’. Again, within the report we’re told that “more than seven in ten now use their mobile to access the internet”.

But are people really still using things like Facebook?

After the multiple issues in 2018, from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the various data breaches that occurred over the year, many people feel that Facebook is becoming used less and less. In reality, there has been a drop in active users, but the drop is minimal and many of those users have simply moved over to Instagram – not realising that this is actually a Facebook product. As it stands, the stats on Facebook usage are as follows:

  • 77% of UK internet users had a profile or account on a social media or messaging site or app in 2018.
  • Facebook was still the most visited social media platform, reaching 41 million internet users aged 13+, or 90% of the UK internet audience.
  • A Facebook visitor spent on average 27 minutes per day on Facebook sites and apps in 2018

So what does this all mean for independent UK Recruiters?

Most sectors covered by the TEAM membership are described as being candidate short. 99% of recruiters I speak to both within and outside of TEAM want to know how to gain the attention of passive candidates. From the above, we now know that 32% of UK commuters admit to using social media during their commute. Realistically – there will be more. There are those who will spend their commute on LinkedIn, but not consider this to be social media usage.

The reasons for using social media as a recruiter are simple. (Although the objectives may be slightly different dependent on what platform you choose to use.) The reality is, if you want to capture the attention of both candidates and clients, you need to be present using the medium they are using, when and where they are using them – and in this day and age, that means you need to be leveraging a social media presence.



Christina Robinson, Managing Director

Green Umbrella Marketing

01604 726758