OhioMeansJobs Geauga County

A Social Services Recruitment Campaign

Getting Opportunities in Front of the Right Candidates

OhioMeansJobs Geauga County (OMJG), a local career center that provides job-seeking services to Ohioans, was planning an unprecedented virtual career fair for September 2021. The online event would bring together multiple social services organizations throughout the county for the first time to recruit potential employees. Participants included the Geauga County Department of Job and Family Services, Department on Aging, Board of Developmental Disabilities, as well as local nonprofits like WomenSafe, Inc. and Family Pride, all uniting to provide a one-stop opportunity for potential candidates to explore a career in social work.

OMJG had one critical question that needed to be answered for the event to be successful:

How were they going to get the word out to the right individuals?

two women having a meeting

That question led them to Main Street Recruitment, where we decided to take a different approach to promoting this event. In the past, OMJG had relied solely on traditional advertising like radio ads to promote their recruiting efforts. While they would continue to use some traditional channels, for this virtual career fair, OMJG would also employ a new strategy: paid social media ads on Facebook and Instagram.

Challenges to Recruiting in Social Services

Telling a Different Story to Attract Candidates

The perception of the social services industry is nuanced due to common misconceptions, like the field not paying well or that the jobs exist only for women. The social services field is very strongly female driven. According to the Profile of the Social Work Workforce report published in 2017, more than 83 percent of all social workers in the United States are female. However, there are a variety of career opportunities in social services for both men and women, and the goal of the campaign was to attract candidates who had never considered a social services career before.

While many candidates might be quick to dismiss social services as a low-paying field, the data suggests otherwise: The median pay for a social worker in 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was $51,760 per year or $24.88 per hour. In addition to being paid well, social workers also benefit from flexible hours and schedules and opportunities for advancement.

Communicating these benefits was an essential focus of our efforts—and for good reason.

The social services industry is growing at a rapid pace. The BLS reports that the field is anticipated to grow by 12 percent by 2030—a faster than average rate of increase—which will create approximately 78,300 openings for social workers each year for the next decade. To sustain the critically important work done by social services organizations not only in Geauga County but across the country, recruiting efforts must successfully break the stigma and attract new candidates to the field. The challenge for the OMJG campaign was determining how to get key messages and benefits across visually and in a small, limited area of ad copy and push candidates to a landing page where they could sign up for the virtual career fair.

Unique Solutions for Social Media Recruiting

Creating a Compelling and Effective Paid Ad Campaign

Main Street Recruitment provided a full scope of services to strategize, create, and execute a paid social media campaign to promote the OMJG virtual career fair, including:

  • Defining the audience to incorporate people in targeted areas who had experience or interest in work that correlates to the skills and traits of a social service employee
  • Defining messaging, including landing page and ad copy and headlines
  • Creating 4 unique ads for Facebook and Instagram digital display distribution
  • Creating and launching the OMJG Facebook business page 
  • Monitoring ad performance and advertising budget through the campaign

The Outcome

Breaking Social Services Industry Standards

The paid ads for OMJG generated more than 200,000 impressions—the number of times the ad was served and viewed—throughout the digital campaign and a total of 6,115 clicks reaching 76,014 users. The average click-through rate for employment ads is 0.4 percent. The OMJG campaign surpassed the industry average by more than 5,312 actions—more than 650 percent.

At a Glance: OMJG Campaign Results

  • 200,000+ impressions
  • 6,115 total clicks
  • 2,300 direct clicks to the virtual event landing page
  • 76,014 users reached
  • Highest performance between 8–10 p.m. EST
  • Highest performance on mobile apps (vs. mobile or desktop)
  • Highest performance with women ages 45–54
Advocate | Serve | Connect, social ad for OhioMeansJobs
Social Service Job Fair social ad for OhioMeansJobs
See Yourself in A Social Service Career social ad for OhioMeansJobs
Want a New Career? Think Social Services! social ad for OhioMeansJobs

Our Key Takeaways

Recommendations for Social Services Recruiting

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Paid social ads provide a clear ROI.

Our client was running television and newspaper ads alongside the paid campaign, but their impact is unknown. Unlike traditional advertising, social media allows you to clearly see where your marketing dollars are going. You can attribute your spend to tangible clicks, engagements, and actions by your prospective candidates and make better decisions during the campaign to improve its performance.

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You must know your audience.

Who are you talking to, and what types of messages do they want to receive? When you have limited text to work with for a paid ad, you must choose each word with intention. We used clear, concise, and compelling copy to get a candidate’s attention, entice them to click through the ad, and communicate helpful information.

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Social Service Job Fair social ad for OhioMeansJobs
Challenge your thinking.

Initially, our client was hesitant to use an image featuring a man—but this ad became the best performing ad in the campaign. We already knew that social services would resonate with women. Introducing a man into the visual space of a user’s scrolling might get a man to stop and take a look—and it did.

The ad had bold, on-brand colors and outlined the immediate openings the job fair was advertising, both capturing the user’s attention and providing key information. When you challenge your thinking and take a chance, you can see real results.

Challenge your thinking.

Initially, our client was hesitant to use an image featuring a man—but this ad became the best performing ad in the campaign. We already knew that social services would resonate with women. Introducing a man into the visual space of a user’s scrolling might get a man to stop and take a look—and it did.

The ad had bold, on-brand colors and outlined the immediate openings the job fair was advertising, both capturing the user’s attention and providing key information. When you challenge your thinking and take a chance, you can see real results.

Social Service Job Fair social ad for OhioMeansJobs
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Test your ads.

The biggest mistake you could make is to run only one ad. Think about it: If we had run only our lowest performing ad, our overall campaign would not have performed well. While all of our ads performed above the industry rate, we tested our ads to see how they resonated and performed with our audience. This gives you the chance to pause ads that aren’t performing as well as others, and put more of your budget behind the highest performing ads to maximize the campaign.

The ad had bold, on-brand colors and outlined the immediate openings the job fair was advertising, both capturing the user’s attention and providing key information. When you challenge your thinking and take a chance, you can see real results.

Finding New Ways to Recruit the Social Workers You Need

Recruiting Solutions Specific to Your Industry

At a time when social services and nonprofit organizations across the country are experiencing a shortage of qualified skilled workers, solidifying your recruiting strategy has never been more important. To keep pace with the rapidly growing social work field, your organization must be positioned to communicate your core messages and benefits to the right individuals. Let’s work together to explore how taking a new approach to recruiting can increase your pool of qualified candidates and reduce the time to hire for open positions in your organization.

Let’s Get Started

Reach Out to the MSR Team