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Social Media – What is it? And how can it work for me?

Over the last ten years, social media has been growing exponentially. It has never been more popular or more prevalent in our every day life than today, and it’s only going to get bigger.

But social media isn’t just there for the casual user – it can be a great help for businesses and advertising job vacancies too. Just knowing what the main channels are is the first step, and we’re here to help…

The Big Three…

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the main social media networks and probably the most useful to get your word out. Start here!

*as percentage of UK adults aged over 18 who are ‘online’ as defined by the ONS. Source: weareFlint

What is it: Quick, frequent messages (known as tweets) of no more than 140 characters, shared with public followers. Can also contain video, photos or links. These usually include hashtags (#) – a word of phrase used to identify messages on a specific topic. Our toolkit is #STEMAPPKIT

Cost: Free to set up a run a basic account. Sponsoring tweets (so a targeted audience sees them) costs money.

How you can use it: It’s easy to set up a profile – all you need is a few photos and an introduction and away you go. It takes time to get followers (and an average tweet only has a life of about 2 hours!), but you can get your message out there by asking companies or sponsors that work with you to follow and retweet to their thousands of followers!

Demographics*:

43% of women use Twitter.

Percentage of different ages that use the social media platform:

  • 64% of 18-24 year olds
  • 57% of 30-49 year olds
  • 33% of 50-64 year olds
  • 20% of 65+

What is it: Social networking site where users set up a profile and share pictures and information to approved ‘friends’ on their news feed. Companies can also set up pages that are ‘liked’.

Cost: Free to set up a personal profile or company pages. Advertising to targeted users costs money.

How you can use it: Setting up a company page is quick and easy – but again, it’s hard to build up enough people that ‘like’ your page to really get the message out. The easiest way is to write a post (on Facebook these can be any length but we recommend you keep it short and sweet), including photos and videos and links to the job advert, and share this with your employees. Most people have a Facebook profile, so ask them to spread the word with their friends. Give them the freedom to add their own personal touch – and perhaps include what they like about working there too!

Demographics*:

82% of women use Facebook.

Percentage of different ages that use the social media platform:

  • 92% of 18-24 year olds
  • 84% of 30-49 year olds
  • 71% of 50-64 year olds
  • 66% of 65+

What is it: The world’s largest professional network, targeted at mid-level and senior professionals.

Cost: Setting up a personal profile or basic company page is free. Costs can run into tens and hundreds of thousands on company pages when you add in additional pages, advertising jobs or the other services LI offers.

How you can use it: While the targeted audience of LinkedIn isn’t at the level of the majority of people applying for apprenticeships, there is always someone who knows someone else, or, of course, have grown up children that might be interested. Provide information to your employees, partners or sponsors and ask them to share an update on their news feed. In addition, as someone with a personal LinkedIn profile you can join groups of like minded individuals – a valuable source of information, for sharing best practice or for asking questions.

Demographics*:

26% of women use LinkedIn.

Percentage of different ages that use the social media platform:

  • 40% of 18-24 year olds
  • 38% of 30-49 year olds
  • 21% of 50-64 year olds
  • 17% of 65+

What is it: Mobile app that enables you to send photos and videos to friends, that disappears after a few moments of viewing them. Can also share a series of images called stories that stay for 24 hours.

Cost: Free to set up a profile and use.

How you can use it: Companies like it for the honest, raw, unedited approach. It’s chatty, personal and engaging – and fun. It’s a good way to show the personality of a brand in a low cost way – and teenagers love it. Fun if you have the energy to get involved, but only a few companies (large global brands) have really picked up on it.

Demographics*:

23% of women use Snapchat.

Percentage of different ages that use the social media platform:

  • 61% of 18-24 year olds
  • 21% of 30-49 year olds
  • 5% of 50-64 year olds
  • 2% of 65+

What is it: Social network for sharing photos and videos. Accounts can be private (for sharing between approved friends) or open and public. Instagram uses hashtags in the same way as twitter.

Cost: Free to set up an account.

How you can use it: Instagram is most commonly used by companies for promoting fashion, products or a way of life (for example, fitness or food inspiration). It’s a great way to show what it’s like working for a company, by posting videos and photos, but this is more common at larger companies who can divert resource and money towards posting regularly!

Demographics*:

32% of women use Twitter.

Percentage of different ages that use the social media platform:

  • 64% of 18-24 year olds
  • 37% of 30-49 year olds
  • 12% of 50-64 year olds
  • 7% of 65+

What is it: Users can upload, save and manage images (or ‘pins’) onto ‘boards’. Especially good for inspiration for activities, design projects or collating photos.

Cost: Free to set up an account.

How you can use it: Like Instagram, Pinterest is mainly used by fashion, lifestyle and design brands to promote their products. It’s great inspiration if you are looking to redesign your kitchen or for ideas for a party but not helpful to promote your company or vacancy. There are some interesting pins relating to apprenticeships (use the search bar to find them). But beware – many hours have been lost browsing Pinterest!

Demographics*: 38% of women use Twitter.

Percentage of different ages that use the social media platform:

  • 50% of 18-24 year olds
  • 36% of 30-49 year olds
  • 20% of 50-64 year olds
  • 12% of 65+

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