Now don’t tell anyone I am giving you this insider information, but only posting once a week on your department’s social media platforms was so last year. As we know, social media is an outlet that needs consistent content visibility to produce results. Since content creation is not a normal part of the workday in volunteer fire and EMS departments, coming up with fresh content can be challenging for many departments, recruitment and retention teams, and recruitment coordinators.
When considering using social media for recruiting, the lack of attention, planning, and consistency needed to make social media work is a common misstep for many volunteer fire and EMS departments. Many departments see the visible results of likes and comments on other departments’ feeds but don’t truly recognize what is involved in getting there and how much time needs to be committed to the job.
Here are some tips to help departments with their social media recruiting strategy in 2022 to gain more likes, happy faces, and new members.
- THE WHY – Determine Your Objectives for using social media and align them to your department’s recruitment goals and objectives.
- BULLSEYE – Target Your Audience: Most departments try a shotgun approach with social media posts. Get specific and determine the audience you want to reach and which social media platforms they are on.
- CREATORS, ASSEMBLE!: Choose the members in your department best suited and motivated to be responsible for your social media content. Some roles departments delegate to members are: Social Media Manager, Content Creator, or Community Manager. Designate someone to keep an eye on what is happening on your social media platforms. Monitoring AND responding are essential. It also allows your department to connect with your followers and use those connections to build relationships and, of course, RECRUIT!
- TOOLS IN THE TOOLBOX: Equip your team with the training and tools required to be effective and responsive. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has many free resources with tips and tricks about social media content. Click here for more social media posting tips
- THIS OR THAT? – Choose Your Platforms: Determine the right social media platforms that will find the audience and meet your objectives. TikTok would be a better option than “the Facebook” if you are looking for a younger demographic (If you are still calling it “the Facebook,” we need to talk as soon as possible).
- HASH IT UP! Content strategy also includes hashtags and creative captions related to the post’s image. Coming up with an engaging hashtag or caption is an excellent way to grab leads attention and connect with your brand. Sometimes hashtags take a minute to catch on – be patient AND consistent.
- THE THREE R’s: Don’t be afraid to Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle your previous posts. You will save time by using existing content instead of creating it from scratch. It’s naive to assume that just because you posted once that everyone who you wanted to see it – saw it. Also, understand that it improves your Search Engine Optimization(SEO) and online presence, strengthens your branding message, and most importantly, finds that person who may have missed it the first time around. Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle to achieve the message repetition and audience reach you’re looking to realize.
I get it, social media can be intimidating, but the key is to know there are people already in your department who can offer some assistance. But if your organization does not have such resources: “Do what you do best–outsource the rest!”
First Arriving can provide web and social media management and training. For more about social media strategies and other recruitment and retention information, check out First Arriving’s Recruitment and Retention and Strategic Marketing pages.