Does your recruitment team (or you as a team of one, wink) plan to recruit in the social media realm but have no idea where to begin? Consulting with an expert is undoubtedly the easiest way to start. But if it’s just you, with a limited time and budget, and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, we’ve got a few ideas for you. 

Facebook ads are one way to begin. Of course, there’s a whole body of knowledge around that, but you can start simple and become more sophisticated as you learn. Here’s one resource to get you started: How Do Facebook Ads Work? According to these writers, 93% of marketers use Facebook advertising regularly. So it’s a strategy we can’t afford to ignore. 

You can start small and free. Maybe you don’t want (or are not authorized) to pay for social media ads until you’ve got some marketing chops. Consider these ideas for getting started:

  • Create a social media message and ask your foster families and staff to share it on their pages.
  • Ask faith-based groups, schools, and other family-friendly organizations to share your message on their social media platforms or in their digital newsletters.
  • Be sure to include a link to your agency’s social media pages or website. 
  • Do a baseline on how many likes, shares, and visits to your agency’s social media pages or webpage occur in a typical week, then compare after doing a share campaign. This data may convince funders you can benefit from paid ads. 

Check out this list of free resources: 10 Free Social Media Marketing Tools You Should Try.
Promote an event like an information session on your social media or webpage. Agencies around the state have reported an uptick in turnout for their info sessions after doing social media ads or campaigns, especially when their info sessions are virtual. 

Support your existing families and community with virtual activities. For example, start a virtual support group for foster families. Conduct a contest for your families, complete with prizes, on social media. Do a virtual training relevant to community members (e.g., mandated reporting workshop for school personnel) and include your recruitment message in the presentation. 

Denise Goodman, recruitment guru from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has a 3-part series on recruiting foster families during the pandemic. See Part One, where she explores social media strategies. Down the road, you may want to explore blogs, influencers, data analytics, and the like. Does your recruitment team include a social-media-savvy person, whether from the agency or the community? If not, it may be time to add that to your recruitment team to-do list. 

We hope these ideas give you the courage to begin. Perfection is not the goal; starting to get comfortable with the language, mechanics, and possibilities of social media recruiting is the way forward.

Need more support? Contact a resource specialist at the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families for more recruitment ideas, materials, and encouragement.