Using Social Media Effectively to Promote Employee Referral Programs

At this point in time, recruiters are aware that employee referral programs are highly successful. After all, according to ICIMS’ report The Impact of Successful Employee Referral Programs, “the majority of employers find that referred employees outperform other employees on most aspects of overall company fit, which is highly valued by employers when evaluating applicants.” That same report also noted that two-thirds of those employees that are referred refer others and they are more satisfied than those who aren’t referrals. Finally, the report mentioned that an average of 24% of new employees are hired via referrals and in some cases that number is as high as 40%!

With those kind of results, recruiters can’t afford to ignore the effectiveness of employee referral programs. In fact, given that leadership regularly seeks out ways to cut costs, recruiters should be increasing their efforts toward launching or improving such programs. Social media is an extremely effective way to promote your employee referral program. Without further adieu, here are several ways to make the most out of your social media promotions.

1. Expand Your Own Social Networks

According to Mashable, “the right fit may lie beyond your direct connections, but you’d never know this if you just skim the surface.” Maybe your first level connection isn’t the perfect fit for a referral, but a friend of a friend is! Take a look at profiles to see if they have relevant work histories and if they do, start a dialogue and ask your closer friends or colleagues relevant questions. You might just strike gold.

2. Push Company Culture

Assuming you have a positive workplace environment, chances are you have willing evangelists who will happily help you with video testimonials and pictures. These images can be remarketed through your social networks and you can encourage employees to share them with other connections, which could result in a referral next time there is an open position.

3. Make Rewards Known

If you offer bonuses to employees who refer new hires, make sure to tell your employees about it! You can of course do this in person and through company-wide memos, but why not make it a regular featured item that you promote on your Facebook, Twitter and beyond? Increasing the knowledge of programs and how they can benefit existing staff is an extremely effective way of sourcing talent.

4. Help Employees Help You

Entrepreneur wrote a great article called Use Your Employee Referral Program in Social Recruiting that provided the following ideas based on individual social networks:

  • TwitterTrain employees on how to write these [job-related] postings and encourage them to spread the reach on their accounts to refer their followers to the job posting. If their followers are professionals in the industry, this could attract top talent.”
  • Facebook “Encourage employees to refer potential candidates to the company page, tag referrals in postings, and share the job updates on their feeds.”
  • Linkedin “Encourage employees to make connections and expand their networks to represent the company in a professional manner.”

So beyond training your staff to help you find top talent, what types of posts should you integrate into your company social media career pages? Well, we think you should consider several of the items TalentHQ suggested in their article, The Top 20 Employee Referral Program Best Practices. Here are some of our personal favorite best practices that can translate to social media posts:

  • “Build an employee referral program brand.” Coming up with a name and tagline for your employee referral program social posts will make them more recognizable and therefore will make your staff more likely to share them.
  • “Use collateral to reinforce goals.” When you first launch or reignite the enthusiasm for an employee program, consider bringing out the big guns. Everyone likes free stuff or stuff that they can earn via referrals. BONUS! You can take pictures of your employees with their swag or with items they can earn for promotion efforts later on.
  • “Make a big splash at new hire orientation.” New hires are enthusiastic by nature, so make sure to excite them right off the bat by letting them know about your awesome employee referral program. BONUS! You can also post pictures of new hire orientation sessions on social media.
  • “Hold contests.” Contests are great shareable content. Whether its internal and you are promoting the competition itself to employees or just broadcasting the winners, contests get everyone interested.
  • “The fewer rules the better.” We recommend making your referral programs simple and easy to understand. In fact, creating a dedicated microsite that you can share socially within your posts is something to consider as well! This sort of site can be repeatedly used and updated for different campaigns and is the perfect place to educate referral candidates and existing staff on the program benefits.
  • “It’s more than the $.” The selling point to your program has to be about more than money. Ideally, it should be about everything your company represents, so promoting that on social media networks is crucial if you want to reach the widest audience.
  • “Recognize top referrers.” Another idea for posts is pictures and videos of employees who have brought in new talent regularly. For instance, you can have them talk about why they feel good about the program itself and the company at large, which can later be shared all over.


We hope this blog gets you excited about building or expanding your employee referral program using social media! If you’d like to read more articles like this, subscribe to our blog.

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