Coping With Facebook’s Targeting Restrictions

In August, Facebook announced that it would restrict the targeting options for specific industries. Anything to do with housing, employment and credit now needs to fit into their new regulations or get locked out of the platform altogether. This sounds scary, especially since many staffing and recruiting companies have adopted the platform as a fantastic sourcing tool.

The New Regs

Facebook was, and still is, under tremendous pressure from the federal government and many state legislatures to stop ads that are or appear to be discriminatory. For a long time, you could set up an ad to target a specific age group by gender, in a particular zip code, and even target behaviors and preferences that indicate racial affinities. After multiple class-action lawsuits, Facebook began clamping down on this in March and finally admitted as much recently.

As these restrictions were starting to get implemented, there were certain red flags that the industry saw. Lots of ads were getting either unpublished or rejected altogether. Ad freezes were appearing for some business pages, and more concerning, some companies’ business pages were getting unpublished suddenly and with no advance warning.

Moving Forward

The great thing about these restrictions is that Facebook is making the most changes, and that means we only need to conform to those changes. Here are some best practices for moving forward (for now)

Leverage your ATS. Your ATS is probably your single most important (and accessible) sourcing tool. Facebook allows ads to be targeted based on lists of emails that are screened again on existing Facebook accounts. You have a ton of emails in your ATS, so you can target people who already know your company and are more inclined to engage with your ads. You can target your client lists in this way as well to nurture those relationships.

Facebook will create “look-alike,” now called “Special Ad Audience,” lists that Facebook automatically generates (for free) to create a much larger audience based on your ATS list. The significant changes took place on their end. Before, some of those protected classes were included in those look-alike lists. Not anymore.

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Post regularly. Think of Facebook in terms of supply and demand. There is only a certain amount of “stuff” that can be shown to your audience. With the massive increase in ads on Facebook, inevitably, the ads will take up more space. To be seen, you need to increase your posting frequency and your ad budget. I suggest both.

Post video. Posting videos geared specifically to your audience is a fundamental part of a social strategy in 2019 and 2020. Facebook continues to indicate that videos are receiving preferential treatment by its algorithms. Create videos to spotlight specific jobs, spotlight employers of choice, and show people why working with you makes sense.

Use Facebook jobs. This is a fantastic resource that has allowed many companies to create a new pipeline for sourcing talent. Just make sure that when you run an ad for that job, you are following the new targeting guidelines.

Pay attention, though! If you are posting a job to the Facebook jobs feature and it gets unpublished by Facebook, STOP posting jobs there for a while. Unfortunately, the number of company pages getting completely unpublished without a specific reason is on the increase and seems to be linked to Facebook’s new policies.

This can be a problem, however, if you’ve relied on that traffic as a recruiting source. One way around this is to fall back on your career site more heavily. Each job on your job board should have its own URL. You can then share this job page’s link to your Facebook page feed (not the Jobs tab). The next step is essential. If, for instance, the job is in Miami, join as many Facebook groups that focus on job opportunities in that area. Then share that link to those groups. This way, your job is then again in front of a larger audience of active and passive job seekers).

Use Facebook groups. There are tons of groups, nationwide, that are primarily geared toward connecting employers and job seekers in specific areas (like I mentioned in the example above). This is a fantastic way to get your jobs in front of people in a specific area without breaking any of Facebook’s new targeting rules based on protected classes.

Use ads! As a fair disclaimer, this is not a plug for Facebook. Just consider the numbers. 32% of the population of the world is on Facebook every month. Five new profiles are created every second. One in five web views happens on Facebook (every website – anywhere). Are you looking to get people to your staffing website? Show ads on Facebook to get them there! Re-marketing and lead-gen ads are excellent ways to drive passive and active job seekers to your jobs.

The plain and simple? Being flexible with your social recruiting strategy is only an option when you know that you can pivot when necessary. One tool doesn’t build a house;one social platform doesn’t have all the solutions for your business. Instead, consider putting together a social recruiting strategy that is linked back to SMART goals – ones that you can measure and stay accountable to.

Next, choose several tactics that will fuel the success of those goals. When one tactic doesn’t work as well, pivot, and lean on the others.

Aaron Eastlack

Aaron Eastlack
Aaron Eastlack is director, marketing and organizational development at The Panther Group.

Aaron Eastlack

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