Getting Socially Savvy About Your Grad Program With Samantha Coom

Feeling stuck in a rut with your grad hiring strategy? Tired of seeing the same on-campus activations year after year? In today’s fast-paced digital world, mastering social media is an absolute must for employers looking to attract top talent. But with platforms constantly evolving, how can you stay strategically ahead of the curve? The answer is simple: leverage the power of social media, with the right channel and content tactics in place.

We caught up with Samantha Coom, the CEO and founder of The Social Craft and a thought leader in employer branding and social media, to get the inside scoop on the latest social media trends and how employers can leverage these to maximize their online presence to win over the best and brightest grads.


Let’s be honest – LinkedIn is the OG when it comes to connecting professionals, in this case, employers and grads. Our 2023 Benchmarking reports showed that 67% of graduate candidates were active on the platform, with 81% finding it useful for their job hunt. Employers made extensive use of it too, with 91% using LinkedIn and 89% finding it effective. This data clearly demonstrates the investment brands are making and the power of LinkedIn in the graduate attraction process.

We are clearly preaching to the converted – with most employers embracing LinkedIn as an “and”, rather than an “or” in their graduate attraction mix.  But what’s different about LinkedIn and how can we better leverage this platform?

LinkedIn is largely used by Gen Z in their job hunt. Not necessarily the most obvious being its friends Meta, TikTok and YouTube.  Sam explains that LinkedIn is so much more than just a job board. It’s now a full-blown social media powerhouse and the world’s largest professional network, packed with verified first-party data that no other platform can match.

Employers should think beyond LinkedIn as a one-stop job listing platform. As a social media platform, LinkedIn has been built out to be a content-driven tool to network, learn, market and sell, now providing businesses with more value than just one critical business aspect, recruitment. By businesses investing in LinkedIn across these dimensions, we see a shift in employers integrating efforts into one platform, which can solve for a multitude of objectives in one ecosystem. That’s why, this is the best platform for talent to be equally as invested in 2024.

LinkedIn can even integrate your ATS with their talent solutions products, creating a seamless experience for internal TA teams and candidates- making this platform an even bigger attractor for efficiency and candidate experience, from both sides of the table. Making recruitment easier than several different job boards and multiple sources of application to track, engage and convert.

“For the first time in the history of work, we have direct access to brands, thought leaders and recruiters through this incredible professional network. Why would we wait for a career opportunity to find us, when we can create it?” Sam shared.

Students should focus on showing up on LinkedIn as their professional persona and not their social persona, where you’d want to position and elevate yourself as a thought-leader whilst demonstrating credibility and capability through social proof around your professional expertise.

Businesses should try and do the opposite, be more “human”. Use language and content that makes your brand relatable and use authentic storytelling that is suited to the channel.

Talk about making a brand relatable, we discussed the difference between influencing and educating.  The trend Sam is encouraging is a move away from using “influence” to promote brands and more towards sharing content that educates and adds value for the candidate or member. 

LinkedIn is not about the traditional 4 P’s of marketing: price, promotion, place and product. Instead, a shift to 3 P’s; purpose, perspective and people. By applying this lens to your content, strategy and overall ecosystem on LinkedIn, you’re sure to cut through the social media noise and stand out in the war for talent.

Some great content examples that highlight this are as follows:

  • Don’t share a job advert, share an employee spotlight that relates to that talent pool
  • Don’t just share a branded customer webinar, talk about the talent and thought leadership behind the event
  • Don’t just share an industry update, talk about how your talent is responding to this industry change
  • Don’t just take a picture of another stand at a career fair, capture graduate stories about why they’re excited to join your program and publish that

The top five reasons followers engage with content on LinkedIn is because it is informative, relevant, educational, personalised and contributes to their skills development. With that in mind, does this not challenge the way we as brands and employees show up to attract talent on LinkedIn- not just graduates?


While LinkedIn remains a dominant platform for professional connections, our SAGEA data reveals a shift in the platforms used by employers and candidates. Graduates are increasingly drawn to products in the Meta suite, as well as YouTube, seeking fresh, engaging content that aligns with their interests and lifestyles (aligned to Sam’s earlier point of giving value and education through content). As we tracked TikTok for the first time in 2023, we anticipate its popularity will continue to grow and this presents a unique opportunity for employers to tap into a new pool of talent.

TikTok attracts a broader socio-economic and generally more diverse bucket of candidates than we see on LinkedIn through being a platform based on ‘Edutainment ‘, a term that combines education and entertainment in content creation. This approach is very different from building a professional brand on LinkedIn and is more about engaging with candidates in a creative, dynamic, fun and informative way. 

TikTok is rapidly gaining traction as a powerful tool for young talent recruitment. Its vast reach and bite-sized, entertaining format make it well-suited for capturing the attention of our GenZ candidates, who engage with more intent, for less time. Sam advises employers to lead with people and storytelling content, featuring young, relatable presenters sharing bite-sized insights like “Software Hacks from our Tech Team” or “Two Ways to Customize Your CV”.  Effective use of TikTok can be made to drive engagement and conversion through your funnel, at scale.

YouTube is another social channel that presents an opportunity for top-of-funnel content and longer-form storytelling, building brand awareness and educating potential candidates.

However, social media should not be a one-size-fits-all given the investment to effectively manage your presence and develop content, so in order to effectively leverage these platforms, employers must adopt a talent persona mindset and invest in the channels where their target audience is truly engaged and active. While platforms like Meta and Twitter may be better suited for consumer marketing, they might not be as impactful for employer branding and graduate attraction.


Having a presence across different media comes with a price tag, and in the industry currently, we’re conscious of the budget restraint and limitations we face in remaining innovative year on year. Investing in a social media strategy and a platform like LinkedIn, not only gains you bigger reach, but you can also track the demographics, insights and other core digital marketing and recruitment metrics that are key to longer term EVP positioning, your recruitment funnel and passive talent pool attraction.

From winning Silver for RCL FOODS in 2018 for best integrated graduate campaign, Sam and The Social Craft were back on the SAGEA scene after being involved in Old Mutual’s Award winning campaign in 2023, together with HKLM for leveraging effective user-generated content and key social channels to drive engagement, attraction and quality applications without the brand itself being on campus.

We tend to think that the investment in digital content always needs to be high-end, polished and professionally photographed which can be very expensive, but we see through a strategy like this how effective user generated content can be!  Of course, you will want your content to be of a quality that is consistent with your brand, which is often necessary for your Hero content, but embracing “low-fi” content that is GOOD is perfectly acceptable, particularly in the TikTok space.


To wrap things up, we asked Sam to share her top three pointers on the emerging young candidate platform, TikTok, for employers to maximize their grad attraction on one of Gen Z’s favourite platforms:  

  1. Don’t be afraid to film from your smartphone and make authentic content, leverage the trends available to make your brand relatable.
  2. Show up correctly on the channel, with the right type of content and message that is relatable to your talent persona.
  3. Brands cannot win the war for talent alone on social media platforms, leverage your employee influencers! You need employees and real people to tap into their networks (which are 10x more powerful than a companies) to complement recruitment and branding efforts.