indexSocial media and Employer Branding

Employer brand and its implementation and embedding via the use of social media is, in real terms, a relatively recent offering. However, the use of social media is gaining popularity with HR professionals as a tool to disseminate positioning strategies regarding the organisation.

As a concept employer branding is defined as a long term oriented strategy used to promote the company as an employer. Its ultimate aim is to gain further competitive advantage by developing a desirable and unique identity as an employer while also managing the perceptions of potential and current employees. In the ever more technologically connected world in which we live, social media with its radically growing presence in our lives, seems to provide a perfect solution.

With outlets including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, HR professionals are seeking to address a number of key areas in order to build and maintain their employer branding. Some organisations are looking to move social media as a responsibility to HR teams in totality. And employer branding is so much more than just another part of the recruitment strategy. Areas that any employer brand strategy should cover include:

Employer brand in general

Opportunities to promote the business

Targeting a specific audience either in general or for recruitment purposes

Building or reinforcing the brand identity (as a marketing or business brand)

Developing HR competencies and/or ways of communicating

Internal recruitment

Inspiring transparency of the business

Talent management requirements

Building the organisation’s market reputation

Building the image and reputation of HR professionals

These are just some of the reasons, among many others. The scope for development can be vast but the implementation needs to be carefully and thoughtfully planned. Some companies have discovered that a wrong move in the social media arena is not quickly forgotten; digital footprints of previous mistakes tend to live on.

So what should you do to build an employer strategy via social media and what are the potential pitfalls? We take a look at two of the biggest – LinkedIn and Twitter – and consider what can go wrong.

First stop and listen

Before you even consider launching an employer brand strategy your first move should be to stop and listen. Listen to what is currently being said about you on the social media platforms. Head to sites such as Glass Door, Social Mention and Google Alerts to find out what the chat is about your business and what previous (and, more scarily, current) employees are saying about you. From this you can then formulate a strategy that creates the right voice and context for your employer brand strategy ensuring it is authentic to your business.

LinkedIn

This platform has the many benefits of being the flagship social media in a B2B context. Its level of functionality makes it great for employer brand. Organisations just need to take advantage of all that it has to offer. It has been one of the fastest growing professional networks over the last few years with young professionals in particular buying into its ethos. To take full advantage of LinkedIn make sure you look at the following areas:-

Develop a company page where your current and future employees can access information about your business. Develop a careers section and ensure that the company status is regularly updated. All of this will help you to attract followers.

As a great way to promote your business and develop your position as an employer of choice look to join relevant groups. Joining passively is best so join in by contributing to discussions or forums, provide advice or share news stories that may be relevant. The aim is to grow interest in your company organically.

Create your own company group. Think about the type of people you want to attract such as potential employees, current employees and alumni. Start interesting conversations and potential employees will feel more comfortable with your company identity long ahead of any recruitment process.

Twitter

Amazingly around two thirds of FSTE 100 now uses Twitter, but it seems it can often be forgotten in relation to employer branding. Its potential to hit the people you want is massive but you will need to make sure that your business is highly visible.

An easy way to do this is to make your profile picture your logo and think carefully about your Twitter name. Including your company name and perhaps recruitment, careers, or jobs is a must. You obviously need the whole feel to be incredibly professional so make sure your 160 characters of profile text match up to your aims and sell the vision of your employer brand.

With tweets remember to keep the content varied. Don’t just use it as a sales pitch for the business, tweeting sector or careers driven news will make your account more appealing, adding value for your followers.

Get lots of different members of the team to tweet, this will develop a more rounded perception of the company and its culture/personality

Re-tweet where appropriate. It’s a great way to build trust and credibility.

What can go wrong?

Well one of the biggest mistakes that HR professionals make when using social media is to attempt to build an inauthentic employer brand. If you are a young, dynamic start-up in digital media then your employer brand will be entirely different to a FTSE 100 accountancy firm. Don’t try to create an employer brand that’s not real.

Secondly, make sure you stand out from the crowd. Employer brand is all about creating competitive advantage which cannot be achieved by being dull. And don’t get bogged down in facts and figures remember the sale mantra it’s the benefits not the features that count.

November 15, 2013 in Resource Centre