Launching a social media strategy? Get your story straight first.


 

Lately, I’ve had a lot of HR leaders express their interest in launching a social media strategy. They get it—social media isn’t optional anymore. It’s essential to communication with candidates and employees today. I mean, there’s a reason you’ll hear statements like “Twitter was blowing up yesterday about…” and “It’s all over Facebook.” These are the platforms we use today to get information, share experiences and seek out opinions. When you fail to be a part of the ongoing conversation, your lack of presence often speaks volumes about your company. (And not often will you be seen in the best light.)

But after some of these conversations, I’m beginning to think that many believe there’s a “switch” to flip to start engaging candidates online, to start contributing to (or even starting) the conversation.

The big glitch in this plan? 

HR isn’t clear on the story they want to tell.

 

Why creating your employment brand story comes first

Download your free guide: 5 Steps to Creating a Social Media Recruiting strategyThe effectiveness of your social media strategy hinges on the message you send—so much so that you’re really wasting your efforts if you “jump into the fray” without a clear plan in place to reveal the very best, most attractive aspects of your employment offerings and culture. The best way to tell this story? Make it personal and emotional so it will connect.

Storytelling is a powerful tool to make this connection, and one that should absolutely be used in telling your employment brand story. Your people and your business are filled with stories that have this power, and social media is the platform to tell them.

Throughout the history of marketing—whether for companies, products or jobs—we’ve long relied on stories to illustrate our brands. And there’s a perfectly sensible reason for this: a brand IS emotion. Your brand is how people think and feel about your product or company or job opportunities.

I know it hurts to hear this, but it’s important to remember: your audience will essentially determine what your brand stands for. Or, as Jeff Bezos so famously put it, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

That’s why creating an employment brand story—solidifying a message that reveals your mission, your values, and your employee value proposition (EVP) that taps their emotions is essential first step. Because getting people to feel positively about your organization as an employer is the goal.

 

How and where you tell your story is important

When we look at the typical candidate journey, the role of social media in making that authentic connection can’t be overlooked.

 candidate journey horiz

Every touchpoint along the way could be a step closer to applying for your position. That makes how you share your employer story--finding a way that instantly connects with candidates and creates that emotional connection--a must. But it makes where you tell it vitally important, too.

First, let’s address the how. If you really want to demonstrate the advantages of working at your company, let your actual employees do the talking.

Your employees tell your employer brand story better than anyone else. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s marketing or PR department or even its CEO.

Here’s something else to think about: In that same study, 63% of respondents said they found a company’s social media more believable than a company’s advertising or website as a source of truth about an organization.

So, where you tell that story makes a world of difference if you want it to be seen as authentic.

 

A sea of social options

Today there are approximately 2 billion internet users that are using social networks, and these figures are expected to keep growing as mobile device usage and mobile social networks continue to gain traction. 

Considering the number of users reported for the major social networks, there’s a real good chance your next top tier candidate could be on one of these portals right now.

social statistica stats

These social networks offer plenty of opportunities to share content, and advertising options to help you push them beyond your follower base. But keep in mind, not all will be a great fit for every company. Networks where your content naturally strikes a chord with fans are an obvious choice for you to concentrate your time and effort.

It’s also helpful to know which networks are most popular among which types of users. This will help you determine their use in your messaging strategy. For example, Snapchat has massive penetration in the younger audience segments, making it a great place to engage interns and new graduates. Instagram and Pinterest’s visual format appeals to those with strong “shopper” personalities, which makes them ideal for providing verification that the story you’re telling is true and authentic.

 

Social pushes your stories beyond the career site

Yes, it’s vitally important to have your employee stories on your career site. In fact, your website is the destination you want to bring your audience back to in order to complete the story. But employee stories that live ONLY on your career site are on a fast track to nowhere; if your employee stories aren’t being read, viewed and shared, they’re not sparking the interest they should to lead the right people to you and filter out candidates who probably won’t be a good fit for your culture.

That’s where social media comes in. The key is to make sure your employer story is consistent throughout every candidate touchpoint.

 

There are opportunities beyond the major platforms, too

With so many social media platforms, there are a lot of ways to get your story out there that you might have overlooked. But adding these to your arsenal—and making sure your message is consistent—can ensure your employee story has a strong and consistent voice:

 

1. Employee Blogs

blogs2

Hosting an employee blog is a great way to allow candidates an authentic look into the employee side of your brand and tell your company’s why in a unique way. Some great examples include Microsoft’s Life and Siemens’ Future Maker’s blogs, which celebrate how their employees find fulfillment in their work in very different ways: Siemen’s speaks to having a personal impact on the world, while Microsoft’s story is more about the interaction that allows their people to create change.

Apart from their thematic differences, both Siemens and Microsoft provide tantalizing posts across their social media presence that pull candidates into these stories, and allow them to see themselves having similar experiences in their careers.  

 

2. Employee Reviews

review sites

Employees tend to only leave reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed after they have left. Encourage your current employees to leave reviews while they are still with you. Positive reviews will boost your brand awareness and desirability, and any negative comments will help you address internal friction.

Companies like Etsy make it a point to ask current employees to review them, and provide updates on these review sites that use storytelling to highlight unique aspects of their culture their employees are positive about. In a hiring market where tech talent is in short supply, Etsy is hoping these stories appeal to ambitious talent who are looking for an environment that is innovative, yet warm and respects work/family balance. (And if you’d like a good cry, watch the video announcement of their paid parental leave practices, featuring the families they impact.)

 

3. Live events

meetups

Especially in today’s digital marketplace, the power of an in-person event is stronger than ever. From career fairs and conferences to more casual drinks and networking, there’s no quicker way to determine if someone will be a good culture fit than meeting them face to face.

Meetups have become the go-to for companies seeking technical, engineering, sales and financial talent, and their extremely valuable when top talent can meet with your employees and get their stories first hand. Their platform makes events easy to organize and publicize. And, because participants are likely to share their participation, these events often result in covetable social media interaction. A participant may influence others to attend your next event!

Long before candidates land on your career website and are ready to apply to a job, they first must become aware of your company and decide that you're worth considering as a potential employer.

That’s what makes social storytelling your employer brand’s “secret sauce”. It allows candidates to encounter your employee stories, understand your employee value proposition, and make an emotional connection with your brand—helping you attract people who know they will be a good fit for your opportunity before they even apply.

Do you know what it takes to drive better engagement with your candidates and employees? Talk with the experts at Newton Talent and learn how we can help you build and implement the right strategy for your company that is part of your overall recruiting strategy, not an add on. Connect with us.

Written by Patty Silbert

President of Newton Talent since 2018, Patty Silbert has over 30 years of experience developing the innovative solutions that help HR professionals just like you meet their most pressing recruitment challenges and their companies achieve their talent acquisition goals. She is a regular writer and speaker on the subjects of recruitment strategy, employment branding, HR technology, and leadership.