New research provides key insight into social media’s effectiveness in building employer brand.
By Larry Basinait
An employer brand represents who an organization is and what it stands for. It sets the stage for interactions and expectations that current and future employees will have with the organization regarding what it’s like to work there. It provides a look into a company’s culture and values, and reinforces those ideals through the behavior of current employees. For many companies, social media is a key element in building the employer brand. In fact, a new study from HRO Today and Allegis Global Solutions finds that 96 percent of study respondents feel it is important. But is the approach effective? Only about one-half (54 percent) say yes. Many factors can impact the effectiveness of an organization’s social media branding efforts, including staff expertise, time devoted to its execution, budget, and corporate reputation.
Social media plays an essential role in employer branding because it paints an authentic and compelling picture of life inside a company. This bird’s eye view can help organizations increase the number of quality applicants they receive, reduce cost per hire, and differentiate themselves from their competitors. As social media grows in importance and popularity among the new generation in the workforce, it is becoming the number one tool to attract, recruit, and retain talent, according to Universum.
Study participants were asked about their goals for social media as it pertained to building their employer brand. Nearly every respondent (92 percent) indicated that expanding the company’s reputation as a great place to work was a goal of their organization, with 83 percent of respondents looking to promote company culture, a key component of reputation (see Figure 1). Respondents are also looking to promote job openings to active candidates (79 percent) and recruit passive candidates (75 percent). Given that the U.S. unemployment rate has remained below 4 percent since March of 2018, passive candidates, or employed workers who are not currently looking for a new opportunity, are increasingly a priority for talent acquisition leaders. In fact, about 70 percent of candidates meet this criterion, according to a LinkedIn whitepaper.
While social media is a key recruitment tool, it isn’t just another job listing platform. Eight out of ten (80 percent) HR leaders highlight current employees when promoting their employer brand via social media, posting pictures and videos that bring credibility to the employer brand. In fact, 76 percent use pictures of employees as brand ambassadors. Nearly two-thirds use videos as a tool to promote the employer brand, as this type of media is easy to access on mobile devices and a great way to consume a lot of content in a short period.
One overlooked tool to promote the employer brand is maintaining two-way conversations with prospects. In fact, only about one-quarter (28 percent) of HR leaders take advantage of this social media capability. Too often, social media is used as a way to advertise without truly engaging the user. Answering questions, reacting promptly to posts, and exchanging information is what communicating through social media is all about. The lack of two-way communication impairs a company’s ability to engage the audience and deepen the layer of trust and credibility that social media has over conventional advertising.
Another area for improvement is measuring the effectiveness of social media. This can be accomplished by adopting social media listening tools that monitor mentions and interactions on various social media channels. This not only helps gauge brand awareness, but uses sentiment analysis to understand how people feel about an employer. These tools can help track and manage online conversations relevant to a brand.
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