We recently looked at building a business case for using social media for employer branding. We identified three clear objectives: raising awareness, offering an insight into working for you and encouraging better quality applications already engaged with your culture. Now, let’s look in more detail how social media can help build your employer brand.

It’s where your audience are talking

You can’t join the conversation unless you are in the same place as your audience. And increasingly, that means Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram – places where, as an employer, it’s relatively low cost to be. But, it’s not only where your audience are, it’s where your audience shares what they want others to know about. And this is where the social aspect of social media can really support your brand. Do good things and they’ll be talked about.

Modern job seekers in particular are looking for a deeper sense of purpose and responsibility from their employers and they are looking for values that match their own. An article in the Telegraph, quoted research suggesting 76% of millennials are happy to share photos, videos and information around their employer’s corporate social responsibility efforts over their personal social media channels. That’s great for awareness of your employer brand but it also supports something even more valuable. Trust.

It’s where trust and engagement is built

It’s human nature to trust who you know. So, if your friends are saying good things about where they work on social media, or they what they hear about where their friends work – it’ll carry more kudos than if it comes from you. The reality is that it can come from you. You can encourage your employees to create content, share a bit of your culture, use hashtags – and it doesn’t have to be slick – or expensive.

Social media content can be produced using smartphones and shared on Facebook. The great thing is that it gives a more authentic insight about your workplace – and authenticity is trusted. People will believe other employees views rather than what they traditionally might have perceived as your brand messaging (your recruitment ads) – but get your employees on-board and social can also be your brand messaging, that’s the beauty of it.

Social networks offer reach

The clue is in the name – network. Social media offers tremendous reach. It might be overly ambitious to hope that your recruitment video will go viral and compete with Justin Bieber, but it’s highly likely that the network of your employees and friends is much bigger than yours as an employer. And, when they’ve got something positive to talk about and share, as in our corporate social responsibility example, it’ll only grow.

The best thing of all is that the people we want to hire are often in our employees networks. If they can reach them, and feel proud and engaged themselves, how powerful and valuable is that reach? And I haven’t even covered the targeting you can do with social media allowing you to reach a specific region, people’s characteristics and interests and go deep into talent communities. It’s an especially powerful tool – almost a science but this isn’t the time to go all scientific on you.

It attracts passive candidates

When you only use traditional recruitment media, you are only going to reach those looking for a new role. You’ll be missing out on that valuable pool of potential candidates. They might not be seeking a new role but could be just the kind of hire you are looking for.

By using social media to raise awareness, show insight and build trust – you’ll start to tap into the holy grail that is turning a passive job seeker into an engaged, active candidate, already knowledgeable about what you do, what it’s like to work for you – and motivated to apply. And why not use social media to be pro-active? Don’t wait for them to contact you, show them they’ve got what it takes – make the first move.

It attracts and supports the right kind of candidate

Recruitment is expensive, particularly if you have to repeat the exercise. Social media allows candidates to do their research on their terms, listen to who they trust and decide to apply being much better informed that they’ve ever been before. Social media can also support the candidate by playing its part in creating a positive candidate experience.

With a marketing hat on, recruitment is just as much about candidates purchasing your employer brand as it is about your selection decision. A career move is a big purchase with multiple considerations before someone actually applies. Social media can make it a whole lot easier for the right kind of candidate to apply – just as it helps people decide when they are not right for you, saving your time in the process.

It enables real-time and quicker recruitment

Facebook live, online interviewing, one to one interaction – and potentially anywhere in the world, wi-fi permitting. Screening candidates has never been so simple due to the possibilities that social media offers when interviews are concerned.

It’s a relatively small investment to take your recruitment process to a level of flexibility that your candidates are increasingly used to. It’s great for the candidate experience and, if you’ve taken this much trouble in the recruitment process, it speaks volumes about what it must be like to work for you.

Our final thoughts

It’s important to be realistic with what you can achieve by using social media to support your employer brand and recruitment process. It’s good to have a presence for all sorts of positive reasons but identifying actual return on investment can be a challenge. You’ll almost certainly get results from your investment but it might not be obvious from where, at least at first.

Social media can be used as a platform with huge reach to share your employees voices and the type of culture you are. But one thing is for sure – if you’re not part of the conversation you’ll let potentially great candidates go to where they’ll feel more welcome. It’s called social media for a reason. Be nice. Be social.

If you feel that you’d like some help, support or even a little chat around defining your employer value proposition, developing your employer brand or any aspect of your talent attraction strategy just drop us a line. After all, much of our best work has started with a cup of tea and a biscuit.