Back in March I started writing about employer branding. It’s turned into a bit of a series and it all began with how to put the business case. It’s all very well wanting to spend a slice of your resourcing budget on that idea you’ve had – but before you get sign-off, someone, maybe your HR Director, is likely to ask you for the evidence. So I thought I would turn my thoughts to social media for employer branding.

My initial thoughts made the point that, whether you like it or not, you already have an employer brand. That’s because people have opinions and they rather like sharing them. They might not even be working for you to influence how you are seen as an employer. You don’t need me to tell you they’ll be doing it on social media. So, for me, the business case is pretty black and white. Do you want to be a part of that conversation – or not?

If you’ve been thinking you should really do more with your employer brand on social media, but you haven’t been able to explain why – this is for you. If you were to ask me why you should invest in social media activity (and what you might expect to get back), my reply would go something like this.

Start with a realistic goal

Goals are great things to have – just ask Gareth Southgate. But, your goal with social media isn’t quite as easy to define as hitting the back of the net. The success of social media activity can be difficult to pin down to an actual outcome and return on investment, so, if you set your goal as being realistic, but not quite specific, you’ll be on the right lines.

A realistic goal would be for your social media activity to help strengthen your ability to hire great people.

It’s a very positive outcome with strong potential payback – but you are not promising instant results – and that’s the key at this stage. You’ll be able to see where improvements happen – over time. If you over-sell the goal, you only raise expectations, it’s best to manage them at the outset. That’s the end of the World Cup references, I promise.

Identify your objectives

So, you’ve told the HR Director that you need to be a part of the conversation and that social media can help you influence that conversation and strengthen your employer brand. You might be asked to put some clearer objectives on the table, particularly if you are working on a specific recruitment project or campaign. So what might an example look like?

Let’s say you are a major employer in one or several locations. You have a range of customer service, financial services and corporate services roles to fill. Your social media objectives aren’t to fill specific roles – at least not directly.

What it can do is raise awareness about you as a recruiter of these roles, offer an insight into what it’s like working for you and, through sharing the good aspects of working for you, encourage high-quality applications to your vacancies. So, when candidates do see your roles, they’ll be better pre-disposed to apply – they might even want to look you up and apply on spec.

You’ve identified three clear objectives you want from social media: raising awareness, offering insight into working for you and encouraging better quality applications already engaged with your culture.

In our next article we’ll look in more detail how social media can help you achieve these objectives.

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.