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#EmployerBrand: Attracting Talent with Social Media

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Career Sites, Talent Attraction, Employer Branding, Brand Authenticity

Many companies are using Facebook and Twitter as recruitment channels – but what makes a successful careers feed that converts likes and retweets into new recruits?

They are ubiquitous and easy to start. Careers pages on social media offer a perpetual stream into the phones and tablets of an employer’s target audience, offering the potential for impressions on a regular – or even daily – basis.

On the other hand, driving traffic to a careers page requires a cautiously augmented approach, typically with targeted advertisements and carefully-worded job listings on third-party sites; without incentives in place, many such careers sites are unlikely to encourage repeat visits.

With a like or a follow, perhaps even with an alert set up for new content, eager talent can hear about new job opportunities within seconds of the update going live. Alternatively, social media pages offer an insight into what a prospect can expect from a position at your company, discovering elements of the workplace culture that resonate with them.

The difficulty lies in knowing what will resonate with the target audience. Should recruitment teams pump out messaging with the funniest content or viral potential, keen to scoop up the most likes and impressions? Or is there more to it?

It’s All About Teams and Themes

Brian Vigeant, founder of the social media platform Culture HQ – offering TA leaders more tools and customisation than traditional social media – recently spoke to us about the power of storytelling in employer brand messaging and had plenty to say about what employers should be looking to promote on social media sites.

“If a company has done a lot of the work upfront, including the employee value proposition – the brand pillars, the values, the personas – then from there, it's basically just representing those core things on their platforms.

“I like to think about it in two different ways: either by team, or by theme. So, firstly, what does it look like across all of our teams? Why would you join the engineering team versus the sales team or the customer services team, and are you capturing stories that highlight the unique elements of the team?

“Secondly, when it comes to theme, you should think of a candidate when they're exploring a company. ‘Who is this company?’, they think. ‘What do they stand for? What are their values? What does life at the company look like, and what is their mission?’ Posts and stories must highlight those elements, and you must make sure that you're capturing content that's specific to the role, the team, the people, and having that curated in their views – not just a narrow idea of what the company is.”

Many of the larger social media pages from major companies offer a balance between themes and teams. BMW Careers on Facebook, with over 400,000 likes and four to five posts per week, displays many of the values that the car manufacturer is keen to be associated with: futuristic thinking, green technologies, intelligent designs. Both within and alongside its job advertisements, each of these themes is represented in a number of different ways through product teases, concept art and big smiles at awards ceremonies.

But BMW mixes these themes with insights from its teams, including employee stories and ‘day in the life’ videos that take a deep dive into what a specific role may entail, from signing in to signing off. The ambitious overarching themes of technological horizons and a brighter future can certainly help to motivate prospective talent, but it’s in the day-to-day subtleties that prospects can truly begin to understand where they fit into the bigger picture.

Chasing the Viral Moment

The ‘day in the life’ videos and the charity fun runs on the BMW Careers Facebook page show that there is a place for a lighter side, even amidst the diligent professionalism of a company like BMW. It is a reminder that social media is primarily a medium of enjoyment and, well, procrastination; posts that elicit excitement or humour are more likely to stimulate reactions and drive the post further up the social media algorithm.

Much like careers sites, however, a high volume of impressions is not as important as conversions – particularly those of high-quality applicants.

While it may be tempting to cast the net as wide as possible and tempt in a large crowd with memes and punchy tweets, chasing the viral moment can lose the essence of what a company is about. Furthermore, prospective employees that apply because of a stilted impression of what the company is about are far more likely to drop out further down the line, costing valuable time and resources to the recruiters.

A careers team on social media may use a range of emojis and even the occasional meme to catch the eye, but these should only form a small part of an intelligent social media presence that fully explores the company’s mission, values and culture.

“Of course, usually the two ways that you can really get someone's attention is either through something that's humorous or heartfelt,” suggests Vigeant. “However, it’s important to remember the primary motivator: how do we display content that is going to ultimately attract more talent and keep people longer? It's all about building a pipeline of talent through transparency and authenticity.”

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