By: Chris Ferdinandi
Whether you realize it or not, you already actively build your employer brand every single day.
You do so every time you talk to a candidate about what it’s like to work there, every time you talk to an employee or coworker about the culture and each time you talk to a friend or family member about your day.
Every time you talk about your organization’s culture, you build your company brand.
Today, I want to talk to you about how you can use social media to spread your employer brand to a much larger audience.
By helping people understand what it’s like to work at your organization, you can build a pipeline of talented people who are excited to come work for your organization… before you’ve even posted a job opening.
That makes it easier (and less expensive) for you to find job candidates.
Sodexo provides quality of life services (that means things like food service and facilities management). In 2007, they started using social media to help spread the word about their culture.
Because of their efforts, they’ve saved over $300,000 on traditional recruiting marketing. They’ve also seen a 25-percent increase in the number of candidates applying for their positions.
There has to be a catch, right?
Here it is: This doesn’t work if your culture sucks.
If your organization isn’t a good place to work, employer branding won’t make it one. Fix your culture first. Then think about employer branding.
Another quick word of warning: Like all things worth doing, you’ll get out of this what you put into it.
Learning how to use social media tools isn’t complicated. But it does take time and consistency. It also takes a willingness to experiment until you find out what works for you and the people you’re trying to engage.
In other words, results may vary.
How to Get Started
One of the most common questions that people who are new to social media ask is, “What do I talk about?”
The things that make for good conversation online are the same things that make for good conversation in real life:
- Don’t just talk about yourself.
- Ask a lot of questions.
- Tell stories.
- Share interesting news and useful insights.
Think about the most interesting conversationalist you know. She probably asks a lot of questions. She’s funny and personable. She shares interesting information about lots of other people and things.
She doesn’t just talk about herself (chances are, she rarely talks about herself).
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- A-Day-in-the-Life. What’s it like to work at your organization? Give people an inside glimpse. Share interviews with your employees, tours of the building, and team profiles.
- Insights into your Culture. What makes your company culture unique? Are you a training and development leader? Are you a fun place to work? Let people know!
- Industry News. What’s going on in your industry? The people that you want to work at your organization are likely interested in this information.
- Community News. What’s going on in the community where your organization (and labor pool) is located?
- How-To Information. How to write a killer resume. How to nail an interview. How to become a better leader. Share information that will help people be more successful in your organization.
- Ask Your Audience Questions. What’s their best interview tip? How do they hope to become a better employee or more effective leader? What’s one thing they want to know about your organization?
- Job Openings. Don’t forget that this is ultimately a recruiting tool. Have a job opening? Let people know about it.
Don’t Tell People. Show People.
Funny people don’t talk about how funny they are. They just say and do funny things.
Having a conversation about your culture works pretty much the same way.
If your organization is a training and development leader, you can use social media to talk about some of the cool development stuff you do. But you should spend a lot more time showing people what good training and development looks like.
Talk about how to build a great training program. Share insights on how to grow your career. Provide some free training and development resources that people can share and access online.
If you have a fun culture, you could talk about how fun you are. Or you could do fun things and let people watch.
That’s what Zappos and DAXKO do. They have fun videos, photos, contests and more. They don’t talk about fun. They are fun!
Their social media channels are like a sneak-peek into their culture. And that’s the whole point.
Portions of this article were excerpted from the author’s new book, Culture Convo.
Chris Ferdinandi is a human resource and social media pro at EMC Corporation, a global Fortune 500 technology organization based in Hopkinton, MA. Chris writes at RenegadeHR.net, a blog about simple, back-to-basics human resources. His new book, Culture Convo, is a beginner’s guide to employer branding and social media. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.