Social media can be a powerful tool if used properly. In fact, Facebook has 2 billion active users, LinkedIn has nearly 470 million users and Twitter has close to 330 million monthly active users. Oh and Snapchat? 170+ million daily active users. Social media is the third most leveraged source for quality hires, just behind employee referrals (which often happen via social media) and job boards (of which social media platforms technically are). It’s not hyperbole to say your business can soar through strategic use. But it can also suffer, as platforms such as Facebook and Glassdoor provide microphones for consumers and employees to vent about negative experiences.
Having managed social media for quite some time now, there are four social media considerations all companies need to keep in mind as they build the 2018 business case for greater investment in social media – whether using platforms to generate sales, communicate both consumer and employment brand, or as a means to attract and retain talent.
1. Your Employment Brand Depends On Analytics and Consistency.
One of the first places consumers and candidates turn to learn what a business offers in terms of products and services, what leadership represents, for a glimpse into the culture, and what current and former employees have to say about working there are the company’s social profiles. However, having profiles up and running is not nearly enough.
Let’s not forget what social media is! Social media isn’t simply a “media”; it’s two-way, social communication. Constantly inundating your followers with content but neglecting to fully understand why they’re engaging (i.e., listening), what types of content and posts they’re most interacting with, will not only tarnish your brand but your pages will fail to see growth. As such, understanding the analytics is critical. For example, did you know Instagram “dominates” when it comes to interactions per 1,000 followers? Between 50-70, to be precise, including 800 million monthly active users (up 200 million in 2017 alone). Moreover, more than 70 percent of US businesses use Instagram as a marketing tool, up from less than 50 percent in 2016.
Once you understand when, how and what to post, consistency is vital. For example, if you post something to Facebook, be sure to post it across Twitter and LinkedIn as well. Further, brand colors, logos, company descriptions, employment brand messaging and hashtags need to be consistent across all platforms. It can be tempting to change the look of each page, but this only creates brand confusion.
Key tip! Use your social platforms’ analytics tools to identify when your followers are most often online, then be proactive by scheduling out targeted content for that time.
2. Be Creative, Fail Forward.
Your goal is to gain a following that will either convert job seekers into employees or consumers into buyers; if you’re not sharing content they’re interested in, you’ll lose their attention! While it’s important to share content you’re passionate about, such as your business’s products and people, this is not always what you’re followers find most relevant.
Test out different images, styles, content and thought leadership – then check the analytics. A/B test, don’t be afraid to try something new, and always lean on the numbers to identify what is receiving the highest levels of interest (comments, “likes” and shares) from the specific audiences you’re trying to reach. Of note, photos with people’s faces on Instagram garner 38 percent more engagement than those without, such as generic stock images.
Key tip! Take advantage of opportunities to increase viewership with additions like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories. Attention spans are shrinking; meet Gen Z (18-35 year olds, soon to represent 50 percent of the workforce) where they’re most often at with brief snippets of content to gain significantly higher traction.
3. Know Your Audience.
Who are you marketing to? Candidates, current employees, buyers or industry peers? You need this answer before you can impactfully share content and build your brand on social media. Analyze your followers, your demographics, what these audiences engage with and what most often converts them, then continuously tailor your content. Take, for example, Fortune 500 company General Electric (GE), who completely transformed their employment brand:
“When I walked in we had a budget of zero … We did research, research and more research on what [social media] mentions to use, what hashtags to use, how to make our social media channels grow, and what content resonates with people … If you're just beginning the employment brand journey, it can be overwhelming. Boil it down. What do I have around me? What's the problem? What am I trying to solve? From there, what's the strategy?”
- Shaunda Zilich, GE Global Employment Brand Leader
Key tip! Read up on social media algorithms to understand exactly what type of content has the best chance of showing up in news feeds at the time you want it to arrive. Consider developing a budget for social media advertising to “up” your chances of engagement and exposure.
4. Hone Your Strategy, Innovate.
Once you’ve identified what you want to communicate, it’s critical to develop a strategy and schedule. How often do you want to post? What relevant hashtags should you always include? At WilsonHCG, for example, we try and create synergy through #WilsonHCGLife. How often are you going to analyze and assess how your content is performing? These questions and many more should factor into the building of your formal social media strategy. It’s also important to plan your content calendar 1-2 weeks in advance so you’re not left scrambling for something to post last second.
Key tip! Build timely, relevant campaigns around hot button issues and region-specific trends. For example, the use of LinkedIn company pages has grown by more than 33 percent since 2016. Follow other pages, take out targeted ads, and strive to build talent communities that keep “warm” active and passive talent, as well as buyers.