Social Media and Employer Brand

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In the age of social media ubiquity, the world of hiring has undergone (and continues to undergo) drastic changes. Instead of searching newspaper classifieds, many job seekers now do Google searches, check out sites such as Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com, check out reviews of companies as employers, or go directly to their desired employers’ website – though, at this time, newspaper ads may still the best places for trying to fill certain types of positions. Companies can search for talent on Linked-In or boost jobs ads to a targeted demographic group on Facebook.    Being positioned to successfully hire the right employees, however, can require more than just getting a catchy ad in front of the intended audience. Employer brand can influence potential hires and is something to be managed even when there are not current job openings. Moreover, despite the tremendous potential of social media for those involved in hiring, there is also plenty of room for missteps that can explode in a hurry. Safe and effective use of social media requires forethought and smart decisions.

Your employer brand is part of your company image and as such is something that you want to manage. Given this, you want to actively produce content that shows your company in a positive light.

Tips for Polishing Your Employer Brand on Social Media.

• Post about what makes yours a great company.   Is it an industry leader? An industry leader in the region? What is special about the products you make and/or the services you offer? Do you do something unique or innovative? What is your company’s mission? What are its values?What role does it play in the community? Is it beloved in the area? What are things to your employees really appreciate about your company culture?

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• Demonstrate that you support your employees.  Show off their professional accomplishments. Highlight professional development opportunities and career paths within the company. What are special perks that your employees appreciate? What distinguishes you from other employers? What events do your employees really enjoy? How is it that what you have to offer employees not just another job? What is it that you have that employees are looking for?

• Choose the right social media platforms, relative to the type of content that you are sharing, the image that you want to promote, and the audience that you want to reach. For example, blogs on company websites are great places to feature professional achievements and professional development opportunities and allow you to share the content on Linked-In and Facebook. Pinterest and Instagram, on the other hand, might be a great places to show off gorgeous pictures of your products.

Further Tips to Keep in Mind

• Recognize that you do not have complete control over your employer brand and know how to respond effectively and appropriately when it seems out of control.

• Educate your employees, at all levels, about your rules, guidelines and best practices for their work-related and their personal social media use. Anytime any employee gets on social media, that employee is potentially representing your company. Developing and implementing a sensible social media policy that fits your company’s mission and values, and is appropriate for its industry, can save pain all around.

• Don’t be overzealous in trying to restrict your employees’ social media use. The National Labor Relations Act protects “concerted activities,” i.e. activities in which 2+ employees are organized to improve their work conditions. So, though as an employer you may have a legitimate interest in controlling what information your employees share on social media, there are limits to what you can prohibit.

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• When crafting and boosting your ads, and looking at candidates’ profiles on social media keep in mind the provisions of the Equal Employment Opportunities Act. Avoid potentially discriminatory practices that open your business up to lawsuits.

• Remember that social media are still rapidly evolving and that your social media strategies and policies need to be updated as platforms, user behaviors, and legislation change.

Businesses must be willing and able to adapt to the changing cultures in which they exist, but in the hurry to get ahead of the competition (or at least to keep up with it), such as by getting out front in social media marketing of job opportunities, they need to remember to play it smart.

 

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Laurie Pieper, Ph.D.

Business Advisor

Washburn University

Kansas SBDC

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