· 3 min read · Features

Managing your employer brand online: don't bury your head in the sand

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There is little denying that social media have transformed the way we live our lives and do business, infiltrating almost every part of the modern world.

Recruitment is no exception and while there is a great deal of hype around social recruiting, with few examples of genuine ROI, social networks continue to grow in significant numbers and employers can no longer afford to deploy an ostrich strategy when it comes to these channels.

Facebook recently announced that it has reached 750 million members worldwide, with just under 30 million users in the UK, while Twitter has over 200 million registered accounts worldwide and on average 140 million tweets are sent every day.

Furthermore, professional networks are also growing fast, with Linkedin reporting 100 million users and social app BeKnown reaching 800,000 monthly active users within days of launch. Why is an employer profile important? The benefits of getting involved are clear.

Social media provide an opportunity to represent your employer brand and company culture and can also be invaluable in ensuring you are attracting and engaging with the right types of candidates. It can also help with initial screening of potential applicants and creating a ready talent pool, providing a platform on which to engage with jobseekers and quickly answer any questions and queries.

Companies as contributors – creating a shared experience.

How you choose to interact with potential candidates on these channels is crucial.

Social media is all about tapping into or creating communities, so as an employer building your social profile, the Holy Grail is creating your own community. Some companies believe they can do this by a sheer sense of will, or simply collecting candidates or potential candidates together in one place. In fact, the best way to build engagement is by becoming a participant yourself.

Be a conversationalist and listener, rather than a marketer or a promoter.

Set Goals

If you are building a social profile from scratch, it is best to start by listening to what people are already saying about your brand. This can help you to formulate a strategy and approach that will engage with your audiences and provide something useful and relevant.

It can also help you identify communities that already exist in the same space, so you can use these to your advantage and complement what they already provide. There are a number of free tools that can help track and aggregate the buzz around your brand, including Archivist and Adictomatic.

There are also lots of good professional tools, including Radian 6 and Sysomos, which can provide a more detailed analysis.

Formulating objectives: The Social Media Six

Before diving straight in, it is crucial that you also think about the following:

1. Why do you want to build your profile online?

2. Does your employer community have to be built and hosted by you, or can you start by contributing to existing communities?

3. What will make your brand unique? Having a USP (unique selling point) will help you stand out from the crowd.

4. What resources do you need? eg people, tools etc.

5. Why will people be interested in what you have to say?

6. How will you define success?

Answering these questions will help you not only ensure you build a successful community online, it will also help you clearly formulate your reasoning to internal stakeholders.

Measuring impact

As with any new project, measurement is crucial to identify what has and hasn’t worked and improve for the future, while also providing ammunition for stakeholders and investors. So define what success looks like and agree objectives at the start of the campaign.

Measurement can be based on a number of factors:

• Buzz – can be measured using social media measurement tools

• Sentiment of online conversations about your employer brand

• Number of community members, followers, brand fans etc on social networks

• Responses, applications received, leads generated

• Website analytics

• Performance of content

Governance

We have all heard numerous examples of where social media have gone wrong and left brands with serious reputational problems as a result. Social media policies are therefore quite rightly increasing in popularity and they can be invaluable for ensuring a brand’s online profile remains consistent and in line with employer and company brand values.

A policy can include details of process and content creation as well as guidance on tone of voice and conduct, expectations of staff and contributors. Monster has its own social media policy.

Now get stuck in…

While it may seem like there is a lot to consider, putting the groundwork will ensure you reap the full benefit from the channels available. Plus, don’t be intimidated by social media. Ultimately, people are people and what engages in the real world will also work online. So be confident you know your audience and go from there.

David Henry is vice president for Monster UK & Ireland