Do big firms and social media mix?

You may think that social media is easier for friendly-looking start-ups. But it can help big firms manipulate their branding image, put out the right message to the public, and sell the firm to potential new recruits...

by Neil Griffiths
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Organisations are beginning to understand the link between investment in social media and their success in attracting the right talent – and the resulting impact on their employer brand. Here is what organisations need to be thinking about in order to get ahead: 

Get support from the top down 

To start analysing your workforce, determining a strategy, building an online presence and most importantly invigorating your employer brand, you need to have full support from a board sponsor. Of course it is impossible for a’ board’ to be present in every office of a large company so regional managers have to live and breathe the same vision of the company and translate this to the wider workforce. 

Raise awareness of social media 

The recent explosion of social media has resulted in a step-change in the attention organisations pay to employer branding and the combination of platforms they are using to promote it. Include links to your social media platforms in the company weekly round-up emails and keep employees up the date on your presence and activity online. It is even worth incentivising employees to ‘follow’ you or ‘like’ your page to initially engage with them and attract interest to the platform.  

Evaluate your options

Some businesses quite simply will not benefit from social media and it shouldn’t just be undertaken because ‘everyone else is doing it’. Time and effort needs to be spent evaluating the benefits of using social media and what tools will work best for your business. What measures of success do you want from the investment of time and money? However, there are so many different platforms that can be leveraged that most businesses should be able to find the right tool. Ask yourself this; if you were looking for a job in your current industry, where is the first place you would look? 

Don’t use platforms for the sake of it 

Although evaluating your platform options is important, remember the most effective social media tool for your organisations really depends on your brands and what tool works best for you. It also needs to be the best tool through which to reach your desired audience. Using a platform for the sake of using it, or to say you have a presence there, can often do more damage than good! Make sure you select your tools carefully and a team of experts manages them. 

Offer something extra 

Employees can find generic and basic information about your company on the website or a number of other places online. Your social media platforms offer a great opportunity to showcase your positives and give that little bit extra to keep your online community engaged and coming back for more.

Transparency is key 

Ultimately, the most important thing is company brand transparency across the social media tools that are being used. The client and candidate experience will be discussed over the platforms so any issues that may arise need to be dealt with professionally and for all users to see this. This can be as simple as, for example, posting a reply back to a Twitter user that states ‘Thank you for your feedback. A member of our team will send you a direct message within 24 hours to address your comments.’ This is showing users you care about complaints and you will deal with them quickly but allows you to take the problem offline. 

Maximise the benefits 

The most obvious benefit is to share content and showcase your company – if your organisation has recently published a white paper or piece of thought leadership, social media is a great tool to extend the audience reach. Other benefits include showcasing your current workforce, engaging with community members, driving traffic to your corporate website and analysing relevant network discussions to identify potential talent.  

Maximise your talent pool 

Every customer or individual that visits your website or stumbles across your LinkedIn page is a potential employee. It is important to think about how to get your message out to customers and how to recruit in this way. Social media is the ideal tool for facilitating this process and thinking about the talent pool. 

Don’t forget your current workforce 

It is easy to get whisked away thinking about the benefits of using social media to attract new talent. Don’t forget that your current workforce is your biggest group of brand ambassadors, with a voice and reason to engage on these platforms. Keep your colleagues active and posting regularly by providing updates on regular company news, social events and even competitions. 

Rome wasn’t built in a day…

 Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and organisations need to look at their long-term view on social media and the investments needed to make the process a success and build their employer brand online. Social media isn’t going to go away and it is becoming increasingly enriched in business strategy – find the best option for your business and this will be key to your recruitment and talent management process going forward.


Neil Griffiths is global practice leader (Talent Communications & Employer Brand) at Futurestep. 

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