Seventy-nine percent of companies are already using or planning to use social media in their business strategy. The No. 1 benefit organizations attribute to social media is increased awareness among target customers. Yet there is another often neglected benefit of social networking that businesses should be taking advantage of — employer branding.
Nearly nine in 10 job-seekers have a social media presence, and more than 22 million Americans reported using social media to find their current job, according to a Jobvite.com survey, “Social Job Seeker Survey 2011.” “Social recruiting” is becoming commonplace, as employers realize the power of social media platforms and its effects on the way we recruit.
Your online presence is the main channel that projects your employer image. What is your online presence communicating about your company? What isn’t your online presence communicating? If you are not using or are under-utilizing social media, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to reach potential candidates.
Know Your Venues
The first step is to know your venues and select only those online venues that will deliver the most impact. Insurance organizations will likely narrow it down to LinkedIn and Twitter. Some will take it a step further with a company blog.
LinkedIn has emerged as the leading professional networking site. It boasts an excess of 150 million members worldwide. Executives from all of the 2011 Fortune 500 companies are on it, and 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages. In many instances, this is a candidate’s first stop when seeking information on a potential employer. Companies are wise to build a LinkedIn strategy, including a company page and individual employee training pages.
Another social media site that has been embraced by the business world is Twitter. This site is a great way to spread your message and drive traffic back to your website. The database of Twitter users is vast. To build a quality Twitter following, focus on industry associations, media outlets, well-known individuals in the insurance space and your customer base. Use mentions and hash tags to ensure your Twitter account shows up on other users’ feeds.
Another way to build your company’s online presence is to introduce a blog. It can drive traffic to your website and increase your search engine visibility. Candidates appreciate a blog’s more intimate look at the company and its culture.
With any social media platform, don’t embark upon a task you don’t have time to maintain.
Communicate Your Message
Once you’ve put thought into what message you want to convey to your customer base, think about the message you want to send to potential employees. What do you want people to see when they Google you? Your social media message can set you apart as an employer of choice.
Posting job openings is a must. Not only is this free advertising, it is a great way to encourage people to share your message with their contact base. It also communicates that your firm is growth-oriented. Employees should be sharing this information on their personal pages, as well.
Provide useful links and industry information. Always use your organization’s original content. Tweet and share company press releases and upcoming events. Market the benefits of working for your organization — the things that set you apart from the rest.
Be sure to keep your content balanced. While the occasional promotional message is okay, social media is not the place for advertising. Consistently posting sales-oriented messages will drive your followers away; silly and off-topic content rarely garners shares and lacks professionalism. Furthermore, never underestimate the importance of proofing, even if the message is only 140 characters.
Engage others and keep the conversation going. Occasionally pose questions to encourage feedback. If another user mentions you, always acknowledge the mention and respond appropriately. Negative feedback is a possibility, so have a plan to respond to negative comments. If possible, address the original poster publicly to let him/her know that you will be sending a private message. This shows other viewers that you are working to resolve the situation, while restricting further conflict to a private forum.
When your potential employees begin to investigate your company, show them a strong corporate brand. Your social media presence and content speak volumes about company culture. A streamlined social media strategy communicates professionalism, growth and innovation. These are the factors that transform an organization into an employer of choice.