Let’s Get Social: 4 Ways to Empower Employees to Build Your Brand on Social Media

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Hannah Fleishman shares how savvy talent teams (including her own at HubSpot) boost employee advocacy on social media.

HubSpot team members showing off company swag
Image: HubSpot

Social media isn’t just for marketers and millennials anymore. According to a 2015 survey from Career Arc, 62 percent of job seekers visit social media channels to evaluate a company’s employer brand. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and the like have become key players in today’s inbound recruiting process. Top talent is turning to social media to help answer one, burning question:

Is this a company I want to work for?

To attract the best candidates today, companies don’t just need to tell a compelling story about their culture, mission, and people. They need to tell it in 140 characters or less. The good news is, every company already has a secret weapon to help build their employer brand online. Most corporate social media accounts are run by marketing teams and social media professionals, but when it comes to recruitment marketing, it’s employees who are the gurus.

The thing is, throughout the research and recruiting process job seekers want to hear the real deal. That’s why 66 percent of candidates say interactions with existing employees are the best way to get insight into a company. Not only do employees have the front row seat to your workplace that candidates trust, but there’s a good chance they’re social savvy, too.

To get started, here are some tried and true ways to help employees at your company become social ambassadors:

1. Give employees the wheel

Content is most authentic when there’s a personality and voice behind it. That’s why featuring employee photos and quotes on your company’s social profiles is great, but giving them the chance to run those profiles is even better. At HubSpot, we encourage everyone from our CFO to individual contributors to host Instagram takeovers to give followers a unique peek into our culture. We hand over the @HubSpot account and employees use the hashtag #hubspotemployeetakeover throughout the day to capture happenings, events, meetings, what they’re working on, and everything in between.

Thinking about a Twitter takeover instead? Ask a different employee to tweet each week like Spotify Engineering does, or create a new employee-run profile all about life at your company like Life at Deloitte. There are tons of ways to give your social presence a voice. But the bottom line is: when you put real people in the driver’s seat, other real people take notice.

2. Reward VIPs (Very Important Publishers)

Chances are, there are a few employees at your company who already get high marks for being brand ambassadors on their own time. Who’s tweeting about their big or small wins at work? Who’s posting photos to their Instagram at every team outing? Who’s on Facebook publishing a status about how great their coworkers are?

Let these employees know, in a big or small way, that they’re the advocates who are helping to grow the company. While your VIPs may not be looking for a “thanks”, it’s an important reminder for them (and the person sitting next to them) that building employer brand goes a long way. You could double down on a formal brand ambassador program, like Adobe’s, that gives employees special access and development opportunities. Or, keep it classic and give them a handwritten “thank you” note from the recruiting team. What matters is that companies reward employees who go above and beyond, even if that’s just by being themselves.

3. Make social content discoverable

Publishing engaging social content is only half the battle. When employees post a photo, status, or tweet about why your company is a great place to work, will job seekers ever see it? Probably not. Social media content has a relatively short half-life. It’s hard to compete with hourly headlines and Beyoncé’s latest video, especially with a moment in time like a photo of a coworker’s baby shower or the office puppy.

Luckily, there are ways to make that content more discoverable for candidates. NPR keeps it simple by using, and encouraging employees to use, the hashtag #NPRLife for all social content about what it’s like to work at NPR. That way, when a candidate turns to Google, Facebook, or Instagram to research culture, perks, or people at NPR, they’re likely to stumble upon a variety of highlights and snapshots from employees themselves. Take a page from this playbook by coming up with an easy-to-adopt hashtag that employees can use to make their social content last longer.

4. Don’t get lost in translation

As your company grows, it’s important to think about how your employer brand will scale with it. Does your culture resonate with candidates globally? Can job seekers in new regions see themselves working in your office? Set your recruiting team up for success by using social media to make your employer brand truly global. Start by identifying brand ambassadors in every office and rely on their feedback, ideas, and direction to make your social presence resonate. When you empower ambassadors to run campaigns and experiment with social content, the culture and nuances of that particular office and team will steal the show.

For example, when HubSpot launched a new and improved office in Dublin earlier this year, two employees hosted a tour of the space using Facebook Live on the company profile. While we could have stuck to professional photos to show off the new digs, a casual tour from two “DubSpotters” instantly made the office a place you could see yourself in. At the end of the day, no one knows what makes a workplace special better than the people working in it.

These are just a few ways to think about empowering employees to give candidates a glimpse into what it’s like to work at your company through social media. What’s worked at your company? Are there examples you’ve seen that are interesting? Tweet us to let us know!

Hannah Fleishman, Recruitment Marketing Manager at HubSpot

About the author

Hannah Fleishman is a Recruitment Marketing Manager at HubSpot. Follow her at @hbfleishman.

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