A few years ago, I found myself at an impromptu happy hour with a few work friends. We were a close-knit crew, and were often joined by our significant others. I remember one such person asking what I liked most about social media marketing, and I can still remember my answer verbatim because it’s been my go-to reply for describing the business. “Well,” I said, “The best thing about social marketing is that the rules are always changing. And the worst part? The rules are always changing.”
Fast forward a few years to today, it’s still the truth! Any well-versed digital marketer will agree that social has always been cutting-edge and volatile at the same time. What works today may not work tomorrow. With one algorithm update, we know that we may need to burn our old playbooks and head back to the drawing board. But that’s what makes it fun! Re-inventing the wheel over and over again yields maximum creative agility, and I think it really helps shape a professional’s strategic thought processing.
Now I’ve been able to bring my passion for consumer-focused social marketing to the world of recruitment marketing. What I’ve found is that the audiences are very similar.
Whether it’s a potential customer or a candidate, both are looking for a human experience.
When it comes to courting a candidate, a few elements from the consumer side should definitely play a role in a company’s social recruitment strategy.
What’s the point? Define your goal.
One of the first things we learn when becoming marketers is to ask ourselves, “Why? What’s the purpose of this ad/program/initiative? What am I trying to accomplish?” It’s a question we ask ourselves a million times over because, at the end of the day, everything we do needs to ladder up to a common goal.
For consumers, we spend a lot of time running campaigns that would entice someone to purchase a product or service. This is often the main conversion point. By contrast, for candidates, our various social, email or website projects are implemented with the end goal being an application for an open position.
While sometimes overlooked, there are multiple “micro” conversions along this same path that we can consider. Perhaps instead of getting a candidate to apply, maybe we just want them to sign up for a job alert or subscribe to a company newsletter. While these conversion points are less direct than the ultimate goal, they still serve a purpose to help stay engaged with a candidate while they’re on their job journey. Defining goals upfront for each initiative ensures that no matter which way the wind blows, our ship still sails on course (I’m a sucker for nautical analogies).
Act like a real person! One-on-one engagement is key.
Did you know that both consumers and candidates like to be spoken to like they’re real people? Shocking, I know. From fielding brand questions about a specific product to addressing questions about a company’s job opening, online communication should feel as real as possible. When operating a company’s social handle, it’s important to remember that you’re a representative of that company.
This is often the candidate’s first interaction with their future employer, so we need to make it count.
Even if that direct message on Instagram or the comment on your company’s Facebook page asks for very basic and readily-available information, we should look at it as an opportunity to make a great first impression! Try doing the following:
- Respond in a timely manner, but also be conversational.
- Address the candidate by their first name (if possible).
- Thank them for reaching out and asking their question.
- End with a call to action. For example: Mention that more information is available on the company website, or direct them to peruse recent openings on the company’s job site.
We want to build personal connections with our audience, and that starts by acting like a real-life human being.
Transparency: Not just a characteristic of ghosts.
Candidates (much like consumers) are smart. They do company research. They read employee reviews. These individuals are able to tell when something seems a little off regarding an employer brand. Perhaps on the company website, one of the core values highlighted on the home page is consideration for employees’ home life, yet the last eight Glassdoor reviews cite poor work-life balance as the primary cause for turnover. The last thing we want a company to be perceived as is dishonest. Just like you wouldn’t want to buy a product from a brand you don’t trust, no one wants to work for a company that doesn’t tell the truth.
Transparency across all aspects of a company helps build a reputation of honesty and integrity. It’s OKAY to have negative reviews. All companies have them.
In fact, people who have had a bad experience are 2-3 times more likely to write a review than people who have had a positive one. But companies can get ahead of this by addressing the concerns head on.
Commenting on these reviews and apologizing for the experience helps. Some companies even go so far as showcasing one or two less-than-favorable reviews to show the candidate that this particular company may not be the best fit for everyone. It helps set realistic expectations for a potential applicant. None of us like being lied to or to feeling like we’ve been deceived, but taking some small actionable steps to be open and honest can help reinforce the core characteristics of a company.
The candidate journey is unique, but it’s also very similar to that of a consumer. Today, social marketing helps build a connection with the candidate that can last throughout the entire journey. Defining conversion goals, engaging on a personal level, and staying transparent are key components of an employer brand’s social initiative. The overlap between selling to consumers and attracting candidates is a lot greater than it’s perceived, and by incorporating these tactics, we can deliver an even better candidate experience!