Snapchat is a craze that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Apart from allowing individuals to take selfies through fun filters and film life around them, it’s also a modern marketing tool for reaching millennials and selling an employer brand.  Cisco is the largest networking company in the world with over 70,000 employees. How does it use Snapchat for employer branding? I’ve spoken to Carmen Collins, the social media lead for talent branding.  Have a listen to the podcast interview embedded below, on iTunes or why not keep reading for a summary of our conversation.

What do you do at Cisco?

I have the best job in the world. I am . So rather than sitting in the marketing department, my team sits in the HR department. And my job is to use social media, which I’m super passionate about.

How does Cisco use Snapchat for talent branding?

The talent brand team has been thinking for about a year now, how could we use Snapchat, because Snapchat is the new shiny social media tool and it’s different to all other social media tools, which made it a little challenging as we thought about how we were going to use it. And it’s also very age specific. It’s very very young; millennials, Gen Z and they don’t use it exactly for branding. It’s not a marketing tool, right?  I had to take some time off from work to have surgery and maybe it was a drug-induced idea, I don’t know, but I came back and said, “You know, I think I know how we should use Snapchat. I think we should hand the keys over to our employees because I don’t think anyone on Snapchat particularly cares what, you know, a marketing team or, you know, what marketers want to say on Snapchat.”

What are the steps to get started with Snapchat?

Well, the challenges for Snapchat is that it’s about the quality of your followers. Snapchat does not give you a follower count. Snapchat gives you a score, and you can tell how much and engagement you’re getting, but the idea of followers goes out the window. So that was one of the challenges, is how are we going to measure success with Snapchat because it’s not a traditional channel? And another challenge, which for me as a social media manager, was the scariest thing, is how are we going to roll this out to an employee base that is 70,000 people strong?

So, you know, we have a global company, we have offices around the globe and how are we going to make this work because we’re giving the username and password, you know, to our employees. So what we did is we started by setting up the Rainbow Kitten Unicorns. That’s because they are so awesome. So in our social listening over the past year, we’ve been able to identify certain employees that are super ambassadors. They’re always talking about how much fun it is to work at Cisco, they come up with the neatest photos.

How do you organise a Snapchat team of 30?

Well, this is what’s great about our Kitten Rainbow Unicorns. They sort of came together and self-organised. So if one person said, “I have a few snaps that I’m on the East Coast of the U.S., and I know that I’ll be done at 11 o’clock, but that’s just about the time that San Jose is waking up, does anybody want to take over that day?” And they email each other back and forth, and they send cute little memes back to each other, back and forth to each other, and so they really self-organise. Usually it’s one person per day, but we have had times where for example, our CEO, Chuck Robbins, has been on our Snapchat account, and that’s because one of our Snapchatters was working with him on a project to film a video. And the two Snapchatters, the one that had that day originally and then the one that was with our CEO just emailed back and forth and said, “Hey, is it okay if I cut in the middle of your day because hey, our CEO wants to say hi?” And so they just talk amongst them… I mean they’re such a great group of employees, that I can’t say enough good things about them.

What type of content normally gets posted on WeAreCisco on Snapchat?

Well, Cisconians, that’s what we call our Cisco folks, Cisconians really like food. So you’ll see a lot of food. They love the cafes, they love the chefs, they love their snacks. So you’ll see a lot of food. But one of the things that we’ve really tried to do is tell our employees to be them. We have a social media policy at Cisco for all of our employees to sign that gives them, you know, general guidelines. I like to call it, “Would you show it to your mom guidelines,” right? Just keep it clean, keep it smart and other than that, we don’t over architect it. Sometimes they’re goofy and they love the lenses. I think the most popular one is the dog, where the tongue comes out when you open your mouth, I think they really like that one a lot.

Do you keep Snapchat content on that platform only?

No, actually we do cross populate the content. It depends on the content. So if we get really great Snapchat photo, we’ll put that on Instagram. When our CEO, Chuck Robbins, appeared, he was so magnanimous and he actually thanked our followers. He said, “Thank you for following WeAreCisco.” And so of course we took that video and we put it on Twitter and put it on Instagram. So it really depends on the content, but I would say for the most part, the content on Snapchat is not exclusive to Snapchat, but best viewed there because of the format, because of the lenses and the filters that they can use. So it’s not exclusive content, but I think it’s more Snapchatty, if that’s a word.

 How do you calculate ROI on Snapchat?

Ah, yes, the ROI question. Well, here’s the great thing, we’ve partnered with a company called Delmondo. And Nick Cicero is a friend of mine, it’s his company, and he is a social media person too, and so that’s how we’ve connected with our social media tribe. But he has a company that works with Snapchat influencers. And if you work with Snapchat influencers, you have to be able to show Snapchat metrics. He and his company help us with our metrics. And so what we do know is that since we’ve started two months ago, we’ve grown our follower base by about 600% per week, which is huge because on Snapchat as you know, you can’t discover new accounts as easily as you can, say on Twitter or Facebook. You have to know the username or the snapcode to follow someone. We’re really proud of that metric, that we’ve grown as much as we have so quickly.

And then one of the other stats that we know, is the rate of engagement. So when someone starts watching our Snapchat story, 70% to 80% of them finish watching the Snapchat story. So they are engaged and they’re interested in what’s going on, and we keep growing our reach each week as we grow our percentage of followers.

Follow Carmen on Twitter @CShirkeyCollins.

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