Employer Branding

The Guide to Social Employer Branding

How do employers know what social media updates they should be doing? How can they know what their audience thinks of these updates? What are the best-in-class employer brands doing on social?

To get some answers, I’ve spoken to everyone’s favourite Canadian in Sydney; David Brudenell, Chief Digital Officer of Universum.

Listen to the interview below, keep reading for a summary of our conversation and be sure to subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.

What social platforms perform best for employer branding?

At Universum we use all these platforms when we’re doing activation but I like to simplify them down into really if we made the employer brand an individual. So if they were just another human out there playing around on social media. It’s for me, Facebook is who we are as an employer brand, LinkedIn is what we do, Twitter is what we say and Instagram is what we want other people to believe we look like and how trendy we are.

Weibo, and some of the other country specific platforms, would follow those same areas. But I think from an employer branding perspective Facebook is still the 800 pound gorilla out there. An amazing stat that came through from Nielsen just earlier this year is that, with Facebook’s acquisitions over the past 24 months, one in three minutes spent on a mobile phone is spent on a Facebook property. So that’s Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Whatsapp, which they purchased for $16 billion last year. So one in three minutes on a mobile phone really makes those purchases by Facebook seem like quite a deal that Mr. Zuckerberg bought.

For LinkedIn, really for employer brands, this is about showcasing your business. When we look at things from Universum, we apply our learning and our activation down this, what we call the talent funnel. And really what we believe at Universum is LinkedIn is very much for the initial education, kind of the corporate education of the company that I’m considering working for and as talent goes through the journey, their knowledge journey and goes through the acquisition funnel, we’re seeing LinkedIn as becoming increasingly a place to go to apply for jobs. So LinkedIn is making very, very good strides in competing with IndeedMonster and some of the mega job boards out there. And I think that’s just because the offer a more robust content play than simply a job post on a job board.

With Instagram they opened up their advertising engine in the summer of last year, and what’s really interesting about Instagram is that it’s about curation, less is more and really about showcasing the visual aspects of the employer brands. So we’re seeing with our customers, and we see through some of the measurement, that we have really amazing results with Instagram. It’s really cutting through some of the broadcast social media hang-ups that Facebook and LinkedIn have because Instagram is quite interesting. It’s not broadcast social media, like I said, like Facebook or LinkedIn but it’s not narrowcast like Snapchat and, I would argue, some of the messaging services out there. So it’s a really interesting one to watch.

What is the intention gap?

This is a Universum coined term, I think, in this report. And what’s really interesting that’s coming out of this, and why we created this concept of the intention gap, is that when we started to look at social media content and lots and lots of it. In actuality we looked at over one million social media posts from thousands of employers. We saw that there’s this big gap between what an employer brand thinks they’re communicating, with what talent actually thinks that they are talking about. And we’re seeing this gap increasing over time.

Social media is not about a one hit wonder. It’s not where big Super Bowl style campaigns win. It’s about small, snackable and continuous content. So to win on social media it’s not about one post, it’s about the 100 or 200 posts that you are putting out across the year and hoping that you’re curating one, the right talent who are looking at it and they’re looking at it and engaging with it on a fairly regular basis. So I think that’s where, and there’s a lot of grey in social media, it’s very noisy and what we’re seeing at Universum over the past 10 years or so is further fragmentation of the reason why talent choose to be a part of the employer. You know, we didn’t always have 40 attributes that we use to measure. There were fewer when we first started and new things like work/life balance didn’t exist seven or eight years ago as something that is important to talent but as our research says, over the past couple of years it is, if not “the,” it is one of the most important attributes for talent when choosing an employer.

Social media continuous content

“Great brands outpace good brands on social media” – please elaborate?

To win on social media it’s all about continuity and it’s about being there, being present on a regular basis and building on the back of the content that you released yesterday or the day before. Now what’s happening, if we take a step back and we look at these social media platforms, their main function for users is to provide relevant content to us. Because, if you went into your Facebook feed today and the first 200 posts were ads, you probably wouldn’t stick around in Facebook very long. So it’s in Facebook’s best intentions to be able to give you the most relevant content.

Facebook’s a true network. They have their social graph so there are people who look like you and Facebook is going to use your data, and everyone else’s, all one billion daily users in Facebook, to be able to fine tune that algorithm.

And secondly, is that those employer brands who are active on social media platforms, and I gave that example of Facebook before but it’s applicable to all social media platforms, they all have algorithms and they’re all trying to get relevant content to their users. Is that those employers who are active and they realise that social media is not something you can just chuck an intern at and to post about random stuff, that there is a sophistication that goes behind it, they start to look at the economics of it.

What employer brands were social top performers last year?

The regular players are up there. Probably the company who works well across the most, was the most consistent across channels, we’re seeing L’Oreal and Unilever, who are sitting up there at the top. Some of Unilever’s programs, their future leaders programs they run in multiple countries have been really fantastically executed across social media channels and we can see some in the reports, some amazing results in the case studies that they have graciously allowed us to publish.

And also we see the non-traditional social media style employer brands, like ExxonMobil, really get into social media in a fast and meaningful way and really on a weighted basis they are getting quite fantastic returns. They are being able to get enormous engagement returns and what’s really interesting about ExxonMobil is the participation rate on their posts. They’re getting hundreds of what looks like engineers commenting, participating, asking questions.

And then maybe a local call-out would be PWC in Brazil. Brazil, we see as one of the most competitive marketplaces when it comes to social media. There’s a great article I think it was published by Forbes, which said that the Internet was born in Brazil.


What are the top data-driven recommendations for employer branding in 2016?

Appreciate the old saying, “horses for courses” and to make sure that the way that talent and to appreciate that the way that talent interact with a platform like LinkedIn, the reasons why they go to LinkedIn are very, very different than the reasons that they would go and participate with an employer brand on Facebook. So it’s not about one piece of content just cross posted, it’s what we’re seeing is that is the first sign of an early, or entry-level, employer brand on social media. They take one post, usually that content has come from marketing or corporate relations that’s been approved by legal and they can get it up quickly, and what they do is they just post it across all channels. But that just gets lost in the torrent of content.

And to quote Facebook is brands and employer brands want to create thumb stoppers. So it’s those pieces of content as you’re whipping through with your thumb on your mobile phone, and let’s not forget the majority of social media content is consumed by mobile, almost than 75%, right? So it’s about creating thumb stoppers. So what we’re seeing is a big change in the traditional, linear process of ideation and content development. So the old way is very linear, right? Have your agency come in and pitch a humongous idea that costs a bundle of money, substantiate that with some user research, spend a bunch of money on design and things like that and then push it out and then repeat.

Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrudenell and be sure to subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.

By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.