I don’t have enough fingers on both hands to add up the number of different social media platforms available to millennials today. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Periscope, Youtube, Tumblr…. and so on.
The average Millennial will check in, tweet, like, update and post on any of these up to 14 times a day. The statistics around social media could melt your mind (http://www.iacpsocialmedia.org/Resources/FunFacts.aspx gives you a brief overview).
With so much social activity going on, how can businesses use these platforms to their advantage to not only attract top talent, but to engage with their wider audience to grow their customer base? As a self confessed social media junkie, I think we have only just scratched the service on how we can use social media to our advantage – news flash – its not just about posting jobs!
Where do you want to be, and what do you want to post?
Instead of blindly following the in-crowd when it comes to social media sites, we should start with an approach we all wish we’d taken in high school: “Where’s the hangout filled with folks that share my interests?”.
As our social lives mature, we realise that the definition of the ideal social setting is not the same for everyone. You should have a good idea who potential and existing customers are and the type of content they’ll be interested in. Then, in order to narrow the social media playing field, you’ll need to decide in which networks they are most likely to congregate.
Here is a quick rundown of the best social network(s) for business:
Facebook is right for you… if you are building a community presence or want to reach as broad a network as possible. It is losing some traction among younger users, but with more than 70% of online adults actively participating in Facebook, it remains the most popular social media site by far. Not only does it have the most users, it is the most-frequently used, which demonstrates a high level of engagement. Sheer popularity may not be your primary criteria, however. Given that the primary reason people are so engaged with Facebook is to connect with family and friends, it may not provide the most effective medium for your business message.
LinkedIn is right for you… if you are in B2B or in another industry or role in which you can provide useful insights to people thinking about their work, seeking to make business connections, or looking for their next job. While LinkedIn is trying to broaden the scope of its information, most users are in work mode on LinkedIn so it is optimal for peer networking and industry-specific information. Given the high income and education levels of the average LinkedIn user, it offers a distinct audience worth targeting with the right message.
Twitter is right for you… if you want to reach both men and women, especially younger ones. It is also particularly appealing to “information junkies” so if your business lends itself to the provision of topic-based news or timely insights, Twitter is a great choice. As with Facebook, Twitter is more effective when it is a two-way platform in which you respond to and engage with followers.
Instagram is right for you… if you have a visual aspect to what you do and what your customers are interested in. Interestingly, its users also often overlap with Twitter so it can be good as part of a one-two punch.
These are only a small portion of some of the best known and frequently used social media sites. Depending on your companies target audience, others such as Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr to name a few are worth exploring.
What about Snapchat?
Snapchat is in quite a unique position when it comes to using it as an advertising tool. Unlike more permanent forms of advertising, such as a banner on Facebook, Snapchat limits the length of time that you can view a picture or video, and then its gone forever. A clever way to capture your audiences’ attention for the entire 10 seconds.
With more than a billion pictures “snapped” since its launch in 2011, more businesses are using the app from previewing new products (Cosmetics company NARS gave its followers a sneak peak of their new line on the app), to reaching out and sharing day to day news, behind the scenes access and updates with their audience, who are generally between 18-26 years old.
US company GrubHub even advertised for a summer intern with “Snapchat Skillz” asking applicants to send a snap of their best doodle to the company via the app, demonstrating that the possibilities are endless. If you have a particularly visual product, this clever little app has the potential to be a fantastic way to connect with your customers.
Use your best asset – use your people
When your hiring, you want to showcase the very best of what your company has to offer to potential employees. The best way to do that, is by getting your current employees to talk about it. It can be anything from a photo of a corporate day out, to congratulating colleagues on their work anniversaries, celebrating success stories, and talking about what a great place your company is to work. When used correctly, your employees presence on social media should be viewed as one of your biggest assets – as long as they do it correctly.
If nothing else, encourage your employees to get on to social media throughout the day as your company publishes new content or re-promotes your evergreen content. Make sure your employees are spending time on the right social media sites, though.
If you’re sharing your business blog on your company’s LinkedIn page, for example, invite your employees to sign in and like your company post so it will expand the reach to their network of connections.
Don’t just post jobs!
So, now you’ve done your research, you’ve taken the time to get your LinkedIn company page set up, you’ve carefully crafted your Facebook page and even come up with a witty hashtag for your company twitter account, you want to engage with your viewers and encourage conversation, get the word out in a positive light.
What you don’t want to do, is to only update your accounts with job posting after job posting. It looks so uninspiring if you only update your status with a job role. (That should be what your website is for). Talk about your companies successes, post blogs on topics relevant to your network and your target audience, showcase products and services, but when it comes to job posting, keep it to a weekly post, with maybe a job of the week on a Friday, with a posting that directs your audience to your company website. Keep it short, sweet and simple.
Take a leaf out of Marriott’s book, the companies career page has 1.2 million likes, four times more than Facebook’s career page. They post engaging content at least twice a day, highlighting individual workers’ accomplishments, what it’s like to work for the company, and happenings across the Marriott network. Marriott’s USP is its personal feel and they highlight this by having their employees answer questions on the company profiles. Career chats are also available to give advice to prospects on how to apply and get accepted to jobs in the company, and in the hospitality industry in general.
How does your company use social media to promote its business? Do you have a particular social media platform that you use, and do you encourage your employees to actively engage on social media?