These days, the world of social media is instrumental in almost every business. For many, social media will simply be seen as a sales and marketing tool, but social media can also play a big part in company culture — and may even impact hiring decisions. After all — social media is ‘social’.
It’s time for businesses to leave the narrow-minded ‘channel’ mentality behind them, and bring social media closer to the heart of their business.
In this article we’ll run through the different ways in which you and your team can use social media to benefit your team.
Using social to show the culture of a business
Using social media to broadcast the office culture has two advantages. Firstly, if you’re looking to recruit new talent, culture is likely to play a big part in a candidate’s decision to join you (or not).
It’s important to encourage employees to play an active role in broadcasting the company’s values and activity. This does however require a solid set of guidelines to make sure and employee doesn’t go ‘off-piste’ when communicating with the public about your business.
The second advantage is more marketing related. In displaying your working culture you may also go some way to displaying your company values to customers. If your customers share your business values e.g. being charitable or ethical, they may be more likely to buy from you.
Using social to attract new talent
This is probably the most well-known and well proven use of social media for HR.
Jeff Waldman, founder of socialhrcamp.com was quoted on The Economist stating that current employees are well placed to find staff to fit the business, so encouraging referrals through social media is the ideal way to source that talent. He goes on to explain the cost savings made by using this approach by saying that he has worked with businesses who have seen their hiring costs drop from $175,000 per year to just $10,000 per year.
Social media has also given HR teams a quantifiable way of looking at some candidates – particularly in the world of digital marketing and ecommerce. Forbes reports that in addition to using LinkedIn as a form of resume, some recruitment teams are looking at a candidate’s Klout Score as a measure of how socially active they are and their reach. If you are hiring for an ecommerce business for example, finding someone who ‘lives and breathes’ digital and ‘hangs out’ on social media is a good start.
The Society for Human Resource Management ran a survey which found that 84% of businesses are already using social media to recruit new talent and a further 9% are planning to use it.
The breakdown of the type of roles businesses recruit through social is also key. 87% of businesses said they use it to recruit ‘non management, salaried employees’ whereas only 45% said they used social to recruit ‘executive or upper management’ roles. This suggests that while social is a fantastic tool for recruiting the vast majority of roles, traditional methods are preferred when it comes to recruiting the most senior positions.
Normally, if you want to promote anything on social media, you need to pay to ensure your post gets greater reach. Because your staff can act as a distribution network, you may choose not to boost your job posting on social media and rely on ‘organic’ reach. However, placing a small amount of budget aside can help you reach more people and, crucially, more of the right people.
Even though traditionally seen as ‘less professional’, the boundaries between Facebook and ‘professional’ networks like LinkedIn are starting to blur. Here’s a breakdown of all the social channels and how to make the most of them.
Knowledge sharing on social
One of the main uses for social media always has been, and always will be, the sharing and consumption of pertinent content. As with many other aspects of business, there are plenty of blogs and groups to follow on social media relating to pretty much anything! Use social media as a free content curation tool in order to stay on top of industry changes.
Putting out feelers and engaging in industry conversations is a fantastic way to create a positive brand reputation — you want to be seen and heard in all the right places.
It’s very easy to find knowledge groups and like minded individuals on social, and a strong people, as well as brand, presence, will showcase your company’s professionalism and ethos. Encourage team members to network on social and support each other’s projects.
Monitoring the use of social media in the workplace
It’s important to lay down guidelines as to how employees should conduct themselves on social media – especially when speaking on behalf of the company.
In many cases, simply telling employees to apply some common sense will be enough. However, having a codified social media policy can help spell out what your company expects from employees.
In their article all about social media guidelines, Hootsuite suggest that guidelines needn’t be ‘chapter and verse’ but the should be a living document that moves with the fast pace of change in the world of social media. They also cite this great example from Adidas.
Intranets and other internal networks
Internal networks can provide an ideal platform for employees to communicate with their colleagues, share successes, and stay up to date with relevant news.
The downside is that they can be costly to implement for large businesses. If you run a small business and you’d still like to create an online community for your staff, consider a closed group on a social media platform. Furthermore, if you’re simply looking for a platform for staff to communicate with, tools like Slack are free and can help connect your team(s).
Although intranets are not open to the public, a set of guidelines (similar to the social media guidelines noted above) should be put in place to ensure that the platform is not abused and that any content shared is appropriate.
It’s not news to anyone that social media is here to stay and will continue to be integral to many parts of many businesses. HR is no exception and staying ahead of the curve with regard to social media will help you manage your existing workforce and hire in the best talent.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on digital, and how companies can improve the way they represent their brand. She is passionate about using her experience to help brands improve their internal processes, as well as their marketing!