Social Media is a Valuable Tool for Brand Building & Recruitment, Yet Underutilised by Employers

The potential applications of social media are many and far-reaching, whatever purpose you seek to apply it to. For individuals it provides an easy method of maintaining contact with friends, family and acquaintances, as well as a way to make plans and share moments and memories. For businesses it is perhaps even more valuable, as it helps you to increase your reach, cement your brand, connect with clients and customers, market effectively to a specific demographic, recruit skilled workers, and keep up-to-date with industry developments, among its countless other applications.

The benefits afforded to businesses as a result of effective social media use are well documented and widely discussed, yet it seems that all too many companies are failing to make proper use of these channels, particularly in regards to employer brand building and recruitment. This is according to a study of 155 HR decision makers conducted by recruitment software company SocialReferral, which found that just 39% of respondents are using social media to actively search for staff, while only 49% even bother to advertise vacancies on such platforms.

On top of that, as much as 59% of those surveyed actually believe that employee engagement in recruitment via social media channels risks damaging the employer brand rather than enhancing it.
71% of businesses apparently recognise the needs for less-traditional recruitment methods, while 62% believe they need to create a stronger story or narrative around why candidates should desire a position within their company. The easiest way to build this positive perception of working life within your company is via the personal accounts of those already employed by the business, often distributed through social media channels, however only 41% of the businesses surveyed encourage staff to post about their own experiences as a route to publicising their employee brand.

This displays a clear disparity in the opinions of employers regarding the applications of social media, and their confidence in pulling it off in a professional and beneficial manner. The research authors assert that this is largely due to businesses’ fear of losing control of their own brand by allowing staff to share their own experiences.

Guido Nieuwkamp, Director at SocialReferral, made the following statement regarding the newly published research:

“Employers are missing an opportunity in fearing or not understanding the use of social media for recruitment and to develop a strong employer brand. Instead of encouraging it, they are restricting access, prioritising control over expression. Rather than taking this approach, they need to take full advantage of the possibilities of using social media. By going down the non-traditional route, organisations can expand their reach considerably. It is especially crucial for entry-level recruitment as it allows businesses to reach a pool of younger potential employees who value their virtual connections every bit as much as traditional contacts.

“Businesses with a willingness to move on from the more traditional recruitment methods make their biggest investment – their staff – their biggest brand asset. A genuine employee driven social media presence is one of the biggest assets a brand can have. By enabling social media usage, you will encourage massive amplification of your brand message, resulting in a better reputation for the business itself, wider talent pools and inevitably, more customers.”

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