When I met Ram few days ago, was surprised know that despite being offered a decent salary package & profile of his choice, he politely refused the job offer. When questioned, he replied that he has read negative comments about the company on social media. I never heard such a big impact in decision making based on few negative comments. It’s sad but true.
Do you know with the arrival of social media, there has been a paradigm shift in PR strategies by companies in last decade? Now, Social media figures prominently in advertisement planning. Where it’s a small brand or a big brand, presence on social media is must for everyone.
Here is the thing, each product & channel of marketing has its own merits & demerits. The world of social media is no different, here information travels like wildfire especially negative ones. Marketing & PR professional are always on edge to counter this negativity. It directly affects the brand image & business of the company.
This brings me to my next point- Many of you must be knowing about Employer Branding. In last few years, there is shift in approach on Employer branding. There was a time when it was only discussed during Board Room meetings but now companies have special divisions to look after employer branding. Do you know why employers want to be in the good books of the employees? Why Marketing & PR professional keep innovating ideas to create newer strategy for employer branding? Have you ever wondered why companies spends so much on employer branding? What benefits it brings for the employers?
Let’s look what Employer branding means- Employer branding is the process of managing and influencing reputation as an employer among job seekers, employees and key stakeholders. It encompasses everything you do to position your organization as an employer of choice. Your employer brand is your organization’s reputation as an employer.
Employer Branding can be done by
- Advertisement (Hoardings, Social Media, TVC etc)
- Prompt resolution of Employee grievances
- Handling issues on social media
- Positive story telling by the employer
- Case studies
As I told you, in simplest of the terms- Employer branding is a marketing process to create a positive image of the employers through different channels like Testimonials, Word of Mouth, ATL, BTL, Social Media channels etc.
I don’t think any of you will disagree that impact of word of mouth & testimonials is maximum among all influencing channels. Imagine, an organization having more than 1000 employees, but only few posts their experiences in social media and only negatives. Those few posts have more power to influence people than best of the ATL advertisement. I believe that exactly happened with Ram. It driven me to think what most effective way of employer branding can be, yet not costly.
Even in this digital age, we use old-age techniques when we buy something, we first look for the reference. If it’s not available, we go & read reviews of the product (kind of testimonials). But when it comes to employer branding, Leaders may have ignored this effective medium or may be not able to crack the code. Here is the thing, generally 80% of the customers who are happy with the service or product don’t go on social media channel to write positive reviews but 80% of the customers who are not happy with the product, immediately write negatively in social media channels.
One can go to any social media channels be it quora or facebook, & maximum comments will be negative because no one need to ask a disgruntled employee to write on social media as they are naturally motivated when they are unhappy. In the age of social media where negative news travel faster than light, it’s very important for the employers to keep feeding positive stories on social media channels. But it must not be sponsored stories as it’s not going to last longer. The challenge for PR professionals is to find ways to motivate employees to shout positively on social media channels for the employers. The best results are achieved when your customers promote your brands and here employees are the ones can be the best promoter of the employer brand. Word of Mouth marketing has the maximum probability of influencing stakeholders.
Companies need to motivate, encourage & recognize employees for writing positively. Some of the way by which it can be achieved easily
- Running a monthly contest like share your social media post on internal company networks.
- Recognize these employees in monthly townhalls
- Featuring employees in Company’s newsletters
- Featuring employees on Company website, Social media pages
- It will be great to Create an award category for this social media champion in annual awards
- Successful & positive stories discussed on social media channels by employees
All these initiatives will have minimal cost to the employer but help greatly in creating goodwill of the employer among all stakeholders be it internal or external. There won’t be any Ram loosing job of his choice because of poor employers’ brand on social media. At the same time, it will help the employer in getting the employee of his choice, higher brand equity, valuations etc.
“A gardener can’t force a butterfly for visiting the garden, he must make a garden so beautiful that it compels the butterfly to stay in it”. One can pump as much money as they want in advertisement for employer branding, but if it’s not supported by the employee’s, the efforts could be futile. The road to successful employer branding is straight- recognize & reward employees who are helping organizations to build positivity especially on social media.