The proliferation of internet capable devices, global internet access and social media has been creating a virtual space that is still relatively untapped by HR.
According to a 2016 Pew Research study only 13% of Americans do not use the internet, which means 278 million Americans do; 70% of the U.S. population use social media. That alone is a compelling reason for HR and business leaders to leverage social media to not only engage current employees but to also strategically position their organization to capture future talent.
I have written about both millennials and the next American workforce, Generation Z in previous articles for TLNT. The individuals who comprise Gen Z are true digital natives and are active on social media long before they can legally drive. We as business leaders, need to fully engage the current generation, and ensure that we are positioned to engage the next generation of both employees and customers.
Social media branding is free
Leveraging social media is especially attractive – or should be – to small- and mid-sized organizations with little or even no budget for brand building. Social media is free. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and LinkedIn all offer free memberships. I believe as HR and business leaders we need to implement aggressive social media campaigns to maximize the messaging and branding of our organizations.
Let’s look at some numbers here. LinkedIn has an astounding 467 million members, of which 133 million are in the U.S. It’s a professional network, heavily used by recruiters, posting job ads and also sourcing candidates directly. Competition here is keen, so why stop with LinkedIn?
Instagram, as of an Omnicore 2017 report, has 400 million daily and 700 million monthly users, of which almost 78 million are located in the United States. It is used by more women than men; 17% of teens, the Z generation, say it is their most important social media site. (Instagram is owned by Facebook.)
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Unique opportunity for HR
Social media offers a unique opportunity for HR professionals today to market the organizations they represent with little or no cost, reaching both current workers and those who will be entering the labor force in the next decade. The workforce that you and I will be recruiting in 5 to 10 years is active on social media right now, today.
Like any business idea, implementing social media for your organization needs to be thought out and carefully planned. Reach out to your employees, inviting them to participate and provide input for your social media program. This is a great way to foster employee and community engagement simultaneously. Put together a list of content ideas and a schedule of when postings will go out. Consider utilizing hashtags, as research indicates hashtags on Instagram photos, for example, typically generate over 12% more engagement.
Social media offers HR and business leaders the chance to connect with both our employees and the future talent we’ll want to recruit. It is a low or no cost opportunity to build brand awareness with tomorrow’s workforce and begin creating your talent pipeline of the future.