BRANDE : blog archives for May 2015

May 28, 2015

The Most Buzzed-About Social Recruiting Posts of the Week

Social media recruiting is on the rise, with 93% of organizations now using at least one social channel for talent acquisition. I recently analyzed the latest data and found some of the most popular recruiting content on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Here’s how top brands are engaging job-seekers on social platforms and how you can do the same.

Nestlé Purina Creats a Beautiful Facebook Post

One of this week’s best recruiting posts comes from Nestlé Purina. It’s a job listing for senior digital designer, and it includes virtually every social media best practice. It has the job title in big, clear letters. It features a photo of an attractive employee smiling at his desk. There’s a hashtag, #JoinPurina, to guide job-seekers to opportunities on other social channels. The copy below the photo includes, “You’ll work with over 40 national brands and business groups to inspire original and unique social media content,” which sounds rewarding, compelling, and important. At the end, there’s a trackable link to apply.

A great post all around, but Nestlé isn’t done yet. One interested woman asked in the comments if a degree was required for the position. She posted at 5:45 pm, toward the end of the business today. By 11:30 the next morning, she had a personalized response from a recruiter, who concluded with “Feel free to reach out in any questions!” An inquiry from another job-seeker drew a response in under five hours.

The result of all these efforts: 11 comments, 19 shares, and 316 likes.

Nestle Purina recruiting post on Facebook

How you can be like Nestlé Purina: This post is more than the sum of its parts. Certainly the photo isn’t anything fancy. A hashtag isn’t revolutionary. There are no elaborate graphics. But this content spoke to job-seekers, giving them something visual, something verbal, something social, and something social. The icing on the cake is the fast, friendly responses to questions in the comments. If you can spend just a little extra time creating your social recruiting content, and a little time monitoring it, you can generate lots of interaction and engagement.

Disney Offers Advice on Twitter

Disney has a lot of assets to draw from, including Marvel superheroes and the Muppets, but I like the simplicity of their May 27 tweet. It’s part of their “Recruiter Tip” series and features a photo of recruiter Tina, along with the quote, “Conduct research on the company, position, and the person you’re interviewing with. Be prepared to ask questions.”

It’s great to have the talent acquisition staff reach out to job-seekers with helpful advice. It shows that the company wants them to succeed. The addition of the photo and the recruiter’s name further humanizes what can be an intimidating process. Encouraging candidates to ask questions seems novel; what recruiter wants to be quizzed? Even more impressive, Tina is basically asking candidates to do research on her. Disney is showing that it doesn’t fear scrutiny, a form of transparency that I admire. In just 24 hours, the tweet has four retweets and 17 favorites.

Disney recruiting tweet

How you can be like Disney: Social recruiting channels have to include more than just job listings. To attract a wider following, organizations have to be a resource for job-seekers. That means offering advice on interviews, applications, and résumés, even though top talent may use that advice to find employment at your competitors. Providing help to job-seekers shows that you care about them and share in their success. A half-hour interview with your recruiter(s) could garner twenty tweets’ worth of advice. Take a photo of the recruiter, add whatever graphics you like, and you can become a popular and well-liked employment resource like Disney. 

UnitedHealth Group Showcases Culture on YouTube

As you know, I’m a big believer in the importance of corporate culture. Many companies mention it or refer to it obliquely in their recruitment advertising, but UnitedHealth Group produced a video that put its culture in the spotlight. The organization’s jobs channel on YouTube saw a huge spike in views over the past week, increasing by more than 60%, and “UnitedHealth Group’s United Culture” led the way.

The four-and-a-half-minute begins by enumerating its five core values. Then, the company’s top management, discuss what each core value means to them. They speak directly to the viewer with only some music and floating words that complement the message instead of distracting from it. Each executive seems comfortable on camera, enthusiastic about the company, and sincere in its convictions. The video has 4,007 views, 11 likes, and zero dislikes. United and several of its employees have also shared the video, and commented about it, on Google Plus.

How you can be like United HealthGroup: Highlighting your core values is a great way to solve the recruiting problem of culture fit. Anyone can list them on a website, but having your senior staff, including many in HR and employee communications, look directly at job-seekers and tell them about a company’s mission and vision is an powerful statement. A video isn’t too hard to create, but if it is, a photo and a written testimonial from the relevant executives will work. At the very list, put your organization’s values front and center on your recruitment materials and your careers site, to show what you stand for and to attract like-minded employees.

My agency, Brandemix, creates social media strategies for talent acquisition. We write posts, take photos, and produce videos as well. If you’d like our expertise to assist with your recruitment efforts, contact me and we’ll talk.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

May 26, 2015

You Can’t Have Employee Engagement Without Employer Branding

I’ve been conducting original research into employer branding and employee engagement. It seems that many organizations want the latter but don’t care about the former. But the two go hand in hand, and it’s important to see how and why.

Here’s a chart I created based on Google searches for “employer branding” and “employee engagement.” The result couldn’t be clearer — and more surprising.

Google search terms comparison

Just as people seemed to lose interest in employer branding, they began searching for solutions to improve their employee engagement. The recession, starting in early 2009, seems to be a catalyst, as if employers figured the poor job market made employer branding less important — but suddenly found that their employees, unable to find better opportunities, were becoming disengaged.

On a hunch, I added “employee retention” to the model. Sure enough, as the economy improved and interest in employee engagement shot up, employers suddenly needed to address the issue of keeping their disengaged workers.

It’s not just Google searches. It’s coming from employers and thought leaders across the internet.

Here’s the usage of two Twitter hashtags — #employerbranding and #employeeengagement — over the past 60 days, via Hashtagify.me:

Hashtag comparison - engagement v branding

Again, we find that professionals on Twitter are discussing employee engagement much more than employer branding. It seems that, without strong employer branding, companies are hiring the wrong people — wrong skills or wrong culture fit — and then struggling to keep these workers interested in a workplace that’s not suited for them.

Another metric: Google News stories. What are the business journals and the mainstream press reporting about these two subjects?

 Google news comparison

The same problem. “Employer branding” is the headline in only 28,500 articles, compared to more than 50,000 for “employee engagement.”

What is the result of this disparity? A pretty dismal rate of employee engagement over the last four years, as found by the latest Gallup poll:

Gallup engagement chart

Less than a third of American workers are engaged in their jobs! Among workers with college degrees and postgraduate degrees, the rate of engagement isn’t even 30%. This comes from a lack of strong employer branding among companies, which itself comes from the a lack of interest in employer branding.

Even Gallup realizes the connection. In its press release about the 2015 engagement findings, the organization added, “Gallup has consistently found links between employees who are engaged in their jobs and the achievement of business outcomes such as quality, safety, profitability, and productivity.

As I’ve said many times, employer branding is crucial to a business’ bottom line. It increases applications and retention, and decreases turnover and time to hire. It doesn’t cost much money to launch an employer branding initiative and the effort will recoup is costs many times over in both measurable metrics and cultural intangibles. And it’s even more important now that unemployment is down to 5.4% and the job landscape has become a buyer’s market.

Take the next step beyond hashtags and Google searches by contacting Brandemix for help with an employer branding initiative. Our new Rapid Cycle Talent Branding is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to help organizations create or refresh an employer brand, connecting them to top talent. And helping to keep them engaged.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

May 18, 2015

Mobile Marketing Best Practices

CIO magazine just reported that 28% of sales take place on mobile devices. 80% of internet users own a smartphone. These and other statistics show that mobile is the future of marketing and branding. How can marketers make sure they’re best using this crucial tool? Here are the latest best practices. 

Make your website responsive

As I’ve discussed before, responsive design is critical for mobile web-browsing. That means that your site looks the same across all devices — the text is legible, the images are visible, and the buttons are easy to tap. Responsive design also lets your website respond to how your device is being held, so if you turn your tablet sideways, the text doesn’t run off the screen. This is more than just an issue of aesthetics; Google states that responsive websites are its “recommended option” for mobile search results. Google also favors sites that are designed for mobile (like, say, m.allstate.com), so it’s crucial to “get mobile” to work with Google’s important algorithm. If you can’t afford to optimize your website right now, creating a separate mobile site can still increase your organic mobile search traffic.

Get local

80% of people use their smartphone to search for local information, so make sure your organization is listed on location-based sites such as Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp, Foursquare, and Swarm. You should also submit your site to Google My Business, which will connect it to people who are using Google Search, Google Maps, or Google Plus to find a business nearby.

Once potential customers have found your site, you want to make it easy for them to contact you. Make sure your address is easy to see, with a link to a map (Google, Yahoo, Mapquest). Make your phone number clickable, so users don’t have to memorize your number, close their browser, open their keypad, and type in ten digits. Also highlight your hours of operation and include a photo of your location so users will know what to look for.

If you offer discounts or coupons, your mobile site is the place to do it. Many location directories double as review sites, so if you please or surprise users, they may reward you with kind words and share your site with friends.

Don’t forget about email

Did you know that 51% of consumers say they most often check their email on a mobile device? That means your  email marketing must be optimized for mobile as well — or else you risk a delete or even an unsubscribe.

Best practices for mobile email include short subject lines, single columns of text, and large links or buttons that can easily be tapped. And those links should lead to mobile-friendly sites, of course. Use contrasting text colors so it can be read in bright daylight. Make sure the most important information is above the “fold,” the point on a small screen which can only be seen by scrolling. Trade the fancy, interactive designs of your “regular” email for mobile-friendly email templates (like those from MailChimp), to make the most of the mobile experience.

Resist the app urge

It seems every organization has a mobile app now. But they require a lot of time and money to produce, and many don’t provide more features than a mobile site does. It makes sense for a bank to have a secure app for customers to access their accounts, or a pizza restaurant to have an automated process for ordering, but why does your business need one? A recent study by comScore found that 66% of smartphone users download an average of zero apps per month, while Localytics has determined that many apps are downloaded once and never used again. Salesforce advises companies not to let the “siren song” of the idea of your app on thousands of home screens make you waste resources on something that will be rarely used even by your biggest fans and most loyal customers.

Socialize your online presence

A recent Pew study found that 91% of teenagers view social media on a mobile device, while WeAreSocial claims that 50% of the North American population has “active mobile social accounts,” which equates to about 176 million people. Customers continue to engage with social networks while they’re on the go, so your organization should have a presence on the biggest sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Depending on your business, your audience, and your content, you may also consider Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine, or Meerkat.

Setting up a social media presence addresses some of the other best practices — social networks are searchable by location and they’re optimized for mobile devices.

Ready to get mobile?

Brandemix has been studying and implementing mobile strategies for a decade, and we’d love to help your organization expand your reach and increase your business. Contact us for a consultation.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

May 11, 2015

Keys to Making Great Online Videos

When it comes to content marketing, video is still king. American Facebook users are posting almost twice as many videos this year than they were last year, and comScore has found the average user spends about 17 minutes watching online video ads every month. How can you make video work for your brand? Here are the latest findings.
Like most other content and entertainment, the videos that do best that evoke an emotional response. That includes humor, from basic comedy sketches (like Excedrin’s) to satires (like Twitter’s recruiting video) to pranks (like this “promotion” for Carrie). But videos can also be sincere and heartfelt, like Chipotle’s award-winning “Scarecrow” short film or KPMG’s “American Dream.” Stunts also do well, such as Volvo Trucks’ “Live Test” series of videos, which featured impossible done atop moving vehicles. Videos can also be educational, such as Prudential’s “Earn It!” video aimed at preparing candidates for a job interview. And cute animals always get a strong response, as they do everywhere else on the internet.

The key is to determine which style best matches your brand voice. Are you a “fun” organization? A “serious” one? An innovator, a legacy, a startup? Your videos should fit into your current marketing and recruiting campaigns, which reflect your company’s mission, vision, and values. Or you may try to break out of your niche and attract a new audience, as Volvo Trucks did. The company wasn’t known for toughness or novelty — or even really known at all — but their stunts with people like Jean-Claude Van Damme got huge attention and brought awareness to a whole new segment of truck enthusiasts.

Poor quality can kill the best-written or best-edited video. Make sure you have good lighting, whether that means turning on all the overheads, opening your curtains, or renting actual studio lights. Sound is also important, and a phone doesn’t always capture it well. Luckily, there are plenty of phone audio accessories that will provide stereo sound. You can also rent a camera with a good microphone, or a boom mic, or clip-on microphones. Both Macs and PCs come with basic editing apps, but you can also find free or low-cost software; I’m fond of ScreenFlow myself.

In post-production, add titles, graphics, music, and sound effects to truly make your video look and sound professional. Rather than “stealing” this content, look for free images on sites like freeimages.com or Wikimedia Commons. There are also several sites for free music, though buying directly from the composer often doesn’t cost much. The more polish you can give to your videos, the more they’ll stand out from the crowd.

According to Buffer, the average length of YouTube’s 50 most popular videos is just under three minutes. The 50 most shared videos clock in at the same length.  Makes sense; that’s about the length of a song or a movie trailer. Then again, a study by Visible Measures found that 60% of viewers stop watching a video by the two-minute mark. So shorter can sometimes be better.

But videos can be much shorter. Instagram videos are limited to 15 seconds, while Vine videos are just 6.5. Yet brands like Oreo and The Corcoran Group manage to squeeze in a lot of compelling content in those tiny timeframes. No matter your experience level or equipment, I bet you can make a satisfying 15-second video — in fact, I challenge you to do it!

Lights, Camera, Action!
Video continues to dominate the internet. A survey from Reach Engine found that roughly 60% of US adults watch videos on a brand’s website when they visit, and 40% prefer watching a brand video over reading the same information. On top of that, 76% of B2B executives use video as part of their content strategy. If you’re not using video in your marketing, branding, or recruiting campaigns, you’re falling behind.

Brandemix has created all sorts of videos for all sorts of organizations, large and small. If you’d like us to help you create one video, or a series, or produce an entire video marekting campaign, we’d love to hear from you.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.
May 4, 2015

The Most Buzzed-About Social Recruiting Posts of the Week

Organizations of all sizes are finding more success with social media recruiting. I’ve sifted through the latest social recruiting data and found some of the most popular posts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Here’s how brands engaged job-seekers with social media content and how you can use similar tactics to find top talent.

Publix Serves the Public on Facebook

One of my favorite posts this week comes from Publix. The company held its first annual “Publix Serves Day,” in which employees from 125 stores in six states volunteered in their communities. The company explained the philosophy behind the event in its Facebook post on April 17: Since the chain’s founder believed in the importance of giving, the company wanted to honor his memory with its own charity work. The services ranged from “painting and landscaping to cooking and educating and everything in-between.” The post itself was a Facebook album of 22 photos from the various events.

Publix Facebook post

The result was 187 likes and 16 comments — 10 of which were photos posted by employees, each of which got their own additional likes. Other results include enormous community goodwill, improved employee morale, and priceless company PR. The Facebook photo album itself — merely announced through the post — has more than 1,000 likes.

How you can be like Publix: Volunteering events are win-win-win for everyone involved. Does your organization hold them? How do you publicize them after the fact? Don’t wait for the monthly company newsletter or relegate them to the intranet. Put photos (and videos!) on social media and thank your employees for participating. They’ll like, comment, share, and tag themselves and their colleagues. Publix even created a hashtag for employees to use in their own posts on Facebook and elsewhere.

The Home Depot Builds a Simple Tweet

As much as I like videos and QR codes and interactivity, I admire the simplicity of one of The Home Depot’s tweets this week — and I can’t argue with the results. The tweet reads, “Opportunity: Now is the time. This is the place,” along with a trackable link to its careers site and a hashtag, #THDhire. There’s also a cute image of an employee, which includes three reasons to work for The Home Depot: “Learn with training from the best,” “Share your skills with customers,” and “Earn rewards & bonus for performances.” The company’s current hiring initiative is called “Jobs in Bloom,” a reference to the season and to The Home Depot’s gardening products.

Home Depot tweet

This tweet is both pure and simple. There’s no pop-culture gif or sly copy. The hashtag isn’t a clever pun. The image is old-fashioned and sweet, when the company could have easily paid for a giant, impressive infographic. But the sincerity paid off, with 21 retweets and 31 favorites.

How you can be like The Home Depot: Tweets are small, ephemeral things, but we sometimes get hung up on trying to craft them into massive masterpieces. A tweet like this got across a good deal of info: A call to action, a link, a hashtag, and some employer branding. There was no need for any bells and whistles. Your organization could create an image like The Home Depot’s using a free service like Canva or Pablo by Buffer. If you’re running a social recruiting channel, your followers expect basic hiring information and an employer value proposition. Sometimes your posts need to be just that.

Prudential Tells Candidates How to Interview

Though it was posted months ago, Prudential’s YouTube “Earn It!: Your Guide to Acing the Interview” received a new surge of views this past week. The four-minute video presents two job candidates interviewing at an unnamed company. One gives great interview answers and the other…doesn’t. The piece is breezy and funny, both showing and telling job-seekers what recruiters expect of them. “Earn It!” is captioned for the hearing impaired and features a diverse cast.

Prudential video on YouTube

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this video is that it doesn’t mention Prudential at all. The setting is a nondescript office and the interview questions are generic. That means Prudential put significant time, money, and effort into an instructional resource for all job-seekers, for virtually any position at any organization. There’s no overt employer branding, but I like what’s implied: Prudential wants to help everyone get a job, even at its competitors. That’s very admirable. “Earn It!’ now has almost 10,000 views.

How you can be like Prudential: While The Home Depot’s tweet above is great, your social recruiting platform can’t be nothing but job listings and catchy sayings. How can your organization be a resource for job-seekers? How can you help them with résumés, cover letters, interviews, and other aspects of the job search? Your advice can be general or can speak to your organization’s unique needs. From there, you can introduce job-seekers to your culture, mission, and values, and show them what life at your company is really like. This will open you up to followers who may not want to work for you, but will follow you for your guidance and useful content. You may attract followers interested in your field but who are leaning towards your competitor — social recruiting could be your chance to steal them away.

My agency, Brandemix, creates social media strategies for talent acquisition. We write posts, take photos, and produce videos as well. If you’d like our expertise to assist with your recruitment efforts, contact me and we’ll talk.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.