In doing my day to day work and reflecting on the various companies I have worked at or the people I help on the side to build their brand or company… I have noticed a few things. Very few people know how to market their personal brand or company’s brand. Entrepreneurs or business leaders rely on HR, which is a mistake. The next mistake is that HR tends to rely on marketing to market their people and lastly the marketing function tends to rely on HR to police them with what they can or can’t do in terms of marketing their company’s people. The result leads to stock photos, un-authentic content (the pic above are three of my fingers. No stock photo there) and boring product videos.
The last few years the term, “HR Marketing” or “Employment Branding” surfaces as an important skill set, task or initiative HR must have or do. HR people are hard wired to not think about marketing. The ones who do work on an island in their HR office corner and are miserably dealing with compensation reports.
Instead of embracing social media, creating owned content (i.e., blogs, social media channels, websites, etc), HR and/or marketing people turn to expensive PR firms or paid advertising to get the word out about their brand. The problem is nobody knows the company better than the people who work at the company. They work hard to make the company work, but do not work hard at telling the stories on what makes the company work.
Below are my top three myths I have found when it comes to HR marketing or employment branding along with some tips to earn your audience’s attention better. You know marketing type stuff. These myths always come up…
Myth #1 -Social media should be dedicated to one person or a function (i.e., marketing, etc.)
Business leaders use social media to keep up with news or for personal connections but are un-aware of the impact it has on their business or brand. Last year, a Hubspot study showed that social media accounted for 14% of their total lead pipeline out of the 3,000 companies they researched. More social, more leads. Same trend for talent too. More social, more access to quality talent.
HR Hound’s advice: Is your audience on social media? Leads, prospects, customers and candidates are on social media. I know because I talk to them on social media regularly, then on the phone after that. We often meet up live. I talk to your customers/prospects/candidates on social media more than you do. Giddy up. If you are the marketing or talent executive at your company, pick 2 or 3 channels and own them. Not sure what to post? Pick content your prospects and/or candidates want, then do it. You can’t start swimming if you do not jump in the water and swim. Doing it, is the hardest part.
Myth #2- Pay per job post advertising is the best solution because that is how marketing does it. Buy job ads on the internet!
Paying for advertisements per job can be a wonderful way to get the word out about your open jobs, but it’s an easy habit to start and harder habit to break. The day your boss (wo)man slashes your budget is the day your party is over. The majority of web links an advertisement pushes out there disappears once you stop paying for advertisements. No advertisements, no content.
HR Hound’s advice: Create killer content. Bill Gates was right when he said content is King in 1996. Gee imagine that. Invest the time and effort to create killer content. Hire a cheap intern to write for you. Everybody in your office will think you are crazy, which you are, but do it. Have the intern find the key words for your audience. Find key words that align to your customers/prospects/candidates. Marketing will thank you for your help. Don’t worry about what marketing says. They need help, but many will never admit it. It’s an industry thing.
Myth #3- I don’t have time to blog. I don’t have anything to write. I am not that creative…yayaya.
Time is scarce. You never get time back so why are you wasting it counting employee census reports, gabbing about office drama or dealing with bad technology. Use your time wisely. You know your company’s story better than a PR pro or anyone else. You are the author of the story.
HR Hound’s advice: How about interviewing a senior executive or spotlighting some people? Big players find time to blog. Think they are busy? I hear Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington write their own blog posts. We all know Seth Godin does (unless he has fooled us). Point is, if they can find time you can find time. Do it for one year. See what happens.
In short, you are not “all good” with HR Marketing or employment branding. Aggressively grab control of your employment brand marketing. You will make a difference that will last beyond your powerpoint slides and quarterly presentations.