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Social Media – everybody’s doing it, but are they missing something?

Updated: 01 Mar 2014
We all accept that social media is a great way of identifying talent, connecting with it and promoting the values of your business. Get your strategy right and the rewards are great. But get it wrong and the damage to an employer’s brand can be significant, according to recruiting experts Hays.
“Engaging with the array of social media sites that potential jobseekers use gives organisations a means to boost and enhance their reputation as an employer of choice,” says Marc Burrage, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong.
“And it is not just marketing and communications departments that need to put social media at the heart of their strategy. It is clear that for businesses to remain competitive, the HR function has to embrace it, too.
But, while it is clear that the HR function ignores social media at its peril, the right strategy is harder to define. One size definitely does not fit all – and risk is often overlooked when developing and resourcing a social media strategy.”
The hot topic of social media and its place within recruitment is explored in the latest Hays Journal, out now. According to the Hays Journal article, a survey of US executives found that social media ranked among the top five sources of risk to a business.
Potential problems the research identified are manifold and include the need to monitor comments employees and others post on social network sites, the importance of protecting the employer brand and the constant investment needed to keep up with evolving technology.
“Therefore, we advise that companies must take this new method of communication seriously and ensure that it is handled by staff who understand it,” says Marc.
“Employers need a clear strategy on how they address social media and present their brand. It has to be part of an overall brand strategy and not a free-for-all. At Hays we use it to demonstrate that we are specialists, so we only produce relevant content for particular industry groups.”
Companies looking to pursue such a route – and make use of social media at all – have to bear in mind that content is king. This means the investment needed to implement an effective and safe social media strategy can be substantial. Content must be consistent, high quality and channel-specific to add value and reflect well on a firm’s brand. Potential and existing employees will only return to a blog or follow a feed if it is relevant and topical.
“Getting this right can be hard and raises questions of message and brand control. An ongoing resource is needed internally or externally to post and monitor content and to interact with a company’s followers,” says Marc.
“Managing resources in-house presents its own hazards, since content is often provided by more than one person and by different departments. So, heads need to be allocated to manage this process across all channels to ensure content and messaging is aligned to company positioning and to respond consistently to any negative comments.
“Just as social media has the power to support and drive an employee value proposition, badly handled it can completely undermine those efforts. And worse, the evidence remains online indefinitely.”

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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