Recruitment comms strategies on social media to boost your employer brand

Using the right tools to reach the newest generation in the workforce.

Despite TikTok’s seemingly potential ban that might happen in the near future or the ongoing litigation to fight it, the platform continues to be a useful tool for internal communicators across industries. Less talked about is how social media can help launch the youngest generation of workers, Gen Z, into their desired roles.

In a recent report, CNBC shared the stories of several Gen Z employees who found roles via different social media platforms, with a special focus on TikTok. The app can serve as a hub for career advice from influencers, a platform for networking with others in similar career situations and even a place for Gen Z to find their dream jobs.

TikTok use is especially prevalent among younger Americans — 56% of U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 say they use the platform, according to a February 2024 report from the Pew Research Center. Many are using the app to guide their careers: 41% of Gen Zers have made a career-related decision based on TikTok advice, 15% received an offer for a job they found on the app, and nearly 80% have used the app to network, according to a recent survey of 1,000 Gen Zers.

You read that right — TikTok is still helping Gen Z-ers find work. That also means that the organizations our young colleagues are signing on to are making their employer brand presence known on social as a great place to work.

With that in mind, how can communicators ensure they’re portraying their organization properly while still engaging with the youngest members of the workforce?

Controlling the conversation and tapping employee ambassadors

On social media, your brand can take on a personality that can shift a little bit from platform to platform based on audience.

Alan Black, director of corporate communications for the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, U.S. Navy, at Dahlgren, Virginia said that if you’re not actively present talking about your brand on social media, someone else is probably doing for you on TikTok, which is not always ideal. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that can be done about it.

“You can still take advantage of the platform by using innovative strategies like third-party advocacy, and using your employees to advocate for the brand,” he said.

He added that, while regulated or federal entities aren’t on TikTok with the ban looming, it’s important to remember that employees are still using the platform in their personal capacity. To compensate, you can leverage other platforms like YouTube, Instagram and more as marketing and recruiting tools.

Whether you’re on TikTok or another platform, you, can always tap employees themselves to tell prospects about their roles and work experiences

“Try using employees as recruiters,” Black said. “Have them include clear calls-to-action that guide viewers on how to explore career opportunities at the agency or company you work for. Direct them to a careers page, invite them to online recruitment events, or instruct them on how to engage with your recruitment team.”

When influencer partnerships make sense

Black also pointed to the value of partnering with influencers on TikTok, who can spread a message to thousands or even millions of sets of eyes.

“Influencers in the tech and education sectors can amplify your message,” Black said. “They can help make your content more relatable and ensure it reaches a broader, relevant audience.”

Brandi Anstine, chief branding officer at HealthLinc Community Health Center, added that effective recruiting posts will show what employees are attaining and achieving in your organization. These personal touches can make a difference in short-term recruiting content, particularly for younger generations who often desire more personalized workplace cultures.

“Highlight staff achievements, awards, and personal stories to show appreciation for your team,” said Anstine. “This will help give a sense of the workplace culture.”

Social trends evolve — your approach must too

The only sure thing about social media is that trends will evolve and shift over time. Staying on top of those shifts and changes in what’s popular can be the big difference between positioning your organization well with your audience or casting your message out upon deaf ears.

Communicators need to be able to learn on the fly, even if you’re not certain about how to proceed at first. This is doubly important when you target audience is a new generation that you might not totally be able to relate to.

“Embracing social media as a strategic tool requires not only meticulous planning and precise execution but also a commitment to adapt and evolve with the changing digital landscape,” Black said.

“Sometimes this may mean throwing out your conventional knowledge and going with something new.”

Black and Anstine are members of Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council. Learn more about joining here.

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports and hosting trivia.

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