Since Facebook was founded in 2004 and served their first ad unit in May of 2005, companies have been scrambling to take advantage of the social evolution that has taken place over the past decade.
For businesses, the evolution began in marketing and advertising as advertisers looked to take advantage of this new arbitrage opportunity for eyeballs. B2B marketers soon jumped onto the bandwagon, starting to build large social presences and utilize new advertising methods for targeting prospects and leads. The concept of using social media as a sales mechanism also began to rise with the introduction of LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator.
The bulk of social media’s investment among organizations has undeniably been in marketing and sales departments. We are starting to see a new shift in the social evolution, though, as more areas of the enterprise adopt social media for new ways to optimize their business and employees. Below are four new ways companies and HR departments are beginning to use social media outside the marketing department.
1. Employee Advocacy
A trend has emerged among companies to use social media to activate their employees and turn them into vocal brand advocates. Companies are giving their employees tools like DynamicSignal, Bambu, and others to easily share content from their employer on their own social channels, amplifying the companies’ reach, increasing brand awareness, and generating new leads.
Social employee advocacy also increases a brand’s authenticity and benefits recruiting and engagement. According to LinkedIn, companies using these methods are even 58% more likely to attract top talent and 20% more likely to retain them. Employees feel more attached to the company’s brand and have a better grasp on what’s going on throughout the company.
2. Internal Communications
Along with building employee advocacy, companies are also using social channels for increasing internal communications. Marketing and HR departments are constantly looking for ways to get content and updates in front of the right internal audiences. Some of a companies’ most engaged audiences on social media tend to be their own employees and partners. If a communication isn’t confidential, social channels may be a great complementary channel to engage and communicate with your internal audiences.
One effective internal channel for us has been Instagram — our highest engagement on Instagram comes from our own employees. Because of the visual nature of Instagram, companies are often using it to promote company events, welcome new employees, and celebrate company and employee milestones.
3. People Data
According to a 2015 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, “Still too few organizations are actively implementing HR analytics capabilities to address complex business and talent needs.” 75% of companies believe using people analytics is important, but only 8% would say their organization is “strong” in this area, representing the second-largest “capability gap” for organizations in 2015. Deloitte also found that companies that effectively use people analytics outperform their peers in quality of hire, retention, and leadership capabilities, and are generally higher ranked in their employment brand.
As companies build people analytics capabilities, one struggle has been gaining access to their people data. One treasure trove of people date for companies is their employees’ public social media data, an area employers typically know nothing about their employees. The best way to truly understand your employees is to create a comprehensive profile of your employees that includes social data points that might be included on social profiles like interests, skills, previous work experience, etc. When you start to tie this social data together with demographic data and business performance data, you’re able to have a rich, fuller view of your employees and develop deeper connections with them.
4. Recruiting and Culture Branding
According to a Society for Human Resource Management study, 84% of organizations recruit via social media. Companies are using social channels to promote job postings, but are also taking to social media to promote their talent brand and overall company culture in their recruiting efforts.
According to the sames Deloitte Human Capital Trends report, “87 percent of organizations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges, and 50 percent call the problem ‘very important.’” Because of this, companies are investing more time and money into their culture and using it as a competitive differentiator. Social media has become a great place for companies to showcase their culture and use their culture as a selling point in their talent acquisition. Channels like Instagram give companies an easy avenue to promote their workplace, company events, and the overall feel for what it’s like to work at their organization.
As social media evolves and new channels are developed, companies will continue to find new ways to utilize social media outside marketing and sales. Social media is no longer something managed solely by the marketing or communications department and successful companies will look for unique ways to engage employees and capture new value from social channels.