How to Manage Your Employer Brand on Social Media and Not Get Fired

March 30, 2015

Social media fascinated recruiter Nando Rodriguez early on, but he didn’t yet fully understand how companies used it for business.

So, he spent some time on Twitter trying to figure it out. Then he got fired.

Rodriguez, now Head of Employment Branding, North America at marketing and communications firm Ogilvy & Mather, shared his story during a Talent Connect session on how recruiters can amplify their social content.

While working as a recruiter at a previous employer, Rodriguez had begun “hanging out” on Twitter to learn how companies were using it. But when his boss constantly came across Rodriguez using the site and he couldn’t readily explain what it was all about, he was let go.

Talent acquisition’s role in social media: The experts weigh in 

Even years later, many recruiters struggle to nail down where they fit in within their company’s social media initiatives. And those tasked with employment branding often juggle those responsibilities while still doing their day jobs – recruiting talent for the organization.

Below we’ve included four questions from talent acquisition folks who are dealing with this challenge today. Andrew Levy, Social Media and Talent Brand Manager at Autodesk, a software and services company, and Rodriguez of Ogilvy & Mather, offer responses based on their experience with managing social for their companies’ talent organizations. Hopefully, some of their experiences can help you.

Question: How do you make the case for employment branding on social media?

Short answer: Find compelling ways to demonstrate the value in participating.

Despite the ubiquity of social media, not every company automatically buys in to all the ways it can be used for talent acquisition.

Fortunately, recruiters today have plenty of data to demonstrate the need to be on social – data that just wasn’t there years ago. For example, it would have helped if Rodriguez could have shown his boss that social media ranks as the most effective medium for enhancing employer brand. Instead, with no way to make a strong case for his actions on social, it makes sense that he was fired, says Rodriguez.

Levy of Autodesk initiated the social media program at a previous employer – a conservative biotech company. The easiest approach to win over executives, he says, is to point to conversations that are already happening (for example, on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other platform) and show them a competitor who is doing social well.

Question: How do you monitor social media activity at your company?

Short answer: Train your employees, then create a plan for when things go wrong (and they will).

While recruiters rightly want to leverage their employees as brand ambassadors, it’s not always easy to let go and trust that they’ll convey the right message. Recruiters, marketers and brand managers perform a balancing act between encouraging employees to use social and giving them the freedom to be authentic, while still making sure the content they’re posting supports the company’s brand.

Ogilvy & Mather addresses social media during orientation, Rodriguez says. But since you’ll never have 100 percent control, Levy and Rodriguez recommend developing a policy to handle any issues that arise.

“(A crisis) is going to happen,” Levy says. “It’s all about how you manage and communicate it.”

One rule of thumb he offers: before employees post, have them ask themselves, ‘is this content adding value to the conversation, and to the audience?’

Question: Where should your social support person sit – Marketing or Talent Acquisition?

Short answer: That depends – there are pros and cons to both sides.

If Recruiting is fortunate enough to have someone like Rodriguez or Levy to help with social and brand, the question then becomes, which department should that person be a part of – Marketing or Talent Acquisition?

Rodriguez says Ogilvy & Mather is actually having that conversation now, and he comes down in favor of Talent Acquisition.

“We as recruiters ‘speak candidate,’” he says. “Only we know what is going to motivate top talent to apply and be part of our culture."

However, if the social support person does sit in TA, they still need to be closely tied to marketing so everyone is speaking the same language, Levy and Rodriguez agree.

Question: What type of time commitment does employment branding on social media involve?

Short answer: Find some help, and it won’t be as much as you think.

If you’re the only recruiter at a company and you’ve been tasked with employer brand initiatives on social (in addition to your recruiting day job), it’s natural to wonder how much of your time it might take.

Rodriguez, who started employment branding while recruiting full time, says it took a bit of up-front legwork to get things off the ground.

“I had to present the ROI before anything else,” he explains, recalling his dismissal for unaccounted-for Twitter usage.

To better manage the time, Rodriguez recommends figuring out which one or two things you want to scale and can do while you’re recruiting. For example, he says, if you’re sourcing on LinkedIn Recruiter, take a 10-minute break and spend some time interacting on Twitter. Then go back to LinkedIn and “like” someone’s post, comment on an article, or share something yourself.

To lighten your load, Levy recommends partnering with anyone and everyone who’s willing to get involved. Tap into content that already exists, he suggests, like pictures, videos or other marketing material.

“It’s about curating the story, and (finding) what will help attract people,” he says.

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