Why Smart Companies Want Their Employees to Be Social Media Superstars

June 11, 2015

Any successful business leader knows that recruiting is a major part of their job. Steve Jobs even said that “hiring the best” was his most important task while running Apple.

Recruiting can’t be done alone, though, or even done solely by a talent acquisition team. The companies that are best at recruiting are ones where each employee within the organization serves as a quasi-recruiter. They do this by becoming both someone other people want to work with and an ambassador for your company.

How you can make this happen

According to employer brand strategist Lars Schmidt, you can get everyone involved with recruiting by encouraging your employees to post and blog on social media about your company’s culture, the exciting projects they’re working on and their expertise in the field.

The more employees talking about what a great place your organization is to work for, and the more esteem they hold in their industry, the easier it will be to get more great people to join them, says Schmidt.“You want to establish your best people. Great people want to work with other great people," he explained.

And, there’s some strong data to back up Schmidt’s case. A recent survey revealed that, on average, a company’s employees have a 10-times larger social media following than the company itself and a person is three-times more likely to trust a post from a company’s employee than from the company.

That means that, for the average company, its employees’ social networks are 30-times more impactful than its own social network.

Examples of impactful employee-generated content

There are three influential types of employee-generated content that make people want to work for your company.

1. A personal story about their own career

These are personal stories your employees share about why they joined the company, something they’ve overcome or a cause they care deeply about. These stories have emotional resonance with audiences and vastly increase both the employee’s and your company’s likeability.

A perfect example is this LinkedIn blog written by Rajiv Pant about why he left a high-paying, secure job at the New York Times for the startup Some Spider:


2. A helpful post that shows off an employee’s expertise in the field

Another great post employees generate is one that shows off their expertise in the field. The goal of these posts shouldn’t be to brag, but instead to be helpful to the reader.

Great talent wants to work with other great talent, so if an employee is seen by others as a leader in their field through compelling posts, it’s going to attract other great people.

A great example of one is the LinkedIn blog post below by Daniel Solove, who works as a professor at George Washington University teaching privacy law, where he explains that a social security number is the absolute worst password.


3. A post showing how great it is to work at your company

Again, if a company brags about what a great place it is to work at, it has little credibility in most peoples’ eyes. However, if an employee at your company shows what a great place their company is to work for by posting about it on social media, it goes a long way to improving your employer brand. Here are some examples of employees sharing their experience using their company's hashtag:

NPR's #NPRlife

Salesforce's #dreamjob

Trip Advisor's #gotripadvisor

Final thought

Recruiting is a team effort, and a company’s employees can play a large role in it, particularly using their social media feeds. The secret is not forcing them into anything, but promoting some great content employees are already creating and letting it grow from there, Schmidt said.

“Employees might be skeptical if HR or leadership pushes them to act,” he said. “If they see their peers participating, they’ll be more compelled to follow suit and your initiatives can grow organically and effectively.”

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*Image by Ronald Woan