Social media: Talent goldmine or yesterday’s news?

Is social media marketing and recruiting really the way forward? Not according to new research, which shows that Kiwis are increasingly snubbing companies and brands on social media sites.

Social media: Talent goldmine or yesterday’s news?
While employers are flocking to social media sites for marketing and recruitment, it looks as though the potential employees they’re trying to target are running the other way.

A Colmar Brunton survey on New Zealanders’ social media habits showed that the number of people who follow brands on social media has dropped from 41% in 2013 to 27% this year.

Colmar Brunton CEO Jacqueline Ireland said that the number of Kiwis using social media continued to increase, they were predominantly using it to stay in touch with family and friends, rather than brands.

“The outtake from this is that brands have not yet learned the rules of engagement on social media and they need to work harder and smarter to be noticed.”

The biggest decline in those engaging with brands and companies on social media was in the 18-29 age group, which dropped from 59% last year to 33% this year.

The findings come as no surprise to Amanda Sterling, director and community leader of the social media-based HR community site, NZLEAD.

“People are so fixated on using the social technology that they forget that it is, by its very nature, social. Social is all about people. People connect with other people, if they connect with brands it’s because they’ve been referred or inspired by other people. 

“I think it is worth putting effort into social media for employment branding but this should be about employees connecting with other potential employees. I believe that the next generation is going to see right through marketing spin and, from these stats, it appears they are.”

Sterling said that social technology enabled businesses to connect with people in an open and transparent way, but only if it was used as such.

“This is not about teaching your employees how to use the tools or trying to get them onto social media. To realise the opportunities that social technology creates, you’ve got to create an environment where people have the opportunity to interact, the motivation to do so to and the skills to effectively use social technology. This is a tripod, if one part is missing then it’s not going to work.”

In order for employment brand messages to be authentic, they needed to come from employees and what they were saying about the company on their own social media platforms, “because they want to, not because they’ve been asked to”.

“With that in mind, focus on your internal culture. If you’ve got a great internal culture and your people are engaged then they’ll have great things to say about you, be willing to go the extra mile for you to share that message, and you’ll have less challenges in that all elusive talent market because they might just want to stay with you,” Sterling wrote in a post on her NZLEAD blog.

How much focus do you think employers should put on social media campaigns? 

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