By Heidi Lynne Kurter
The concept of social proof is an age-old marketing tactic used by companies to ease the worries and build trust with consumers making them a trusted brand. It does this by speaking the language of their audience, using visuals and providing evidence to show credibility. Social proof has since expanded outside of the hands of marketing as the new generation takes over the workforce.
This is a result of the new generation of workers being more sensitive, aware and tuned in to the behaviors of companies. Unlike previous generations who blindly applied for positions, the new era of workers are dedicated to learning about the culture, social impact and overall employee experience. Just like consumers who do their due diligence before making a major investment, candidates do their research before taking the next steps with a company. According to a recent study done by Talent Works International, 69% of job seekers are more likely to apply for a job with a company that has an active online presence.
The reality is, people make decisions based off of the information, recommendations and experiences of others. It’s why sites such as Glassdoor, Yelp and Indeed remain popular. It gives employees the opportunity to use their voice freely and in an anonymous manner.
Here is how companies can leverage social proof to attract the new generation of workers:
Partner With Human Resources to Develop a Social Media Footprint
Social proof was once predominately a marketing persuasion tactic which has now bled into the way business is done and relationships are formed. A successful social media footprint speaks to both candidates and consumers. Human Resources is typically the first point of contact for a job seeker through job postings, employee testimonials, reviews and their very own LinkedIn profiles.
Human Resources plays a key role in leveraging social proof to the new generation of job seekers. A simple internet search puts the entire life of a business on display for job seekers in just a matter of seconds. Candidates now have instant access to reviews, community involvement, news features and just about anything they can get their hands on.
The new generation craves transparency and seeks out positions dedicated to making a social impact with a positive public image. According to Glassdoor, 96% of job seekers are influenced by the reviews and ratings from employees. Non-existent reviews have the same impact as negative reviews. Companies can start by creating profiles on top platforms for employees to easily find out more about them. Human Resources can dedicate time on a weekly basis to engage and respond to these reviews while promoting company culture happenings.
Strive to Create an Engaging Online Presence
Companies who lack an online presence raise a red flag for candidates. According to a recent report by iCIMS, 94% of job seekers will seek out and visit a company’s social media page before applying for a position. In a generation with social impact and purpose as a top priority, companies without a presence lose competitive advantage.
More often than not you’ll see companies set up social media and Glassdoor pages and completely neglect them until they need to post for something they need. This leaves comments, messages and reviews going untouched with dust collecting on the platforms. This lack of effort is an instant turnoff to the new generation.
Candidates want to know what the team is like, the morale of the company and the involvement of the employees in the big picture. They care about being a good fit just as much as a company does. This is where transparency is key and it’s time to break down the barriers and let people in.
There are plenty of ways to tell your story and attract candidates through personal and company profiles. A LinkedIn survey found that 75% of job seekers will first research a company’s reputation through social media and employee review sites before applying. If they’re dissatisfied by what they find, 69% won’t apply, even if they’re unemployed. Companies struggling to adapt can make these small changes by dedicating time on a weekly basis to visit platforms and engage with reviews, comments and messages.
Let Your Brand Personality Do the Talking
Great brand personalities create topics of conversations. It’s why Wendy’s stands out against other fast food chains because their Twitter personality creates a topic of conversation making the brand more desirable. This makes candidates more inclined to apply for a position because they can relate to the personality traits and mannerisms of the company brand.
This is why company branding is important because it creates a connection. Flo from Progressive has created a comedic character on TV commercials that make people feel closer, comfortable and more inclined to seek quotes from Progressive when insurance shopping. People were able to quickly identify were her quirky personality making them build instant trust in the insurance brand.
A brand personality is a unique identifier used to convey the characteristics and values of a company. Talent today isn’t just interested in getting any job, they want a job that’s aligned with their core values. When people can connect with the language, humor and character of a brand, they’re more engaged. Companies can use their branding personality to convey the type of culture they embody. It’s the perfect way to communicate flexibility, creativity, fun, innovation and demonstrate how you recognize and value your employees in return.
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Heidi Lynne Kurter is an HR & Business Strategy Consultant and Executive Coach at Heidi Lynne Consulting, helping businesses and organizations attract, hire and retain top talent while creating engaging candidate and employee experiences. Heidi does this by providing recruiting, onboarding, talent development and business strategies through speaking, coaching, consulting and training to teams and organizations of all sizes. She has gained a breadth of knowledge working internationally in Europe, America and Asia. Heidi uses her global expertise to provide leadership coaching to the students at Babson College and her global mastermind network the Global B.L.E.N.D. She’s a black belt in Six Sigma and a former Society of Human Resources (SHRM) President. Learn more at www.heidilynneco.com and get in touch at Heidi@heidilynneco.com.
Article originally published on Forbes.