Using social media
to build authentic
relationships.

The Power of Love

This is Jenny. She’s just bought her first proper grown-up ‘oh my god there’s outdoor decking!’ house with her boyfriend in Leeds, and is organising a dinner party with friends tonight. She’s on her way to Aldi for the bubbly – Jenny loves a bargain and revels in the way that Aldi uses Twitter to shame other supermarkets’ prices. She’s also gleefully Instagramming pictures of the board games she’s got lined up for tonight – Jenny doesn’t care if her 400+ followers laugh at her idea of a good night. The people that matter to her, get it.

Jenny is also a creative, tenacious, high-achieving programme manager with 10 years’ experience and an unbroken record of delivering complex change programmes on time and under budget.

This is James. He has three kids under five. As such, he is permanently broke, exhausted, apologising to his wife, and longing for nothing more than an afternoon in the pub, sat in commiserative silence with his fellow Arsenal supporters. Instead, he clings to facebook and LinkedIn for dear life, using them to connect with the friends he rarely sees, track the careers of ex-colleagues, and indulge his guilty pleasure – videos of cats scaring dogs.

James is also an exceptional Finance Director specialising in the travel sector, known for striking a perfect balance between effective shareholder management, and building a collaborative environment for his team.

Social media is not just a vehicle for sharing photos of yourself on a beach with a Caiprinha. It’s where we express our beliefs, values, and what we aspire to be. It’s where we find people like us. It’s our community.


Brands get this. They know that they need to create engaging content that people talk about, building an authentic two-way relationship with customers every day, not just when they’re in the market for a car/soft drink/phone for recording cats scaring dogs. They know that, to be the brand of choice, they have to work at it.

So why would it be any different when building relationships with talent, with the future leaders of your business? Social media engagement, beyond the recruitment process itself, is a crucial part of building exceptional teams. Here’s why…

1. You gotta be in it to win it

If people don’t know about you, they can’t choose you. 80% of the UK workforce is not actively seeking a new opportunity[1]. They are not combing recruiter sites, company careers pages and LinkedIn for job postings. Instead, 59% of the UK population is active daily on social media, living their lives, spending over 1.5 hours every day browsing facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc[2]. 21% of UK companies have no social media presence at all[3]. They’re not even on the radar of this audience.

Go on to LinkedIn, facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram right now. Is your company present and easy to find? Are you engaging with people as possible candidates, as well as customers?

2. We want to see your true colours, shining through

Gone are the days where a competitive salary, a flash company car and a free bar at the Christmas party would lure talent your way. The world is (thankfully) changing around us, and with it the expectations people have of the world of work. Here are just a few of the factors that unique and brilliant people might use to choose their next company:

  • Meaningful, satisfying work.
  • Flexible working patterns.
  • Minimising environmental and maximising social impact.
  • Workplaces that resemble giant soft-play centres for adults.
  • Fun, inspiring leadership and a strategy built on human values.

67% of jobseekers use social media to research company culture[4]. And to attract them, you need to showcase an authentic story of life chez vous. They need to understand what your company is about, meet the people, and to feel a connection with their own values and aspirations. True connections build over time, and become part of everyday life – this is where social media can be hugely powerful.

Take 15 minutes to think about why people love working at your company. Now go onto social media and look at the story you present to potential candidates. Are they aligned?

3. You-niverse

If there’s one thing that social media has brought into sharp focus, it’s that I am the centre of my own universe. Regardless of whether anyone else will be remotely interested in what I’m eating for dinner / my views on international politics / the trick I’ve just taught my dog, I shall still share it all with my nearest and dearest 500 facebook friends. Because I think it’s funny. And it’s MY world.

So how does this relate to candidate engagement? Well, it’s all about relevance – personalising the experience with each candidate so they feel valued and understood. Allowing them to explore the aspects of a role or company that specifically interest them, rather than pushing generic content. The National Offenders Management Service displayed this brilliantly in their award-winning ‘Is it in you to be a prison officer?’ campaign: 80+ pieces of content addressing all aspects of the role, highly-targeted facebook ads, and a community manager building a live dialogue with candidates.

Many companies can feel uncomfortable with this – concerns around losing control of the brand message can prevail, as can worries around the resource required to produce and manage relevant and engaging content. But the risks of NOT personalising the experience for your talent pool are far higher. Social media offers the tools and forums to engage one-on-one. And if you’re not doing it, you can be sure your competitors are.

Review your company’s recruitment facebook and Twitter feeds. How often are candidates posting to you? How personalised are the responses?

Social media is the playground of today’s workforce. Use it wisely, beyond job postings, and you build a community of talent who understand your company and want to be a part of it. Ignore it, and you leave the field clear for other players.


[1] Robert Walters whitepaper, ‘Using Social Media In The Recruitment Process’

[2] We Are Social, ‘Digital, Social & Mobile in 2015

[3] Robert Walters whitepaper, ‘Using Social Media In The Recruitment Process’

[4] Robert Walters whitepaper, ‘Using Social Media In The Recruitment Process’

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