Social Media 2017: Are the Rules Changing?

Social media rules change fast—there’s no doubt about that.  As platforms evolve, technology improves, and all industries embrace the possibilities, there’s no ignoring the fact that today’s working professionals must learn to leverage social media best practices. Between the many examples of social media fails on the corporate side, and the fact that customers and clients now use social to engage with companies 24/7, organizations that succeed in 2017 will surely need to know how to navigate social media.

Of course, when you consider some of the key issues involved in a company’s social media usage—privacy concerns, brand reputation, and corporate transparency—it’s clear, the stakes are very high.

Let’s explore some of the major ways social media is changing the way we do business:

Fact: Social media is taking once-private information public. 

How transparent is your organization willing to be in social media?

As usage of social media has become almost ubiquitous, citizens, consumers, and industry professionals alike clamoring for more transparency. A big question executives must ask themselves is just how transparent a company should be when it comes to things like internal inner-workings, financials, workplace policies, hiring practices, and employee relations?

Some companies are opting for complete transparency. Take the social media management firm Buffer, as an example, which published the salaries of all employees, as well as other company information like employee diversity breakdown, and company revenue. While total exposure might not be the right solution for your organization, as more businesses embrace this trend, you will need to have a serious conversation about the types of information your stakeholders and prospects will expect to know. You’ll also want clear direction as to where to draw the line in the sand regarding which issues and items must remain confidential.

From a hiring perspective, candidates are already doing research on your company to determine if it’s the right opportunity for them. By utilizing social media channels, you can help to control the messaging, so prospective employees are not relying solely on third-party reviews, which may not always be the most accurate—or positive. The more direct information you can provide, the more likely it is you will cultivate a sense of trust and attract like-minded candidates.

Fact: Companies are using social media to influence.

Have you given your employees the skills and tools to become employee advocates?

It’s no longer enough to have just a career page on your website. When HR and marketing departments work together to empower their workforce to share the company’s story on social media, those employees can become influencers and trusted authorities.

Some questions to consider: Do your hiring managers come across as approachable and knowledgeable on social media? Is your brand message shining through via your employees’ social profiles? If your answers to these questions aren’t a resounding yes—you may have some catching up to do to get your management team on board with social.

And not just the managers. Encouraging staff members at every level to promote your company brand on social helps expand your influence in the industry. As reported by HootSuite, content shared by employees gets eight times more engagement than content shared by brand channels. Allowing your staff to take the reins can successfully expand your reach and attract new followers.

Fact: Social media as recruiting tool is here to stay.

Is your message consistent, and is your company culture highlighted?

According to Jibe’s State Of Employer Branding survey, 88 percent of respondents said that social media was already part of their employer branding strategy. But just dabbling on LinkedIn or sending out the occasional tweet isn’t going to help you stand out. It’s important to work with marketing to develop a coherent social media content strategy, so that prospective candidates get an accurate glimpse into what your company culture is all about.

Being able to depict your workplace as one in which employees are engaged by sharing a look inside your office space and spotlighting different roles can help outsiders understand the company values and the story behind the brand.

Social media is no longer something that concerns only your corporate communications and marketing teams. The perception of your business by potential talent has everything to do with the social media policies and best practices you help put in place. By choosing the right level of transparency, becoming industry influencers, and shaping and spreading your message, you can make the latest HR social media trends work for you.

Photo Credit: Hytechpro Flickr via Compfight cc

This article was first published on V3Broadsuite.