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Sept. 15, 2022

What is Employer Branding and Why Is It Important to Marketers?

What is Employer Branding and Why Is It Important to Marketers?

As we market our brands on social media, we might get asked by some of our colleagues if somehow we can promote their job openings on our channels.

With the continued tight labor market, social media actually gives marketers a golden opportunity to implement inbound marketing not just for your own brand, but for your employer brand as well.

Learn all about this concept of employer branding and why it is critical for marketers to understand.

Key Highlights

[02:47] Looking At Employer Branding

[04:46] Four Types of Media

[05:47] The Idea of Employee Advocacy

[07:33] Case Studies

[11:19] My Thoughts On Branding

[13:02] How Much Can Brands Control Their Branding?

[13:28] The Heart of Employer Branding

[16:20] Employer Branding Statistics

[18:36] The Value of Employer Branding

[20:42] How Social Media Can Help in Strengthening Employer Branding

[22:15] Ways to Leverage Employees As Influences for Your Employer Brand

Notable Quotes

  • Every time we engage with a customer, every employee is in essence advocating for us, right? They're a brand ambassador. 
  • A brand is a name, term designed symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's goods or service, as distinct from those of other sellers.
  • The goal with branding is to make sure that perception is the one, you want people to have a view.
  • It's up to you to shape how you want people to feel you always have to be proactive about your branding, to always be sculpting in a way that you want people to consider your brand.
  • At the end of the day, when people share experiences about your product on social media, that is often going to define our perception of your brand.
  • Your company also has a second brand related to its primary brand about how you're viewed as an employer. This is your employer brand and it lives and breathes in the minds and hearts of your former current and future employees.
  • Without an employer brand, and many of you may not even have one, if you've never invested in it, it becomes difficult and costly, to hire and retain the best employees and you need, you need the best employees to advance your company.
  • So the employer brand, which is it really should talk about your reputation as well, is a living and breathing entity that you need to continually invest into both hire and retain.
  • But the same with marketing your product, it's all about how you want to be perceived in the marketplace, and using targeted messages to attract the customers you want.

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Neal Schaffer:

Employer Branding. It's a term that maybe you've heard it before. But what exactly is it? What is its relationship to marketing? And why is it more and more important for us to understand? That is what we're going to unravel on this next episode of The your digital marketing coach podcast. Do digital social media content influencer marketing, blogging, podcasting, blogging, tick talking LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, SEO, SEM, PPC, email marketing, whew. There's a lot to cover. Whether you're a marketing professional entrepreneur, or business owner, you need someone you can rely on for expert advice. Good thing you've got Neil, on your side, because Neal Schaffer is your your digital digital marketing marketing coach, helping you grow your business with digital first marketing one episode at a time. This is your digital marketing coach. And this is Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, Neal Schaffer, here. I am your digital marketing coach. Welcome to my podcast. If you're a new listener here, I cover a wide variety of topics. Recently, I've sort of summarized these topics as digital slash content slash influencer slash social media marketing. But I think that gives you a idea of the broad areas in which I have expertise in which I cover as well as my guests who appear 50% of the time on this podcast, I believe that there is no one right or wrong way to any of this. It's all based on experience. And diversity is always going to provide better ideas for everybody. So that is why I work hard to find guests that can offer a lot of value, to and complement with various experiences, different experiences that I have the advice that I offer you. So today is going to be a solo episode. And it is going to cover a topic that you might not hear a lot about in marketing podcasts, or marketing blogs. Because at the heart of it, employer branding, is really an initiative for HR. However, this is a topic that's come up a lot over the last few weeks, just this week, I was in a meeting for the Global Advisory Committee for the Digital Marketing Institute, which I'm a proud member of the advisory committee, and I am on a committee that talks about the latest in trends that marketers need to be made aware of. Now, I can't go into the details of what we talk about. But I will say that there were, you know, fortune 500 CMOS, that also took part in the conversation, as well as the folks in Digital Marketing Institute who work with a number, obviously, of corporations and their leaders. And of all the trends. Employer Branding was one that really summarized a lot of the things that we see in marketing, as being important to address for our success and marketing going forward. And it's really the success of our business. Well, let me give you another perspective. As you know, I do a lot of business in Japan, and recently from multiple Japanese companies. Another way of looking at this is they said, Yes, we need help with our social media marketing, we want to better market to Gen Z. But more importantly, Japan is facing a population shrinkage similar to Korea, and similar to what you see in Western Europe. And it is getting harder and harder to find talent. So they also want to use social media as a way to engage this younger generation. And also as a way to, you know, get known by them become a place where they would want to work. So often, when we talk about employer branding, the channel, which is implemented in order to brand the company, to be attractive to potential employees, is social media. And often they're using the same channels. That's you and I use for marketing. So that's sort of the overlap. Now, before we go into Employer Branding, I have talked about this a few times in the podcast, about employee advocacy, employee influencer, this concept of leveraging our employees as really representatives of our company. And maybe that's another good way to lead into this topic of employer branding. Because, well, I think it was seven or eight years ago, there was a pretty influential article in the Content Marketing Institute blog. I forget the author, but he put up basically this Venn diagram, which had owned media paid media earned media, this is something that we should all be aware of. Own the media is our website, our social media channels. Paid media is how advertisements earn media is really when influencers in the media talk about us. Now, obviously, there's an overlap between those three as well, with boosting posts, and obviously incentivizing influencers to talk about you. But he also had a fourth type of media, which was employed media, which is that more and more employees are on social media, and more and more their media has more and more value more and more influence. And this notion of employee advocacy actually goes back to before the days of social media, I think it was the CEO of Honeywell, who like in the 1970s said that, you know, every time we engage with a customer, every employee is in essence advocating for us, right? They're a brand ambassador. So really the idea of employee advocacy, and sometimes it's called employee engagement, which is a broader term. But it's all about systematically leveraging your employees voice and social media. And often the objective is marketing. And if you've ever seen me speak on this, one of the things or the quotes, I should say, that I'd love to share is Nathan Egan. Now, Nathan Egan is no longer he, and he's no longer CEO of people links, because it's a company that is no longer available. I believe he she sold off the company. But he said back in the day, and I quote him, because I think there's just a, quote, compelling quote, that really talks about this value, as your organization has 1000s of websites, not just one, employees are the long tail of your brand identity. So if you have 100 employees, and on their social media profiles, they put that they work at your company, whenever they do something on social media, they are indirectly representing your company, right? This is the way it works. People see their comment, they look at their headline, oh, they work at such and such company. That must be what a lot of people at that company think or maybe this is what the company is about. It is these indirect correlations that we as people read into social media the same way we read social proof numbers, like number of followers, or number of likes, or perceived influence, right? This is all at a psychological level. But needless to say that if you have employees, and this, as you can imagine, is especially impactful on LinkedIn, because this might be the only place where your employees say where they work, they're not going to do it on a Facebook or Instagram or Tiktok, although some might. But that is really why a lot of employee advocacy programs have focused on LinkedIn, because that's where people talk about their companies and themselves professionally. What is really compelling, though, for marketers, is, for instance, one of these case studies that I like to show comes from people links, because they used to have technology when LinkedIn opened up their API's a little bit more than they do today, where they could tap in and they realized looking at Prudential Financial back in the time, that they had 15,000 employees that their employees had an average of 160 plus connections. And therefore, if there was no overlap, which there obviously is, but if there was no overlap, and every employee shared a LinkedIn message, it might reach 2.4 million LinkedIn connections. That's the math that a lot of marketers look at and say, Wow, that is huge. That is bigger than what my company page can reach. And that would cost a lot of money to do that through paid ads. Let's put together an employee advocacy program, let's get our employees to share our marketing content. This is really the heart of it. And there's some other interesting data here that I want to share with you. And like I said this, this is a lead into employer brand name. But I want you to look at the history because this is really where I think a lot of us started in terms of leveraging our employees and social media is two data points. content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement than content shared by brands, like know and trust. We like know and trust people's faces rather than corporate logos, an overwhelming majority of the time. And consumers trust a company's employees three times more than the company's leaders. Well, this is why the company's leaders really should be on social media. I talked about this in that episode about employee influencers. And that was episode number 169. How to Leverage your employees as influencers. I published this way back in July 15 2020. After recently publishing the age of influence back then, but I also followed up last year, June 17 2021, with the unique relationship between employer branding, employee advocacy, personal branding, and almost everything else in marketing. So I guess this is your annual update. Looking at timing of these, which I did not plan. Obviously this happened organically. But getting back to you know what I'm talking about. So definitely listen to those two episodes for some further depth on this. And some of the stats I also shared on one or both of those podcasts. But there's also very little overlap between the followers of a company and the followers of an employee. This stats come from Twitter, but Dell and Cisco found that the overlap between company followers and followers of employees were eight and 2%, respectively. And one last one coming from IBM, IBM shared promotional content to generate leads to close business, when the same content was shared by employee experts with landing pages that had the faces of these employee experts, they were dedicated to them. This is how they measured it, they had seven times more conversion than the same content share by IBM. And obviously, you can imagine that that got a lot of visibility and a lot of clicks as well. But there was the employee experts that got the conversion. So that's really where we start with this notion of marketers always wanted to get getting the employees involved. And I think with social selling, which is why a lot of employee advocacy programs begin with the sales team, it makes sense, because the sales, people can actually monetize their influence through additional bonuses, bonuses, and commissions, what have you. So that's sort of the background that I want you to have, in your mind, as I talk about Employer Branding. Now, some of this content actually comes from this recent recording I did for Rutgers Business School, in a course that I'm teaching called the role of social media in marketing and branding. It's part of the mini MBA on brand development, and marketing communications, sort of like a Integrated Marketing Communications course. And before we talk about Employer Branding, I want to share with you sort of my thoughts on branding, it's something I don't talk a lot about on this podcast as well. But when we talk about Employer Branding, we sort of have to define what that brand name looks like. And to me, I mean, the American Marketing Association, whose quotes I love to use, because they are the biggest professional association dedicated to marketers, say a brand is a name, term designed symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's goods or service, as distinct from those of other sellers. So really, the American Marketing Association is talking about branding is really about differentiation. That's sort of my takeaway. Now, what I believe many companies define it as is a brand is how people perceive your product, business, or even you as a person. That's why we have personal branding. The goal with branding is to make sure that perception is the one, you want people to have a view, right? We want people to think of us in a certain way, which is why we do personal branding. And it's why we do it for our companies as well. Now, what's interesting, is the way I believe people see branding, is that even if you're not actively marketing your brand, there is a perception that people have of your company or of you. So that perception is still going to exist or worse, won't exist at all. So it's up to you to shape how you want people to feel you always have to be proactive about your branding, to always be sculpting in a way that you want people to consider your brand. A great quote that I'd like to share, which comes from Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, is brand new, and is what they say about you when you're not in the room. And I think that's really a compelling quote. But here's the esoteric a question that I asked my students and asked as well, with social media, how much can brands control their branding? And this is something I don't think it's talked about enough. And I'd say you can never be 100% in control of your brand. Because at the end of the day, when people share experiences about your product on social media, that is often going to define our perception of your brand, right? So let's get into the heart of it. Let's get into employer branding. So Employer Branding is how you market your company to desire job seekers, I say it is it is marketing, right? It's just the objective is recruitment and retention, not necessarily selling products. And there's a great quote from Sarah Lybrand, who wrote for the LinkedIn company blog, and the LinkedIn company blog actually has a lot of great content about employer branding your company and I quote, your company also has a second brand related to its primary brand about how you're viewed as an employer. This is your employer brand and it lives and breathes in the minds and hearts of your former current and future employees. Now, when I talk about an employee advocacy program, I also talked about the importance of training your employees, and often when I talk about influencer marketing programs, where we bring in, you know, brand ambassador, customers external influence was also talked about bringing in internal employees, and this concept of training and really, you're looking at your employees as employees for life, even if they leave other, they leave your company for greener pasture or they go wherever in the world, they will always positively think about your company, and therefore they're always going to be spreading positive goodwill, and even becoming a person that's going to recommend your company to potential job seekers. Right. So this is really in line with that. And in today's fiercely competitive job market, this strong employer brand is critical. You know, I mentioned the shrinking population, Western Europe, Japan, Korea, even in the United States, we are at historically low unemployment rates. And it is getting hard to find really talented people, especially for those of you who are looking to hire in digital content influencers, social media marketing, it's really hard to find those people, right. So I believe this affects us all, as marketers, if not, for our employer brand, or our real brand, just the fact that we just can't find people, right. So without an employer brand, and many of you may not even have one, if you've never invested in it, it becomes difficult and costly, to hire and retain the best employees and you need, you need the best employees to advance your company. And the best way to find them is to present your company as a fantastic place to work. So some of the inbound marketing, we want to present our company as being experts on something as having lots of customers, lots of people talking about us with user generated content. There is a similarity with employer branding, that we want people should they be looking up our company for jobs, or should they be thinking of a place to work, and they research our company, that they're gonna have a real positive vibe, and they'll want to work for us. So some stats, these all come from talent Lyft, who do like an annual Employer Branding survey of companies. So the importance of employer brand for attracting candidates according to actually this comes from LinkedIn, just looking at the source of this image 75% of candidates research about firm's reputation and employer brand before applying for a job. It makes sense. There's just more and more information on the internet, we research anything and everything these days. So that would make sense that that's in line 83% of employees say that employer brand plays a significant role in their ability to hire talent, this is what's important for us, right 69% of candidates would not accept a job in a firm with a bad reputation. Even if it meant they were still unemployed, which is a powerful stat. I'm gonna share three more stops with you. And those stats I just share with you were the importance for hiring employees. What about retaining employees? What about the PPE already have keeping them happy, making sure that they stay with you as long as possible. 40% less employees leave companies with strong employer brands after first six months of employment that employer brand is a living and breathing thing, not just online, but it really represents your culture offline as well. Here's another one, retaining employees based on their source of application. Those that are referred are retained, the longer they're retained, you know, 45% of people that have worked a long time came from referrals. And once again, this is word of mouth. Same thing with marketing. This is why influencer marketing works, right 33% came from career sites. 22% came from job boards. So there's still 55% of people that are doing the research. And the 45 from refer person are still going to do the research anyway. 83% of employees would leave firms in case of getting an offer from a firm with a better reputation. So the employer brand, which is it really should talk about your reputation as well, is a living, living and breathing entity that you need to continually invest in to both hire and retain. I'm hoping those stats made that really, really clear to you. So you know, the value of employer branding, I just want to go through a few points here just to drive home this fact. But I talked about that important reputation. If you do Employer Branding, right, I'm going to talk about how to do it, you can build a strong company reds reputation, you can win over on the fence candidates. It helps you develop a strong company culture, which improves employee retention, it creates a positive brand perception, which helps persuade others to see your brand favorably. A strong employer brand offsets the need to pay top dollar to employees because they actually want to work for you. You're aligned with their values. You don't need to pay them top salary because of that, right. Doesn't mean you're going to undercut and you know, give them a lowball figure, but I think you know what I mean. It also helps you attract younger candidates between the ages of 18 and 34 Gen Z millennials, who are very active on social media and will look you up on social media. It reduces hiring time because qualified candidates are more likely to accept a job offer from a reputable employer brand. It helps you increase retention. Employees prefer to work in environments where they believe they can thrive. It also helps you attract top talent candidates comparing job offers will consider all factors, including your employer reputation before deciding. So creating a great employer brand, like any other brand is created through effective narrative. It's visual, it's storytelling. It It's a lot of different things. But the same with marketing your product, you know marketing your company. It's all about how you want to be perceived in the marketplace, and using targeted messages to attract the customers you want. And now, as you can imagine, just like satisfied customers are your loyal, loudest allies, satisfied employees are your loudest allies as well, especially in the age of social media. And user generated content. We're similar to brands, employers aren't always fully in control of their own employer brand as well, it is that same concept. And this is where there are a lot of ways that you can obviously, strengthen your employer brand offline. But because this podcast obviously is focused on the online, I want to talk specifically about how social media can help strengthen Employer Branding when done right. So on social media, post images of your work environment and group events, I would ask you, if I was speaking to an audience, how many of you have heard of Duolingo, which is one of these really, really popular tick tock accounts that anyone on Tik Tok knows about. And there's some in the marketing world, if you're involved in tick tock, you probably know about them as well, if you don't know about them, tick tock.com/duolingo I think it's do li NGO, it's like a translating, I don't know if it's a translating app, or translating courses or software in all honesty, but the brand name is really famous, hyper famous and tick tock, and they have a cute mascot character that goes around all these places that they show up. But they also show people average people working there and what it's like, and you get a great sense by watching Duolingo is tick tock as to, you know, what it would be like to work there. And I think they become a very, very attractive company to work at from their tick tock. And this is something that will not easy to replicate. But this is just an example, how a social media marketing presence, when done right can also make your employer brand more positive when you leverage social media, utilizing your employees. So it's leveraging employees as influencers, just like influencer marketing for user generated content, which is going to help your employer branding. And it'll probably help your marketing branding as well. With LinkedIn, you can also create interesting career pages so that candidates can discover more about your working environment. You know, LinkedIn, company pages, and Facebook fan pages are all important. But the career page on LinkedIn is critical. Because that's going to be where especially when you start getting into the managers and executives, that's going to be the place where they're going to go make it interesting, make it so that it connects with people. Here's one let employees serve as your brand ambassadors in social media. So they may discuss their experiences working for you on their own, as well as on your profile. So if some companies have dedicated profiles, for the employer brand, I'm gonna go through that in a second. Or you have a dedicated career page, on LinkedIn career page, Facebook, Twitter, let your employees serve as your brand ambassadors, right, even on your main marketing page, you just never know when someone that is engaging with your content, might just be looking for a job might be your next employee. And then host career day live streams. Yeah, you can do them in person. But host cruder live streams, bringing your employees so that job searches may experience what it's like to work there. And I think these can be done really, really interactive, including your employees. Obviously, these live streams can be repurposed into all sorts of video content that can go up on any and every social media platform that you can think of. So in the b2b, space, b2b enterprise space, where competition is the stiffest. There are companies that are already creating employer branded social media accounts. Two that I would look at one is IBM, they have an account called Life at IBM, go check them out on Instagram. The other Instagram is Microsoft life. These are all feature posts about their employees about where their offices are. It's all employer branding. So for them, they have separated the employer brand social media accounts from their main account. But I would say if you look at different content buckets for your social media content, that employer branding, for many companies should be a bucket. And you may not be posting about it every day. But there are ways to leverage your employees as influences for your employer brand. That's also going to help meet your marketing objectives. So I know this isn't something that might seem directly related to what you do, but I'm hoping since you're still listening, or the end that you see, it's just taking this multifaceted perspective or approach to your social media marketing, that can really help your brand in many ways, including helping your employer branding, which is becoming more and more important, as I alluded to, at the beginning of this presentation. So I'm gonna leave you with those thoughts for today. Something to ponder. I do like to create episodes that are really packed with tactical and actionable advice, and I'm hoping even though branding is normally something that's considered almost esoteric, I'm hoping that you got some solid takeaways here today that you can implement tomorrow. The your digital marketing coach podcast is always about episode by episode giving you something that you can take back to improve the ROI from your marketing activities. And I'm hoping this episode was no different. If you agree with that statement, I am on a mission to get up to 100 reviews on Apple podcasts. I'm getting close to 300 episodes. And I know that there was a time when I took a few years off. So it's been an on and off experience, but I'm really hoping from those fans, and I see you downloading these episodes. That's really my, my humble request for you today. And it doesn't have to be Apple could be Spotify, really help spread the word for this podcast. And you know, talk about it on social media, share a link, whatever it is, I would really appreciate you and please tag me so that I know it was you. If you leave an apple or any podcast review, please ping me and let me know it was used. I can thank you. I appreciate you. Thank you for being a loyal subscriber. If you're not a loyal subscriber yet, please hit that subscribe button. I look forward to speaking with you on the next episode. Until then, remember to always keep your eye on the goal. This is your digital marketing coach Neal Schaffer signing off. You've been listening to your digital marketing coach, questions, comments, requests, links, go to podcast dot Neal schaffer.com. Get the show notes to this and 200 plus podcast episodes and Neal schaffer.com to tap into the 400 Plus blog post that Neal has published to support your business. While you're there, check out Neil's Digital First group coaching membership community if you or your business needs a little helping hand. See you next time on your digital marketing coach.