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Are you planning to jump on the HR-marketing wheels again after summer holidays? In this post, I will share you a few tips how to get started again.

The Modern Employer Brand is a product of planned and systematic HR-marketing. Nobody starts branding from the branding level as to become a brand, there needs to be a reason for emotional connectionbetween the brand and a member of it’s audience.

So if your employing company has no real employer brand yet, it’s time to focus on building awareness first. Now, don’t stumble on a business brand or a product brand. We all know what BMW stands for as a brand, but is BMW a workplace for you?How do they work at BMW? What is their real culture? What do they promise to their customers and how does that impact how they do work at BMW? And how do their employees feel about BMW as a workplace? Is it a great place to work for now and in long term? I don’t know. To be honest, I’ve never ever come across BMW employer brand marketing, but I am currently a BMW owner. (Not that kind of idiotic one though.)

There is a difference between building a brand and building employer image and employer awareness. Therefore your real objective needs to be clear so that you know what types of activities to spend resources on. And yes, part of your audience could already be ready for the emotional connection when some of them have no idea about you. So you also need to start learning about your target audiences. But that’s another topic to talk about.

Getting started on the HR-marketing activities

I know how easy it is to jump on the Random Acts of Marketing bandwagon. (I love that name for adhoc tactical marketing activities I’ve loaned plenty of times from a lady called @PamMoore, a social media marketer behind @MarketingNutz.)

Adhoc activities take as much time as planned ones, but unfortunately we have no idea whether they were time well spent. Without planning we tend not to know a first thing about how success looks like to us, in that specific situation. So a bonus tip: Refuse from random craziness and start investing that time into planned activities. You will soon look much more professional HR marketer than you already are!

4 tips for activating HR-marketing

(1) Find out or take in front of you the recruiting goals for the coming autumn

Your target audiences, those profiles making those people are what we focus on. The people you need to reach, to get their attention, to influence their thinking about your business and get them to action (eventually) the way you need them to is your focus and defines the following:

  • Content: What you talk about (topics), how you talk about (tone of voice)
  • Key media you will spend you time on
  • Goals for your HR-marketing activities

I recommend you to focus your time and money on those target audiences you guys need to hire this autumn and during the first quarter of next year.

No recruitment in the horizon? Focus then evenly on those target audiences that are the most difficult for you to hire when the hiring need comes.

Short budget vs. lot of needs?

Quite often we need to choose between a one thing and another. Because of the budget. I’ve not yet met one company (in Finland or Scandinavia) that actually had enough budget and resources allocated to target allof their target audiences. So don’t feel embarrassed in front of this very typical situation.

How to choose audiences? I would personally go after the most challenging one or alternatively the audience we hire the most over time. It’s always better to focus on one or two audiences than try to split little budget between a lot of audiences and not influence anyone. Over time these other audiences will mostly likely hear about your company and start paying attention. And the good thing is, we learn. And as we learn we spend less and less time on the HR-marketing tasks which enables us to add more audiences.

If you are a Finnish speaker, my Finnish weekly podcast (Vaikuttava Työnantajabrändi -podcast) talks about this topic in episode 55 and how to target your audiences. Find the podcast at http://emine.fi/podcast55.

(2) Staring the HR-marketing and choosing your key media

Your company most likely has some social media channels and other recruitment channels already in the books. The next step is to select and focus on those channels and media that are used by the target audience(s) you just defined as your focus audiences.

We have a tendency to select for example social media we personally like and are active in. Or not choose social media at all if we personally dislike social media. However, here we need to remember this is really very little about us and quite a lot about the target audiences.

We can only impact our audiences if we are present where they are present.

Today social media marketing is not about copy pasting the same content to all the social media. Please remember this. Each social media has quite a different “persona” and their users use them for different purposes. For example Linkedin has a professional persona. People are here to search for professional solutions, be it information, new customers or new jobs. Sharing cat videos on Linkedin – even if it was the office cat doing funny tricks – it’s very out of place. Same goes for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Another thing is the algorithm. The algorithm does not love marketers who steal their users away. This is the reason I am writing this post on the Linkedin platform and not posting a link to my blog. These types of technical and behavioral factors either help us or don’t. So it’s good to learn more about behavior, social media differences and the algorithm.

Doing HR-marketing right and optimizing your effectiveness and results is a time consuming job. So best do it right from the beginning.

(3) Content marketing plan or Content calendar

The next phase is to define your HR-marketing plan. The reason I am posting this on Linkedin, i.e. social media is because social media marketing is just so much more cost effective than any other type of marketing. And since we most likely are battling with shortage in the resources department, we are going to focus our time and effort into social media marketing. Let’s for that reason call our plan a content marketing plan or a content calendar.

This plan is super important, because:

  • It guides how we spend our time
  • Helps us to take our many ideas into execution
  • Helps us to plan ahead

You don’t really need anything but an excel, but a Trello Boardis also very good for this type of work. And it’s free too.

Again, if you are a Finnish speaker, here’s a source of inspiration by our Siiri on the Emine company blog: An Instagram content marketing plan.

HR-marketing is not only about sharing blog posts on social media. It’s also about:

  • Content ideation and content creation
  • Editing and repurposing content to meet expectations in different social media
  • Interacting with your followers and those you’d like to follow your account
  • Following analytics, learning from your analytics and adapting your content marketing plan in line with what you learn.
  • Reporting ROI – return on investment.

A good plan takes into account all these other tasks that an effective HR-marketing consists of. But you can not do HR-marketing without active content production.

Hyvä suunnitelma ottaa huomioon myös tämän kaiken muun HR-markkinointiin kuluvan ajan. HR-markkinointia ei voi tehdä ilman aktiivista sisällöntuotantoa.

(4) Starting

Ideating and planning is often easier than the actual execution. That’s why the plan and also sharing tasks between more people is super important. With a plan you can also follow how much time your plan is taking and if you really have enough hands to cover everything. If not, then you adapt and plan a little bit less.

Weekly discussion and analysis over your social media analytics is important. It’s not about seeing what went wrong but about learning what really works and then doing some more of that. It’s a fantastic way to learn!

Okey, off you go!

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