Employer brands are one of those things that you don’t have to believe in for them to exist. If you think that you don’t have an employer brand you would be wrong. And it is likely to mean that there’s room to improve the one you’ve got.

Employer branding as a concept has gained currency in recent years but really it’s just another word for reputation. The main difference is that it’s easier than ever for prospective hires to get an advance idea of what it’s like to work for your company.

More than Tweeting jobs

Wherever you, your colleagues or employees appear online whether it’s your company Facebook page, a Twitter conversation, or a Linkedin profile, you’re talking to two audiences: customers and talent. While this makes some small businesses nervous, it’s actually a huge opportunity.

You don’t have to have the big bucks of corporations like General Electric to market your employer brand ( which they do very nicely ). Hiring is marketing but it doesn’t have to be done on prime time television. Digital platforms offer an affordable and potentially enormous reach.

Here are three things to keep in mind:

  • 1
    Show don’t tell: use platforms like Instagram to show your team and your workplace
  • 2
    Involve your team: they are your best advocates
  • 3
    Be nimble: you don’t have lumbering corporate brand guidelines to navigate, try new things and be responsive!
Mini Case Study: Shapeways

Shapeways, the 3-D printing marketplace, make their brand plain: We’re changing the way the world thinks about mass manufacturing. We're a smart, engaged, fun team that gets to work with the coolest cutting-edge technology every single day. With offices in NYC, the Netherlands and Seattle, we're bringing together passionate people who want to change the future. Our mission is to bring out the creative maker in everyone, and believe everyone has the power to be a creator.

In many ways the traditional strengths of smaller businesses such as personal relationships, approachability and smaller teams are well suited to social media, which rewards authenticity and responsiveness.

Feeling unsure what your employer brand is? Give yourself one minute to describe it on a piece of paper or a whiteboard. Stuck? Get some of your core team together and brainstorm on what is unique or special about working for your company as opposed to other similar companies? Is it the people, the mission?

Mervyn Dinnen
Mervyn Dinnen @MervynDinnen
Award winning recruiter

The differentiators for job seekers will usually be culture and reputation, and social platforms offer a great opportunity for businesses to bring these to life. As long as you understand why you need to hire, what your new hire will be doing and how their skills and capabilities may develop, and how their role fits in with the overall values and purpose of the business, then recruitment is about having the right conversations with the right people at the right time. And there is no better way to achieve that then through the effective use of social media channels.

Don’t neglect the offline world. Whether it’s campus recruiting fairs ( budget permitting ) events for your industry, professional meetups or local community, be there. You want to hire people and they don’t just gather online. A coffee, a chat or a business card can go a long way.

46% of jobseekers said they’d rather work at a company with fewer than 100 people

jobseekers stats