In an effort to create a brand that truly stands out from the crowd, the pressure is on to uncover the secret formula that skyrockets audience engagement. Much like you and I decide upon the brands we want to buy from or work for, your audience makes the same decisions based on what you showcase about your brand. The bad news about this is that, unfortunately, you won't find an "A to B" roadmap to the perfect brand, but the good news is you can constantly improve it and make the process of reaching your strategic goals a lot easier.
Having a solid foundation to build your own framework upon is great help, so from the Oracle brand experience, here are 10 lessons that will help you both shape and improve your tailor-made brand approach:
10. Start with a content strategy
So you're getting ready for the office, it's getting late and you can't find that favorite shirt of yours. You know it's somewhere in the house, but because you haven't been keeping things organized, you simply can't find it. In the end, you settle down to wearing that half-ironed shirt your mother gave you on your birthday which you hate, but you wear it anyway because that's all you can find.
Applying that to your content strategy works similarly: if you don't prioritize the information you provide, your audience might end up looking at the "ugliest shirt" from your company. That's why relying on a content strategy and not spamming your audience with irrelevant information is key. Content calendars can make this easier in terms of keeping your information organized.
9. Build your brand on real employee stories
Just ask yourself: would you buy a house without examining each and every corner of it first? In all fairness, probably not. So if you're aiming to reach out to people and attract them with your employer brand, maybe you can show them an inside scoop of what's happening in your company. You're probably already working with smart employees that have truly fun and interesting lives, so why not showcase that?
When we wanted to tell real stories behind the Oracle brand, we relied on Facebook posts that talked about our team members, their passions, interests and who they really are as people, not necessarily as employees.
Forget about selling the position, talk about teams, environment and the real faces behind the scenes. If you're looking to start a conversation with your audience, you wouldn't want to overlook introducing yourself.
8. Stop talking and start communicating
Having one-way conversations with your audience is just like asking a person that's never going to be interested in your position for an interview. It's simply never going to work out…for either of you. In branding terms, the equivalent would be the reliance on a standardized, corporate tone that nobody relates to. It's true that you can remain loyal to your brand while still being able to build a humanized voice that speaks to the public and the shortcut to achieving that is none other than quality presentation.
When working with social media channels, there's more to engagement than simply using the right image size within each platform. Forget about stock photography and leverage your best resource - your team. Even if it's commonly known that the life span of a tweet, for example, evolves around 5 to 8 minutes, you still need to pay close attention to each and every post. Ask yourself basic questions such as - would you click on the link and read the article? Would you spend time to read that bit of info you just posted?
7. Be authentic
This is a tough one, but it's definitely achievable, especially through targeted messages. As a brand dedicated to finding people from all over the world, you must consider the realities in each and every target group. As there are differences across jobs, countries, and cultures, you need to adapt your message to specific audiences.
Also, don't hesitate to get creative with the resources you have. You've got the freedom to use all media opportunities to build your message. For example, use rich media to boost engagement on your LinkedIn career page, or design fun posts to lighten up the atmosphere on your social channels. At Oracle, for instance, we saved the Career Blog for more fun and friendly posts that are informative all at once.
6. Leverage employee-generated content
If you're hungry for fresh content, take a closer look at the people you work with on a day-to-day basis. Consider employees use social channels frequently on their own and look for ways to channel that into your employer brand strategy. Whether it's retweeting their posts, taking team photos or making fun videos, employees hold the key to original content that will open many future hiring doors for new candidates in your company.
ITProPortal revealed that 75% of C-level and IT Professionals believe that "the capability to easily incorporate video into all of the organizations' tools/applications will play an important role in the near future." So this is your chance to rev up your personalized content.
5. Equip your employees to be brand advocates
The emphasis for relying on your team in order to get better social engagement is worth repeating, because in the digital age, every employee is a potential point of contact for future hires. It's also the most dynamic and cost-effective approach to sending your brand message further. If your brand ambassadors can't see the appeal in contributing, then you probably haven't pitched your strategy right. A solid message comes with a team that solidly believes in it, so take the opportunity to involve as many people from your team as you can in the process.
4. Don't be a brand narcissist
I'm sure you're tired of reading and hearing the same old sales buzz words over and over as much as your audience is. And with a creative market that's constantly growing, it's almost a shame to miss out on that rich variety of industry resources. Think about what information your audience would look for and not just about your company. Whether it's international news, blogs or interesting industry articles, take a break from sales oriented strategies and think more about what people would actually enjoy reading.
3. Ask for feedback and be ready to adapt
The toughest part of any process within branding is reviewing the final product and improving upon what didn't work out. Asking for feedback is essential, but you should also be ready to adapt to it. Whether it comes via internal or external avenues, keep in mind that social means dynamic and being flexible will be the right answer to being a leader in your industry. Use channels where people can provide feedback, such as we did with Glassdoor for Oracle.
Stick to your brand values and core attributes, but be open to change. Consider the possibility to both improve and promote your content on channels that your audience would look into.
2. Be data driven
The best way to achieving great branding success is to keep track of it. All social channels offer you strong insights about the content you post, so all you have to do is be there to check them out and build adapt your strategy direction according to them. Monitor metrics such as follower growth, impressions, engagement, and click-through rates for a better understanding of the impact of your efforts. Do more of what's working well and keep learning from what doesn't.
1. If you fail, try again!
I've kept the number one lesson to building a great employer brand for last because you need to first accomplish the steps above in order to ensure that you've indeed done your very best. You can try and fail, but don't fail to try. Making mistakes is part of our human nature, but it's also what makes the learning process happen. Don't dismiss your efforts just because results keep you waiting. Instead, push the envelope and don't miss out on the success that could've happened if only you had tried once more…