4 Social Media Missteps That Can Shatter an Employer’s Credibility

By Ngan Pham

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Social media is nothing if not a double-edged sword, and as such, it should be handled with care.

In today’s climate, it is very much established that social media is an especially efficient way for employers to connect with potential job candidates. More than ever candidates are using social media to find the employers they want.

When building a social media presence, it’s especially important to position your brand with engaging content that will attract potential candidates. Too many companies stumble in distinguishing themselves from the herd, but that can be remedied with sharp connectivity.

To get a better understanding of these fatal stumbles, I’ve surveyed a group of 20 Millennials on what they’d like to see from employers on social media. From their responses, here are the top 4 social media branding mistakes that employers typically make.


1. Inactivity

Irregular and stagnant social media accounts are probably the most widespread offender, and it hits hard. Justin, one of our respondents and an insights analyst at IRI Worldwide, offered,

“A strong social media presence makes it seem like [companies] are legit.”

Active use of social media can go far toward establishing an employer’s credibility. Conversely, maintaining a dead-looking social media account as the face of a company can make an employer seem somewhat traditional and in extreme cases like a fly-by-night operation.

Luckily, keeping an active social media presence doesn’t mean keeping someone posting to Facebook and Twitter 24/7. It’s actually quite easy to implement tools for planning out posts in advance and managing profiles across multiple networks.


2. Tone-Deaf Posting

An assistant in acquisitions at the Joseph Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago offers:

“If [companies] post annoying ads or have ‘old people-like’ replies, I tend to avoid seeing more and block all the ads.”

This problem may be obvious, but it is still a chronic issue for many employers. Far too many companies jump onto social media without a definitive understanding of what their target audience wants to see and end up alienating their base.

This leads to the bottom line: what do potential candidates want to see on employers’ social media? My survey’s respondents generally liked companies that did an excellent job of displaying themselves as both businesses and employers on social media. Alex, a product manager at Dell, leads us down this strategy:

“[Companies] should use social media to prove thought leadership. Consulting firms tend to do this well by publishing articles and insights. Google is another one that does this well. Giving away some knowledge to prove thought leadership seems to be an effective … tool.”

Sharing knowledge can go a long way toward making your company stand out as a leading organization and a reputable employer. This kind of strategy can include maintaining an interactive blog, establishing solid press connections, and simply sharing content that provides value.

If you’ve crafted your content, your next objective should be fine-tuning your presentation. Solid social media engagement demands consistency. SAP focuses primarily on consistency in their social media strategy, which requires clearly-defined specific goals and standards. After establishing said goals and standards, the company will constantly refine their process to ensure that they reach their target audience.


3. Dishonesty

Now that we’ve built up a social media identity, let’s bring it back down to earth. Nick, an assistant product line manager at Nalco Champion warns,

“[Content] has to be accurate and authentic. A company should be careful not to create a dual persona with its online personality. If a company embellishes their workplace culture, past successes, stature within an industry, etc. it will catch up to them with the same way it does with a new hire who lied on his resume. With social media, nothing is 'off the record'...”

Employers should use social media to display themselves positively, and remain as transparent and consistent as possible.

A classic dilemma of where dishonesty becomes an issue is negative reviews. It might be tempting to respond to a negative review on Glassdoor or Yelp by fabricating a dozen glowing ones, but more than a few people will smell something fishy. On less anonymous sites like Twitter and Reddit, accounts created just to handle PR disasters can be painfully obvious. As Nick said above, lies tend to have major repercussions, especially on the Internet.


4. Just Showing, Not Interacting

Social media works best as an interactive platform. Erica, a technical support manager at Argos Risk, noted,

“The social media experience provides a more interactive approach to engaging customers that just traditional print ads or commercials.”

It’s worthwhile for employers to devote a few minutes each day to interacting on social media. This kind of consistent branding offers your company a support structure that, when crafted lovingly, will compliment your business for years to come.


In Conclusion

Social media maintenance might seem to be a daunting prospect, but it can actually be quite fun. When done with care, it’s an undeniably potent stream that connects you directly to your audience. Have no worry, and take charge of your social media marketing with the value it takes to succeed. 

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