Instagram: The Next Frontier for Social Recruiting & Employer Branding?

Instagram Social Recruiting & Employer BrandingLast month we were at SHRM and during the closing panel discussion on Social Recruiting, Jeremy Langhams of Expedia mentioned that they were seeing great results from Instagram in their recruitment efforts so when I was on the bus getting into work this morning, I had a browse through Instagram for companies who use it, out of pure nosiness. I found a good few, most notably Starbucks, Nike and Apple. These companies use Instagram to engage their audience about their products, by simply connecting their Twitter to an Instagram account, but Starbucks use theirs for Employer Branding. And it works.

First of all, for those of you who’ve been living under a rock on the moon for the last year, Instagram is an app for smartphones that enhances your photos (through using really cool filters that make you look like a pro behind the lens!) and shares them across Twitter and Facebook. People connect and follow with accounts they like, and can comment, like and share those images too. In the last year, it’s grown in popularity so much that virtually every major fashion magazine has been using it to share images live from Fashion Weeks (amongst many more things) and then it was purchased outright for a monstrous sum of $1 billion by Facebook earlier this summer.

Jeremy “Jer” Langhans (now of Expedia and formerly Employer Brand Manager of Starbucks) set the ball rolling for Starbucks using the photo-sharing platform for recruiting new staff. He knew that pictures could say a thousand words, but taking photos that conveyed his job specs would be a difficult task. So what does one do? He took pictures of the stores, the people in those stores and the products they make, and put them out on Instagram for people to see, like, share, comment upon, and in turn hopefully spur them to consider applying for jobs in Starbucks when they see how cool it is to work there.

How to use Instagram to Recruit Talent

At the moment, Starbucks have one of the largest followings on Instagram, and they use it as their default image-sharing and image-enhancing platforms for all of their social media campaigns. With over 715,000 followers, their images get a truly global reach. Interspersed amongst the images of coffee are images of the stores, the Baristas who work at Starbucks and corporate sponsored promotions like links with Maroon5 and the ever popular “Pick of the Week” free iTunes downloads cards. All of the things that are considered the lifeblood, the culture and the cool things about Starbucks.

According to Jer, the Instagram photos have made an impact on recruiting for Starbucks, giving the company a much more fun image and turning what was in the past considered an uncool job into a great place to want to work.

This is exactly what good employer branding is there to do!

So how can your company use Instagram to recruit? Well if you already use Twitter and Facebook for careers advice about your company, then simply connect an Instagram account to your Twitter and Facebook and start sharing great photos of your company, from what your people do, where the office is, activities that go on at the office, products and services made by your company the list is endless! And true to what Jer said, a picture speaks a thousand words! OK, so you may be already posting photos on Facebook and Twitter but the quality of the photos from Instagram are second to none and put quite simply, they look gorgeous when you mess around with some of the built in filters. Worst case scenario, it enhances your other social media efforts and best case, a whole new audience of brand advocates can discover you on their social network of choice, Instagram.

In the spirit of this, we’ve started an Instagram account for Social Talent! From it, we’ll be sharing photos of our Webinars, our training sessions and conferences we’re attending. If you’d like, follow us on Instagram!

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