Social Marketing Pays Dividends

Shereen Low

The Dominion Post spoke to me earlier this year about the rise of social media activities amongst employers. Here is the article reproduced courtesy of The Dominion Post (I personally would have titled it “Social Media Marketing Pays Dividends”…).

New Zealand companies are increasingly interacting on social media to jostle for in-demand candidates, says Madison Recruitment’s Shereen Low.

Madison’s latest trends report shows there’s more awareness around social media activities and use of these activities as part of the recruitment process. And its brand integrity manager says it’s all to do with sourcing and attracting candidates with the right skillsets. ‘‘Companies must cast their nets wide and if a fit with organisational culture and shared values is important then social media is one of the means to this end,’’ says Ms Low. ‘‘When nearly half of the population is on Facebook, spending on average 311 minutes per month, you go to where the people are.

‘‘But it really isn’t about Facebook or Twitter or any specific social media channel, it’s about engagement and conversation,’’ says Ms Low. ‘‘When we spend so much of our lives at work, a job hunter will pick an employer they can identify with over one that feels inaccessible to them. ‘‘When an employer makes themselves accessible to a job hunter from the convenience of their computer or immediacy of their smart phone, they have the advantage of building a connection much earlier than the face-to-face meeting, thereby influencing their decision to vie for the job.’’Social Marketing

Ms Low gives the example of an Auckland based client in the boating industry, which gave job candidates the chance to engage with its brand before being shortlisted for an interview. Madison created a short video for the client showcasing its product, workplace and had its recruiter talking with a current staff member, who had started out as sales and marketing co-ordinator but had progressed through the company. ‘‘We were able to reach passive candidates via YouTube and the video gave immediate insight into what it is like to work for the company, what a typical day is and who they would be working with,’’ says Ms Low.

Social media is also helpful in the job hunting process, with another client in the travel industry tweeting about a job vacancy. With more than 6000 followers on Twitter, the client received 100 applications for a call centre role.

Then there’s the companies that embed videos into online job ads, or include a QR code in print ads that direct people straight to digital content. ‘‘If the company’s reputation, culture and ‘voice’ matters to the individual then they will check this all out before they apply and/ or during the recruitment process. So it is important to ‘be found’,’’ says Ms Low.

Deloitte NZ is another perfect example, boasting an award-winning social media strategy that includes interactive shows hosted on its Facebook page where fans (prospective graduate and intern hires) can listen to current graduates’ experiences, type in questions and get immediate answers during the show.

‘‘Often the number of job applications an employer receives won’t come directly via social media, but social media as a channel has an influence,’’ says Ms Low. ‘‘Along with referrals, the company website and recruiting leaders, social media helps an applicant decide whether or not to progress in the recruitment process.’’

Ms Low says companies are leaning toward this method of communicating, simply because Kiwis have a natural propensity towards it. In fact 96 per cent of internet users are active in social media, compared with 83 per cent globally, and though the average Kiwi would shy away from being filmed, almost 60 per cent visit YouTube. ‘‘These statistics are hard to ignore, and companies understand social media has a part to play in fostering brand ambassadors and tapping into the power of ‘word of mouth’. ‘‘After all, they say its two degrees of separation in New Zealand. It is therefore a logical next step to consider employer brand in conjunction with wider brand activities,’’ says Ms Low.

Madison is also increasingly using social media channels to engage with clients and candidates. It launched a ‘‘Connect’’ web page at the start of this year to give viewers a snapshot of its activities. As Ms Low says, there are many ways to communicate employer brands and current vacancies, it’s simply about picking a combination of methods to build that brand in the short and long term. ‘‘Think about the types of employees you would hire, and figure out where their hub of activity is – if it’s online then firms need to consider putting resources into establishing and maintaining an online presence.

‘‘However, don’t jump in if it can’t be maintained. Some would argue it’s better not to have a social media presence than a stagnant one.’’

When thinking about online activity consider the following:


  • Establish who you are trying to reach out to – customers, future staff members. Think about content that will be relevant and engaging.
  • Share the essence of your company culture. Be authentic – everyone can recognise a ‘‘sanitised’’ version.
  • Decide on the tone of voice and be consistent.
  • Respond to questions or comments in a timely manner.
  • Get current staff members involved (not just the marketing team). Referrals are a major source of hire.


  • Don’t communicate in a formal tone – social media is about ‘‘humanising’’ the company.
  • Don’t be long winded. Where static websites often come across as an information brochure, social media is about conversation.
  • Don’t start just because it’s ‘‘free’’. Ensure you have the resources to keep social media channels current.
  • Don’t just post job alerts.
  • Don’t let unfamiliarity or bashfulness stop you. Recruiting leaders need to be personally listening and learning. It will assist with their own personal brands – one of the determining factors in whether the candidate says ‘‘yes’’.