If You’re Not Using Social Media to Build Your Gen Z Brand, You’re Missing Out

The proliferation of internet capable devices, global internet access and social media has been creating a virtual space that is still relatively untapped by HR.

According to a 2016 Pew Research study only 13% of Americans do not use the internet, which means 278 million Americans do; 70% of the U.S. population use social media. That alone is a compelling reason for HR and business leaders to leverage social media to not only engage current employees but to also strategically position their organization to capture future talent.

I have written about both millennials and the next American workforce, Generation Z in previous articles for TLNT. The individuals who comprise Gen Z are true digital natives and are active on social media long before they can legally drive. We as business leaders, need to fully engage the current generation, and ensure that we are positioned to engage the next generation of both employees and customers.

Social media branding is free

Leveraging social media is especially attractive – or should be – to small- and mid-sized organizations with little or even no budget for brand building. Social media is free. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and LinkedIn all offer free memberships. I believe as HR and business leaders we need to implement aggressive social media campaigns to maximize the messaging and branding of our organizations.

Let’s look at some numbers here. LinkedIn has an astounding 467 million members, of which 133 million are in the U.S. It’s a professional network, heavily used by recruiters, posting job ads and also sourcing candidates directly. Competition here is keen, so why stop with LinkedIn?

Instagram, as of an Omnicore 2017 report, has 400 million daily and 700 million monthly users, of which almost 78 million are located in the United States. It is used by more women than men; 17% of teens, the Z generation, say it is their most important social media site. (Instagram is owned by Facebook.)

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Unique opportunity for HR

Social media offers a unique opportunity for HR professionals today to market the organizations they represent with little or no cost, reaching both current workers and those who will be entering the labor force in the next decade. The workforce that you and I will be recruiting in 5 to 10 years is active on social media right now, today.

Like any business idea, implementing social media for your organization needs to be thought out and carefully planned. Reach out to your employees, inviting them to participate and provide input for your social media program. This is a great way to foster employee and community engagement simultaneously. Put together a list of content ideas and a schedule of when postings will go out. Consider utilizing hashtags, as research indicates hashtags on Instagram photos, for example, typically generate over 12% more engagement.

Social media offers HR and business leaders the chance to connect with both our employees and the future talent we’ll want to recruit. It is a low or no cost opportunity to build brand awareness with tomorrow’s workforce and begin creating your talent pipeline of the future.

Stewart Simons is a 20-year veteran of the United States Navy with years of experience in Special Operations. With cross-cultural leadership experience spanning 12 countries, he is passionate about people and business. His former position involved training and mentorship of SEAL and SWCC operators in various aspects of special operations, with an emphasis on establishing and building cross-cultural rapport.

In his previous leadership role, he was responsible for the curriculum development, management and budget of 18 different Naval Special Warfare training programs. Additionally, that role included extensive inter-agency coordination between both state and federal organizations including the United States Marshals, LAPD, LAPD Special Investigative Section, LAPD SWAT, United States Border Patrol and Customs, and various state law enforcement agencies nationwide.

For more information or to contact him see his LinkedIn profile.

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1 Comment on “If You’re Not Using Social Media to Build Your Gen Z Brand, You’re Missing Out

  1. Thank you, Stewart. First of all: thank you for your service.
    As far as employment branding: a great project for Marketing to work on- they’re the professional “wordsmiths”.
    I think know the answer already, but do we really want to hire folks naive, gullible, and/or desperate to believe what they read on a corporate website or SM posting (that isn’t independently verified elsewhere)?

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