Employer branding has changed dramatically over the last decade, with social media being a key driver.
Junior Account Executive
Employer branding has changed dramatically over the last decade, with social media being a key driver. But in the TikTok era it has completely evolved to match the needs of a younger generation, and how they discover brands and businesses.
TikTok has changed the way social content is consumed. It has been the catalyst for an explosion in short-form viral videos, a format that has since been emulated on other platforms, including Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.
The potential to ‘go viral’, coupled with a more human and authentic tone, has enabled companies to use TikTok in their employer branding strategies too. As a result, many brands are now using creative video formats and reactive trends to showcase why they’re a great place to work.
The need to adapt
LinkedIn has traditionally been the go-to platform for employer branding content, but as other platforms have grown in popularity, companies have begun shifting their focus to multiple social media channels.
This approach means they can reach new audiences, but it’s not as easy as just repurposing and cross-posting content. Instead, posts must be carefully adapted to suit the platform, or content won't look native to users, which can lead to lower engagement.
At Battenhall, we’ve been very conscious of applying this strategy to our own social content on TikTok. Our LinkedIn profile posts have a more slick and corporate tone, on Instagram we use high quality imagery that is carefully curated, while on TikTok we’ve embraced the fun, irreverent trends of the platform. And it’s worked. This post that highlights our total flexible working policy got more than 3 million views! As a result, TikTok has been our biggest driver of speculative job applications.
Reactive trends and employer branding
Employer branding isn’t something you’d typically expect to see in trending content. But with massive changes in content consumption and audiences, and the rise of meme culture, it’s never been more important to tap into the latest viral moments – and employer branding should be no exception.
Cisco is an example of a brand doing this well. It’s traditionally been a serious technology company, but has successfully tapped into trends on TikTok, such as this comedic adaptation of ‘One kiss is all it takes’ CapCut trend that has clocked up close to 1m views and an engagement rate of nearly 7%.
Microsoft has also used reactive trends in its TikTok strategy, taking the popular ‘Abbey Lee Miller ranking’ trend and adapting it to suit a Microsoft feature. This made the post instantly recognisable to a wide demographic, helping it achieve an engagement rate of 10%.
These are just two examples of how brands can pivot to incorporate trending moments in their employer branding content.
Creating an employer branding TikTok strategy
TikTok presents brands with an opportunity to challenge existing perceptions of their company, while attracting new talent to consider working for them.
When building a strategy to harness this, brands must look outside of their wider social strategy – and instead take a platform-led approach. What makes content successful on TikTok is completely different to the formula used on LinkedIn or even Instagram.
Google has recognised the importance of this and created a native strategy specifically for TikTok – with content that shows a playful side to the brand. And while Gen Z is increasingly using TikTok as a search engine, Google is using its TikTok channel to promote Google as a search engine with hacks users can try the next time they need to search something.
The difference TikTok will make to employer branding
Despite targeted bans of TikTok by individual countries and organisations, an ever increasing number of brands are migrating to TikTok to make the most of the opportunity to harness viral and trending moments to boost brand awareness.
TikTok is constantly evolving, and with trends changing every two to three weeks, brands must adapt to the demands of the platform and its users – or risk fading into the background. Those that can keep up can expect to reap the rewards – with a broader reach and increased brand popularity both within their grasp.
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