(For the first post in this series, see: Part 1)

Whether you focus on talent acquisition or on talent management, you have an important stake in creating and maintaining your employer brand. People will talk about your company in public at all stages of the employee lifecycle, from potential candidate to alumni; therefore, it is important to understand how those people can influence brand perception through public and online forums like social media and online review sites.

This raises several important questions, including: who has the right to talk about your brand? Where will they talk about it? And how do you make sure that you are proactively creating brand ambassadors while also responding to negative reviews appropriately?

We asked Kara Yarnot, Founder and President of Meritage Talent Solutions, and Karen Stevens, Vice President of Practice Strategy at RiseSmart, to share their insights on specific questions after a recent webinar on “Bulletproofing Your Brand” with the Human Capital Institute.

How do companies coordinate their employees’ social media messages with their PR/IR departments’ “talking points?”

Kara Yarnot: The easiest way to coordinate these messages is to ensure that your “talking points” are shared with your employees.  When employees understand how the company plans to respond to questions and concerns, they feel more comfortable reinforcing the message.  If you don’t share these messages, employees may “fill in the blanks” with their own ideas about what is going on, which may or may not be accurate and in line with your planned message.

My Marketing/PR team is in charge of social media. Does this mean I don’t have to get involved? (If not, then what is the best way to collaborate?)

KY: You should partner with your marketing and PR teams on a regular basis.  Your company brand and your employment brand are very closely linked.  Ask to be involved in brand review meetings.  Share your knowledge on what candidates and new hires are saying about your brand, on what parts of the messaging seem to resonate best with your target candidates, and your ideas on how to best represent your employment brand on social media.

Karen Stevens: If you think about some of the companies that are known as a “great place to work,” often their company or commercial brand are synonymous with their employer brand.  Its critical to partner with the marketing and PR teams to understand how the two views of the brand match up, and move forward together. 

What social media/brand monitoring tools would you recommend for a beginner or for someone who does not have a lot of time or budget to invest in enterprise social media solutions?

KY: There are dozens of social media monitoring tools available on the market, which vary in complexity and price.  You should first check with your marketing or PR departments to see if your company already utilizes a specific tool.  If your company doesn’t currently have a tool, I recommend the Social Media Monitoring Review by Top Ten Reviews to help you decide which tool is right for you.

Do I only need to monitor my brand during a layoff?

KY: You should always be monitoring your brand, during good times and bad.  Understanding how your employees and customers are discussing your employment brand can help you shape your messaging.  You may uncover positive aspects of your brand that you haven’t promoted enough.

Do you have more questions about avoiding negative social media during a layoff? Let us know in the comments below! 

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