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What comes to mind when you think of social media? I’m willing to bet that for those of you who are over 30 the answer is Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Ask the same question of a teenager or twenty-something, however, and the answer is much more likely to be Snapchat or Instagram.
There is no getting away from it: when it comes to social media a generational divide has emerged. And why shouldn’t it have? When I was in my teens and twenties the last thing I would want to do is use the same products and services as my parents. They were, by definition, uncool.
This has an important implication for businesses as they look to recruit the next generation of talent. Yes, Twitter and Facebook are important, but if you really want to get ahead of the competition you also need to embrace the platforms that young people are most likely to use – including Snapchat and Instagram and even instant message services such as WhatsApp. Indeed, with many of these platforms now the first port of call for young people looking for news and ‘trending’ issues, as well as for the usual interactions with their friends, it’s only natural that companies start taking their conversations there.
A company that doesn’t understand a given social media platform nor use it properly will turn off more prospective employees than it will
This task should not be underestimated. If there is one thing that turns off prospective employees it is a lack of authenticity. A company that doesn’t understand a given social media platform nor use it properly will turn off more prospective employees than it will encourage. This means time and effort must be invested into really understanding the platforms that young people are using, so that when the time comes to engage through them, businesses can get it right.
And there are examples of businesses doing just that. Take Goldman Sachs, which earlier this month became the first Wall Street bank to use Snapchat as a recruitment tool. Its execution was perfect, placing recruitment ads on the platform’s ‘Campus Story’ function (a platform specifically intended for user-generated university-themed content).
This is a great way to reach its target audience of undergraduates and help secure the next generation of talent for the financial sector, which, like most industries, is facing something of a skills gap. And the fact that the company went on to promote its initiative on that example par excellence of youth media, Buzzfeed, shows it really does have a solid grip on how to reach its target audience.
There are clear lessons here for all talent management teams as they look to win over the best of the next generation of workers. Simply broadcasting adverts on the tried-and-tested social media platforms is not enough. Rather, a sophisticated and intelligent approach is required; one that is based on insight and understanding of the platforms young people actually use. By so doing, businesses will find that they are not only reaching the right audience, but they are doing so in a way that feels authentic and will win over prospects.
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