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Digital Employer Branding

Nowadays, a company must be able to deal with the new media and online platforms so as to reach its customers and generate sales. The search for new employees has also advanced from the “old” advertising channels (newspaper, radio, television, flyers, etc.) and is now mainly taking place on the WWW – the present of the job market is in the social networks.

But not every company finds this radical change easy.

This is where we come in.

With our case studies, we would like to offer you regular insights into our work. Today, we’re sharing some approaches to employee recruitment.

Our example today revolves around how we were able to assist a client in attracting new and competent employees through employer branding and the targeted use of selected social media platforms.

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Order

The client was a large logistics company, which we will refer to as International Parcel Service (IPS) for confidentiality. In the case of IPS, our major challenge was that we were not allowed to make any alterations to the client’s website.

And it was outdated as hell!

So our task was to build the entire get-to-know-you application process on social media. In doing so, we always pursued two goals:

1. Strengthen the image of the employer brand, but without convulsively saying, “We’re so great, apply to work for us!”
2. Simplify the application process

Solution: Employer Branding

"What is Employer Branding?" ... you're certainly wondering now.

It’s not that complicated. In short, employer branding describes a marketing strategy in which a value-based identity of the jobs offered is created. The aim is to position the company as an attractive employer, which in turn leads to more qualified applications.

Explained Step By Step

Step # 1: Define The Target Audience

Before we could even think about running any ads, we first had to ask ourselves a few questions:

Who are we looking for?

Who is our target audience?

Who do we have to address, where and how?

For this reason, we created the so-called Candidate Personas.

A candidate persona describes the ideal applicant for the advertised position. All the details, such as
– Age
– Hobbies
– Attitude to life
– Character
are essential here.

The idea behind it is that in this way you can adapt the advertisement in the best possible way to the respective persona. The potential applicant feels addressed and the probability of an application increases. Therefore:

The more detailed a client describes their Candidate Persona to us, the better.

The Preferred Candidate from IPS

IPS also already had a very specific idea of what the perfect applicant should look like. The ideal candidate should:
– have an apprenticeship/studies as a forwarding agent
– have at least 5 years of professional experience
– be a non-smoker
– have teamwork skills
– be open-minded
– innovative and thorough
– have relevant hobbies – but do not engage in extreme sports
– be available 24/7 and flexible
– have the urge to further your education and to be promoted

Problem

Do you know someone who would match all of this specification? … No?

Neither do we.

Unfortunately, IPS had described a superhuman to us that we could not possibly have found in exactly the same way. Sometimes, contradictory requirements were made and topics such as worries and fears were not even addressed.

Solution

We came to the conclusion that the desired attributes had to be divided among several personas. We therefore sat down and, in consultation with our client, created 3 different candidate personas.

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3 Candidate Personas

Image 1: Jason
Jason is the young, ambitious forwarding agent who is at the dawn of his career and wants to learn as much possible. He is 28 years old and is looking for an employer who can support him and promise him the career prospects he is hoping for. However, he fears that the new job may not meet his desire for varied work.

Image 2: Jessica
Jessica, on the other hand, is a logistics specialist and the empathetic team player who has a flair for dealing with people in the right way. She is 35 years old and more reserved than Jason, but by no means less efficient because of it. On the contrary, she does her job thoroughly and with attention to detail. However, a team full of tension and disrespect are a no-go for her.

Image 3: Wilhelm
Wilhelm is the experienced and resilient logistics specialist. He is 44 years old and sees himself as a project manager in a young team that motivates each other. Some might call him a grumbler, but he is efficient and committed. His greatest concern is that his experience is not valued and that he is compensated accordingly.

Step #2: The Right Platforms

Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Ads and Xing

Each of these platforms is designed differently and serves different purposes, so it’s extremely important to know exactly why and how you want to use each of these platforms. Which leads us to the next step:

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Step #3: The Concept

After we had created our candidate personas and defined clear target groups, we could now think about a concrete concept.

We would like to explain the reasons for the 4 platforms and our corresponding approach in detail here:

1. Google Ads

Admittedly, Google Ads is not a tool for Employer Branding in the real sense of the word. Why we decided to do so anyway is due to our analysis of our competitors.

The Competitor Analysis

Different studies have revealed that only about 25% of all companies take the effort to find out about the recruiting activities of their competitors. Yet this research could be exactly the decisive advantage, because you can use the gaps and weaknesses of the competition specifically to your own advantage.

A little tip: This applies regardless of the industry – it is absolutely legitimate and okay to always keep an eye on the competition, to identify their weaknesses and perhaps even to copy successful methods.

Since we didn’t want to make the same mistake, we took a very close look at the competition. To our surprise, none of the competitors were using Google Ads for their recruiting. We sensed our chance.

In this particular case, we had found out that hardly anyone advertises for the keyword “Forwarding agent” on Google.

And despite the fact that it is very popular with about 4,400 search queries per month. The pros of Google Ads were therefore obvious: We reached exactly those people who were disregarded by the competition and had to spend comparatively little money (1.40€ per click on the ad). In addition, people reached our social media channels via our ads and were convinced of us as an employer there with images, videos, testimonials, etc.

Google Ads as a Means to an End
Just to understand: Google Ads acted here only as an effective tool that our competitors neglected. We used this tool to lead the applicant from one platform (Google) to the other platforms (social media). We were then able to do employer branding with targeted content on our social media channels.

2. Xing

Xing may still be new territory for some, nonetheless, 43% of respondents in a survey said they preferred career networks for job searches. With over 17.5 million users in the DACH region, Xing therefore has enormous potential for employee searches. Photos and job offers can be integrated into the company profile here and attract potential applicants.

Deutsche Bahn, for example, also recognized Xing’s potential and was able to position itself as an attractive employer for engineers with the help of a targeted recruiting campaign. As a result, the number of applicants increased by 13%.

Our approach on Xing
The most active user group on Xing is between 35 and 45 years old. A study by meinestadt.de found that 56.5% of respondents said that a secure job was the most important factor for them when choosing a career. It was therefore essential for us to present IPS as an employer with a future and to highlight the secure jobs.

Hence, We Developed The Following

“We guarantee safety”

Reliability, consistency and innovation are particularly emphasized.

– “We will also exist in the future”.

We emphasize that we are future-oriented and strive for long-lasting cooperation.

– “Our history and tradition”

We emphasize that IPS has been in existence for over 30 years.

But how are users made aware of our company?
The next challenge was that we had to somehow manage to make Xing users aware of us.

After some thinking, we came up with the idea of creating a so-called funnel, which potential applicants would go through in eight stages. Fortunately, with “TalentManager” and “TalentpoolManager”, Xing provides some important tools for building a funnel.

How was our Xing tunnel structured?

Our Xing strategy was similar to a cycle that a potential candidate would go through until he or she applies to us. For the sake of clarity on how the algorithms of such a platform can be used to your advantage, we will describe our funnel in more detail at this point.

1. Xing TalentManager I
With the help of TalentManager, we collect data about the people who meet our requirements and target them with our ads.

2. Xing TalentpoolManager
The algorithms analyze the candidates we selected in the first step and save them in TalentpoolManager. Through Xing’s huge database, candidates who also meet our criteria are suggested to us.

3. Employer Branding Profile
Our followers + potential candidates who follow our competitors, for example, are also added to our talent pool. Thus, we also address the target groups of our competitors. Among these are namely potential candidates who have not yet decided on a job.

4. Xing TalentManager II
The users who have interacted with our ads are contacted by TalentManager.

5. Xing Job Ads
The Xing job ads are highlighted on the branding profile in order to once again profile us as the ideal employer.

6. Xing ReferralManager
Referral from existing followers and employees are automatically entered into the talent pool, saved and used to advertise.

7. Remarketing
Profile visits generated by our advertisements are stored in a separate talent pool. If they have not yet applied for a job with us, they are subsequently recruited again with different content.

8. Analysis & Optimization
At the end of each month, we analyze the employee search reports generated on a weekly basis to provide us with a detailed overview of our data and to optimize the 8-phase acquisition process outlined.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world. About 13 million people from Germany, Austria and Switzerland and 147 million across Europe use it every day. So it’s no surprise that 35% of respondents said LinkedIn played an important role in their job change.

Our approach on LinkedIn

We focused on the most active user group on LinkedIn: 30 to 40-year-olds. But just like on Xing, the question on LinkedIn was how we should draw people’s attention to our content. In doing so, we focused on 3 different characteristics that we wanted to highlight in particular and that became the leitmotifs for our LinkedIn funnel:

1. Corporate Culture
It is reflected, for example, in the decision-making, leadership culture, relationships among colleagues, and the external appearance of employees.

All of these points are crucial for job seekers on LinkedIn. And who could say more about the company’s working conditions than its own employees?

We therefore decided to produce a video series:
Different team members and departments talked about the corporate culture of IPS (such as “What does IPS stand for?”).

We then used the resulting video footage to give the potential applicant an insight into the corporate culture with these stories and impressions.

2. Variety
A varied job is essential to whether or not someone keeps their job. If it is too monotonous, it will no longer be fun in the long run, and this will also be seen in performance.

Therefore, to showcase variety in the workplace, we came up with the following content ideas:
– General image video about the versatile projects at IPS.
– Innovations/unique selling points with regard to the position “forwarding agent”
– Employee stories: Exciting stories from everyday working life that gave the company a successful and relevant image

We used the impressions gained from these to show potential applicants that this job is varied.

3. Modern Working Conditions
People want a workplace where they feel they can develop. They want to feel comfortable and not suffer under hierarchical structures.

IPS, for example, has its own fitness rooms and televisions. The company is also characterized by an open work culture and the promotion of employee proactivity. These characteristics had to be expressed in the content in order to attract new applicants.

We therefore formulated them again in various content ideas:
– Office tour with an employee (“A typical day at the office”)
– Interview with a team member (“Insights into the working atmosphere”)

The third and final stage of our LinkedIn funnel is now complete. The potential applicant should have applied by now at the latest. If he has not done so, he will go through our entire funnel again.

4. Instagram

Instagram differs from Xing and LinkedIn in one very crucial factor: it is used for entertainment. Most of the content on Instagram is about fashion, lifestyle, travel, and photography – the finer things in life. This means that most Instagram users are not actively looking for jobs.

Still, it would be foolhardy to completely neglect Instagram, as 32% of users are between 25 and 34 years old. Thus, they represent the largest demographic target group. In addition, 49% of Instagram users follow companies to be informed about their job openings, among other reasons. 90% are open to discovering new job opportunities on Instagram.

In short, the interest is there – but users want to be offered aesthetic and unique content. That’s exactly where we started: We showed the company’s everyday life from its unique, creative side in the form of images, videos and stories in a recognizable look.

Our approach on Instagram

Do you still remember our three candidate personas?

28-year-old Jason embodied our target group on Instagram. We wanted to express his urge for self-actualization and created content geared towards that.

This means that we mainly dealt with 3 topics
1. Diverse projects
2. A lively atmosphere in the office
3. IPS as a modern and attractive employer

In order to ensure that this content reaches the right candidate on Instagram, we created a 3-stage advertising funnel here as well:

1st stage
The potential candidate is recruited with the versatility of their job at IPS.

2nd stage
The potential applicant is recruited with various image videos that reflect the spirit of the company:
– The office
– Tour videos
– “Funny Content”

3rd stage
The potential applicant is recruited with the fact that IPS is a modern and attractive employer:
– Why is IPS an innovative employer?
– Why is the position offered “modern”?
– How is the atmosphere in the office?

The crucial advantage of a funnel is: once a user is in the funnel, they go through it again and again. The person is often directed to IPS’s Instagram profile as a result. There, we regularly published new content that should convince the potential applicant of the attractiveness and dynamism..

Conclusion

Our task was to make the search for employees of a logistics company modern.

We were to use digital channels to attract new qualified employees.

To carry out successful employer branding for our client, we decided on a strategic approach that can be divided into three steps:

1. Define the target group: We used our client’s input and desires to build three different Candidate Personas.

2. Find the right platforms: We selected three of the most relevant social networks as well as Google Ads to draw attention to the company and make it easy to apply.

3. Build a suitable concept: We developed a strategy tailored to their users for each social network to promote the company as an attractive employer.

Every applicant is different, everyone has different requirements, wishes and fears. That’s why you react better to certain content than to others.

With this case study, we wanted to show you why it is essential to create candidate personas when searching for employees.

In the 21st century, potential applicants are addressed with different content/messages on the appropriate platforms.

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