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Engaging Gen Z with authenticity: a guide to using employee social media takeovers

Emilie Pomeroy

Recruiting Gen Z talent requires authenticity and transparency, especially on social media. To effectively promote your employer brand on campus, try using your graduate employees as brand ambassadors.

What is an employee social media takeover?

An employee social media takeover is when an individual employee takes over a company's social media account for a period of time to create authentic and engaging content from their perspective. This can include sharing videos, photos, and personal stories about their workday and colleagues. This strategy has become popular among social media savvy marketers since Instagram first wrote about it in 2012. When executed well, employee social media takeovers can work wonders for employer branding, and have even been recognised as an example of best practice by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Why do employee social media takeovers?

An employee social media takeover provides a unique perspective and a behind-the-scenes look at your company, making students feel like insiders. It generates engaging content that will appeal to students more than generic corporate communications. This keeps your page relevant and draws new followers, while increasing reach and brand awareness. 

Featuring employees in an authentic way encourages community building and empowers your best marketing asset - your current graduate employees - to share the content with their friends and help achieve reach to a highly targeted demographic. It showcases your company culture and is an effective way to attract top talent.

How to run an employee social media takeover

Step 1: Talk to your current graduate and intern cohort

When planning an employee social media takeover, begin by consulting your current graduate and intern cohort for guidance and inspiration. Seek their input on the type of content that would engage students, without any assumptions or judgement. Additionally, research the social media behaviour of the ideal student candidate, including their posts, likes, and followings, to source further inspiration for the type of content that might appeal to your target student audience.

Step 2: Pick your channels

When planning your employee social media takeover, choose a suitable channel such as Instagram stories, TikTok, or Snapchat, based on the feedback you received from your current graduate and intern cohort. Instagram stories is a popular default option for employers, as many employers already have an instagram account and the ‘stories’ feature allows for a casual approach without interfering with the main company feed. Cross-posting content across channels is a good idea to help you reach a wider audience. 

Decide if you want to use an existing company channel or create a new one for the employee takeover. The right choice for you will depend on how long the takeover will last and whether you have permission to use the main account. Creating a new channel may require more work initially, but it can help to foster a sense of community among your graduate cohort and attract a more specific student audience in the long run.

Step 3: Create posting guidelines

Create posting guidelines for your employee social media takeover to ensure that the content aligns with your employer brand and boundaries aren't crossed. Examples of guidelines to consider include no profanities, no sharing confidential information, and no mentioning of client names. While it's tempting to play it super safe, you should still allow employees to be creative and have fun with the task. Keep in mind that this is not the place to be overly professional, and blatant brand self-promotion is not effective with Gen Z

Combine these posting guidelines with a summary of the information from Steps 1 and 2, and consult with your graduate cohort for their feedback and your comms  and marketing teams for approvals. Having a document outlining the takeover strategy will help with gaining any required approvals and ensure the project runs smoothly.

Step 4: Plan & coordinate takeovers

To begin, select a list of employees who are suitable for the takeover (keeping in mind your target audience). Graduates are relatable to a student audience, but it's good to include more experienced employees to achieve a good cross-section of your staff. Assign each employee a day to do their takeover, and create a schedule and share it with all participants, along with posting guidelines. It's also recommended to create a group forum (e.g., a channel on Slack) to coordinate with employees and for them to ask questions and share ideas related to the project.

You may also wish to create a campaign hashtag (e.g #DeloitteInsiders), as a creative way to raise awareness and crowdsource content from the broader employee pool. Get permission to repost content from employees who have used the hashtag. 

If you’d prefer to avoid giving employees direct login access to your social media account, an alternative is to create a shared folder where employees can upload their content. This may be necessary if all content needs approval before posting. Although this may make the content feel less spontaneous, it allows more time for planning, editing, and scheduling content.

Step 5: Curate content & re-purpose highlights

After employees upload content to a shared folder, curate your content calendar and schedule the posts. Save the best stories to a ‘highlights’ reel and consider cross-posting standout content on other channels like LinkedIn and YouTube. Embed the content on your organisation's career page and Prosple employer profile for added exposure. You’ve done the hard work in creating the content, and showcasing content across multiple platforms is an easy final step to maximise reach and benefits.

Step 6: Monitor & Evaluate Results

Measuring the impact of your publicity takeover campaign is crucial. To accurately assess the success or failure of your campaign, key metrics to track include impressions, engagements (likes, comments, and new follows) by channel, clicks (traffic to your career page), and applications. UTM parameters can be used to track click-through and application metrics. 

An employee Instagram takeover is a fantastic way to create compelling content, showcase your company culture, and engage with potential candidates. Don't forget to maximise your reach and exposure by cross-posting your content on your Prosple employer profile. If you have any questions or need further guidance, don't hesitate to reach out to Prosple. We are always here to help you make the most of your employer branding efforts!

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