The idea of Web 2.0, in which there are just as many people creating content on the internet as consuming it, seems a little quaint these days. YouTube, for instance, which started out as basically a platform for people’s home movies, now has its own TV service and a complex video suggestion algorithm—a great resource, certainly, but not quite the “everyone’s a creator” utopia that some people envisioned. On Snapchat (a platform that didn’t even exist a decade ago), however, things are different. Of the app’s 200,000,000 daily active users, more than 60% are creating content on a daily basis. Sure, that content vanishes almost immediately, but it’s still a sign of an active, engaged userbase of the kind that can’t really be found anywhere else.
Given all this, it’s no wonder that recruiters are looking to Snapchat as a key venue for employer branding activities. Sure, lots of people think that it’s a fad, but that doesn’t mean that any job applicants you attract on the site somehow don’t count. In the current talent environment, recruiters need to use all of the tools at their disposal, and at this very moment that means taking a stab at Snapchat.
A Snap is Worth 1,000 Words
Let’s assume that everyone reading this right now is at least familiar with Snapchat’s basic premise: users send Snaps to one another that disappear after a short period of time. But a Snap is more than just a picture. It might have a filter or a lens that makes it look like your selfie was taken in some exotic locale; or it might have a message typed or drawn on it; or it could have a sponsored tag based on a geographic location; or it might be face-swapped, or formatted to make the subject look like a dog or a cat. The possibilities are endless, and so is the whimsy!
The upshot here is that single Snap, or a single Story, can communicate a lot to prospective applicants. Part of your Snapchat game is going to revolve around trying to master some of these fundamentals and develop a version of your existing employer brand that utilizes these elements. In all likelihood, this is going to mean making a point of emphasizing the fun, unusual aspects of your EVP. Whatever quirks differentiate your workspaces, say, from those of your competitors will be good fodder for your Snapchat audience. If you have ping pong table, for instance, you could send out a picture of two coworkers engaged in a friendly match, with the score sketched out above the table, or some commentary on the game.
By contrast, you could also make a point of highlighting relatively mundane elements of office life, but with a whimsical, Snappable twist. Use a lens or filter to turn a coworker’s morning coffee break into something surreal and exciting. This can actually be a good way to get passive job candidates over the imaginative hurdles that stand between them and the submit button on your career page. Why? Because it helps them imagine day-to-day life at your company in a fun, memorable way.
A Day in the Life
As with many other platforms dedicated primarily to visual media, Snapchat is an app that works best when your focus is on people. Particularly, your people. Resist the urge to put your CEO or your founder front and center in your employer branding efforts. Instead, let your team take center stage—or even let them take the reins of your Snapchat account. This will give them the chance to share their hopes, challenges, interests, insights, and daily activities in a way that feels authentic and spontaneous. Don’t worry about the lack of polish or low production values—on Snapchat, this might actually be a plus.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that what’s being posted is essentially in keeping with your existing employer brand, but within that you should have plenty of wiggle room. Consider letting various team members take turns creating Stories that take the users through a typical day in their work lives, from any interesting projects they’re working on to any challenges that they encounter and overcome to any office downtime or moments of camaraderie with coworkers. This will, of course, make it easier for potential applicants to see themselves in the positions you have open—but it will also give your company a chance to show off its EVP. If your company offers its employees the chance to solve interesting problems, the opportunity to work with smart, diverse teams, or educational opportunities, those facts will come through in your coworkers’ narratives. Better yet, they’ll come through in a way that doesn’t make people feel like they’re being marketed to.
Snap Ads and More
Okay, so you’ve developed a Snapchat strategy that highlights your EVP by way of your team and utilizes at least of few of the formatting options that are unique to Snapchat. What next? How do you maximize your employer branding ROI? One option is to use Snap Ads to augment your existing strategy. If you’ve already developed a strong brand voice and a dedicated following of potential applicants, paid ads can be a good way to leverage your reach into conversions, by giving users a call-to-action to download an app or visit a webpage (ideally a landing page for the job opening in question, or a landing page for an email signup if you’re only trying to strengthen your general pipeline). Engagement rates for ads on Snapchat are only around 30%, but that could still represent a sizable chunk of people if you’re targeting a wide enough audience. If you’ve already developed a brand that users appreciate, and if you can craft an ad that will be just as aesthetically engaging as your other content, this can be a useful way to drum up applications.
Conversely, if you’re having difficulty with the actual employer branding part of the equation, there are some other paid advertising options available to you. Specifically, you can sponsor a branded lens (or, if you’re hiring for a particular geographic area, you could potentially sponsor a filter) that users can engage with. There is no obvious conversion opportunity for either of these options, but if you can afford to expend some resources on a general employer brand awareness push then it might help your recruitment efforts in the long run. Even these efforts, however, should be backed by a strong employer branding strategy that appeals to Snapchat’s unique demographics and userbase.