HR Should Broaden Use of Social Media, Learn Branding From Marketing

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By Caryn Freeman

June 29 --Everything that marketing departments do to attract and retain customers, human resources should be doing to attract and retain talent, including being innovative in the use of social media, Joe Rotella, chief marketing officer and web design usability practice officer at Columbus Ohio-based Delphia Consulting, said June 29 at the Society for Human Resource Management's Annual Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas.

Rotella noted that job seekers look at how companies handle social media when choosing an employer. He said HR should be incorporating social media into recruiting and employer branding initiatives.

“Social media is a trend, not a fad,” Rotella said. “It is where everything is going. It is important that HR knows how to engage to deliver value through social media platforms.”

Communicating Employer Brand

Rotella also said HR should be working closely with marketing to communicate employer brand. “Recruiting is fundamentally marketing. Your employment brand is where talent wants to go and where talent wants to stay. It's how HR generates awareness, narrows the field, qualifies leads and closes the deal,” he said.

In an interview with Bloomberg BNA after the conference session, Rotella said HR should learn from marketing how the company brand is communicated.

“I would go to marketing and say, 'we really want to make sure that our employment branding message is in line with your marketing message. Could we perhaps work together and learn from what you're doing and see how we can apply that to what we're doing?' Marketing is going view this as a way for HR to reinforce what they're doing already,” he said.

Rotella said HR should focus on things like core messaging and imagery when meeting with marketing executives. “Ask, 'What is it that we do and why do we do it. What kind of imagery do we use across platforms? Do we use stock photos or custom photos. Do we use graphics or video? What's our messaging, what's our visual look and what's our voice? Do we use formal communication or do we use a more informal tone?'”

Expand Into Different Social Media Platforms

According to Rotella, although recruiting works well on more widely used social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, HR should look at changes in usage patterns among social media platforms and know how platforms like Instagram and Reddit can be used.

He also emphasized the popularity of microvideos--short 30 second or one minute videos--in recruiting.

“It is easier for people to feel connected through video; personality comes through, authenticity comes through. Job seekers don't buy what you do, they but why you do it. People have to know you, like you, trust you and try you. If they buy, they commit and refer,” he said.

“Anything HR can communicate very simply in a picture or video such as company events, product launches or employee testimonials, they should be doing on Instagram, and they're not doing that,” Rotella told Bloomberg BNA. “HR is using Linkedin, but that is very text-based. Reddit is a great place for HR to go and find out what's trending and then apply those trends within the HR space. By the time you wait for some industry report to come out and say whether something is hot or not, you have missed the boat.”

Rotella urged HR practitioners to leverage the social media world and use it in HR. “Be flexible when it comes to social media,” he said. “You have to be fast, and you have to learn about what the rest of the company does; it's really about your employment brand.”

He added, “If HR doesn't learn social business, they will be the hiring and firing department and that's it.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Caryn Freeman in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at