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Does your small business have a good employer reputation in the community or online? If you hesitated to answer, look no further.
Does your small business have a good employer reputation in the community or online? If you hesitated to answer, look no further. Follow these five steps to improve your employer reputation management efforts and connect with the best talent – right in your backyard. Why is it that most often when we think about reputations, the first thing that comes to mind is the bad? Bad reputations make news and get attention. Did you know that when it comes to small businesses, a bad reputation can also make or break them in terms of attracting workers? That’s right – your online reputation matters to job seekers, too.
I thought reputation management was for big brands. I’m just a small business owner.
Reputation management is the effort to influence what and how people think of a brand or person when viewed online. When it comes to consumers, that means working hard to ensure people enjoy your business or brand. When they think of you again, it is positivity that encourages them to come back.
So, creating a positive association with your organization is essential – especially when you are competing with bigger names or more well-known establishments. A huge component of building your employer reputation is establishing positive rapport within your community and online. This can be as simple as personally answering each online review and getting active on social media.
As Sweet Brown once told the world, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” But, she will be among the first to tell you that reputation matters.
An even more important aspect of reputation management has to do with your workforce. After all, they are the frontline that delivers your service to customers. So, naturally, better hires will create a better reputation with customers. Reputation management is particularly important for America’s small businesses. Why? because, in our world of social media and online reviews, positive reviews could be the last push a job seeker needs to choose you over the competition.
For example, say there are competing sandwich shops in town. Your shop is a small, local business while the other is a much larger, national chain. Many people are passionate about supporting local businesses, but the benefits and perks of a larger organization can draw your potential employees to the larger chain. If you, the local business owner, build rapport within your community and receive positive reviews online about how much your team enjoys the local feel and customers, it is much more likely that other talented prospects will be interested in joining your team. If the reviews are instead negative, it becomes much harder to compete with the national chain.
In other words, when job seekers consider applying, a great employer reputation makes it easy for them to hit that apply button.
How to Get Started Managing Your Employer Reputation
If reputation management is such an important part of owning a small business, how do you get started or improve what you already have? Here are five easy ways any small business can improve their reputation management and employer reputation:
Get your business on Google and the job search engine that compares in influence.
If you google your business and there is nothing there, people may think you are brand new or (ack) that you went out of business! That doesn’t attract customers, and it doesn’t bode well for potential employees, either.
But don’t fret. Building a web presence is easier than you think.
Let’s look at an example of a family-owned owned company in business for three generations. Since social media and online reviews have only been around for 20 years or so, this family business had grown solely on word-of-mouth. Many customers had been coming there since the business began, and when it came time to hire new employees, applicants were often referrals from current employees or even long-time customers.
As the business grew, this network started getting a little tapped out. By putting a little effort into establishing its online presence, this business grew not only its consumer awareness but its reputation as a great employer, too.
If your business doesn’t have an online presence, you’re missing out on opportunities that your competition will intercept. By connecting your website with Google, applicants can look at reviews and get a feel for what the customers are like and how you interact with them. Even better, connect your website to Indeed, Glassdoor, and other job sites to be found directly where job seekers are looking!
Get Out and About in Your Community.
This is a big one! People love supporting local businesses. It makes them feel proud to support a neighbor and the growth of their own community. Small businesses provide character and charm to many cities and towns across America and often provide a more unique and personal work environment than their national counterparts. By being active in community events, you can make a great impression and establish a strong connection with the talent all around you.
There are endless opportunities for you to get involved. Participate in a job fair or career day. Go to the local football game. Host a fundraiser or sponsor a charity event. These options and many others allow you to create a positive employer reputation within your community and increase your chances of attracting great talent.
Take it a Level Deeper.
If you want to take it a step further, take the community presence and establish connections with individuals. People love the familiarity of walking into an establishment and being greeted by someone they know. As a small business, you can get to know a wide variety of individuals in your community. If you can, take the time to learn people’s names and ask them how they are doing. Little conversations like that stand out in people’s minds. This can result in referrals and a unique work environment for employees.
An example of how to best utilize this tip could start with just learning the names of regular customers or friends and family of your current employees. By establishing these connections, you are creating a trusted group that can provide referrals when you are looking to add to your team. Referrals are an excellent way to bring in talent who would share similar values and goals as your current employees.
Networking - "Think of me if You Are Looking for a Job."
The first three tips dealt mostly with businesses that are starting or in the initial stages of building up their employer reputation. Once you have established a reputation and are looking to build upon that, networking is an excellent next step. Networking is the process of interacting with others to exchange information and create professional and social contacts.
Your neighbors may be familiar with your business, but they don’t always think to recommend you as an employer. Networking is more intentional than just being active in the community – it's helping people know more about what’s going on in your business.
While the traditional business card is a great way to get your name out there and let people know you are looking for new team members, it’s becoming a thing of the past in this new digital world.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram... Oh My! Engage in Social Media.
Social media has become the 800-lb gorilla when it comes to promoting businesses and gaining top talent. There are many options when it comes to how to engage on social media and ways to reach new applicants. Being that there are nearly 3.5 billion users worldwide that use some type of social media, it is very likely to find talented personnel looking for opportunities on their daily social media check.
Some businesses choose to post multiple times on all forms of social media, while others choose one platform and solely post all their content there. If you want to choose one platform to start and then build from there, that would be a great option as you navigate promoting on social media. By utilizing social media, you can promote your culture and encourage potential applicants to explore job openings.
Over 85% of employers find that social media helps them find and engage passive job seekers. These platforms are on almost everyone’s phone and people check these apps multiple times during the day. Be careful not to use it like a job board – instead, post engaging and interesting content about what it is like to work on your team. Show off your team and the perks that let everyone know why your business is a great place to work!
YOU CAN DO IT!
Reputation management isn’t something that should scare small business owners.
It is an important part of owning a small business that allows you to build connections and attract the best and brightest workforce. Take control of your employer reputation today. Reach out to us at Talentcare. We can help you uncover your employer brand story, coach you on how to utilize social media to share your story, and even take reputation management off your plate altogether.