Category Archives: social media superstar

Why Ann Loft Careers is a Social Media Superstar

The latest Jobvite survey shows how important social media has become for talent acquisition: 78% of recruiters have made a hire through social, 33% say it decreases time to hire, and 49% say it increases the quality of candidates. Most impressive is that 20% of recruiters believe social media’s value is at least $90,000 a year.

Who is leading the trend in social recruiting? I’m always searching for brands that are use social channels to engage job-seekers in clever ways. Joining recent honorees Amtrak and Taco Bell is the latest Social Media Superstar: Ann Loft Careers.

This iconic fashion line is active on seven social platforms, reaching out to job-seekers with compelling and unique content. Here are some highlights.

A Facebook Page With More Content Than Some Websites
Ann Loft Careers has a very robust Facebook page. Recruiting channels for Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube each get a tab, and there are custom tabs for internships and for the company’s charitable giving. On average, Ann Inc. posts twice a day, and responses to timeline questions are prompt and sincere — one query was answered in just 12 minutes and another was answered after 9:30 at night. Best of all, there’s a custom tab just for the employer brand, “Fit Is Everything,” that includes the company’s mission, vision, and values.

Ann Loft Careers’ custom Facebook tabs

Reaching Out Through YouTube
There are 29 videos on Ann Loft Careers’ YouTube channel. These brief, well-short videos show what it’s like to work in a store or at corporate. Several showcase the internship program, while others explore the company’s green initiatives. Ann Inc. even charges headlong into what can be a touchy topic — the condition of the foreign workers making their clothes. But it’s communicated as ResponsiblyANN: Supporting Women and shows all the company is doing to improve women’s lives around the world. My favorite videos are instructive, such as The Perfect Interview Outfit and How to Apply at AnnCareers.com

Showing Off On Pinterest
Fashion is visual, which may may explain why Ann Loft Careers has a jaw-dropping 9,000 pins collected into 56 boards. And yet a number of boards have nothing to do with clothing. Along with boards offering great job-search advice (“Fall Interview Outfits,” “Attention-Grabbing Resumes”) there are some galleries that are just plain fun, such as a board devoted to breast cancer awareness month, one for Halloween treats, and one for “must-read” novels. Taken together, these boards add up to more than a look at Ann Loft Careers; they convey the Ann Inc. lifestyle. It’s a brilliant way to communicate the company’s culture and to help job-seekers self-select.

One of Ann Loft Careers’ 56 Pinterest boards

Putting It All Together
But what if a job-seeker wants to follow all of Ann Inc.’s recruiting channels? The company’s recruiting team has put together a web page like I’ve never seen — a three-column live-stream of all their posts, from Instagram photos to tweets. It allows job-seekers to get a snapshot of what Ann Inc. is posting without having to follow all seven platforms. But even with all that information, the page is as clean and eye-pleasing as one of their fashion ensembles. It’s like a Tumblr or Storify just for Ann Inc. talent acquisition, but it lives within anncareers.com. 
Ann Loft Careers combines authenticity with whimsy, and education with fun. It’s reaching job-seekers in lots of visual ways and giving away important information on the job search and the interview process. And it aggregates all its social content into one convenient stream. It looks like Ann Inc. is in an enviable position as it prepares for its 50th anniversary in August 2014.

For all these reasons, I declare Ann Loft Careers a Social Media Superstar!

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Social Media Superstar: Amtrak Careers

Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, explains how Amtrak Careers uses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest to connect with job-seekers in unique ways.

Ready to turn your organization into a superstar? Download our free Social Media Strategy Guide for Talent Acquisition or contact us.

Why Amtrak Careers is a Social Media Superstar

Forbes has named 2013 “The Year of Social HR,” and that includes social recruiting. I’m always searching for brands that are using social media to recruit in innovative ways. Joining recent honorees Taco Bell and Bridgepoint Education is a new Social Media Recruiting Superstar: Amtrak.

It may be hard to believe, but this organization based on 19th-century transportation is cleverly recruiting in 21st-century ways.

Amtrak’s employer branding statement includes some unique, differentiating phrases, like “Amtrak moves America’s workforce toward the future” and “Your success is just a train ride away.” The location listed on their Twitter profile? “Everywhere, USA.”

Here’s how Amtrak steams ahead of the social recruiting pack:

Top-Ranked Twitter
Amtrak Careers on Twitter alternates job listings with lots of interesting content, from travel tips (“the five must-see attractions in Seattle”) to photos and links that emphasize the organization’s commitment to hiring veterans. It’s a simple but effective combination: the Social Recruitment Monitor currently ranks Amtrak Careers as the #1 employer Twitter in the country, based on the account’s popularity, activity, and interaction with followers.

Plenty of Pinterest

Amtrak Careers is one of a growing number of brands that is recruiting on Pinterest, with more than 135 images. The boards range from Amtrak History (which includes great photos from the organization’s start in the 70s), to beautiful pictures of trains traveling through the countryside, to a board aimed at women job-seekers. As all recruiting superstars do, Amtrak Careers offers job-hunting tips on its social channels; there are boards called Interview Advice, Interview Fashion, and Words of Wisdom.

All About “You” on YouTube

Amtrak Careers has seven videos on a YouTube channel with more than 4,000 subscribers. The videos are shrewdly broken down into aspects of employment: Your Health and Wellness at Amtrak, Your Voluntary Benefits at Amtrak, etc., which feature plenty of employee testimonials. The main video, Your Career at Amtrak, is hosted by CEO Joe Boardman himself. He outlines the many benefits of an Amtrak career but doesn’t shy away from honest statements like, “We’ve had to make tough choices recently because of increasingly limited resources. And I understand there are concerns.” He goes on to say that “a strong team will help us expand and build a solid future at Amtrak.” New hires, in other words, will help build that future.

Fitting It Into Facebook

Amtrak Careers has a custom tab on Amtrak’s consumer Facebook Page, which has more than 300,000 likes. Within that tab are five “sub-tabs” that cover benefits, hiring events, and an FAQ that answers questions like “Will I be considered for other positions when applying for a specific position?” There’s also a video, photos, job listings, a Twitter feed, and an app that lets you see which of your Facebook friends is connected to Amtrak. All those features make this little Facebook tab more robust than some company’s entire careers sites.


From its authentic videos to its fun Pinterest boards to its commitment to veterans, Amtrak Careers is making trains cool again. It’s reaching out to a diverse audience on a number of channels. And if those metrics seem too “soft,” just look at that #1 ranking on the Social Recruitment Monitor.  

For all these reasons, I declare Amtrak Careers a Social Media Superstar!

Why Bridgepoint Education Careers is a Social Media Superstar

I recently discovered Bridgepoint Education’s clever use of Twitter and Pinterest to hire for its campuses and offices in San Diego, Denver, and Clinton, Iowa. I then had the chance to speak with Christina Hastings, Director of Talent Acquisition and Development, about her philosophy, her strategy, and her success.

Christina runs a personal Twitter, @aRecruitersPOV, as well as @BPEdCareers. Like many organizations, however, social media is no single worker’s full-time job. An associate, KelliAnn Holly, contributes to the Bridgepoint accounts.

On Twitter, Christina and KelliAnn create themes for each month: January’s was #NewYearNewYou. February’s was #WhatDoYouLove. March’s is #GiveBack, which emphasizes charity and volunteering. The duo also came up with themes for each day of the week:

Monday – #HotJobs
Tuesday – #JobAdvice, tips for resumes, interviewing, and the job search)
Wednesday – #Development, as in “How do you become a better you?”
Thursday – Throwback Thursday, as in “What was your recruiter’s first job?
Friday – What to do around town, highlighting shops and restaurants near Bridgepoint’s locations in San Diego, Denver, and Iowa.

aRecruitersPOV on Twitter

“It’s important to speak on behalf of the brand and as a member of the brand,” she told me. She believes in “profersonalism,” a combination of individual personality and corporate culture that conveys a personal yet professional message. “People would rather connect with a person than a company,” Christina said.

Christina has three expectations for anyone contributing to her department’s social media: Be yourself, support the brand, and drive everything back to the brand.

Bridgepoint’s TAD department is responsible not only for hiring, but also developing, training, and engaging employees. Christina uses the hashtag #TADculture to give an inside look at the employee experience. Her goal is to tweet three to five times a day, with at least one photo. When she and KelliAnn recently ran out of images, they spent their lunch break roaming their San Diego office, taking photos.

For inspiration, Christina looks to @FordCareers and @GenMillsCareers, who communicate their culture “without being one giant billboard.”

Christina and KelliAnn also manage Bridgepoint Education Careers’ 11 boards and more than 400 images on Pinterest. “We visually showcase what the culture looks like on the inside,” she told me. “It lets candidates peek behind the curtain. If someone’s cousin says, ‘this company looks cool and my cousin should work there,’ then we did our job.”

One board features photos of the Bridgepoint recruiters, complete with Twitter handles (and the #TADculture hashtag for good measure). Another is devoted to inspirational quotes. Christina is planning “Behind the Bridge,” a board that will serve as a tour of Bridgepoint’s San Diego workplace. “We’ll show you where you’ll park on your first day, and pin photos of our gym – and even the best time to use it!”

Bridgepoint Education Careers on Pinterest

Christina says she models her efforts after the Pinterest boards of Intuit Careers, Target Careers, and a Brandemix Social Media Superstar, Taco Bell Careers.

She plans to expand to YouTube, but is waiting for a bigger content library. “If we can’t produce videos on a consistent basis, is it worth it to be on YouTube? I want to have 20 videos before I feel like I can create a YouTube channel.”

Social media recruiting efforts can be difficult to measure, but Christina says she increased social hires from 4% to 7% of all hires last year. Most companies peak at 10%, but Christina would like to eventually reach 20%. With goals that bold, it’s obvious why Bridgepoint Education Careers, and Christina Hastings, are Social Media Recruiting Superstars.

Boasting from Brandeland!

What a week for Brandemix! Our Director of Interactive Branding and I
have shared our thoughts on employer branding, social media, and recruiting in four fantastic publications. On top of that, we presented our popular webinar,
Socialize Your Talent Strategy, to more than 70 participants around the country and across the Atlantic. We were even asked to moderate an HR panel at Pace University.

Want to see what we’ve been up to? Check out these sites:

I was interviewed about employer branding for The Human Factor, the website of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management. I gave shared my stories, gave advice, and outlined the three
characteristics of a successful employer brand: Alignment, Authenticity, and Differentiation.

I was also quoted an article for Rescue a CEO, part of CEO BlogNation, offering entrepreneurs tips on how to rebrand a small business. I broke down every rebranding initiative into four simple steps.

Always a big fan of social media, I was featured in a piece for Managing Your HR called Social Media Can Help Companies Better Compete for Qualified Candidates. I quoted some important statistics for recruiters, like how 73% of employers
claimed they had made a successful hire through social media, and that 43% of employers said social media increased their quality of hire.
 
Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, wrote Meet the
Rock-Star Brands of Social Recruiting
for the SmartBlog on Social
Media. He showed how Taco Bell, Sodexo, and UPS are cleverly using social channels to engage job-seekers and make hires.

Jason was also at Pace University, moderating the panel “Careers in Focus: Human Resources,” which featured representatives from NBC Universal, Penguin Publishing, Ipreo, and Harlequin speaking to students from Pace’s Lubin School of Business about the evolving field of HR.

Finally, I also had the honor of moderating a panel, “Selecting
and Optimizing Your Applicant Tracking System
,” hosted by HR/NY. I
spoke with professionals from TechnoMedia, S&P, and Oracle Taleo about matching an ATS to the
needs of a company, its recruiting partners, and its ideal candidates. We all shared best-practice
tips for maximizing your system’s potential.
 
Would you like us to write for your site or speak at your event?

The Most Popular Blog Posts of 2012

As the year comes to a close, I’m looking back at this year’s most popular blog posts. The topics range from examples of the best social media to some of the worst, and from internal branding to external. In case you missed them, here are the BrandeBlog’s five most-read posts of 2012.

Employer Branding Numbers Everyone Should Know
2012 brought us a number of recruiting studies that turned conventional wisdom upside-down. How many employers said they had an employer branding strategy? How many employees leave a company for reasons other than money? How many companies plan to increase their investment in employer branding? The answers may surprise you.

Social Media PR Disasters: #McDStories
Sometimes you can learn more from a failure than a success. That was certainly true of our story on McDonald’s Twitter debacle, in which an innocent hashtag was taken over by critics and pranksters in a matter of hours. See how McDonald’s reacted and learn what to do (and not to do) when your brand encounters a similar social media crisis.

What’s Foursquare Really For?
The best social sites have stated goals: Facebook is for friends, LinkedIn is for business, Instagram is for photos. But what about Foursquare? Is it for sharing local finds with your friends? Posting reviews for strangers? Competing for discounts with other customers? Discover Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley’s answers to these and other tough questions in this post.

Social Media Marketing Simplified
Ever come out of a social media planning session with your head spinning? New forms of marketing have created new buzzwords like optimize, reciprocity, and engagement. But you don’t have to learn all the jargon to have a successful social media campaign; you only need to answer three basic questions.

Why State Farm is a Social Media Superstar
The most popular post of the year was an exploration of State Farm’s social media recruiting. The insurance company has a dedicated Facebook Page and answers questions and comments within 24 hours. The State Farm careers site features videos testimonials from interns, a rarely seen part of a company’s workforce. Finally, State Farm’s interactive website takes online recruiting to a whole other level. See how your brand can attain “Superstar” status here.

What do these posts’ popularity tell us? That there a lot of people with an interest in – and a need for – social media trends, marketing, and branding. As it so happens, they are also specialties of ours!

Put Brandemix on your to-do list for 2013; we want to be popular, too.

Why Zappos is a Social Media Superstar

As many of you know from my speaking engagements and webinars, I’m always looking for brands that are using social media in innovative ways. I honor these organizations with the name “SoMe Superstars.” Past winners include State Farm and PepsiCo

Today I’d like to recognize a company that’s taken a fantastic brand and brilliantly expanded it into the social space: Zappos.
I’ve written about my love for Tony Hseih’s online shoe company before, but now it gives me great honor to truly call it a Superstar.

With more than 2,600 YouTube subscribers, 260,000 Facebook Likes, and almost 2.6 million Twitter followers (across seven accounts), Zappos has definitely made a social media splash. But lots of footwear and apparel companies appeal to young social media users. How does Zappos stand out? Here are a few reasons.

Website Videos – Instant, Honest, and Short
Zappos created a team of ten employees to make videos about every single one of its shoes. The videos are done on-site and are unscripted. Since starting the program in 2009, these employees have now created around 100,000 videos. They’re all under a minute, so that customers don’t get bored. Even better? Each video has three prominent sharing options – Twitter, Facebook, and HTML code for bloggers. The videos allow Zappos employees to share their love of the product and encourage customers to share their love on social media.

Social Recruiting, Too
Zappos offers a YouTube channel just for recruiting, with 33 videos. The content ranges from employee interviews to a look at the Zappos HQ fitness center to advice on how to dress for your job interview. This is a fantastic resource for job-seekers, with each video showcasing the spirit of fun and customer service that is the foundation of the Zappos brand. On Twitter, ZapposInsights and Inside_Zappos both offer a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s unique culture, with lots of interaction with followers.

Their Own Personal Pinterest
The Zappos website has a unique feature that really makes it a superstar. It’s called the TweetWall; a collection of tweets from anyone who has linked to a Zappos product. It’s a form of crowdsourcing, where customers can see what styles have the most buzz. And instead of encouraging fans to tweet about the company, Zappos is rewarding fans for already doing it. Fans know this, and may tweet about Zappos just get a spot on the coveted wall.


Through YouTube, multiple Twitter profiles, employee videos, and the TweetWall, Zappos has created a virtuous circle: fans celebrate the brand because the brand recognizes the fans who celebrate it.


For sharing videos, tweets, and photos with their fans, and allowing their fans to share content in return, I name Zappos a SoMe Superstar!

Do you know of a brand that deserves superstar status? Drop me a line.