Narrating culture through images
Images make for strong messages and Instagram’s growth by a phenomenal 23 per cent in 2013 holds a clear testimony to this fact. Not only do images convey the message faster, they also make a lasting impact. Given this fact, it is surprising to see how little this platform is being used by the HR community to reach out to people. Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter are now ancient animals. While they still hold great importance, it is time to look beyond.
With more than 300 million users accessing Instagram every month, we have got to hop on this bandwagon to attract potential employees and leverage it as an engagement and branding tool. With 90 per cent of the user base being under the age of 35, leaving this medium untapped could prove to be a costly mistake. Marketers in the fashion, travel, food industry and beyond have already recognized the vast potential of Instagram. However, the people aspect is still mostly neglected. This is where we come in.
Not only does the Gen X & Gen Y love to click, with Instagram now uploading more than 58 photographs every second, it becomes difficult to stop people from talking about work on this platform. It’s high time to turn this on its head and push people to post more and post better. Give your employees content to post about. The more Instagram talks about your workplace, the more visible you get.
With Instagram allowing uploads of short videos and images, this becomes one of the best platforms to give outsiders a view into the company culture. It’s hard to talk about culture and not talk about Zappos. Zappos has been long famous for devising ways to give the public an experience of its fabled culture. One of the ways they do this is by company walkthroughs. On the day of a walkthrough, a Zappos bus picks you up from the airport, takes you to the Zappos office and drops you back at your hotel/airport. While it might not be possible for all companies to conduct walkthroughs, why not take your culture to the public through Instagram.
In the words of Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, your culture is your employer brand, and this brand when projected properly can be instrumental in appealing to the passive population of the talent pool which all companies want to attract and still keep wondering how to go about it.
While the PR and recruitment teams leverage the reach of Instagram to help brand your workspace culture and draw potential candidates, it is important that the HR Business Partner and the operations team create moments that the organization wants captured. It is important to convey to the business the advantage of having our employees be our ambassadors on Instagram vis-à-vis posting through the official company account.
Surprise and delight moments, in this regard, is our biggest ammunition. Moments like these make for great photographs and experiences. We’ve also got to actively encourage people to post on Instagram. One way to do this, is to set up Instagram booths at events. Start holding competitions that involve this social platform too.
Back in January this year, Uber partnered with Animal Planet for ‘Puppy Bowl’ to bring puppies to corporate offices in a few metropolitan cities in the United States. Moments like these are bound to get clicked and shared on social media. Which social media makes this the easiest to do? Of course, Instagram! The more similar moments you create at work, the more people talk. Heard of killing two birds with one stone? This kills many.
However, there are a two key aspects we need to keep in mind. Firstly, it is important to monitor what gets shared on this platform. Yet to be released products, sensitive codes and information needs to be well protected as on any other social media. While you encourage people to cover your events, do make sure they are aware of privacy rules and laws. Secondly but more importantly, it is important to build a culture worth Instagramming about.
It won’t be long before you see #work trending on Instagram. When it does, it’s up to you to decide if your employees post pictures in your favour or if it’s just a bunch of regular desk photographs. Better still, why not launch the trend yourself?