From the moment social media became such a huge part of our daily lives, companies have been scrambling to find a way to engage with candidates in their personal online space.
I’d like to start by suggesting that anyone interested in using social media platforms for recruitment purposes take a look at how militaries around the world have been using them, and adapt their own approaches to follow suit. Below are some fantastic examples of how military recruitment around the world is evolving, utilising social media to attract talent.
U.S. Air Force
Engaging prospective recruits who come to your site is critical to converting them to actual recruits. The more useful and interesting interaction that a visitor has with your site, the more likely they are to identify with it in some way.
The United States Air Force approach is second to none. There are regular interesting features written for Throwback Thursdays, where a significant event in the past is discussed, such as aces of World War I or the first female combat pilot.
Every photo and video has “Like this” requests and buttons, as does every post made by the Air Force. The response department for their site is nothing short of phenomenal. Questions are usually answered right away with useful, pertinent information. Fans get to know particular response staff there so well that they address them by first name. This sort of genuine community feeling is invaluable for employer branding and recruitment.
British Royal Marines
One of the best military recruitment sites on a social platform is the Facebook page of the British Royal Marines. While this is due in part to their artistic use of photos of attractive, scantily clad recruits having fun, there’s a lot more to it than that. The site design is superb. It’s easy to navigate, and site visitors are just one click away from all of the information that potential recruits are looking for. The link to the Apply page is prominently displayed and contact information is easy to find on the About Us page.
The main attraction, however, is the variety and quality of content. The Royal Marines’ site integrates videos and action-oriented photos, with short blurbs of text that are relevant to each, as well as inspirational pieces. The History section really gives a feeling for the story of the Royal Marines, as the gripping words are interspersed with photographs stretching back over 100 years. Integrating text with video and pictures is a critical part of recruitment, conversion, and SEO.
If you want to see it done right, then look at how the British Royal Marines are creating legions of fans on social.
The British Army does an excellent job of providing engaging content for readers that creates fans and keeps them coming back for more. There are regular chat sessions with active duty soldiers chosen by visitors of their Facebook page. There are some great stories of the kind that stay with their readers for a long time. They have definitely mastered the art of creating a genuine sense of community, particularly through the power of storytelling.
The British Army also strongly link their Facebook page with their website. Their Facebook posts often feature pages from their website, explaining in more detail how interested readers can find more information. They also heavily link to their own YouTube channel and their online radio programs, creating a vast multimedia social engagement experience.
Veteran Affairs Careers
Veteran Affairs Careers, though not strictly military, also deserve mention here. They are highly skilled at aligning their content with their brand. Because they are an organisation based around caring for veterans, they focus their content around their values and their people. A different employee is featured every week, with a photograph and a quote.
Their Facebook recruitment page focuses a lot on honouring the organisation’s current employees and workplace culture as much as recruiting additional employees, which sends an incredibly powerful message to potential recruits.
Prompts and opportunities to share and comment are frequent. When these comments turn negative, Veteran Affairs Careers becomes a shining example of the right way to handle negative comments on social media sites. They do not remove the comments. Instead, they respond to them promptly, respectfully, and share their side of the issue. This presents a mature, trustworthy image to the public and shows potential recruits that the organisation is open and transparent with a good workplace culture.