Why Instagram is a Great Platform to Display Your Employer Brand

Male looking at his Instagram notifications

Instagram is a red-hot social media platform used by one billion people around the world. The platform turns ten years old this year and it has evolved from a fun outlet for sharing selfies into a full-fledged marketing and branding tool (though the selfies persist!). 

37% of adults in the U.S. use Instagram, making it a valuable outlet to include in your portfolio of employer branding strategies. Here, we’ll cover what employers can gain by using Instagram for branding and share some tips for executing strong employer branding on Instagram. 

Why Should Employers Use Instagram for Branding?

Instagram users are a dedicated bunch. Six in ten users log in daily, while 21% log in at least once a week. In an age of ever-shrinking attention spans, the engagement level on Instagram is hard to match; the average user browses for 53 minutes a day. As an employer, that leaves a wide margin of time to capture the interest of potential candidates. 

Instagram’s largest user segment is between 18 and 34 years old, making it a fantastic platform to reach millennial and Gen Z candidates. These two age groups currently represent about a third of the workforce, a proportion that is expected to spike to about 58% within the next decade. In light of this, it is of growing importance for employers to create dedicated employer branding strategies targeting younger job seekers. 

Finally, Instagram’s scroll-friendly layout and image-centric content make it an ideal outlet for branded posts. Business posts fit in seamlessly with personal posts in the feed, making content from brands feel more organic than it might on a platform like Facebook, where branded content can look and feel more like an ad. 

Building a strong employer brand is all about forging a meaningful connection with prospective candidates and Instagram is a natural fit to help your organization achieve that objective.

4 Employer Branding Strategies for Instagram

Use these tips to stand out and position yourself for branding success on Instagram. 

1. Create content specifically for Instagram 

It is no longer sufficient to cross-post the same content to all of your social media channels. If you want to engage users in an authentic way, you need to create content that is tailored to each specific social media network. 

On Instagram, that means leading with high-quality imagery. Photos should be crisp, well lit, and have a clear focal point. Today’s camera technology makes it easier than ever to capture stunning photos right from your smartphone.

Photos with people in them tend to perform the best. Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs analyzed more than a million Instagram photos. They found that pictures with human faces were 38% more likely to receive likes than photos with no faces and 32% more likely to garner comments. The more organic likes and comments your post receives, the more Instagram’s algorithm tends to show it to people, which leads to a snowball effect of engagement.

Next, craft copy that speaks directly to the image you posted. If you are talking about your great company culture, it does not make sense to use a photo of your building. Instead, you would want a rich shot of your team in action, perhaps while engaged in a collaborative meeting or taking part in a team-building exercise (which are great for satisfying the human element we just talked about, too). 

Try to develop and stick to a theme that unites all of the photos in your feed. This might mean featuring photos with a similar color palette or photography style. Consider using a photo editing tool like the free Adobe Lightroom app to help achieve a consistent look and feel among your photos. While this is not a requirement, Instagram’s visual-minded users appreciate and respond well to cohesive, aesthetically pleasing feeds. 

Finally, know the platform’s norms. Instagram presents a great opportunity to take a more casual tone than you would on a more buttoned-up platform like LinkedIn, which is perfect when you are working to build an employer brand that relates to candidates. Tell stories from inside the company. Feature testimonials in team members’ own words about what it is like to work at your company. Speak to your audience on a personal level to establish that all-important connection with your brand. 

2. Find and use the right hashtags

As you probably know, social media platforms use hashtags to group similar content in an easily-findable way. While heavy use of hashtags has fallen out of favor in recent years for appearing spammy, using a select few of the right hashtags is still a highly effective way to get discovered and connect with the right audience on Instagram. An Instagram post with at least one hashtag averages 13% more engagement than posts without any.

Consider three categories from which to use hashtags: hashtags related to your industry, hashtags related to a specific role, and hashtags pertaining to job seekers. There are countless free and paid tools to help you discover hashtags, but all you really need to do is use the Instagram platform itself to figure out which hashtags are most relevant. You can do this using the search tool. When you search any hashtag, other related hashtags will automatically appear at the top of the search results.  

Let us say you are recruiting for an administrative role in the healthcare industry. Here are just a few of the hashtags you might come up with to add to a post:

Industry-related

  • #healthcare
  • #healthprofessionals
  • #medicalprofessional
  • #healthcareindustry
  • #clinical 
  • #medicalpractice

Role related

  • #healthcareadministration
  • #healthcareadministrator
  • #adminfriday 
  • #administratiiveassistant
  • #officeadmin

Job search related

  • #jobsearching
  • #jobposting
  • #joblisting
  • #nowhiring
  • #gethired
  • #applynow

Live events are another great opportunity to get discovered through the use of hashtags. Next time you are at a recruiting event or industry conference, be sure to post using the event’s hashtag and interact with others who are using it, too.

The current best practice is to push hashtags to the very bottom of the text of a post or to include them in the first comment (by commenting on your own post after you publish it) to keep them from cluttering up your post copy.  

3. Use Stories and try out IGTV

Engagement on Instagram Stories, the short video and image snippets that disappear after 24 hours, is even higher than that of traditional posts. According to Instagram, 500 million accounts use Stories every day. 

Stories are an ideal place to share content that might not warrant a permanent post, but that will still build goodwill among followers. Here are some ideas for the types of content that work well for employer brand building on Stories:

  • Congratulating team members on promotions
  • Behind-the-scenes peeks of internal events
  • Advance previews of roles that you will soon be hiring for
  • Q&A’s with a hiring manager about what they are looking for in a role
  • Reposting company-focused content shared by staffers or customers

Story takeovers are another useful way to let your company culture shine. In a takeover, a team member or specific department commandeers the organization’s Instagram account for the day showing what a ‘day in the life’ looks like. 

Instagram’s newest content addition is IGTV, a place for sharing content up to 10 minutes long or 60 minutes for verified accounts. While reception for IGTV has been lukewarm on the platform as a whole, some brands are using it exceptionally well to hold the audience’s attention. If you have limited resources, IGTV is not necessarily the first place to put your efforts, but it is definitely worth testing if you have the means to gauge how your audience responds. 

4. Build value

If you take away just one thing from these tips, let it be this: work to build value with everything you post on Instagram. As the platform has become more popular, the competition for space at the top of users’ feeds has become fiercer. That means frivolous posts that do not add value are not seen, which hurts your overall brand. 

With every image, caption, and video you post, consider how it contributes to enhancing your perception amongst potential candidates. Does it share useful information about a job opening? Provide insight into your company culture? Showcase your existing talent? Promote the benefits of working for you? If the answer is not clear, reconsider whether it is actually worthwhile to post. 

Attract More Top Candidates with 4 Corner Resources

Bolster your employer brand with help from the staffing professionals at 4 Corner Resources. Our experienced recruiters can help you formulate a staffing strategy that meets your unique requirements and fits within your budget. We act as representatives of your brand, continuously looking for ways to build relationships with candidates that will evolve into long-term staffing success. 

From full-time staffers to contract help, we source candidates of all types in locations across the country depending on your needs. Once we have found the perfect hire, our payrolling services help get them onboarded quickly, making sure all the necessary bases are covered in terms of insurance and benefits.

Find out why we maintain a 1.8 to 1 submit to interview ratio and a 1.4 to 1 interview to hire ratio. Contact us today to get started finding the best talent in your field.

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the president of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. His mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way, while building an organization with boundless opportunities for ingenuity and advancement. When not managing 4 Corner’s growth or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his sales and business expertise though public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Hire Calling podcast.