Once the domain of techies, edgy marketing professionals using the latest mobile devices and people who described themselves as ‘savvy’, social media’s now gone beyond mainstream. Working in the midst of the HR space, we’re always on the lookout for new ways of engaging and communicating with potential, current and past employees for our clients. When you look at the usage of social across APAC (thanks to socialbakers.com and Ignite Social Media), the statistics are mind-blowing and the opportunity for audience engagement fascinating.
You only have to look at Facebook, where 57% (Hong Kong ),62% (Singapore) and even 67% (Brunei!) of population on Facebook compared to 54% in the US and 55% in Australia. LinkedIn’s penetration is behind but growing at between 200-300% while Twitter is booming in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines.
At its core, HR is a communications business, so let’s take a look at the efforts of HR across APAC in benefiting from this booming world of social media. I think it’s fair to say the overall situation is patchy! Certain social channels are very well-utilised; the professional networks such as LinkedIn are naturally popular in the world of recruitment, networking and human resources.
We recently partnered with the Chapman Consulting Group to carry out some research into social media usage trends amongst HR and recruitment teams in Asia Pacific (download the report at www.alexandermannsolutions.com/socialmediareport) , and the findings showed there’s certainly room for improvement in the sector. Corporate usage of LinkedIn sits at around 90%, which shows how important the professional networking part of social media is, but professional Facebook and Twitter usage cross-region sits at 63% and 31% respectively. Yet Facebook and Twitter represent far larger audiences than LinkedIn, and certainly can’t be overlooked as communications channels. And there are still huge channels which remain utterly untapped, especially specialist/niche social media in a particular geography or focussing on a particular demographic (Weibo, RenRen, Google+).
Blended with the statistics in the research was commentary from those in the market working with social media, and it’s pretty apparent from the tone and feedback provided that the biggest concern is there’s a total lack of rigour and consistency in managing social media engagements effectively. A restrictive corporate policy on social media usage might reduce the risk of unnecessary exposure to bad publicity, but it also cuts out a huge section of the audience for recruiters and employer branders. And where there is the flexibility to work within the social media environment, there are few – if any – guidelines, and efforts are usually ad-hoc and poorly directed. Very few respondents could articulate an underlying strategy to their social media efforts – and when they could, the strategy was either marketing or IT-aligned.
Our report shows there’s definitely the appetite to grow presence across the region (over 90% firms committing to increase their social usage for recruitment) but corporate recruiters believe that there are some major challenges in front of them specifically insufficient time/resources, governance and expertise.
The resource issue is the same as highlighted by marketing departments in Buddy Media’s 2012 survey on social media usage across APAC.
It’s time to break down those organisational boundaries and combine efforts. Coming back to the point of my last blog post, that for HR to be truly social-able, we need HR to work closer with their marketing colleagues and include these skills in their own teams.