Should You Promote Your Company Culture On Social Media?
It’s recruitment season, and the first place you’re probably going to look to post your new roles is on social media.
The fact is, many brands and businesses use their social media profiles to promote their company culture and gain new team members. It’s become almost as popular to promote roles on social media than posting on LinkedIn or working with a traditional recruitment agency.
Digital and tech companies were some of the first to do it, making a strong stance about who they are, who they hire, and just how much fun they all have. You can’t avoid the smiling faces on HubSpot’s Instagram profile, Ebay’s or even UPS.
Brands around the world are jumping on social media to declare how great their company culture is. But is posting your culture on social media the right thing to do, and does it really help support the culture you’re creating?
What’s the intention of being on social media?
The pinch I have about putting your culture all over social media is that it makes it look like a PR stunt over the genuine mission of the organisation.
It can’t be denied that company culture is now part of the ‘employer brand experience’, but this to me, often feels more like a marketing campaign, than a real people and purpose-driven business.
By all means, your culture should be detailed on your website, and thread throughout your recruitment and onboarding process to ensure that you’re not only attracting the people you want but so that people understand your business and your brand before they even fill out the application form.
Every social media platform has its purpose – yet so many of us jump onto channels without giving it a second thought as to why we are there or what we want to achieve.
If your intention on social media is to promote your company culture – then that’s your decision. But don’t be under any illusion that posting smiling faces won’t deter a deeper dive from potential team members seeking to truly understand what’s at the heart of your culture.
As we all know from marketing – sometimes when something looks too good to be true – it usually is.
Company Culture Exposed
Be warned, people dig deep when it comes to their new roles, and there’s nowhere to hide. Websites like Glassdoor and even Google reviews will quickly highlight the cracks in your culture if there is any, so don’t be fooled that just because you’re posting about your fun culture, that people won’t think twice to check other places where the opinion may not be so biased.
Don’t forget – you probably do just as much scrutinising of potential employees on social media; so don’t think this research is not going to be reciprocated.
Real-life experiences of company culture
For me, it mainly hit during the first lockdown. It was sold to me as a company that champions togetherness, free food and fun. But when push came to shove they lacked basic morals and didn’t care for our wellbeing.I think it’s very much a problem in the marketing industry. They think they can have some fun quirks and that’s all our creative brains need – but the basics lacked for sure!
It Hurts Culture Stereotypes
Thanks in part to many tech and digital brands, company culture has got this reputation for being the fun stuff. The office parties, the free beer Fridays and quirky team building activities everyone gets forced to do.
It’s a headache that this version of company culture is still rampant in businesses, and it does nothing to try and change the narrative back to what culture is truly about – creating a sense of belonging under one core mission.
People are no longer that bothered by office games and free food – because funnily enough – everyone has now caught onto it, and pretty much every company is trying to recreate the ‘Google vibe’.
The stereotypical approach of company culture that you’re promoting across social media is dated, transparent and often comes across as inauthentic. Staged pictures of you all celebrating a birthday, or going bowling. Does little to make people know that they will be valued or cared for in times of crisis.
Real-life experiences of company culture
I joined an American company when I first moved to London as I was told it would be a real step up in my career and the role sounded varied. There were opportunities on the table to travel to the US and gifts such as an Alexa on my table when I first started. However, after DAY 3, I could see that people were overworked, and there was a real lack of direction. I ended up picking up menial tedious tasks and having to take on clients that had no idea who I was or what we were planning to do. It was a poor handover process with no support.
The weekly meetings gave everyone a chance to bring new ideas to the table, but I never really saw any of those ideas eventuate. It was almost like ’this was your creative time’ now get on with the shit that needs doing.
Brands Who Promote Their Company Culture on Social Media
There are a handful of brands who use social media to promote their company culture – many of these companies have led the way in culture promotion – but we have to ask the question; who does it help?
We must always remember that as we look through the lens of social media, the experience is often distorted and not the full reality.
As much as they can come across as the holy grail of company cultures, a simple Google search will reveal that even Google has culture problems that can’t be avoided. Google even has it’s own dedicated company culture Instagram account. (@lifeatgoogle)
The software company HubSpot is also another brand who have a dedicated social space to promote their company culture. (@hubspotlife)
Hubspots Culture Code deck is one of the most prolific pieces of culture work, which means its no surprise they’ve created a dedicated space to boast about their work.
Unlike many software companies SproutSocial does tend to mix-up their social presence with relevant customer focussed content with culture promotion. They seem to drip feed their culture posts in amongst their usual content to put faces behind the brand.
Real-life experiences of company culture
One of the most important things for me was to find an organisation which would fit my values, and I was purposeful about the positions I applied for. I found a company with an opening which, on paper, ticked all the boxes. When I first started the role, there was a lot to learn which I found energising, although looking back there were many warning signs. Within the first month, I’d worked a huge amount of hours and was often away from home including over Bank Holidays which I was told was part of the job and to be expected – very different to how it had been described during the interview process.
As time went on, I began to feel increasingly out of control when it came to my own time and the choice and discretion to make decisions, with little support. Whilst I raised concerns which were initially heard, by the end of the first year, I was close to burnout and things never improved, they only got worse. One of the hardest things about finally realising I needed to move on was reconciling in my own mind being part of an organisation seen as doing amazing work in their field and by their clients, yet internally providing a very different experience from the one I had been ‘sold’.
An Alternative to Over Promoting
I’m not saying you shouldn’t post about your company culture on social media. In fact there are hundreds of features across the web providing you with ‘how to promote your company culture on social media’, but I’m not here to do that.
I want to be honest with you. You can celebrate your company culture on social media, but don’t follow the crowd. Show your culture completely authentically; including warts and all. Because you might just be surprised at how true transparency breeds a better culture, and brings authentic people to your door.
One brand in particular posts regularly about their ‘awesome company culture’ but their employee reviews listed publicly bring down the whole charade. It doesn’t just make you want to not apply for a job role, but avoid the brand even as a consumer.
If you really want to use social media to honour your culture and the people who drive it. Then I’ve listed a few considerations below to ensure that you can come across in the most authentic way.
- Let your team take control of your social media profiles for the day. Help people see a real working day and what the team gets up to.
- Allow your team to also post on their own personal profiles about work. We all do it anyway. But by unleashing this you will create ambassadors of your culture.
- Stop trying to be perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect company culture, so don’t try to come across as one. Share in your failures just as much as you share in your successes.
- Post less staged photos and more real-life shots that give people a taste of what life is like in your business.