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Why Instagram should feature in your next recruitment campaign

Instagram is a whole lot more than a place to share pictures, explains Big Splash's Sharon Davies.

Finding and recruiting the best people depends on methods which identify and then target the places in which those individuals hang out – and in the online world, those places are social media applications like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. But there is another network which is increasingly relevant, even if at first blush it might not seem an obvious fit for targeted recruitment advertising.

Instagram, if you haven’t yet encountered it, is a bright, fun image-sharing platform playing curator to the lives of celebrities, lifestyle gurus and savvy retailers across the globe. It is also a place where younger generations are spending a lot of time, engaging with and sharing stories through the simple but powerful medium of imagery. The concept is simple: create an account and upload images – and video - for others to view, comment on and share.

Here’s the most remarkable thing about Instagram: it has 600 million users, with the last 100 million coming on board in just six months. It is enormously popular, in other words; most of the users are under the age of 35, with Instagram reporting that 90 percent fell into this category at the point in 2013 when it reached 150 million users. Moreover, the company, which is owned by Facebook, also reported that the most active users have university degrees (18 percent) or have partially completed tertiary studies (23 percent).

Instagram is, therefore, a golden opportunity for companies seeking to employ people who fall into this demographic; with so-called millennials fast becoming the largest component of the workforce, those who want to reach these individuals understand that Instagram is a great choice.

The nature of the medium, too, lends itself to advancing the case for your company, assuming of course that your company has appeal to the millennial demographic. Smart companies can demonstrate that they are competitive in terms of offering an attractive culture and workplace, through visual storytelling.

It’s a concept which has been successfully applied by lifestyle gurus, retailers and celebrities, who feed a desirable image to their audiences. Naturally, that image must be backed by reality, or retention will quickly become an issue – but if your organisation does indeed offer a funky workplace, engaging, quirky or differentiated environments and interesting work, well, showcase it.

Of course, Instagram won’t be right for every role, or for that matter for every company. It is most applicable to those industries and vacancies which involve fashion, art, media, animals, anything visual, or anything connected with popular culture. That doesn’t rule out more corporate roles wouldn’t work, but having a vacancy that dwells comfortably within these areas is a blessing when it comes to targeted advertising, as the correct audiences can be instantly and accurately pinpointed through their interests.

Beyond that, think about the nature of the role itself. Is it photographable? If you’re looking to hire an actuary, perhaps Instagram isn’t the best option. But a dog groomer, midwife, barista or fashion intern? The pictures will tell the story.

And like advertising on Facebook, when your company is on Instagram, it is an opportunity for brand building in and of itself – while advertising your job amplifies the appeal to potential candidates.

In today’s fast paced environment, knowing where the talent is and then targeting them in the language they speak is essential to find and win the best people. With Instagram, a picture is worth a thousand words – in any language.

Sharon Davies believes a revolution is overdue in the NZ recruitment industry. By partnering technology with service, her vision is that businesses of all size can make the hiring process faster, cheaper and easier.  
She is managing director of five local businesses:  including recruitment solutions firm Talent Propeller, recruitment advertising specialist Big Splash and Career Fusion; which enables companies to go from brief to short in 10 minutes. She also founded Temp Market, which instantly matches companies to skilled and available local temps and New Force, a company focused on immediate recruitment of entry level workers based off skills, not experience.

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