It’s time employers spent a little more time reflecting on what their brand is telling job candidates—and that means understanding how your audience feels about your company.

Every employer has a company brand that communicates its culture, employee value proposition, and overall vibe. Unlike products and services, though, employer branding is often overlooked.

A great employer brand can be a major difference maker when attracting top candidates in a highly competitive candidate landscape. If you want to differentiate yourself in the marketplace, you’ve got to tell a unified and engaging story about what it’s like to work at your organization.

But there’s a problem: companies are telling inconsistent stories across their social media platforms. As a result, they’re hurting their chances of attracting high-quality candidates.

As an HR consultant, I help companies share cohesive stories online, which means I often ask them, “Are you playing games on social media?”

No, I’m not talking about Candy Crush. I am talking about creative ways to categorize your social media mistakes. To help customers see where they’re going wrong, I show them how their social media approach is less of a strategy and more of a puzzle, a problem, or a losing game of chance.

Here are five social media mistakes that are playing games with your brand.

1. Crossword Puzzle

Though intellectually stimulating, you’ve gone too “corporate.” There is no connection between your culture and/or your people. All work and no play, this company lacks a personal touch and shies away from high-touch or high-cost media content.

Solution: What does a consistent social media strategy look like across multiple platforms? Your social media sites—whether you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter—are highly polished and provide a wealth of content. You’ve got the perfect mix of corporate marketing, company culture, and client engagement

2. Jigsaw Puzzle

You’re telling many stories, but none of them connect to a bigger picture. The pieces of the puzzle may come together here and there, but there is no unified narrative. Your candidates prioritize being part of a specific department or team, but they won’t engage without a clear understanding of a compelling value proposition.

Solution: Unify your strong sub-brands, business-lines, departments, or structured market segmentation. Even if different job candidates are attracted to different business lines, they should all have the same understanding of who you are and what we do.

For example, imagine a marketing candidate, sales candidate, IT candidate, and customer service candidate are all applying for jobs at Toms Shoes. Even if each person is into a different product or service of the Toms brand, they’re probably all into the same universal vision or mission: making a social impact.

3. Polarized Magnets

Fragmented like the jigsaw puzzle but more extreme, candidates experience opposing stories about your brand in the marketplace. For example, a company with multiple locations might have a great rating on one website and a terrible rating at the other. No one wins with a polarized narrative. Candidates may tolerate working for a high performing subset of an overall toxic environment, but eventually the toxicity impacts the whole corporate ecosystem.

Solution: The bigger you are, the harder this gets—but the solutions are typically the same no matter what. To create consistent feedback among candidates, make sure your people and processes are on the same page across all your locations. Is your training program different at one location versus another? Does a manager in Austin have the same protocol as a manager in Boston? Create a universal formula for success and implement it everywhere.

4. Craps

Your social media sites are getting a high volume of activity, but your content lacks consistency in themes and overall brand awareness. Like any dice game, when luck is in your favor, it could look like you have more influence than you actually do. One minute you’re racking in the action, and the next minute you’re all alone. Without a streamline of consistent stories, you’re shooting craps.

Solution: Create a uniform social media strategy that varies by market. Then empower local marketing and HR folks to drive cultural, community, and candidate engagement. For example, if a universal content strategy is to sound like your candidates, you’ll need to adjust your messaging based on the region you’re speaking to. This means altering your dialect, words, phrases, and references as necessary.

5. Hide & Seek

There’s no excuse in 2020 for a company to discount the value social media has in attracting and retaining quality talent. Candidates depend on social media to inform their interest in your company—much like consumers rely on Yelp and Amazon reviews to make purchasing decisions. Your social media absence sends the loudest message of all: “We just don’t care about our candidates.”

Solution: If you don’t have someone managing your social media platforms, you’re doing it wrong. If you can afford to build an entire team around social media, do it! And if you have a bunch of different people who fill the void at different times, just make sure they all have the same style guide to work with.

Your employer brand must be authentic, aspirational, and actionable. Is your social media strategy? If not, I can help! Let’s connect on LinkedIn and talk about ways we can improve your employer brand on social media.

For other ways to learn more about how to launch an employer branding audit or improve your story-telling, contact TalentRise!