Getting the Big Picture: Visual Content Is Critical to Building Engagement

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 8.32.44 PMLately the fastest-growing social networks are those that emphasize visual content. Instagram is the fastest-growing social network, followed by Tumblr and Pinterest. Data from Statista shows that people spend more time on Pinterest (1 hour 17 minutes per month) than on Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Google+ combined. On Facebook pictures and photos make up 75 percent of the content and produce an 87 percent engagement rate(as measured by likes and comments). Adding a video or photo URL to a tweet increases retweeting by 28-35 percent.

It seems a picture really is worth a thousand words. Recognizing this fact and taking advantage of it in recruitment marketing can be a big help to recruiters who are sourcing on social networks.

Visual content is easier to consume than text. Most people only read about a third of the text on a web page but research shows that people can make sense of a picture in one tenth of a second since almost half of the brain is involved in visual processing. People love pictures. Most people — between 65 and 85 percent — describe themselves as visual learners, forming meaning and organizing thoughts based on what they see more so than what they read.

What makes a picture worth a thousand words? The phrase first appeared in 1918, and was meant to convey the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single image — but not just any image. This is important — pictures aimed at building engagement should be chosen to convey particular messages.

Here are a few items to consider when building engagement with candidates when using pictures, recommended by social media marketing expert Bob Cargill:

The Product: A picture showing whatever product or service it is your company produces. If you can’t find a picture, then an infographic may be helpful.

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The Team: Pictures of people who work at your company, doing what they enjoy. The workplace is a primary location for social interaction so if you’re looking to engage candidates, show them what to expect from their future colleagues.

The Place: Your offices or facilities, and what’s nearby. This can also serve as a screening tool, depending on the pictures you choose. Pictures of an office or work environment that doesn’t appeal to certain candidates may keep them from applying, but if that’s the reality, then better they find out before than after they get hired.

The Graphic: Infographics explaining how particular jobs fit in with what the company does, the impact on customers, value provided, and career paths can do a lot for a candidate’s understanding of the job. Don’t assume that any of this is obvious to a candidate.

But resist the urge to do the familiar — using visual social networks as just another place to post jobs. Social networks are a channel of influence, not a job board. They can help recruit candidates by attracting them to your brand. One reason Pinterest is popular is because users choose to follow people based on the images they post, rather than on a person’s (or company’s) profile or background. The goal is to build engagement using multiple social networks — Instagram, YouTube, etc. — giving prospective candidates insights into your jobs and work environment that they’re not likely to get from any job posting or text on your website.

Raghav Singh, director of analytics at Korn Ferry Futurestep, has developed and launched multiple software products and held leadership positions at several major recruiting technology vendors. His career has included work as a consultant on enterprise HR systems and as a recruiting and HRIT leader at several Fortune 500 companies. Opinions expressed here are his own.

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