5 budget-friendly tips for developing your employer brand

Grow your reach and develop your employer brand on a budget

Building an employer brand takes time, effort and, more often than not, money. It doesn’t have to break the bank though. With a bit of creativity and teamwork, you can leverage free and inexpensive tools and resources to grow your reach and tell your story in highly visual and engaging ways.

These tools by themselves don’t make an employer brand, in the same way that a commercial brand is more than a logo and visual identity, but they can help you develop your brand, improve the efficiency of your team or take your first steps into employer branding.

Keep your employer value proposition, brand messaging and tone of voice front of mind at all times and follow our 5 budget-friendly tips below to take your employer brand to the next level.

Tip 1: Make friends with marketing

Your marketing team are experienced brand managers. They understand how to leverage content, technology and communications to deliver results and they have reams of valuable experience for you to draw from.

Why not set up a lunch and learn with your marketing colleagues on key employer brand challenges you’re facing? Or see if they have any copywriting resource they can spare to help you build your employer brand content?

If they’re short on time, then ask them to share their approved copywriter contacts with you. You can hire great copywriters for not a lot of money. Prices range from £35 to £100 per 500 words, depending on the writer’s specialism and experience. The turnaround time can be remarkably quick, but always make sure you account for at least one round of amends in your planning.

You’ll need to provide a clear brief to ensure you get the content you’re looking for. You should include a word limit, subject, goal, overview of the article and format that you’re looking for i.e. are you expecting a top 10 list or an in-depth research piece? It can also be useful to share any articles or research you’ve found that’s relevant to the subject.

Tip 2: Mobilise your team and employees online

This starts with giving your team great experiences that are worth sharing, plus the autonomy and drive to share these experiences online. Great experiences don’t have to be costly or extravagant, they just need to be inspiring or thought-provoking.

Give people opportunities to learn or to try new things and make sure they know that they can share this on social media. Set up a hashtag for people to use to share their day-to-day experiences and make sure this is visible for any events you’re running, during induction or training, and for things like team lunches or other health and happiness initiatives. Apprenticeships and internships can provide great opportunities for social posts as people take on new challenges and learn new things.

Positive, organic posts from your employees will resonate with potential job seekers across their candidate journey and research from LinkedIn has shown that people trust what employees have to say three times more than they do employers.

Great social content doesn’t just happen overnight though. You need to lay the groundwork here. Disengaged or uninspired employees aren’t going to sing your praises online, and even great employees are unlikely to share something just because they’ve been told to do it by HR.

You need to set the example – start sharing your work experiences online and tag people who are involved. People will soon start to see a vibrant and engaging online community of co-workers and you can bet they’ll want to be part of it.

Tip 3: Use visual storytelling in your job descriptions

People engage with content in different ways. If you always stick to the same, text-heavy formats for your job descriptions, then you’ll struggle to engage with the majority of people and the likelihood is you could be missing out on great candidates.

A small investment in great photography will serve you well here. Hiring a photographer for a day can cost between £500 and £2,000, but the results will last you for months and will transform your employer brand. Ideally, use your office for the venue and your employees for models – not only will this save you money, it’s authentic.

Do put some thought into the logistics though. Is there enough light in your office? Are there important meetings happening that can’t be disturbed? What do you want to convey in your photos? Do you need specific shots for specific job ads or pieces of content? List them out and send to your photographer in advance to make sure you get everything you need out of the day.

Tip 4: Get organised with content

Another area where your new friends in marketing will be able to help. The candidate journey isn’t a linear process, it involves dozens of touchpoints across multiple sources. Social media, job boards, your career page, Google and your commercial brand all have a role to play in shaping a job seeker’s experience.

The easiest way to get ahead of this is to get organised. I’m sorry to say it, but you’re going to need a spreadsheet and it’s going to need to be colour coded. You’ll thank me later.

Create a calendar for each month and map out the type of content you want to post, when you want to post it and what channel you’re going to post it on. Colour code your content by channel and by theme. Your marketing pals will probably already have something you can use here. Alternatively, this template from Hubspot is a great place to start and is easy to customise to suit your company.

You don’t need to create loads of new content every day – you can recycle previous blogs, videos and images to help you fill out your month. By focusing on the content you want to share, committing to a plan and recording exactly what’s gone out when, you can start analysing your results and building off your successes.

Tip 5: Always ask for feedback

Feedback can come in many shapes and forms, and there are plenty of opportunities to gather feedback on your processes, perception and brand. It’s nothing new – feedback is an integral part of any role in any company, but you now have opportunities to leverage this feedback online to create and shape your employer brand.

If you haven’t already, take ownership of your Glassdoor profile. People will be reviewing your organisation on there whether you own the page or not, so take control and start influencing your brand perception.

Update your profile with your brand assets, videos, images, mission statement and values. You can even post your current vacancies on there. Ensuring that your page is up to date and full of interesting, relevant content will help you control the narrative and tell your story.

You can encourage positive reviews from your employees by integrating this into your standard meeting processes. Avoid sending a mass email asking everyone to leave a review, because you’re likely to end up with a batch of very similar, generic positive reviews all left on the same day. And trust me, people will notice. Try asking a few people at a time, for example at the end of a positive training session or when someone is leaving the company on good terms.

However you choose to approach developing your employer brand, it doesn’t necessarily have to involve significant costs. Dedicate a few hours a week to working on your employer brand, draw on the skillsets of your team and get organised with the types of content you want to promote – you’ll start to see more engagement, more interaction and, ultimately, an positive impact on your recruitment performance and bottom line, without breaking the bank.


Jenny Handy