As all savvy HR and talent acquisition pros know by now, Employee-Generated Content (EGC) is one of the most authentic and cost-effective ways to share your company’s culture and employer brand with an outside audience (read: potential candidates). But even setting cost aside, its inclusion across your employer channels sends a powerful message about your employees’ belief in your company that is relevant to audiences who see it.

“Employees’ social posts generate eight times more engagement than posts from their employer,” reports Dr. Christine Bailey of Cisco.

Eight. Times.

Employees who advocate for their companies have become both authentic and vital partners fueling some of the most successful recruitment marketing campaigns today. JWT INSIDE’s own highly-effective #BeMagenta campaign for T-Mobile, for example, has given voice to a whole new generation of proud industry “Challengers” who have generated highly-visible (and very cheap) media for the past seven years, utilized across web banners, T-Mobile jobs boards, internal communications and throughout all of T-Mobile’s social channels. To date, T-Mobile has seen a 40% increase in traffic to its careers site, nearly 100% growth in applications per year, and a 350% increase in the number of applications per accepted job offer.

So… if we can agree that empowering employees to become ambassadors and content creators for your employer brand makes sense, let’s align on a few DOs and DON’Ts to ensure you’re doing it effectively:

DO: Invest early in the branding (both visual and messaging) of the content you hope to solicit. Your employees may be some of the most creative out there, but every campaign needs direction, and then some guardrails, so some policies may be in order, too. But–

DON’T: Make things overly prescriptive. The people who are going to participate most are those who believe most in your company’s culture and want to bring like minded candidates into the fold. Set a ‘template,’ provide tools and guidance, but then let them share their stories – which are, after all, your stories too.

DO: Start off slow and small. No matter how calculative your early efforts, or which social media-savvy employees you invite to be your creative kickstarters, you’re empowering mostly novice employees to act as ‘creatives.’ Adjustments and pivots may be necessary as the campaign evolves.

DON’T: Force participation. As much as we want everyone to join in the fun, not everyone thinks of it that way, and that may have unintended consequences on your results (and even morale). You can, however—

DO: Incentivize! Your employees are generating (free) content that likely exceeds the scope of their employment. There’s nothing wrong with offering rewards, creating contests, or even recognizing their efforts with some additional @follows or #mentions. Just let them know they’re appreciated for going above and beyond.

And while we have many more suggestions for injecting fresh, authentic, and outside-the-box employee-generated content into your employment recruitment strategies, the best advice we can give is to get the best guidance possible – fueled by insights, experience, and creative strategy.

JWT INSIDE has been a key partner in developing and promoting employee-generated recruitment campaigns for some of the top companies and brands in the U.S. To learn more about how we can help with your employer branding and recruitment efforts, email us at: info@jwt.com.

Ryan Tavlin is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and Senior Copywriter whose passion for wordsmithery may only be rivaled by his senseless insistence that ‘wordsmithery’ become a word. When he’s not crafting copy and creative campaigns for JWT INSIDE’s many awesome clients, Ryan is camping, eating, and motorcycling his way around the globe.