Straight Outta Your Employees: The Power of User-Generated Content

Holland Dombeck McCue Holland Dombeck, HR, HR & Marketing, Pop Culture, Recruiting, Social Media, Social Media and Talent, Social Recruiting, Talent Strategy

StraightOuttaSomewhere (1)Straight Outta Compton, the musical biopic about hip-hop group N.W.A,  opened two weeks ago to the tune of $60.2M in box office sales, steamrolling their initial $40M projections. The film attributes opening weekend success to a strong marketing campaign with a wildly successful social media play.  For most of August, social media streams have been plastered with ‘Straight Outta…’ memes created using the Straight Outta Somewhere generator.

Whoever came up with this idea deserves a fat bonus. You’re #straighouttaawesome. You’ve managed to accomplish what marketers strive to do every day—drive awareness and create enough buzz to capture consumers adjacent to or outside our typical target market. Think about it… most people do not usually flood their social streams with a movie trailer, however, with a fun and contemporary social gimmick, the team at Universal is reaping the viral reward across demographics that may not have been included in a more traditional marketing campaign segment for the movie genre.

While genius, Compton’s marketing success is fairly straightforward: traditional marketing campaign (commercials, print, radio) coupled with the secret sauce of user-generated content (UGC). The team at Universal did not post and pray for their campaign to work; they instead created a simple tool to capitalize on the social currency of UGC.

Much like Compton’s multi-channel campaign, there is still value in traditional recruitment marketing options: job boards, email, print, outdoor, etc. (the list varies by function), but with increased competition, it’s hard to ignore the growing need for adjacent awareness drivers to tip the scale in your favor.

70% of B2C companies are planning to use UGC in their marketing strategies this year. Are you?

Content marketing is no longer just about creation and distribution, but instead, focuses on relevance and consistency to attract and retain a given audience and ultimately drive an action. The power behind user-generated content marketing is the connection it creates between the consumer (or candidate) and your brand, which prompts them to take action (learn more about your company/join your talent community/apply).

  • A photo that your employee takes at a community service event and then uploads to Instagram can create a connection to philanthropy.
  • A video a strategy executive captures to share with a private business group while speaking at a conference can spark connection to passion and growth.
  • A review a customer leaves on Yelp after being encouraged by one of your frontline team members can illustrate your commitment to transparency and create a connection to the value of customer experience.

Instead of the daunting task of creating content day in and day out, I encourage you to take the Compton approach and create more opportunities for content creation across your existing employee base to drive awareness adjacent to, and in support of, your traditional recruitment marketing activities.

FOT Note: This post is sponsored by the good folks at, who care so much about the world of recruiting and human resources that they’ve become an annual sponsor at FOT.  Here’s where it gets good: As part of the CareerBuilder sponsorship, FOT contributors get to write anything we want on a monthly basis, and CareerBuilder doesn’t get to review it.  We’re also doing a monthly podcast called the “Post and Pray Podcast,” which is also sponsored by CareerBuilder.  Good times.