TripAdvisor’s Unique Facebook Hack for Building its Employer Brand

Meghan-Maher by

It’s no secret organic reach for Facebook company pages has been steadily declining. Whether the real culprit is the increased competition from a growing number of pages or simply Facebook’s shifting business priorities, the fact is brands are now reaching fewer and fewer people with their business pages (at least organically).

Of course, attempting to buy that reach back is still an option (one that Facebook actively encourages), but where does that leave the rest of us budget-strapped marketers and hiring managers?

This is exactly the predicament Stacy Zapar found herself in while doing recruiting and employer branding consulting for TripAdvisor. Her solution? Why rely on diminishing returns from Facebook pages when you can create a Facebook Group, instead?

“They say the difference between an audience and a community is which way the chairs are facing. If all the chairs are facing one way and everyone is listening to me, that’s an audience. That’s what a Facebook page is, but a community is where all the chairs face each other. And that’s what we have [with this Facebook group].”

— Stacy Zapar, Founder at Tenfold

A New Approach to Facebook Employer Branding

“With organic reach for Facebook Pages being little to nothing these days (and dwindling more and more every day), I thought it might be kind of cool to start a TripAdvisor Facebook Group,” Zapar told me during a recent call. “Ours is a closed group, so if people search, they can see that there’s this group called ‘Go TripAdvisor,’ but it’s not really clear that it’s a careers group, so there’s no real stigma in joining. And, because it’s closed, your Facebook friends (including any co-workers) won’t be able to see what you like, share, or comment on unless they’re members too.”

The great thing about the page is that it’s an open forum for anyone with any interest or connection in TripAdvisor as a company, either from a career standpoint or a customer standpoint. The content is all things TripAdvisor, from photos of the offices or events that employees are attending, to articles written about the organization, to candidates asking about open positions or even customers and fans sharing their experiences. The group currently has roughly 1,500 members, after launching just three months ago.

“Approximately 1,200 of those members are potential candidates or fans of TripAdvisor,” Zapar explains. “They’re all coming together to talk about life at TripAdvisor… our people, our culture, our office, our events, our values, the work we’re doing and much more.”

The other 300 or so members are actual TripAdvisor employees, and that’s also a group that grew 100% organically through word of mouth.

“Now, instead of just recruiters pushing out employer brand content, we have employees sharing fun facts about life at TripAdvisor,” Zapar says. “‘On Monday nights, the product team gets together and we play soccer in a local league.’ ‘Did you know that on Fridays we go out on the rooftop deck in our Oxford office and we have happy hour? And we have live music, drink beer, etc.’ … Some of these things I didn’t even know about, and I’ve been consulting with TripAdvisor for several months now! All of these employees are coming in and sharing their stories purely of their own volition, and it’s wonderful.”

Because employees are engaging with other employees through the group, not only is it an employer branding and candidate engagement tool, but an employee engagement tool, as well. In Zapar’s experience, the group is also generating far more interaction than the typical Facebook careers page.

“I’m not a big fan of the term “Talent Community” but this group is the closest thing to it that I’ve seen yet,” says Zapar, who has consulted for companies like Zappos, Booking.com, and Restoration Hardware. “They say the difference between an audience and a community is which way the chairs are facing. So if I’m on stage and all the chairs are facing one way and everyone is listening to me, that’s an audience. That’s what a Facebook page is, but a community is where all the chairs face each other. And that’s what we have here.”

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of the group is the way it’s brought candidates and employees from all corners of the company together.

“Everyone’s talking to everyone,” Zapar says. “Recruiters are talking to employees. Employees are talking to candidates. Candidates are talking to engineers. Finance people are talking to people in the UK. It’s fabulous… real employee engagement as well as candidate engagement is happening in this group.”

“To my knowledge, no other Careers presence has created a Facebook group,” Zapar says. “So it was a little risky, and I had no idea how it would turn out. But I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s exceeded my expectations and then some.”

Photo by: Aundre Larrow

Senior Talent Manager, Engineering