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Special Project

Special Project
From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

WeAreCisco Employee-Generated Content for Employer Branding

Entered in User-Generated Content


The WeAreCisco social media mission is consistent across all platforms – to make a personal connection with future talent. The strategy that we developed a little over a year ago to make those personal connections was to use authentic stories of existing employees. Why? People trust their networks almost 9X more than they trust a brand. And in Edleman's 2017 Trust Survey, employees are trusted 16 points more than even a CEO.

The objective of this methodology is to show the authentic culture at Cisco around the globe, in a way that future talent can see themselves reflected at the company, and that existing talent feels like they have a voice (they do!) By doing this, we both attract and retain talent, and instill the #WeAreCisco pride throughout.

Strategy and Execution

We use employee-generated content in a variety of ways.

For Instagram and Twitter, the @WeAreCisco channels are 99.9% employee-generated content. Whenever an employee posts in social media using the #WeAreCisco hashtag, the Talent Brand Social Media Team is always there to like, engage, and if the photo they used is strong enough, we ask them to send the original to the team and let us know that we have permission to use in social media. We then use that photo on Instagram (where we give the employee a tag credit) and Twitter (where we use their @handle if we can.) When Instagram Stories launched, we continued to showcase employee content and show the "rest of the story" behind the post of the day.

We also have our Life at Cisco blog. 95% of the blog posts are bylined by employees, and sourced by the Talent Brand Social Media team. 100% of those bylined posts were prompted by an employee social media photo. We can always see that there's a story in a photo. These stories are key when we tell the story of working at Cisco to key talent pools.

Lastly, with Snapchat, every single day is an employee-generated post. That's because we built the channel to be an employee takeover every day. The Talent Brand Social Media team manages the program and process in the background, but employees do the Snapping. We even caught the attention of the NASDAQ, who asked the WeAreCisco employee Snappers to take over THEIR account for National Techie's Day to show what it was like to work for a tech company. Our Snapcode (featuring employees) was featured in Times Square.

These strategies not only help us recruit new talent and display the authentic culture at Cisco, but also help us retain and energize existing talent, who feel that they are even more a part of the Cisco story. We share metrics with them, have regular calls and treat them like the VIPs they are.


In 2016:

Twitter: We grew our Twitter following from 5K followers to 20K followers with 2-3X the industry engagement rate on our content. Of course, the content plan is that we amplify employee content, so the trust and authenticity is there.

Instagram: We grew our Instagram account from 1500 to 15K followers, with 2-3X (sometimes 6-7X) industry engagement rates. Our Instagram Story completion rates hover just over 50%

Life at Cisco blog: The Life at Cisco blog is regularly listed as the second most viral blog at Cisco (behind only the Network news site.) Each month, the Life at Cisco blog sees at least 3 posts in the top 10 most-shared posts of the month. Only 9% of the Fortune 500 have a talent branded blog, and Life at Cisco is leading the way.

Snapchat: In only seven months, the WeAreCisco Snapchat channel has seen over 5 MILLION minutes of Snapchat viewed, with completion rates around 60-70%.

These efforts have helped increase the traffic to the Careers site by 6% - which for a site that sees 500,000 visits per month, is a significant increase. However, we've also made direct hires and helped to change the perception of the company culture.


Video for WeAreCisco Employee-Generated Content for Employer Branding

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Cisco (Talent Brand)


Entry Credits