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Employees Expected to Use Personal Social Media Acounts at Work, Survey Says


Up to 27 percent of employees are encouraged to use their personal social media accounts to discuss and promote their work, while 17 percent say it is a requirement in their profession, according to a new survey currently being conducted by Venture Beat.

The “Work & Privacy” survey is polling professionals on how they use their personal accounts and whether they believe employers are encroaching on their online privacy. Social networks’ rise has changed content marketing, and many companies are poised to benefit from reaching employees’ online followers, especially if they have a relevant and involved audience. The early results of this survey show that companies are looking for more ways for their content to reach their customers online.

Facebook and Twitter, which have the largest user bases, are ranking highest among companies that “require” employees to post about their work, while LinkedIn, the professional social network, is ranked a very close third. The number of respondents that said that they are not necessarily required to use social media in this fashion, but encouraged, is similarly high.

The poll surveys which social media sites employees use and whether employers use an employee’s personal information, such as a phone number, email address or headshot, on their website. This use of this personal information may be used by content marketers to create a relationship between the employee and the customer to encourage direct engagement.

There have been some recent changes in how content marketers reach a more narrow and interested audience, most notably with LinkedIn’s introduction of Showcase Pages. Utilizing employees’ social media accounts allows access to an audience that may be more closely related to the employee’s role in their job. This may especially be the case on Twitter, where interested parties often follow the accounts of their industry counterparts.

In the first official results of the poll, respondents are split down the middle on whether or not they feel their privacy is being violated by these measures. This raises concerns that while a company can utilize an employee’s social networking audience for content sharing and promoting, they may be causing them discomfort.

Venture Beat also states that in situations where companies require social media use, they are more likely to display employees’ personal data and their social media accounts on the company Web site. The younger the prospective employee, the more likely the employer is to ask to view their page and use it for work purposes.

The survey notes that many employees feel the line between personal and professional online life has blurred. One respondent stated, “I have to be very careful about everything I say to my friends as I conduct business activities over the same accounts. My Facebook has become a more interactive version of my LinkedIn profile, with only the blandest conversations with my friends.”

The survey is ongoing and still accepting responses.

Photo: Flickr

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