A study into the blurring lines of personal and professional social media use has found that 35% of UK employees admitted they wouldn’t accept their manager as a ‘friend’ on Facebook.
The research – conducted on over 1,000 UK workers across eight different sectors – also found that 15% said they wouldn’t accept all work colleagues on Facebook.
It perhaps supports the concept that Facebook is the most personal social media platform and should be kept separate from work lives.
The study coincides with the release of an e-guide on Protecting Your Company’s Reputation From Employee Risk, a guide outlining the practical steps companies should be taking to limit the reputational risk from employee’s online activity.
The guide follows a number of highly-publicised cases where employees have posted offensive or ill-judged content on social media and brought their employer’s into disrepute. Cases like these emphasise the necessity of a company social media policy.
Encouragingly, 39% of UK employees said they have read and follow their company’s social media policy, and 25% said they would think carefully before posting content or pictures on social media about the effect it would have on theirs or someone else’s professional reputation.
However, a further 18% admitted they didn’t know if their company even had a social media policy.
The study, which breaks down by sector, found some interesting trends in social media use in varying industries:
- 20% of employees within the finance sector said that what they had found on the social media accounts of an interviewee or interviewer had altered their judgement of them.
- 31% of property employees admitted their company doesn’t even have a social media policy.
- Just 6% of travel, transport & leisure employees said they’d be happy to promote their company through their personal social media accounts.
- 36% of marketing & advertising employees admitted they checked their social media accounts before applying for a job to ensure they’re portraying a professional image.
- 16% of travel, transport & leisure employees said they’d read their company’s social media policy, but don’t follow it.
- 23% of marketing & advertising employees said they’d be happy to promote their company through their own social media accounts, and a further 10% said they even used their work email address to login to personal social media accounts.
- A massive 45% of travel, transport & leisure employees said they wouldn’t accept their managers as friends on Facebook.
Unsurprisingly, the marketing & advertising industry appears to be the most likely to allow their professional and personal social media lives cross over, in contrast to the travel, transport & leisure sector who are the least likely to connect with colleagues on social media and least like to promote their company through their own accounts.