Would you allow a business contact to befriend you on Facebook?

Survey: Many Executives Uncomfortable Being Friended by Business Contacts on Facebook

Here’s some “friend”-ly advice for those interested in reaching out to work colleagues on Facebook: Proceed with caution. More than six in 10 senior managers surveyed by OfficeTeam said they are uncomfortable being friended by their bosses (68 percent) or the employees they supervise (62 percent), up from 47 percent and 48 percent of respondents, respectively, in a similar survey conducted in 2009. In addition, nearly half (49 percent) of those recently polled prefer not to connect with coworkers on Facebook, compared to 41 percent in 2009.

Managers were asked, “How comfortable would you feel about being friended by the following individuals on Facebook?” Their responses:

Your boss Coworkers People you manage Clients Vendors*
Very comfortable 11% 10% 8% 8% 6%
Somewhat comfortable 20% 40% 28% 17% 15%
Not very comfortable 22% 16% 23% 23% 21%
Not comfortable at all 46% 33% 39% 51% 57%
Don’t know/no answer 1% 1% 2% 1% 2%

*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

View the research highlights.

People have different comfort levels when it comes to social media, so it’s best not to blanket colleagues with friend requests. Along with being selective about who you ask to connect with online, you should always post prudently. You don’t want to share information that could reflect poorly on you. Although some people are hesitant to reach out to business contacts via social networks, there can be a benefit to doing so — if you approach it the right way.”

Here are 5 tips for determining if you should connect with coworkers on Facebook:

  1. Follow the leader. Let your boss or those more senior than you make the first move. Proactively sending a friend request could create an awkward situation.
  2. Scope it out. Check out whether colleagues have other employees in their networks before asking them to connect. If their lists are limited to favorite work pals, they may not be eager to friend a wider group of coworkers.   
  3. Ask first. When in doubt, ask individuals whether they would be interested in connecting on social media before sending an invite.
  4. Do a self-check. Review your profile and make sure there isn’t anything posted that could damage your professional image. You may prefer that your colleagues not see your spring break photos, game updates or quiz results.
  5. Don’t give in to peer pressure. You aren’t obligated to share social media updates with everyone in the office. If you’re concerned about slighting people by turning down invites, you can accept friend requests but use privacy settings and lists to control who can view certain content.

Source: OfficeTeam

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