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4 Reasons to Participate in Your Company's Social Strategy
By: Christine Geraci
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It feels like every day, another business turns itself on to the value of "going social." And that value can only increase when employees get on board and actively participate in their company's social agenda.
But mixing business with social media can also be a touchy subject for employees, especially when they want to keep their social accounts purely personal.
True, not every employee will buy in when asked to devote some of their social media real estate to their employer's social strategy. But I have to agree with this Mashable article when it states the following argument: "Employees' personal accounts are faces of the company, especially if they identify their employer in their bio, share work-related stuff, or they are on Twitter lists associated with the company." 
If your company is developing a social strategy and wants you to get on board, why not consider it? If you list your employer on your social accounts, you're already representing your company in the social space. By participating more actively in the social strategy at work, you can:
Draw more attention to your company's content. Employees tuned in to the company's social strategy create an instant online community for the organization. Liking, sharing, commenting on, and tweeting company content such as photos, videos, blog posts, or press releases with friends and colleagues only increases the chances of that content reaching more potential followers. 
Give your company a face. When you attend functions for work, you are a human face representing your employer in public. You walk around with a business card or a name badge — or both — clearly stating who you are and who you work for. Social media accounts allow you to extend that offline professional representation to the online world, where there is potential to connect with more people than you'd otherwise be able to reach in person. 
Help show the public your company's culture. What is it that gets someone to stick around and follow a company via social media? Freebies and deals help, but they're not a one-size-fits-all for every organization. Engaging conversation spurned by a regular stream of great content will help build and maintain a quality online community around your employer. Discussing what you do professionally, sharing tips and tricks, and otherwise letting others know what it's like to work for your employer can only augment that community-building effort.   
Keep your job. Literally. Why not use your online social presence to contribute to the content and conversation that might drum up the new business that helps keep your company, and thus your job, afloat? Besides, proficient knowledge and navigation of social media tools are becoming fairly standard skills in many different fields of work. Honing those skills will come in handy should you need to make a move. 
I agree, your employer shouldn't all-out force you to use social media for work purposes. Your privacy wishes and concerns should be respected. 
But if your company is very serious and progressive about adopting social media use for business, then it is likely offering employees social media education and support on a regular basis. Your employer has also probably hired new people, or modified the roles of existing employees, to effectively manage its social presence, as well as provide quality internal support. If you have a support system to help you when in doubt, then frankly, it's time to "move your cheese" where professional social media use is concerned. 
Now, we'd love to hear from you. Tell us what you think: Are you OK with using social networks beyond LinkedIn for work purposes? Are you already using your personal accounts on behalf of your employer? Do you have any other reasons for why you should or shouldn't do so? 

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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