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Employees blog, tweet about products? Beware new risk

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Good news travels fast online. Recognizing this, more employers are using social media as a way to spread the word quickly and cheaply about their products and services.

A new CareerBuilder survey reports that 35% of employers now use social media to promote their companies. Of these social-media users:

  • 25% use social media to connect with clients and find new business.
  • 21% use it to recruit and research potential employees.
  • 13% use it to strengthen their employment brand.

Caution: Beware of a hidden risk if you have employees preaching about your products or services via blogs, Twitter or other social networking sites.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued new Enforcement Guidelines that require employees to disclose their relationships with their employer whenever they post comments or positive reviews about their employer’s product on a social media site.

The guidelines apply to employees and to anyone who receives compensation—either pay, gifts or free products—from the subject of their comments.

Last month, the FTC issued its first enforcement letter related to an employee’s actions. It said Reverb Communications sought to promote gaming applications by having employees post 5-star reviews on iTunes, using comments like “Amazing new game!”

Read about the FTC rules at www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm.


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