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I work for a small company and our boss has been trying to grow our social media presence. She keeps asking us to share posts on our own personal pages, such as job postings on LinkedIn and promotional campaigns. There’s nothing in my employment contract that requires me to share the company’s posts and I like to keep my work life and personal life separate. Am I right to turn down these requests? How can I do it politely?


Jasmine Leong, HR business partner, Phoenix Labs, Vancouver

Maintaining a boundary between your personal and professional life is a valid consideration and it is essential to carefully weigh the options in situations like these. On one hand, you want to be able to demonstrate that you’re a team player, while on the other, you want to uphold your personal boundaries. Ideally, this is presented to you by your employer as a suggestion rather than a requirement, allowing you the freedom to decline if you wish.

If you are looking to explore win-win situations, a potential compromise could be limiting posts to LinkedIn only, a platform made for work-related content, rather than posting on other social media platforms. This would demonstrate your willingness to partake, but within your own comfort zone.

In the event that you are looking to fully decline your boss’s request, I’d firstly express gratitude for the opportunity, as there must have been a certain degree of trust present to ask you to post on social media. Secondly, I would state your position on posting work-related content on personal social media platforms, but offer alternative forms of support that align with your comfort level. This could be other offline activities such as job fairs, conferences or networking events. These activities still demonstrate that you are in full support of the organization, while helping them boost visibility in other ways. Lastly, I’d reassure your manager of your dedication to the organization and its goals. While the decline of your manager’s request shouldn’t be an indication of your lack of support, it’s still good to reiterate.


Kanina Blanchard, assistant professor, management communications and general management, Ivey Business School, London, Ont.

It sounds like your boss’s enthusiasm is starting to feel like pressure. If that’s the case, reflect on the intention behind the ask. You might want to talk to others in the office to see how they are perceiving the encouragement. After calibrating that, I would prepare for a short discussion with your boss (you don’t have to do this, but it may be a nice approach).

Before you chat, though, take some time to think through a social media brand strategy for yourself. Take this as an opportunity to consider how you want to use social media and how you hope to show up in that space. Everyone has the right to curate their own persona. Some people are extremely open and want to share almost everything broadly. Others are selective. Neither is right nor wrong, but whatever you do should be purposeful.

When you speak to your boss, you can acknowledge that you know how excited they are about getting messaging about the company out. Explain that you want to be deliberate about your presence. They should appreciate the discussion and accept your decision.

As a result of thinking through your own strategy, you might identify topics and times where and when you may feel it’s appropriate to share work-related information on LinkedIn as an example, but not platforms like Facebook or Instagram that you may choose to solely be personal.

This is your choice. You shouldn’t feel pressured, but take the time to think through. Look at this as an opportunity to do something important for all professionals today – to have a strategic online presence.

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