4 Questions to Answer Before Discussing Politics on Your Business Pages
We are nearing yet another election year. That means politics will enter our lives in a bigger way than it already exists on a daily basis. Whether you pay attention to the daily fodder or ignore it completely until election time, you have opinions on the issues that govern our lives, particularly as business owners.
But should you be sharing your personal political opinions on your public business social accounts or website?
Here are the four questions I think every business owner needs to ask themselves before getting political online.
1. Who will be impacted by this?
If it’s just you as the solopreneur, then you can make the decision quickly. If speaking out could affect the livelihood of five, 10 or 100+ employees then you need to be more careful in your decision making process.
What you say could have a direct effect on your bottom line for better or worse and that affects people’s jobs. Just look at what Anheuser-Busch is going through: a 25% sales dip in just one week. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
The “you’ve gotta bet big if you wanna win big” mentality can be right on the money, pun intended, but it can also backfire big time and affect a lot more than just you.
2. Why is it so important that I speak about this?
There is a difference between showcasing your values online as they tie to political topics, usually the hotly debated ones too, and going online to rant about a current political issue.
Our values matter to us. We naturally become passionate when speaking about them, but that passion can also change into ranting and raving very quickly.
Before writing that post or sharing your Instagram Stories with #allthethoughts, take a moment to ask yourself why you are so fired up about this topic. Is it a personal passion or a core pillar of your brand values?
3. Do I need to say this on the business platform or can I share it on my personal one?
This is key as I strongly believe all business owners should have a business and personal brand that are separate. While you may choose to tie them together publicly, I think it’s important having a personal space to share all the things that make us human and multi-dimensional without having to adhere to brand pillars.
Even if your account is private, anyone who follows you there could (and likely will) know what your business is about so keep in mind that anything you say personally could affect your company’s brand image and/or sales.
Nonetheless, you may find you get just as much moral absolution from sharing on your personal without the same direct affect to business, good or bad.
4. Am I prepared to lose current clients as a result of saying what I want to say?
This is a legitimate risk anytime you share your views publicly, political or otherwise, but since politics and social causes in particular are such a passionate topic, the risk is higher. Are you prepared to lose people along the way?
And to the flip side of that, I remind you that losing those who don’t agree with you politically usually tends to attract those who are in alignment with you. Studies have increasingly shown that we as consumers buy from companies whose values align with our own, even if another company offers the same product or service.
Malicious Women Co. is a great case study example of this. Known for their in-your-face candle names, the company regularly comes under fire in the comments section for their clear stance on social issues. They have turned the tables on the backlash with the creation of a dedicated Karen Emails thread.
Rather than shy away from the negativity they have received fro standing up for the causes (and values) they are passionate about, they have put it right out there for everyone to see. The result? Even more positive engagement from their loyal customers.
At the end of the day, if you feel it in your bones that publicly keeping silent on a topic is going to cause you to lose sleep at night and feel like you’re on morally shaking ground internally, then I say you speak up. Just do so strategically and ask for help from a PR consultant/agency if you don’t know how to execute that.
Choose the platform that’s best for you whether it’s social media, email to your customers & prospects, an op-ed in your local paper or a press release. There is no one-size-fits-all.
Even more thoughts on this, as well as other communications experts, in this story by SUCCESS magazine.