Is Social Media the Right Platform for Political Commentary by Yo


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Is Social Media the Right Platform for Political Commentary by Your Small Business?

 May 21, 2024 |  Business Tips, Social Media |  small business, Facebook, LinkedIn, client satisfaction

By Michael Trimble, NPI, Inc.'s Content Marketing Coordinator

You probably haven't noticed, but 2024 is an election year!

Okay, so maybe you have noticed. In the midst of heavy polarization, heated disagreements, and the general anxiety that comes with national elections, it's understandable if you want to distance yourself from the political dialogue sometimes. Navigating political discussions in your personal life can be tough, but small business veterans understand how much trickier it can be in the professional sector. Despite this, many feel compelled to jump on social media and add their two cents, either on their personal profiles or through their business pages.

The temptation is clear. As a small business owner, you've worked hard to build your social media following. Now that you have a platform with people interested in what you have to say, it can seem natural to use it for everything. Some business owners may feel it's their social responsibility to speak about a particular topic, while others argue they're exercising their rights. Some may even argue that staying silent is a statement in itself.

Before you hit send on your next political post using your small business as a platform, here are a few words of caution:

How Will This Affect Your Customers?

Alienation Risk
The first thing business-minded professionals will advise on social media and political content is to consider the potential backlash. Aligning your business with one side of a political issue may attract like-minded clients, but it can also lead to alienation - not only from those who disagree, but also from those looking to avoid the conversation altogether.

Especially in an election year when people are more likely than ever to let political stances sway their spending behaviors, political posting has the potential to send customers looking elsewhere for their business needs. Simply put, could your business survive losing half its customer base?

Whatever the event or policy, the current hot topic dominating the political sphere probably has very little to do with your business. Posting about it on social media is more likely to push customers away than bring them in.

Professionalism Risk
The second risk that comes with posting about political issues or current events on social media is the accompanying hit to your professionalism. Social media best practices suggest following the 80/20 rule for small businesses. This means 80% of your content should be educational or entertaining, and the remaining 20% can be promotional (seasonal discounts, new service launches, etc.).

When done well, varied content marketing can make small businesses stand out and contribute to building an audience interested in your services with specific expectations of what they'll encounter on your business page. Political commentary, however, doesn't fit into most small business' content strategy. Posting about controversial topics can create confusion and disconnect with followers.

Keep your content relevant to your business, whether you're using a business page or a personal profile geared for business use, to get the most out of your social media marketing efforts and maintain a strong professional image!

Credibility Risk
Social and political commentary is dynamic and chaotic. The odds of jumping to an incorrect conclusion early are high. Think about how often newspapers, commentators, and even celebrities comment on a developing event only to get it wrong and issue a retraction or apology. For an individual, seeking forgiveness from the masses can be tough. For small businesses who need to be viewed as honest, knowledgeable, and detail-oriented, rebounding from an unnecessary public misstep can be even more challenging.

In the past decade, there has been more pressure than ever for major brands to take stances on policies, political figures, or social issues. However, recent Gallup polls suggest this trend is changing. US adults are split on whether businesses should take public stances on current events, with some analysts citing the potential for businesses to appear inauthentic by trying to "cash in" on the public discourse.

Business owners who want their brand to be viewed as credible should be wary about wading into the uncertain waters of current events at all. For some, a single misstep can be all it takes for customers to swear off using your services forever.

Final Thoughts
Before I step off my own platform, let me make some final recommendations for those who still feel compelled to use their small business as a platform for political or social change. First, if you haven't already, consider isolating political and current event discussions to your personal profiles only (if you need to comment on them at all) and create a business page focused on marketing and client interactions! Simply separating the two is often enough to keep your business's strong professional image intact while allowing you room to speak your mind.

That being said, small business owners are often the "face" of their company, meaning there's often plenty of crossover between personal friends and business page followers. **Assume that whatever you post online is permanent and visible to any prospective customers, business partners, and employees. Try to be respectful and kind with your words, and consider staying away from political discourse altogether. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy turning down the noise!

Looking for ways to engage your audience without venturing into political territory? Here are some ideas:

  • Highlight your company culture and values. Share stories about your team, your mission, and what makes your business unique.
  • Focus on industry trends and insights. Provide valuable information relevant to your field and establish yourself as a thought leader.
  • Showcase your products or services. Offer educational content, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or customer testimonials.
  • Run contests and promotions. Encourage engagement and brand awareness with interactive content.
  • Partner with local influencers. Collaborate with people who share your target audience to expand your reach.

By focusing on these strategies, you can build a strong social media presence that attracts customers, strengthens your brand identity, and avoids the pitfalls of political commentary. Remember, your social media platforms are valuable tools for connecting with your audience and promoting your business. Use them wisely!

NPI’s corporate marketing team works to stay up to date on all things social media marketing, email marketing, SEO, and more! To learn more about the support you gain from franchising with National Property Inspections,request your free info packet today.


About the Author
Michael Trimble, Content Marketing Coordinator
A graduate of the University of South Dakota, Michael has a B.A. in International Studies and English. With a background in research and writing, Michael contributes to NPI’s corporate marketing team as a copywriter and content strategist.

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