Now that the election is (thankfully) over, the question could be asked, how much business did you lose (or gain) during this political season based on your viewpoint?
Regardless of your political leanings, this election cycle has brought out some passionate feelings all over the country. Even my nice little bedroom community north of Los Angeles had never seen such political nastiness before. Facebook groups were created and people pounded on those who don't think their way; blogs with no real accountability sprouted up as "news" outlets, and a small group of angry people demonstrated their anger online and at a rally on a popular street corner. The whole thing got quite ugly.
Social media has provided a platform for political discussions never had before. Sadly, not all the dialogues are for the better. I know you've seen this and can relate to how online comments can change your perception about individuals and businesses.
Here is a personal, real world example that really made me think about this topic. I received a Groupon-type offer that happened to be from an acquaintance who owns a hair salon. The timing was perfect for me as I was ready for a change from my current look. Starting the New Year fresh and having a different cut at the January PPAI Expo
was appealing to me, so I was ready to give her a try.
Just as I was ready to buy the coupon and make an appointment, it dawned on me that I had seen some of her social media postings. She was for propositions that I am vehemently against. Of course political leanings have nothing to do with ability to do a job. She may be great at cutting hair, but did I want to do business with someone who had political beliefs totally opposite mine? After careful consideration, I chose not to buy the coupon. Maybe it's my loss, but it's my choice and I really do actually like my current stylist. Why switch and do business with someone who thinks so different from me? What kind of discussion would we have in the chair? It could get unpleasant.
This got me thinking about all the political posts that fly around social media and how they affect people positively or negatively. The hair stylist lost my business. On the other hand, posts and humorous pictures by a local plumber show me his political leanings are in line with mine. If I need a plumber in the future, I will probably use him, even though I have someone else I have used in the past. In this case, political positioning can win business, but as noted you could also lose the business.
While I'm pretty passionate politically, I've made the choice to lay low on getting too political in social media. People I'm "friends" with may know my leanings, but I'm still very conscious of what I post. Others, like my wife, tend to be much more vocal about topics they feel strongly about. Many of my industry colleagues are very vocal about one side or the other also. I respect who they are, even though I may disagree with them. I haven't chosen not to do business with a supplier because of their personal social media political posts. Obviously, this is different than the choices I have made about doing business locally. Maybe this is a local vs. national thing. Perhaps I will feel differently someday.
All this leads to the question of how much are you willing to risk to share your views or take a stand on an issue or topic you feel is important
? Could you be gaining or losing business and not even know it?
Everyone makes choice about what is right for them and their business. But is your personal choice affecting your business without you even realizing it?
Thank God we live in America where we have the right to express our views. I'm a fan of social media and the conversations that happen there. Social media provides a great opportunity to make a bigger impact on many levels.
But I think we need to think through what we want to convey with our online community. It is easy to be smart enough not post offensive, embarrassing things. But do the lines seem to get a little blurred when it comes to politics and any issue you are passionate about? Is it possible to do business with someone you know feels different then you do? Can we agree to disagree? Or will reviewing someone's social media profile before we make business decisions be the new standard protocol? And what issues are you willing to stand firm for at the risk of winning business ruling out over losing it on that opinion?
In the aftermath of the election, some are rejoicing in the outcome of local and national races and others are crying. The bottom line is that life will go on.
After the election dust settles, we can look ahead to the Holiday's. In this season of Thanksgiving, we have the opportunity to take some time to be thankful and embrace our family and friends. Have a great Thanksgiving!Jeff Solomon, MAS- MASI is affiliated with a large distributor company. The FreePromoTips.com website and e-newsletters he publishes are packed with beneficial information and exclusive FREE offers from a few forward-thinking supplier companies. Don't miss out on what's happening! Opt in to receive their e-newsletters! LIKE their page on Facebook and follow them on twitter. Jeff can also be found on Linkedin.