It’s been almost two weeks since the most controversial Presidential election of our lifetime. What I am completely surprised by is the number of entrepreneurs sharing their very strong political affiliations on social media.
Although it was an electoral landslide, the popular vote was about 50/50. As a small business owner, can you afford to alienate half of your customers? Can your business survive if they walk away? Competition is alive and well in the United States so consumers have choices. They don’t have to buy from you. Is it worth potentially losing half your business just to publicly share your political views?
I have a colleague who has a very high six figure coaching business. She stands strongly on one side of the aisle but the majority of her clients are on the other. She said she couldn’t possibly say a word about politics due to the risk of losing her entire business. I also have a dear friend who owns a retail store. She said the same thing. “If I open my mouth about politics, I could lose half my customers.”
Besides losing existing customers, what about potential customers? I teach this all the time; you need a strong digital footprint so you check out when you’re checked out. What happens when potential customers check you out and all they see is strong political views one way or the other? What if the media wants to use you as a source for a story or a guest on a show? They might not if you’ve publicly mixed a strong political view into your small business.
Maybe you’ve decided you only want to work with people with the same political views? Maybe your business can survive a 50% drop in business, but is it really worth it?
What about people you work with? Are you alienating them? For someone like me who has remained very neutral on social media, if I’m doing business with you, am I now grouped into your political opinions by people checking us out?
Don’t forget about your employees. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and their vote. That’s what makes this country so amazing. For those people regularly posting a very strong political opinion that may be viewed differently by your employees, what message does that send? Will you lose your employees? Will they find another job because they are afraid they’ll get fired based on their views?
These are interesting times. This was first time Presidential debates were live-streamed and over 5 million people watched the first debate this way – Twitter, Facebook Live and YouTube.
After the pollsters and pundits got their election predictions wrong, Edelman Intelligence was retained to figure out what went wrong. What they found was that Donald Trump won the election because of social media. The two graphs below show some of their findings.
All of this being said, and we see the power of social media, should small business owners be sharing their political views on social media? Is it worth losing your entire business or even half of your customers? We work so hard as entrepreneurs to grow our businesses, is sharing personal views on social media about the Presidential election worth losing it all?