28 Jun Should you ever talk politics on your businesses social media?
So the EU Referendum’s been and (definitely not) gone, and we saw a huge variety of approaches taken by businesses when it came to discussing the topic on their social media channels…
Many global corporations made their stances clear months ago, with the likes of Virgin, Wetherspoon’s and EasyJet all garnering a great deal of press attention over their choice. For businesses with political clout, this makes sense; what’s of particular interest however, is that these views didn’t make it onto their social media channels.
Why politics, social media and business don’t mix
There is no hard and fast rule as to whether you should avoid politics altogether on your corporate social media channels, but there are a number of things to take into consideration first…
1. Does this affect my business?
In the case of the EU Referendum a large number of company owners had concerns about how the vote would affect business, educating your customers and social fans about this can be effective if it’s not preaching or condescending.
2. How does this read?
By now we’re all aware that anything can be taken out of context on Twitter and Facebook, even if it’s about your Grannie’s trifle! When it comes to politics it’s even more important to be aware of this. If there’s a complex subject and you feel the need to get an opinion across, consider writing a blog where you have unlimited characters to successfully make your point.
3. Will this alienate customers?
Everyone is entitled to an opinion and it’s extremely unlikely that everyone across your social community will share an identical set of opinions on various topics. The important factor is that customers like to purchase from brands with whom they identify; sharing strong political opinions can turn those who disagree with you off buying your product again, especially if it’s one they can easily find elsewhere.
It’s all too easy, particularly if you run a small business which is very close to you, to start typing and not consider the consequences.
Utilising other accounts and methods
Both Virgin and EasyJet utilised separate accounts to voice EU Referendum opinions on social media – which is a great method, if you have the time and tools to do so. Richard Branson is known worldwide for being the found of the Virgin brand, and it was his personal account that was used from the start of the campaigning all the way through the results. EasyJet took a slightly different, less personal approach by using its separate corporate account.
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) June 27, 2016
Response to result of UK referendum on membership of the European Union (“EU”) https://t.co/zqsZylBr56
— easyJet Press Office (@easyJet_press) June 24, 2016
You don’t have to ignore it though…
All that said, when there’s a topic that the whole world is talking about it can often seem odd when companies ignore it, particularly if its social media tone is usually chatty and discussing current affairs. Innocent Smoothies are masters at this approach and Brexit was no different!
— innocent drinks (@innocent) June 21, 2016
It’s important to think about what approach you’d like to take and perhaps run it past one or two different people first though, to make sure it won’t get misconstrued.
Whilst personally you may feel very passionate about a political topic, stopping and considering the business benefits or repercussions is essential before the keyboard warrior in you takes over. In the words of Richard Branson, “There is nothing more important than your reputation.”