Being Bruce -: Business Social Media Tip #25 - No religion or politics

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Business Social Media Tip #25 - No religion or politics

Unless your business is involved with religion or politics, be wary, or at least careful with both topics in your business social media presence.

This may be one of those way-too-obvious seeming tips, but I'm not only talking about bringing up religion or politics yourself. It's quite possible, in real life of course as well, to find yourself in a religious or political discussion that was originally presented as a seemingly unrelated question or request. I don't want to spend a lot of space on this area, because I dislike focusing on negative anything, however, I do strongly suggest that before you take a side on any issue being discussed in social media that you do at least a modicum or research about the person, business, or organization asking the question.

I speak from experience on this one. I was asked by a friend if I was in favor of something that certainly sounded good for all. Before I responded, however, I looked a bit further at the website where my response would go and it turned out to be run by an organization with very strong political opinions, some of which I agree with personally, and others which I do not. Rather than pursue my research or the issue further, I just didn't respond to the request for my opinion. In my private life I do not hold back on opinions, but I do my best to keep my business communications focused on business issues and my target markets.

One of the first rules of social media success is engagement with other people and certainly that means conversation and of course that can include answering questions and stating opinion. In no way do I suggest you not communicate with others on social media - that would defeat the whole purpose of your business being there. I do, however, suggest that you exercise some prudence in your conversation - first because it's the case that once something is on the internet it's pretty much there forever and also because you can't practically control how someone else might use the information.

One other quick note on this topic. If you are a business owners and have employees or contractors produce your social media content, have and communicate a policy that addresses the types of content or subject matter, including conversational topics, with which you do not wish your business to be associated.